I am a lifelong resident of greater Springfield, MA. I graduated from Notre Dame and Purdue, then served in the United States Army in Vietnam before returning home to build the Pride chain.
While at Notre Dame, I volunteered in an underserved community in Chicago and witnessed youth and families who wanted to improve their lives but were stuck in a cycle beyond their control. I later saw the same in Vietnam. Then for decades while running the Pride chain I saw the same struggles in our hometown.
Throughout my career I was a business entrepreneur, but now I’m a passionate social entrepreneur. My new team and I are using entrepreneurial thinking, innovation, and sound business techniques to create programs to help youth & families. Our approach is to utilize education, inspiration, counseling, and a holistic approach.
Mechilia (Chile) Salazar
While my career started in the for-profit sales/marketing sector, for the better part of the last 2 decades, I have dedicated my work to giving children, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, a chance at creating bright futures. My roles have included leading, building and helping to scale nationally, several nonprofit organizations, most recently as the President/CEO of the Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys & Girls Club.
I believe in what IS possible, especially when it comes to our young people, strengthening families and communities. Here at HYF, we not only believe, but we also find ways to make what others may think is impossible, possible.
Fun Facts: I am a proud mom of a fanatical 9-year-old basketball player and two Pomeranians. My first job was picking tobacco on a farm earning $3.25 an hour.
I have a background in education, with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Higher Education Administration. I have worked at Bay Path University and Smith College in a number of leadership roles that has allowed me to see the whole student experience.
Meeting the families and children we are serving has truly been amazing. Joining forces with other organizations has helped to open my eyes and see the good in our community. I am excited to make powerful and authentic changes in the lives of the people that we serve.
Fun Facts: I enjoy playing golf, skiing and doing pottery, and love Italian Renaissance Art. As a teen I had jobs as a pottery instructor, ice cream maker, and a train conductor!
Futures Program Manager
My metric for success is measured by my ability to have an impact on what is greater than myself. I’m dedicated to creating change in the underrepresented communities I serve.
For the last eight years, I’ve managed various K-12 programs and have had the pleasure of leading educational teams throughout New York City. It is truly an honor to now be doing so in Springfield, Massachusetts, as I am now a permanent resident of the area. I hold a Master of Social Work from The University of Connecticut and am certified in Program Management.
I take pride in having positively impacted 1,000+ students and plan to increase that number daily. I’m excited to build relationships with the families of Springfield and am eager to invest in the lives of the youth here.
Fun Facts: I write poetry and make music in my spare time. I also love to swim, as well as experiment in web development and design!
Lily Newman is an experienced educational leader, dedicated to equity and establishing shared policy and practice solutions that launch students into college, careers and the futures of their choosing. She is an entrepreneurial professional with strong project and people management skills and as a Western Mass native, has dedicated her career to local youth.
Lily began her 20+ year career in education teaching middle and high school English prior to taking on leadership roles in education non-profit organizations. In this capacity she led school, district and state startup and redesign efforts, academic strategy and systems level work to support cohesive educational approaches that prepare students for college and careers. As a K-12 administrator, Lily led the innovative redesign of high schools with career-focused pathways, including launching one of Massachusetts’ first wall-to-wall early college programs where all students can earn an Associate degree for free during high school.
I worked in the medical field for over 15 years but was moved to make a shift after seeing how the COVID pandemic impacted children including my own. I was compelled to take action to help our children thrive again and recently received my para-educator certification.
I am committed to doing whatever is in my power to help children succeed in school and in life.
Fun Facts: I am a proud mom to 8 incredible children and two pets, an American bully and a chihuahua. During my free time, I love to hike and take in the beauty of nature.
I'm proud to hail from the vibrant island of Puerto Rico, where I first entered this world with the sun-soaked beaches and rich cultural tapestry as my backdrop. However, my journey took an exciting turn as I found myself raised amidst the historical charm of Massachusetts.
In my quest to contribute meaningfully to the community, I discovered HYF. With a desire to empower young minds and bridge linguistic gaps, I've committed myself to volunteering with HYF and AmeriCorps. My goal is to assist children in learning English, opening doors to a world of opportunities and fostering a sense of unity among diverse community.
Fun facts: I enjoy building model figurines, I enjoy writing stories.