Think Together’s Helen Welderufael honored as a 2021 “Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders”

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Think Together, a Santa Ana-based and California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, is proud to announce the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), has named Think Together Regional Operations Analyst Helen Welderufael, as one of NAA’s 2021 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders.

Welderufael joined Think Together in 2018 as the Regional Operations Analyst for the San Bernardino Region. In her role, she oversees the compliance, evaluation, data collection and training for one of Think Together’s largest regions which includes 91 schools across seven school districts.

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“We’re so proud of Helen and all she has already accomplished during her very promising tenure at Think Together,” said Randy Barth, Think Together founder and CEO. “Her strong organizational skills, reliability and drive have earned her the respect of her peers and leaders alike and we’re thrilled to have her represent our organization among our industry’s top leaders.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Welderufael looked to data to help address some of Think Together’s most pressing priorities, which include addressing learning loss for the state’s hardest-hit students. Her dedication to developing a culture committed to understanding data and how it can be analyzed to improve program quality earned her the appointment of Think Together’s organization-wide summer planning committee data lead.

Welderufael’s strong passion for education developed from her attending an afterschool program as a child. “The afterschool program I attended was a safe place where I received mentorship, homework support and lasting memories. The experience contributed significantly to the person I am today and is the reason I wanted to have the opportunity to make a difference with the kids we work with,” said Welderufael.

Think Together is proud to have Welderufael join the ranks of two previous honorees of the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders. In 2018, Alberto Bajaras, then quality assurance coach for Think Together’s San Bernardino Region was awarded and has since been promoted to Director of Program and Operations for the region. Stacy Galdamez, General Manager for Think Together’s San Gabriel Valley region was named in 2017 and was also a Quality Assurance Coach at the time of her recognition.

In selecting its 2021 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders, the National AfterSchool Association sought to highlight emerging young leaders who are active in the broader afterschool community, demonstrate contributions that have started to influence beyond individual programs to entire organizations and communities, are actively engaged in efforts to elevate the afterschool field, have a proven passion for the development of themselves and others, and demonstrate persistence in their work to grow as leaders.

“The National AfterSchool Association knows that strong afterschool leaders develop the skilled professionals and teams that run strong organizations and quality programs that result in positive youth outcomes,” said Gina Warner, President and CEO of NAA. “These emerging leaders will help shape the next generation of the afterschool field.”

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An estimated 10.2 million young people participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000 professionals and leaders. The National AfterSchool Association is the professional membership association that fosters positive youth outcomes by supporting, developing, and advocating for afterschool professionals and leaders.

Honorees will be profiled in the Spring 2021 issue of NAA’s AfterSchool Today magazine. Upon publication, a digital edition of the magazine may be viewed here.

Submitted by Think Together



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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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