• Affirmations Board President Mike Flores (center) speaks at the center’s May 22nd board meeting while Executive Director Dave Garcia (left) and Board Vice President Cheryl Czack (right) look on. (BTL photo: Jason A. Michael)

Affirmations Elects 5 New Board Members, Announces New Campaign

Jason A. Michael
By | 2019-05-29T16:17:50-04:00 May 29th, 2019|Michigan, News|

The board of directors of Affirmations added five new members to their ranks at their May 22 meeting. Those new board members are Angela Gabridge, Donnie Johnson, Kathrine Lorenz, Kennedy Shannon and Cass Varner.
“These candidates are an exceptional group of individuals,” said Affirmations Board President Mike Flores. “These candidates exemplify exactly what our current board expects from each other: love for the community, commitment to the vision and mission, willingness to share your talents and a focus on continuous improvement.”
While each new member came with an extensive resume, Varner’s name was perhaps most familiar. She previously worked at the center for 12 years, first as youth services coordinator and then later as director of communications.
In addition to the new members, board member Karl De Nazareth’s term was renewed for another three years and an executive committee was voted on that included once again Flores as president as well as Cheryl Czack as vice president, Nancy Cummins as treasurer and John Stanaszek and Anthony Sherman as members at large. The position of secretary remains open.
With the addition of the newest members, the total number of directors is now at 16, making it the largest board in several years.
“We are lucky to have such an impressive group of individuals to serve their community on the board,” said Dave Garcia, the center’s returning executive director who has been back on the job just about three weeks. “I am looking forward to working with the board to continue strengthening the center.”
Garcia also announced a new campaign that the center plans to launch sometime next month. The campaign will be called Coming Home.
“We’re calling it that not only from a personal perspective of my coming home from Los Angeles, but we want to go back to all the donors who have ever given to Affirmations in the last 30 years for our 30th anniversary and encourage everybody to come home,” Garcia said. “Come back home to your community center.
“With this campaign, we also are going to have an opportunity to increase volunteerism,” Garcia continued. “We’re going to at least double if not triple our volunteer base.”
The campaign will be looking for volunteers to serve in the areas of advocacy, entertainment planning and general center volunteers. Each committee will have one volunteer co-chair and one staff co-chair.
“The success of this campaign is imperative to the future of the organization,” Garcia said. “We’ve got to get more folks involved from donors and, perhaps even more importantly, volunteers.”
Garcia also announced that he had formed a grants committee and was actively looking at the center’s contractors and cost-cutting where possible. As examples, he cited the fact that he had cut the center’s $650 monthly copy machine bill nearly in half and canceled a contract for an outside document shredding company.
“Every contract that we have I’m talking with those folks and renegotiating,” Garcia said.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.