Dear AYS Families and Supporters,
I’ve finished my first month as AYS’ new President/CEO and would like to take the time to officially introduce myself to you. I am Chrystal Struben, and I have been working in the non-profit sector for more than 15 years, with a focus on management, fundraising and marketing. I have dedicated my career and volunteer work to youth and family serving organizations, and I am thrilled to now be a part of AYS, an organization I have depended on for my family since 2011 when my son started elementary school.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind as I have begun to learn the ins and outs of this agency. I have visited eight program sites to talk with our kids and their families and to see the programs in action. I have also met with several superintendents and community stakeholders. I might have even met you!
I was especially pleased to attend a special event at Hinkle Creek for AYS students and parents to celebrate “Lights On Afterschool,” a nationwide event that highlights the critical role after-school programs play in the lives of children and families. You can read more about this event on the Afterschool Alliance’s website.
As I observe programs, I am taking the time to meet with staff at all levels to learn how we as an agency can improve on our strengths and address any weaknesses. As a working mother and a long time AYS parent, I understand firsthand how our programs positively impact families.
As a new member of the AYS team, I have had a chance to witness those efforts at a deeper level. During visits to our program sites, I have seen the strength of our programs in action. Activities are designed with the individual child in mind and the staff has a true bond with the children and families we serve. I am proud to be part of this important program that provides critical support to working families.
Our agency has numerous strengths, and I look forward to capitalizing on what we do well, in addition to improving processes that aid us all in continuing to make a difference in the lives of children. In the coming months, I will be working with staff to process the information I have gathered, and we will begin working with our Board on our strategic plan. In the meantime, we will also be looking to our parents and school communities to help us determine our best path for the future. So, stay tuned for more information on how you can help us strengthen our role as a key provider of out-of-school time care, enriching the lives of youth and strengthening communities.
In the meantime, if you have thoughts to share, please contact me. Your input is important to us, and I’d love to hear from you.