Leadership

Board of Directors

Best Friends, Inc. has a diverse and talented board of directors, representing a wide range of occupations and perspectives. Two of the younger board members were participants in Best Friends programming in their youth.

Richard A. Speer, President
James E. Jones, Vice President
Lou Ann Parsons, Treasurer
Peter Deutsch, PhD, Secretary
Jerome Cousar
Ted Knafelc, Esq.
Jennifer McKinley
Brooke Wallace

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Best Friends, Inc.’s Board of Directors invites all to attend meetings on the third Thursday of the month from 6-7 p.m. If interested in volunteering or serving on the Board, please email bestfriendsinc2012@gmail.com or visit the Get Involved! page

 

Staff

Professional Staff 

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Jan Clarke, M.A., M.Div., NCC, Founder & Director, created a safety curriculum and oversees its implementation. She enlists her extensive network of colleagues, contacts, and community members to present programs on safety issues. Jan has 50 years of experience with people with developmental disabilities. She is a national certified counselor with special expertise in disability issues. She also has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and advocates for people with disabilities who get in trouble with the law. She is eager to help make the world a safer place for young people of all abilities. She is deeply committed to the young people of Best Friends and takes joy in welcoming a second generation of participants!

 

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Myla C. Bonto, M.B.A., Program Director, provides program coordination, plans, and supervises regular meetings for participants, site visits, and family events. Myla has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has a great deal of experience with program planning, site supervision, and evaluation. Most importantly, as a mother of a young adult son with a disability, Myla brings more than 20 years of experience in helping young people with developmental disabilities grow and participate in their communities. A native of the Philippines, Myla joined the staff in 2015 and brings a wealth of life experience and insights. Her warm, caring personality naturally attracts young people. Best Friends is very fortunate to have Myla as a key staff member.

 


Part-Time Staff

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Tiffany Draganjac, B.S., Activities Specialist, has a background in health care administration and creates programs and works directly with young people with disabilities and medical conditions to implement and maintain health and safety strategies. She works closely with Myla to provide program supervision. A working mother of two and a Beaver County native, Tiffany is currently continuing her education in nursing.

 

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Lisa Snedden B.A., Program Associate, is a valued staff member with a passion for those with disabilities. She is a Beaver County native, safety expert, licensed pilot, and former aviation instructor. She currently works full-time for a law firm that specializes in analyzing aviation safety issues. She started working for Best Friends in 2018 working for Best Friends and continues to work part-time to supervise group activities. Lisa is wonderful with interacting and sharing her knowledge with participants in a down-to-earth, practical way.

 

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Marissa Majors, Program Associate, has a heart of gold and began as a volunteer with “Doggie Day Camp” in 2014 and has been a part-time staff member ever since. She just completed an associate degree at Community College of Beaver County and is continuing her education at Robert Morris University where she will study Healthcare Administration. Marissa brings much joy, knowledge, and compassion to her work.

 

Swiggle _)

 

Program Assistants – Several part-time teenagers and young adults are hired each year to assist with activities and events. They work directly under the supervision of Best Friends staff to assist in the planning and implementing of fun activities and field trips. They also assist at the large-scale family events.

Summer Interns – Several recent high school graduates of all abilities will be hired for an eight-week summer internship. This program is geared to be a “first paid job experience” for those heading to college or vocational school in the fall. Interested students should send an e-mail to the director or call us at 724-847-3320.

Guest Presenters and Instructors – Specialists in various areas will be invited to present programs. Family events usually include other program specialists such as artists, performers, and disc jockeys.

Volunteers – Local high school and college students volunteer in various capacities, especially at the social events. From time to time, other youth groups are invited to volunteer or be guests at the social events.