By Cary Shuman
Michelle Perez Vichot has been promoted from her position as executive director of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club (JGBC) to executive vice president of operations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB).
She has moved to BGCB headquarters in Boston and will oversee clubs, shared-space sites, and designated sites in Boston, Youth Connect, and the JGBC, Chelsea.
In Boston, she will be reunited with Josh Kraft, founder and former executive director of the Chelsea club and the current president and chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.
A graduate of Revere High School, Curry College, and New York University, where she holds a Master’s degree in Social Work, Vichot, 44, began her tenure at the Chelsea club as a social worker in 1999 and later served as the director of operations.
When Vichot began working at the club at the Clark Avenue School, there were 80-100 members. Today the club boasts a membership of 1,000, making it the largest after-school youth program in the city.
Vichot was a vital part of the transition team when the new Gerald and Darlene Jordan Clubhouse opened in 2003.
“It was exciting transitioning to our new clubhouse and putting the team together,” said Vichot. “I worked hard at developing community relationships and setting a warm, welcoming culture for our members and their families.”
Josh Kraft said that he’s happy to be partnering with Vichot again at the Boston offices.
“It’s great for me to be able to work with Michelle again. She’s so good at keeping me in line. She cares about every single kid and family we serve in Chelsea and she’ll bring that care and thoughtfulness to every single one of the 16,000 young people we serve every year as well as her great experience and years to all our staff as a role model.”
Vichot and Kraft were a dynamic tandem at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club, headlining a program that became a national model. Many JGBC alumni, who idolized both Kraft and Vichot during their years at the club, have gone on to college and they often return to express their gratitude for developing their talents and guiding them to a path of success.
“While working with Josh, I learned about community work, team building, and developing programs,” said Vichot.
She is “100 percent confident” that new executive director Gina Centrella-O’Hara will continue the excellence for which the club has become known.
“It’s been a pleasure watching Gina grow in to the talented, passionate, and enthusiastic youth development professional that she is,” said Vichot. “She has served well in a number of roles and been promoted to the next position. She has a breadth of knowledge about programming in each department and how the clubhouse runs. She has a keen understanding of our culture and our mission and vision for the Jordan Club.”
Vichot thanked the Chelsea community for its support of the club during her service at the JGBC. She noted the stellar contributions from board members Mark Robinson, Mark White, Joseph McNamee, Richie Voke, Matt Monkiewicz, Police Chief Brian Kyes, and Joseph Vinard, who were instrumental in the club’s growth and development.
“I think that is one of the most fantastic advantages to being in this clubhouse specifically. We have strong support from the business community and our local advisory board. They’re generous, committed, and active.”
She leaves Chelsea with mixed emotions.
“I’m going to miss being at the Chelsea club. I’ve made it a point to come back as frequently as possible and visit the kids, families, and staff. I enjoyed my time here. It was sad to leave Chelsea but it’s exciting to move on to new challenges.”
Vichot and her husband, Rick, have two children, Matthew, 15, and Michael, 12.