Both employed staff members and many faithful volunteers are essential to effectively offering this diverse ministry in the Cleveland community.
Mary and her husband David were commissioned to work with volunteers and community members to develop ministry at this site in 1998. Having had a life-long passion for music and the arts as well as teaching and serving, Mary is thankful to serve at Unity Center. Her background as a public-school music teacher and over 40 years experience in children’s and program ministry provide a strong foundation for her work. She loves to cook (especially with the students), read and laugh.
David and his wife Mary were commissioned to work with volunteers and community members to develop ministry at this site beginning in 1998. David has always been a people person. As he engages with persons of diverse age groups, ethnicities and backgrounds, he has a natural way of building relationships and community. His life-long love of music, biblical teaching, his ability “make things work” as well as over 40 years in Christian service fit well with Unity Center program and vision.
Mary joined the full-time staff in July, 2008, after having been around Unity Center as a volunteer since its beginnings in 1999. As a girl she wanted to be either a gym teacher or a librarian and in a way she’s done both, first earning her college degree in Physical Education and then later teaching reading at Blythe Bower Elementary School. She loves to grow just about anything, to read books that teach her about the world around her, and to delight in her family.
Victor came to Unity Center as a 4th grader and was active in the program through high school. After entering college at Lee University, he served as a tutor for a semester and was then hired as the program's first student-turned-intern. He currently serves as a staff associate and helps lead youth programming with the hope of creating the same positive and lasting influence that was given to him while a student in the program.
Maria attended Unity Center as a child in 3rd & 4th grade. While attending college, Maria returned to volunteer with the Story Catchers program and developed a passion for building literacy skills in young children. She is turning her passion into action as she works as Unity Center's AmeriCorps VISTA, focusing on kindergarten – 3rd grade reading programs. Maria's dream is to be an elementary school teacher so that she can continue to support the community and encourage a love of reading.
Seeds were planted for Kyle’s relationship with Unity Center when he served as a summer camp counselor when he was in high school. He now serves as the Director of Youth for Broad Street United Methodist Church and works alongside Victor Barbosa to help offer meaningful experiences and cultivate the gifts and talents of the youth at Unity Center to foster personal growth and leadership skills.