Adrienne LoPresti to succeed Jamie Bogenshutz
When it was recently announced that longtime YES Community Counseling Center Executive Director Jamie Bogenshutz was stepping down from her position after 40 years, the nonprofit community-based organization didn’t have to look far for an heir apparent. Next in line is current YES Associate Director Adrienne LoPresti, who has been with YES since 1997—when she joined as an intern and then moved to full-time status after obtaining her BSW at Marist College and Master’s in Social Work from Adelphi University.
For the Massapequa native, her appointment as executive director is the end result of a long transition period in which Bogenshutz made sure LoPresti was ready to take the reins thanks to the takeaways she was provided.
“Jamie has always been a fierce leader, example and advocate,” LoPresti said. “Just knowing that the energy she brings is needed to fight for our community and to ensure that we are always evolving in ways that can assure that what we do aligns with what the community needs. Together we ensured that the transition occurred in such a way that it was a seamless process. I have spent a lot of time with Jamie over the years understanding what the role of an executive director of a nonprofit, community-based organization is. She shared some of those responsibilities and I observed them over the years, especially in the past year. Having her as a chief transition officer is a perfect way to continue to seek her guidance as new issues arise.”
Bogenshutz is confident that she’s leaving YES in the capable hands of her protégé.
“Adrienne will bring her energy, compassion and expertise in a way that will guide YES in the upcoming years,” she said in a statement.
LoPresti grew up alongside her brother in Massapequa, a community she continues to call home where she’s raising her own family and inspired her to go down the path of social work.
“I have always been passionate about the need to look outside of our self and be there for others,” she said. “Once exposed to community-based work, it felt like a perfect opportunity to do what I believe in the community where I’ve always lived. [Especially] with an organization that holds true to the philosophies that support affordable and accessible care for people. That’s so much a part of social work values and it feels right.”
Given YES’s status as a nonprofit, funding via grants, contributions and a strong volunteer base keeps the organization’s programs strong. LoPresti is especially keen to continue expanding YES services in ways that reflect the needs of the community.
For one, young people are among the most vulnerable segments of the population she feels often get overlooked.
“Our goals are always to ensure that we are reaching the young adult population that might be in a more vulnerable place and finding [there’s a] failure to launch due to that difficult transition period from high school to college years or even young adulthood,” she said. “We try to make sure that we identify gaps in services and reach those that might be less likely to seek services or be identified as needing specialized services.”
One of the programs LoPresti is most excited about is Commerce Plaza, a financial literacy program housed in YES’ Levittown building. It is an activity-based experience designed for students that immerses young people in the business community, where instructors facilitate and guide the students to ensure they successfully apply their knowledge and put their skills to practice. Each student plays a specific role in the business community that allows them to apply life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication and teamwork. As these life skills are reinforced during the instructor-student simulations, students learn on multiple levels which enhance and personalize the learning experience. Since opening in May 2000, Commerce Plaza has hosted more than 69,000 students from school districts on Long Island, which LoPresti takes pride in and plans to expand on.
“Commerce Plaza services elementary students throughout Long Island and not just in our attachment areas,” she said. “We have a focus on low- to moderate-income schools. One of the goals is to be able to develop a digital platform for that program, especially during the time of COVID-19 and make sure they have continued accessibility during this time and following it. We’re trying to make sure we provide access to financial literacy tools for [young people] who might not otherwise have them—either because of geographic [impediments] that might prevent them from getting to us or if their school districts don’t have the resources to get them here.”
LoPresti is looking forward to taking on the challenges of her new position with a mix of humility and gratitude.
“It’s great to have this profession as the vehicle to that work because I know a lot of people want to do a lot of good, but don’t always know how to go about that,” she said. “I know it sounds corny, but honestly, I feel like I’m fortunate to be in a place where I can do that already. I do think when we step outside of ourselves and give to others, we feel good, so it’s a win-win.”
YES Community Counseling Center Services
• Counseling Services
• Addiction Services
• Early Intervention Project
• School-Based Services
• Community Outreach
• Parenting Programs
• WISH (Women In Shared
• Crisis Intervention Services
Visit www.yesccc.org or call 516-799-3203 to find out more about the Yes Community Counseling Center.