Spotlight: Novella Bates & Guido Girolami
Each quarter we feature an interview with a board member and an employee of Prevention Partnership. Read our interview with board secretary/treasurer, Guido Girolami and Director of Operations, Novella Bates.
With the stresses and challenges of the pandemic, what have been some challenges or obstacles facing Prevention Partnership that you've overcome or seen progress through?
Guido: As life hopefully gets back to normal, I’m hoping that Prevention Partnership can get back into the classroom and streets to actively pursue its programs in-person.
Novella: Our Chicago Public Schools were all on remote learning. Staff did a remarkable job developing curriculum to electronically facilitate the needs of the students. In addition, our community partners were tremendous in aiding us to reach out to the students. Moving forward, it would be great to see the students, parents, and our partners in person!
Are there any upcoming or current projects/initiatives that you're most excited about?
Guido: I'm really excited about our opportunity to grow into a larger organization through the recognition of our excellence. Additionally, the recent opportunity to potentially acquire our own building for offices, meeting spaces and providing programs is a great opportunity. It will also allow Prevention Partnership to make its mark in the neighborhood where most of our services are provided.
Novella: I am excited about the hiring of new staff to assist with projects on the West and South sides of Chicago.
Tell us how you got started with Prevention Partnership and why you felt compelled to be part of the organization.
Guido: I got involved with Prevention Partnership through my friendship with Al Orsello who I’ve know since the early 1980’s. To be honest he was a hard person to say no to and as he invited me to several board meetings I became more interested.
Novella: I volunteered with the agency for three years prior to be hired as an employee. I became involved because of the agency’s mission to empower communities to be self-sufficient.
During your time at Prevention Partnership, name one or two highlights that have happened.
Guido: I’m really excited about the work Prevention Partnership has been doing with the West Side Heroin and Opioid Task Force and the recognition the organization has received for the exemplary job in coordinating all the participants involved.
Novella: I served youth in an after-school setting four days a week for seventeen years. I really enjoyed working with the youth, parents and families of Dvorak and Hughes Elementary Schools in North Lawndale. It was very rewarding, personally, and professionally.
Looking ahead, what are you most excited about for Prevention Partnership's future?
Guido: I’m excited that for the first time in years Prevention Partnership has a very strong financial position, a steady source of program funding and the opportunity to acquire its own permanent headquarters.
Novella: The expansion of services to our communities is exciting.