READING, PA– The Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs of Reading and Berks County board of directors is confident the organization is in good hands, said Chairman Eric Savage.
Allen Reese was appointed chief executive officer last month. He succeeds Pablo Tejada, who was promoted in July to the national organization.
Olivet operates seven clubhouses in Reading and one in Pottstown.”
We had over 100 applications from throughout the country,” Savage said Wednesday during a welcome reception for Reese at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, 701 Penn St. “In the end, Allen won for a variety of factors.”
Savage said that in addition to Reese’s organizational skills, experience and understanding of the issues facing youth, he has a deep understanding of recruiting youth and making a difference in their lives.
He comes to the organization with more than 20 years of experience managing nonprofit organizations. Most recently he was chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the South Coast Area in San Clemente, Calif., which serves about 1,800 children annually.
“I am originally from southeastern Pennsylvania and lived most of my life there and in southern New Jersey,” Reese said. “I wanted to come home, saw the job opening and thought, ‘Maybe I will get lucky.'”
Moving closer to extended family in Pennsylvania and New Jersey was important to Reese and his spouse, Joe Hengel.
“We wanted our boys to be around their aunts, uncles and cousins,” Reese said.
The couple settled in Ephrata, Lancaster County and have two sons, Thai Reese-Hengel, 13, and Robert Reese-Hengel, 11.
Reese said he is deeply concerned with children’s literacy and education.
“It is really important to me that we work with kids at a younger age,” he said.
Many children enter first grade unprepared for learning because they cannot read, he said. His goal is to reach city youth at the kindergarten level with the organization’s literacy programs.
“A lot of studies tell us if we can get kids prepared and reading, the outcomes are better,” Reese said.
In addition to focusing on academics, he is determined to carry on the element of fun that youth associate with the club.