ABC Friends & Faces

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New Resident Director Lynn Prendergast

Lynn, our new Resident Director, has been a teacher in Madison for 26 years, first in elementary school, then teaching language arts and social studies to 5th-6th graders, and currently teaching computer coding. Lynn moved to Madison in third grade, and has lived in Guilford for the last 12 years. She has an 18 year old daughter, Elizabeth, who is now a freshman at Central Connecticut State University, which made this fall a perfect transition time for Lynn.

The story of how Lynn came to GABC is an interesting one. For two years, she taught at Sal’s Driving School, and two of our scholars took lessons from her. They talked about GABC and got Lynn interested, and Katrina reported back to our departing resident director that Lynn would “be the perfect lady for this job.” The rest is history.

Lynn, and her cat, Sunny, love being at GABC, where she’s quickly observed that every day – and every scholar – is different. She believes that each girl brings something special to the group, and she says one of the best parts is listening to the laughter when they are hanging out together. Lynn sees her role a ‘house mother,’ and believes that she brings a healthy calmness to a house full of energetic teens. She says that she’s amazed by the support and involvement of the board, advisors and volunteers, and she attributes the program’s long-term success to that multifaceted effort. Lynn is ‘honored’ to be at GABC, and we are equally honored to have her!

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JEANNE MELE, Assistant Resident Director and Cook

Jeanne has been a welcoming sight at the House for many years, first as a 12-year volunteer (while her husband, John, served on the Board), helping out where necessary, including as a gardener and volunteer driver. Ten years ago, she and John became the Host Family for GABC scholar Tyesha Robinson. Jeanne’s love of cooking has always been strong, and for two years she taught young, recovering addicts in New Haven how to cook; the combination of her passion and her experience made her extraordinarily qualified for her current position as cook; for the last two years, she has taken on the additional responsibility as assistant resident director.

Jeanne shops for and cooks for the scholars four nights a week. She begins each school year by having each scholar fill out a long form of likes, dislikes and allergies, Her categories include ‘like,’ ‘no way,’ and ‘willing to try.’ She notes that some of the scholars haven’t heard of certain foods, and she coaxes them to at least take a taste and give it a try. Each scholar gets to pick the dinner menu for her birthday, and summer birthday girls get a birthday night during the school year as well. Jeanne started a very popular tradition: The first Monday of every month she serves breakfast for dinner, with her beloved breakfasts including eggs, two kinds of bacon, waffles, home-made fries, pancakes, cinnamon raisin toast and sausage. She says this is the most popular dinner of the month! You will find Jeanne at the house from 2:15 – 6:30 pm Monday through Thursday and on Friday afternoons. Board members and volunteers are encouraged to call for an invitation to dinner, an excellent opportunity to get a real feel for what goes on at the House.