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President & Founder:   Fred T. Mercadante

 

Fred has been serving as a fulltime minister within the Catholic Church since 1995.  During the first 11 years of his career, Fred worked as a parish youth minister in NJ and then moved on to parish-based college campus ministry in Clemson, SC.   After 5 years at Clemson, he joined the Office of Campus Ministries at the University of Scranton, serving as a campus minister for 10 years.  He is currently the Director of Faith Formation for the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, AZ.  Fred serves as an officer on the Board of Directors for Certain Place Ministries.

Credentials:

  • Masters degree in pastoral ministry from Fordham University

  • Recipient of the Francis Medal from the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Order of Friars Minor.

  • Author of Senior High Ministry that Works:  A Parish-Based Initiation Model  (Twenty Third Publications) which was awarded 2ND place among educational books by the Catholic Press Association.

 

Fred has created, developed and implemented over a dozen different retreats, including A Desert Experience and Soul Men's Retreat.  Working within a peer leadership model, these retreats experiences have made a mark on countless young people.

 

In addition to this, Fred has spent the last 30 summers leading the Appalachia Help Weeks in WV for several Catholic parishes.  During that time, the program has grown from one week per summer of about 30 volunteers to six weeks per summer of almost 150 volunteers.  With 30 years as coordinator plus 8 more years as a youth and young adult volunteer, Fred is one of the most experienced leaders of Appalachia home repair programs in the country.  As a bonus, he has also become quite competent in home repair himself with roofing as his specialty.

In 2009, Fred initiated the Guatemala Help Weeks program at Clemson.  The program continued yearly with Clemson and others under Fred's leadership until 2015 when special obligations at home forced a temporary sabbatical.  

 

He is an avid hiker who enjoys adventure and travel.  Although NJ, WV, SC, PA, AZ, NV and Guatemala are all in the top 10, Death Valley remains as his favorite place on earth!

"The itinerant rabbi," is the image of Jesus with which he most closely identifies.  Consequently, Fred feels most at home in ministry when he is on the road.

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Board of Directors

Chairperson of the Board:  Christine Grobert

 

Christine is one of the founding volunteers of the Appalachia Help Weeks, established in 1986.  Since then, she has participated in that service opportunity for over 15 years.  Christine brings to the board a profound experiential knowledge and history of the Appalachia Helps Weeks as well as the experience of serving on numerous other boards.

Secretary:  Heather Mulvey

Heather founded the Appalachia Help Week program as a teenager in 1986 and has participated in the service opportunity for over 10 years.  She has 20+ years nonprofit experience, including executive leadership, strategic planning, development, fundraising, and communications.  Heather brings to the board extensive experience in growing successful nonprofit organizations and a wealth of knowledge about volunteerism.  She is a member of CPM’s Finance Committee. Heather is inspired by the volunteers who continue to participate in the Appalachia Help Weeks program and is grateful for the ripple effect and love they share.

 

Treasurer:  Lynda Monks

Lynda is one of the founding volunteers of the Appalachia Help Weeks, established in 1986.  Since then, she has participated in that service opportunity for over 10 years.  Lynda brings to the board an organic understanding of person-centered ministry and a comprehensive knowledge of social issues that impact the poor and vulnerable.

Some Backstory of the Officers

 

The Appalachia Help Week program was founded in 1986 by teenagers Heather Mulvey and Jenny Murray, in response to the news of the devastating Cheat River flood in West Virginia.  Heather realized that in order to take effective action she needed to find a partner organization. She brought the idea of inspiring volunteers to provide services to those in need in the flood zone to her Youth Minister, Father Paddy O’Donovan, at St. Patrick Church in Chatham, New Jersey. He graciously agreed and thus the Appalachia Help Week program was established.  During the several months leading up to the first Appalachia Help Week trip in August 1986, the groundwork included establishing a relationship between St. Pat’s and St. Philomena Catholic Church in Rowlesburg, West Virginia and identifying those in need; grassroots fundraising took place through car washes, appeals to the parish, and articles in the bulletin; youth volunteers and adult chaperones were rallied; and the home base of operations was identified at the Rowlesburg VFW Post 3008.  Among the first volunteers that Heather asked to join her were Christine Grobert (CPM Board Chair) and Lynda Monks (CPM Treasurer).  On that first trip in August 1986, seven girls and three adults from St. Patrick Church served the Rowlesburg community.  The relationships established on that first trip were meaningful and the work impactful.  Sharing the stories of the experience upon their return home inspired more youth and adult volunteers from St. Pat’s, including Fred Mercadante (CPM President) to join them on the second Appalachia Help Week trip the following year.  The program has since grown exponentially.

Each year participation within St. Patrick Church grew, new parishes including St. Vincent’s Church in Madison, NJ and Pius X in Montville, NJ joined the service trip.  Today parishes across five states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio) volunteer to serve 200+ families each year through our partnership with the Catholic Church of Preston County, West Virginia.

Director:  Bill O’Shaughnessy

Bill is a longtime parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Chatham, NJ and a vocal supporter of the Appalachia Help Weeks.  His years of experience of volunteering in Appalachia give him clear insight into the needs of the program.  As a lawyer and a member of numerous other boards, Bill brings legal and procedural expertise to CPM.

 

Director:  Anne Marie Gisoldi

Anne Marie has been serving as the Youth Minister at St. Vincent Martyr Church in Madison, NJ for over 30 years.  She is also the Vice Principal of St. Vincent Martyr School.  Anne Marie serves the board as a valuable liaison to St. Vincent Youth Ministry and provides CPM with easy access to communication with her parish community, especially youth and their families.

 

Director:  Nancy Jagoe

Nancy is a longtime parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Chatham, NJ and a veteran of the Appalachia Help Weeks for over 10 years.  She has children who have gone through the program and thus brings a “parent’s” perspective to this portion of CPM’s offerings.  Nancy also serves the board as a valuable liaison to St. Patrick Youth Ministry and to St. Patrick parish leadership.

 

Director:  Amy Hoegen

Amy is a campus minister at the University of Scranton and a former parish Director of Faith Formation.  As the board’s “campus ministry & young adult expert,” Amy provides firsthand knowledge of the current spiritual needs of this age group.  She is extensively familiar with retreat processes and their formational goals.  CPM’s college student and young adult programming benefit from her expertise in this area.

 

Director:  Kevin Flanagan

Kevin Flanagan is the owner and president of several New Jersey based businesses in the Automotive, Real Estate and Insurance industries. In each of these he shares his business mission “To lead, teach and inspire others to become the person they were meant to be.”    Kevin has been an advisory member for Ford Motor Credit, Volvo, Clear Channel and Saint Vincents parish where he is an active parishioner and participant in the Appalachia Outreach program.

Kevin has been married to his wife and best friend Kristen for 32 years and they have 6 wonderful children. Kevin’s family is his greatest joy in life and he has shared with them his passion for grateful service wherever there is need. He hopes that his work with CPM will help it be able to grow and offer meaningful service and outreach to a world that needs it. 

 

Director:  Steven Johnson

Steven is a veteran of the Appalachia Help Weeks for over 20 years.  As a business owner, he brings to the board knowledge and experience of running a successful business and a good head for “best practices.”  Steven has been instrumental in all of the pre-trip preparation that goes into the Appalachia Help Weeks.  He is a member CPM’s Finance Committee.

 

Director:  Kurt Kilanowski

Kurt is the Director of Religious Formation at Pius X Church in Montville, NJ.  He serves the board as a valuable liaison to Pius X Youth Ministry and provides CPM with easy access to communication with his parish community, especially youth and their families.  Kurt also provides the board with a comprehensive understanding of ministry models and “best practices.”

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