Easton area community center manager leaves West Ward to take up new job in Southside

The Easton Area Neighborhood Center has found a new program director with a familiar face in Easton’s nonprofit sphere.

Simon “Jake” Williams joined the Neighborhood Center in April as Director of Programs. He will work side-by-side with the organization’s veteran chef and executive director, Ross Marcus, overseeing the organization’s day-to-day programming.

The Easton Area Neighborhood Center is a private, non-profit organization that assists low-income residents of Easton’s South Neighborhood by providing transitional housing, rental and utility assistance, Social Security representation and food aid. The organization has operated from its current location, an old barn at 902 Philadelphia Road since its beginnings in 1967.

Williams joined the Neighborhood Center on April 25 after serving as Executive Director of the West Neighborhood Easton Area Community Center since last April. He left the post about a week after the organization added Lisa Campbell as associate director.

Campbell retains her title with the organization, said Easton Area Community Center board member Kathryn Presto. She said the center is still on track to meet its long-term goals and has no plans to fill the position vacated by Williams.

“It’s exciting for him. It’s a different set of programs there,” Presto said. “They were looking for someone who had just gained experience and he thought this would be a great opportunity for him.”

Williams will use some of her community center experience to lead the neighborhood center’s recently established youth internship program, an eight-week paid summer internship with Easton’s Urban Farm available to local students in the 10th to 12th grade.

Marcus, who first joined the neighborhood center as executive director for eight years in the 1980s and returned in 2019, said the organization has complete confidence in Williams’ new role.

“It’s a very important position for us and obviously because it’s a new position, we wanted to get it right. So we were very deliberate in making the decision. We wanted to find the right person and we are convinced that we have done so,” he said.

Marcus also said it would be his last position before retirement. He expects to be in office for another year.

“I have held leadership positions and it was time for me to get back to basics. I like the neighborhood center model and think it’s more important than ever. I think it’s a wonderful way for me to end my career. he said.

He will continue to oversee the center’s administrative duties, but will step back from the day-to-day workload as Williams takes on more responsibilities, including filing grant applications. Williams currently oversees all day-to-day programs, including the RoofOver Transitional Housing Program, Easton’s Urban Farm and Food Pantry.

Deborah Brown, the centre’s former assistant director, has entered a new role as senior case manager. She will work directly under Williams operating the center’s Social Security Representative Payroll department, along with four other case managers.

The Easton Area Neighborhood Center will host farm partya free community event called to showcase Easton’s Urban Farm, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the center location.

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Glenn Epps can be reached at [email protected].

Jill E. Washington