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12.14 Foundation Elects Board Members, Appoints Executive Director



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The 12.14 Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering well-being in children, has announced the election of three new members to its board of directors and the selection of Raiza Herrera-Arnone as the foundation’s executive director.

The new board members are Maryrose Kristopik, Armel Romeo Kouassi, and Valerie Cinkovic.

The organization was founded soon after and in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Its mission then and now is to provide programming that helps instill grit and resilience in youth through a character development program called “ARC,” coupled with high-level mastery experiences in the performing arts.

The 12.14 Foundation’s NewArts program annually stages musicals in which hundreds of Connecticut-based students perform in and help produce plays, alongside theatrical professionals. Examples of past productions include Seussical, Newsies, and Matilda.

Ms Kristopik is an award-winning master teacher and music educator of 35 years, the last 17 at the Sandy Hook School. She has directed countless shows and musicals and was named a Connecticut Teacher of the Year from Woodstock in 1992. She has also taught at the University of Connecticut Community Music School.

Mr Kouassi is a senior executive at Northern Trust, the financial services company based in New York City and Chicago. He has extensive experience in asset liability and treasury portfolio management.

Ms Cinkovic, an attorney and human resources (HR) advisor, is the principal of VMC Legal, at which she provides clients with a wide range of business development, HR, and legal services.

Ms Herrera-Arnone, who serves as vice president of the foundation’s board, will now lead the organization’s programming and fundraising initiatives and day-to-day operations in her capacity as executive director. As a wellness coach, she has more than 20 years of experience in leadership, mentoring, and teaching.

“We are all excited about the growth of the organization as a whole,” said Michael Baroody, MD, founder and president of the 12.14 Foundation. “Adding valuable members to the board provides us with more varied perspectives and access to diverse community members, ensuring continued future growth.”

In addition to Dr Baroody and Ms Herrera-Arnone, other board members of the foundation are Rich Hunter (treasurer) and Jay Winuk. Michael Unger serves as the organization’s producing artistic director.

For more information about the 12.14 Foundation, visit 1214foundation.org.

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