Karen van Vierssen of York has been named the new executive director of the Clover Area Assistance Center — replacing Janie Davis, who left the post earlier this month.
The new director brings local and nonprofit experience to the job, having served as branch library assistant and outreach services assistant at the York County Library in Rock Hill since 2009, as well as heading a Rhode Island group, Laymen in North Kingston Schools, from 2006 to 2007. That nonprofit, known as LINKS, brought community volunteers and service opportunities together for nine schools in North Kingston, focusing on mentoring, business/education partnerships and resources for parents.
In Clover Area Assistance Center, van Vierssen said she sees a community already dedicated to the tasks she’ll be charged with leading.
“The residents of Clover and Lake Wylie clearly have a long-standing commitment to the Clover Area Assistance Center and the services it provides,” she said.
Clover Area Assistance Center provides food, financial assistance, health services and special needs items to needy families within the Clover School District boundaries. The group also provides preventative and educational programs to help create self-sufficiency for its clients.
Davis planned to leave the agency Aug. 31 ahead of a family move to Idaho, but spent two weeks transitioning the leadership role to van Vierssen, who took over Aug. 15.
In almost four years, Davis upgraded the records system to make sure eligible families in need of the center’s services were getting it, while leading a group of 150 volunteers.
“It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Davis said shortly before leaving. “It’s a great place to come every day and help somebody.”
Board member Bob Carroll says the center will continue under strong leadership with van Vierssen, an experienced professional with executive director titles at four nonprofits in the Midwest and New England.
She also “brings a solid background in grant writing and volunteer management,” Carroll said. The hire, Carroll said, should “assure people the Clover Area Assistance Center is in good hands.”
While her nonprofit leadership experience is widespread, van Vierssen is glad to bring her expertise to the community she now calls home.
“This is one of the most generous communities I have ever had the opportunity to work with and already recognize they live by their mission statement ‘to serve our neighbors in need,’” she said.
For more information about CAAC, call 803-222-4837 or visit cloverareaassistance.org.
Clover Area Assistance Center seeks volunteers who can work a few hours each month greeting clients, working at the front desk, performing financial interviews or stocking shelves. CAAC is the largest provider of emergency services in western York County. Hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays. For more information, call 803-222-4837.