• Lynda Cohen

New CEO has growing vision for Atlantic City's Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City has a new leader — and a growing vision. Stephanie Koch will take over as chief executive officer Feb. 3, and said she hopes to build upon the strong foundation her predecessor established. “I have been a friend of the Boys & Girls Club since Michelle (Carrera) took the helm,” Koch said of the previous CEO. “So when she decided to step down, it was a natural opportunity for me.” Koch said her work as senior vice president with JEVS Human Services for the past five years has had the same workforce focus Carrera followed at the Boys & Girls Club. “My goal is continuing with the momentum that she set forth,” Koch said. “Her energy, drive and know-how is a natural next step in bringing the foundation Michelle set in club services to the next level,” Board Chairman Sam Young said. “We look forward to growing our reach, deepening our impact, and sharing our success with that of our families and the entire region.” That includes a path toward more family-based programs that will help the parents as well as the children. “In addition to serving the kids so they have a place to continue to grow and thrive and be entertained, we want to extend those services to their families,” Koch said. Currently the club serves 2,300 children ages 6 to 18. “We’re serving the next generation,” she said. “It’s absolutely critical. It’s integral to the revitalization of the city. A two-generational approach would help the family unit as a whole. “We want to make sure that once they leave the club, the lessons they’re learning are being carried on,” she said. Koch said she has a connection to this area. Her family’s business — Bon-Ton Blinds and Interiors — has been in the area nearly 50 years. “Personally, I’m very passionate about Atlantic City,” she said. “Not only because of my roots but because I’m a local resident.” She and her husband live in Margate with their daughters, ages 6 and 8. Koch said she believes collaboration is needed to grow the club and said she looks forward to partnering with other organizations. She already has a lot of connections with her work, which include being secretary of the Atlantic County Workforce Development Board, board chair of the Youth Investment Council and as a member of the Atlantic City Arts Foundation’s board. “Without collaboration this sense of success is not going to be achieved,” she said.

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