Fresh Leadership Times Two

Sarah Segura and Debi Belkin in front of a Friends of Children banner

From Co-Executive Directors Sarah Segura & Debi Belkin

Welcome to Fostering Change. As the first Co-Executive Directors of Friends of Children, we are thrilled to be taking the lead at this incredible organization. Having been with the agency for quite some time, we are both intensely committed to the organization’s mission of helping young people have opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. We are excited to work together and to further the vital work that was initiated by Jane Lyons.

In moving to a synergistic Co-Executive Director Model, we knew that we were making a commitment to leading an organization with experienced staff who have worked hard to create programs and services that make a significant difference in the lives of those we touch. Moving forward, we expect to increase the capacity of all programs across the state; to strengthen our participation in like-minded coalitions; and to continue to strenuously advocate individually and systemically for the children, young adults, and families with whom we work.

“Taking on the role of Co-Executive Director feels like coming full circle with Friends of Children. As the first President of the Board of Directors, I witnessed firsthand the evolution of a child advocacy agency that was created to provide essential services to children, young adults, and families at a time when the state no longer wanted to invest in this critical area. In my time at the agency, I have seen FOC grow from a two-person operation to a staff of seven; from providing only child advocacy services to running CASA, creating and expanding FOCUS across the state, and becoming actively involved in policy work on behalf of children involved in the state’s child welfare system. While it is a daunting task to fill the shoes of Jane Lyons, I am elated to be able to continue her work here at FOC.”

– Debi Belkin, MSW

“Days after beginning my role as Co-Executive Director, I stumbled upon a journal that I had written in about 13 years ago. In it, I described in detail my desire to work with an organization that brought communities together to support their most vulnerable members. Little did I know that 11 years later, I would find myself at Friends of Children where this work was already well under way. I step into this leadership role knowing that each member of this team, including staff, board members, and volunteers across all programs, is deeply committed to the long term well-being of the young people we serve. I feel privileged to be entrusted with this role, and I aim to honor the work that has been done by Jane Lyons and innumerable community members over the last thirty years.”

– Sarah Segura, MSW

We look forward to working with and on behalf of you, and we are so grateful for the support that sustains us. There is so much to do and there are so many children and young adults to reach. Working together, change is possible!