In 2002, Assemblyman John Burzichelli organized a group of 50 local businesses, concerned citizens, and Clergy to open the Boys & Girls Club of Paulsboro. The town donated the Old Italian American Club at 916 Penn Line Road. Senator Steve Sweeney organized a group of volunteers led by then-Governor Jon Corzine and his staff to renovate the facility. Local businesses, most notably Paulsboro Refinery, led by Karen Hill, helped organize this grass roots effort and ready the facility for the young people it would soon serve. Both Karen Hill and Jim Daloisio were original board members of the Paulsboro Club and they continue to actively serve on our board today. Sam DeSimone, a prominent area lawyer and District Judge, chaired the first Board of Directors to govern the new organization.
In that same year, a similar call was made by Alvin Shpeen, then Mayor of Glassboro and County Prosecutor. Unfortunately, Alvin died suddenly before he could see the Boys & Girls Club of Glassboro open in 2003. Dan Dalton, a lifelong resident of Glassboro, former Secretary of State and local insurance company owner, put together a group to start the Glassboro Club in Alvin’s honor. From 2002 – 2005 Dan chaired the Board of Directors and remains an active member of our board today. Joe Brigandi, also a lifelong resident of Glassboro, County Freeholder, City Councilman and Glassboro Business Administrator, served as Vice Chair from 2002-2005. The Club was first housed in some trailers behind the Glassboro Middle School and within a year a new location was established in a section of the County Library at 2 Center St. Glassboro, NJ. Other founding members of the Glassboro Club included Bob Zazzali, Pattie Owens and Theresa DiVietro. Bob and Pattie are still board members to this day while Theresa famously orchestrated the biggest fundraisers in the early history of the organization with the “Happening on High” fundraising events.
The Merger: Boys & Girls Clubs of Gloucester County
In 2005, these two organizations- one in Paulsboro and the other in Glassboro- merged to form the Boys & Girls Clubs of Gloucester County (BGCGC) with the administrative building located in Glassboro and Club locations remaining in Glassboro and Paulsboro.
Katie has brought new energy to the organization overseeing such achievements as the refurbishing of both the Glassboro and Paulsboro Clubs, with much help from County Freeholder Heather Simmons and construction expert Jay Cipriani (who is also a member of the board). During Katie’s tenure, working closely with CEO Patti Withington, our Club has had the distinct honor of selecting a Youth of the Year who went on to win the state title and then the title for the entire Northeast Region of the country. Eventually, she finished as a finalist in the national Youth of the Year competition!
Christopher became the sixth Board President of BGCGC who oversaw critical changes in the organization, including the hiring of a new CEO. Chris remained on the board through 2020 as the Chair of the Board Governance Committee
Theresa was also a founding Member of the BGC of Glassboro Board of Directors who rejoined the Board to take the leadership role. In June 2015, she resurrected her creation, the “Happening on High” fundraising event.
Gary was recruited to the BGCGC Board by Nick Mitcho in 2008. As Board President, Gary led the organization to develop and grow into the largest youth agency in the County. Under Gary’s leadership, BGCGC opened a new location in September of 2013 with a new Woodbury Teen Center.
Nick was the Superintendent of Glassboro Schools. A founding member of BGCGC, Nick was instrumental in starting and developing the BGCGC “Swing for Kids” golf fundraiser. During his tenure, the Glassboro Club moved to its current location at the old Elsmere School at 801 Ellis St. In 2013, the town officially deeded the facility and property to BGCGC. Nick continues to be a valued member of our board.
Jim is a Paulsboro businessman who owns the Railroad Construction Company of Southern New Jersey and who helped found the Paulsboro Club. Jim also served as a Board Member and Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey. He continues to serve on our board and makes an impact.
Dan Dalton, who had been serving as board chairman for the Glassboro Club since he spearheaded its founding in 2002 (see above), continued his Board leadership by serving as our first Board President. He continues on the board today and has been a driving force in our continued success.