Several of Chester County’s 26 Authorities, Boards and Commissions are looking for more residents to volunteer to fill current vacancies and serve.
“We are very fortunate in Chester County to have engaged citizens who care about the vitality and future of their community, and their neighbors,” said Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline. “Serving on one of our Authorities, Boards or Commissions offers a unique opportunity to collaborate and help shape public policy in a wide range of issues, from agriculture and land preservation to child welfare, parks and recreation, pipeline safety and numerous other areas. Community involvement ensures decisions reflect the widest range of voices and expertise.”
Some roles call for specialized skills while the main qualification for others is interest in a particular area. For example, the Chester County Airport Authority is led by two men with aviation backgrounds but the remainder of the seven positions are filled by individuals in other career fields.
“We have a huge cross section of expertise on our Authority,” said Chairman Rich Saylor. “We have an architect, two members in land development and another in finance. But volunteering for any board is more about service and trying to give back as much as you can.”
Lenda Carillo, who immigrated to Kennett Square from Mexico, serves on the Children Youth and Families Board because, she said, she has a special interest in child welfare and appreciates all that the Chester County community has given to her.
“When I first came to the U.S. in 1996, there were many agencies that helped me with different resources,” she said. “So, I made a promise to myself that one day I was going to give back to my community. It also sets a good example for my children, and it’s a great feeling.”
Bill Covaleski, the founder and brewmaster at Victory Brewing Company, has more than a full-time job running his business, but he also makes time to serve on Chester County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board, which reviews bond applications from farmers that want to permanently preserve their space as farmland.
“I volunteer because the stewardship of natural resources is very important to me, both personally and professionally,” Covaleski said. “By dedicating some time to this program, I can help make the County healthier and wealthier for all citizens because the natural resources we preserve benefit everyone in our community.”
Dr. Veda Maany, the medical director for Student Health Services at West Chester University, stays busy in her work, including teaching duties, but also carves out time to serve on a Board Advisory Committee that helps people with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities.
“Sometimes, we might feel frustrated or disappointed about how certain issues are unfolding and we might feel powerless to change because they’re so big,” Maany said. “But oftentimes if you volunteer on your local boards and you can see the small changes that are made to ordinances or programs, you realize how much power you really do have.”
Retirees can also find fulfillment serving on Authorities, Boards, and Commissions. JoAnn Weinberger spent a career working in adult literacy in Philadelphia while living in Chester County. When she decided she wanted to give back to her home county, she saw serving on the Chester County Library Board as a perfect fit.
“Given my background with reading and learning, and the fact that I love and use the library regularly, when I heard about an opening I jumped at the opportunity,” Weinberger said. “I think you need to have a real interest and passion for what the Authority or Board does, and then you need to have some time to devote to it.”
Fellow retiree Kathleen Pearse also volunteers on the Library Boards as well as the Health and Education Facilities Authority Board, which arranges financing for building improvement projects for nonprofits.
“It’s always good to get a new point of view on the board,” she said. “If you’ve got the energy and are willing to make the effort, volunteerism supports so many things in our county. They contend our county is the healthiest, wealthiest, and most educated county in the state, and a good part of the reason is the people that live in it. So why not put your interests to work for the good of the County?”
Chester County currently has vacancies on the Aging Advisory Council; Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee; Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board; Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board; Parks and Recreation Board; Pipeline Safety Advisory Board; Planning Commission; SEPTA Citizens Advisory Committee; and Veterans Affairs Advisory Council.
To learn more about what each of Chester County’s Authorities, Boards and Commissions does, please visit the County’s website: chesco.org/3093/Authorities-Boards-and-Commissions.
To register an interest in serving on a specific Authority, Board or Commission, email your resume with a covering message on qualifications and interest in serving, to Taylor Pettit at [email protected].