BOARD

We are in the process of putting together our full board. Let us know if you know of someone who would be a great fit for leadership of Cape Cod Toy Library!  

We're looking for leaders to help create a successful Cape Cod Toy Library for Cape children and families and as a sustainable model for other communities to replicate and build upon.  Non-profit business development experience, including marketing, fundraising and finance are particularly sought.

 

President, Founder

Deb Willsea comes to the Cape with 32 years experience developing a successful Toy Library in Rochester, New York that has been model toy library nationally and internationally from Ohio to Hong Kong. Deb brings her expertise on educational toys and enriching resource materials and passion for the critical role of play in child development, family literacy and societal health.

She holds a degree in Sociology from St. Lawrence University and a MS in Development, Learning, & Instruction from University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education and NYS Teaching Certification for K-12.  She’s also completed courses and institutes at Cornell, Harvard and Yale Universities regarding Fundraising and Marketing, Non-Profit Excellence, and Play. Her 40-year experience spans contributions in the field of education – with a focus on reaching underserved populations through community-based organizations, museums and libraries.

Deb is an agent of playful enrichment. Her work has broadened from education to community development through collaborative program development. Teaching in the classroom has developed into “teaching” in the community including mentoring and training teachers, childcare providers, parents, and library staff.  She is passionate about creating enriching informal educational environments that provide access to materials, information, and expertise and modeling of best practices.  Her work has impacted more than half a million children and families.

  Deb with her second child, Ben, at the original Toy Library in Rochester NY, 1985.

Deb with her second child, Ben, at the original Toy Library in Rochester NY, 1985.

Previous endeavors

Her extensive community work includes

  • Founding and developing Rochester’s nationally recognized Toy Library collection of 5,000 educational toys, resources, play learning spaces, and outreach programs, initially with the Junior League of Rochester and ultimately to become successfully integrated as part of Rochester Public Library & Monroe County Library System.

  • Developing hands-on science, math, and computer technology training curricula, mentoring programs, and family STEM events for Universal Pre-K teachers and family childcare providers through Rochester Museum & Science Center.

  • Collaborating with community leaders as Executive Director of Science Linkages in the Community and facilitating successful merging of programs and organizations.

  • Serving as Family Programming Chair for Friends of Rochester Public Library.

  • Chairing start-up project George Eastman Museum’s photography Discovery Room.

  • Launching “Partners for Play” initiative to bring the community together to advocate for and create promotional brochures about the value of play.

  • Developing a network of resources for the Center for Independent Living.

  • Co-chairing founding committee for School District Parent/Family Resource Center.

  • Serving as President of Board of Trustees, Chair of Strategic Planning for Children’s Institute’s research and evaluation for children’s social and emotional well-being.

  • Serving on Board of Junior League of Rochester as Community Impact Director.

  • Currently, serving on Board of Trustees of The Harley School as Vice President on the Executive Committee, Finance and Diversity Committees; and previously served as Co-Chair Strategic Planning, Enrollment & Marketing , and Head of School Search Committees.

Deb’s passion for children and families continues – as she is now leading the charge to help us create Cape Cod Toy Library.

 

Vice President

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Kristen Carbone Berner has over 15 years of experience providing play therapy and working with special needs children and their families. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Stetson University, and obtained her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She is an actively involved parent and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Kristen currently works at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich, where she provides student support. Her work includesproviding classroom support, as well as individual educational guidance and small group instruction of stress management, problem solving, conflict resolution and social skills.  She can be found at school functions, parents groups, and community events.  

Kristen moved to Cape Cod in 2005, along with her husband who was glad to return home to his family business - the Oyster River Boatyard in Chatham. She initially worked as a clinician and coordinator with Family Continuity in Hyannis for the Department of Mental Health’s Children’s services. Subsequently, she worked as a School Adjustment Counselor for the Monomoy Regional School District providing counseling services helping to develop student success plans and behavior plans at all levels in the district - elementary, middle, and high school. Through these work experiences she became deeply aware of children’s programs and needs on Cape Cod. She sees the establishment of a Toy Library on the Cape as a much needed resource that can help bridge the gap between Cape families and youth-centric programs - providing a safe and fostering atmosphere with education for parents and a launching pad for identifying and developing other innovative services and programs.

Kristen has consistently been an active volunteer in her community, beginning with the founding of a Best Buddies Chapter in 1995 that is still active today. Her passion for play and the importance of healing arts continued with several years volunteering at Camp Boggy Creek, one of Paul Newman’s therapeutic camps for children with chronic and  life threatening illnesses. There, she leveraged play and therapeutic camping to help children experience the kind of joy that might otherwise be difficult to find under such trying circumstances. Since then, she has used play as a therapeutic tool in schools, nursing homes, children's hospitals, hospice centers, mental health facilities, and Gilda's Clubs. She currently serves on the Cape and Island Critical Incident and Stress Management Team, which provides acute psychological support to service professionals after traumatic incidents. Kristen is also an active member of the Chatham Yacht Club, where she has coordinated their annual fundraiser on behalf of WE CAN, a women's empowerment organization that offers caring support, empowerment, and hope to Cape Cod women and families. 

 

ACting treasurer

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Janet Ware Doucette, MA LMHC, is grateful to share her unique perspective as a Cape resident for more than thirty years. She feels fortunate to have been able to raise her family on Cape Cod. Her children and their childhood friends have now become parents and are contributing to the various communities on this fragile land. Janet now enjoys “watching her grandchildren learn, thrive, and grow into the next generation charged with balancing a sustainable living while maintaining the beauty of Cape Cod.”

Janet comes with many hats of experience and expertise. Her background includes business consulting for start-up business planning and organization, technical advising, computer systems, accounting and budgeting. She served as Orleans Foundations, Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer for several years. While in graduate school she was a business consultant helping women owned businesses learn computerized accounting and business management software.  Janet also did bookkeeping and business management for The Family School in Brewster and ran a business with her husband on the Cape. 

Janet has contributed to the growth and well-being of the Lower Cape community as a psychotherapist dealing with the alleviation of stress related illnesses and working with clients in transition. She’s seen first hand “the struggle many Cape families experience in order to raise educated, happy children who can then be empowered to sustain the businesses, traditions, and diverse lifestyles of Cape Cod.”

Janet received her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling as well as her undergraduate studies in Behavioral Science from Lesley University and her Associates Degree in Psychology from Cape Cod Community College.  Janet’s professional background also includes her work as a professional speaker on topics of stress resiliency, biofeedback, meditation and mindfulness. She has served as a Life Management Therapist, Bio-feedback Specialist, Crisis Counselor. For several years, she worked as a Behavioral Medicine Consultant, Therapist, Executive Coach, Lecturer and Workshop Presenter at Canyon Ranch wellness spa in Lenox, MA. Janet is the Founder and President of Mindful Technologies that designs and produces digital audio and video meditations, corporate and public training seminars and software that helps reduce stress and inspired leadership.

“I first learned about the toy-lending concept after Rochester New York’s Toy Library found its current home in the Rochester Public Library. I became excited thinking about the benefits such an idea could have for the children and families of Cape Cod.  After talking extensively with Deb Willsea and encouraging her to lead the way for developing Cape Cod Toy Library, I knew I wanted to be involved.”

“There are many reasons why I believe in, and want to support, the Cape Cod Toy Library.  It is not just a great year-round and seasonal resource for families (intact, single, or extended) to bring their children for organized play and discovery.  It is a wonderful place for educators and therapists to utilize for their own organizational purposes and services.  Most importantly, it’s a safe harbor for children whose families are struggling or in transition.”

“Grandparents in today’s world are often providing child-care for their grandchildren.  The Cape Cod Toy Library offers a wide range of age-appropriate, educational toys for children while respecting cultural diversity and enrichment opportunities. Imagine choosing a new board game, sitting down with your child or grandchild and learning the rules and strategies of the play together. Imagine being able to borrow some rainy day toys from this lending library that will inspire a young child’s mind.  Imagine being able to watch your child’s mind grow as they explore and discover toys that are not available in local stores or the cost of which is prohibitive for many Cape Cod budgets.”

“Recently I observed a little girl, who had experienced the trauma of domestic violence, play with another child.  When I first met her, she did not know how to play at all.  She did not know how to interact with toys or children her own age.  Now in a safe setting, she and another little girl built a house out of Legos and then used small toy people to dialog with one another.  She was laughing and giggling, sharing and building, not crying, pushing or throwing things.  It was a joy to see this child enter an imaginary world where she was safe and free to explore.  Happiness is every child’s birthright.  Play is the world in which they can discover how to build happiness for themselves through interaction, communication, behavior and discovery.” 

 “I look forward to helping Deb bring this opportunity to Cape Cod, where the families, themselves, will make it their own unique tradition.  What a wonderful wash-a-shore treasure!”

 

Secretary

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Jane Teixeira-Henry brings a wealth of knowledge and history of growing up on the Cape in Harwich as well as her breadth of work experiences.  Jane graduated from Harwich High School and attended college in Boston.

Her early career days gave her the opportunity to work at the United Nations for the Bureau of Technical Assistance, Section for Middle East and Africa recruiting experts from various professions to serve in developing African countries. This position inspired her interest in politics and world affairs and becoming a member of the United Nations Association of Former International Civil Service.

Other work experiences include serving as secretary to a squadron commander at Otis Air Force Base, working in the Employee Benefits Department for New York State Electric & Gas Company in Binghamton, NY, serving as Executive Assistant to the President of Oceanographic Research Inc. and defense contractor in Falmouth.  Numerous visits to Washington, D.C. to attend marine technological trade shows led to Jane’s relocation to DC.  Subsequently, she was hired by Senator Harrison Williams (NJ) to assist the Press Secretary and Legislative Director and later by U.S. Representative Charles Diggs (MI) to assist the Education Director in creating the University of the District of Columbia (UDC).

In 1974, Jane was the first to be hired on the newly-formed U.S House of Representatives’ Budget Committee and became Staff Administrator for six Budget Committee chairmen.

Since retirement in 1990, Jane has pursued other interests including volunteering for the Cape Verde Embassy, serving as a docent at Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, substitute teaching, and volunteering for DC Good Will Industries. When Jane and her husband, Col. George A. Henry, Jr. USAF (Ret.), returned to the Cape in 2006 they built an ADA-compliant Bed & Breakfast – Inn of Treasured Memories, in Harwich. Jane’s Board participation includes Maryland and Prince George’s County chapters of the NAACP, League of Women Voters Cape Cod Area, Wellfleet’s Highland Center, the Community Development Partnership and WE CAN.  She is also an active member of Harwich & Cape Cod Chambers of Commerce, Cape Cod NAACP, Rotary Club of Hyannis, the Accommodations Association of Harwich and African-American Association of Innkeepers International.

Jane enthusiastically embraces the mission and vision for Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc. and the benefits for children and families across the Cape.