Dr. Elaine Spaull
Executive Director, The Center for Youth
Years in current role: 21
What was your biggest success in 2021?
A quote from John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress helps me reflect on the challenges and successes in 2021 when he said: “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” Our determination to keep all programs vibrant and moving ahead to serve youth was clearly our biggest success, especially for those in our community who will never be able to repay us.
What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
While others were shutting down and hunkering in, moving backwards and going smaller, The Center for Youth actually grew programs, taking on new buildings and new efforts. And personally, I experienced a level of generosity and community like never before. Can a crisis such as the global pandemic really bring out the best in our community? I believe that while it was unbearable and frightening at times, we did see a level of commitment and support from food, to supplies, to cash, to time that was unparalleled.
If time were no issue, what would you do to help the community that you aren’t already doing?
If I could have infinite time, I would spend hours and hours in personal and deep conversations with young people, listening and celebrating their voices. This may be the only antidote to the violence and despair that we are seeing across this community and this country. To be truly restorative, to repair harm and to build community takes a great deal of personal time, one on one, in authentic conversations. What a pleasure it would be to participate at that level with no worries about time.
This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.