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Michele Dombrowski-Firine embraces the challenge of leadership

Michele Dombrowski-Firine was officially hired today as the Director of Operations for the James Vick Foundation. The New Haven native Dombrowski-Firine volunteered for two years leading up to this appointment, sat on the board of directors, and performed a limitless amount of tasks to build the organization into what it has become.

Michele Dombrowski-Firine's journey from volunteer to employee is an inspiration, and a testament to hard work, Dombrowski-Firine will lead a staff eager to give the kids a season this summer, coordinating fundraising activities, organizing programming, and supporting team member, athletes, and families.

With the Cvoid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, Dombrowski-Firine has been tasked with preparing the JVF to serve a large amount of children in need when the shutdown ends, and keeping the team optimistic during these very uncertain times

Dombrowski-Firine will officially take her post tomorrow morning, and was kind enough to check in with the JVF before she assumes the challenge of organizing youth sports programming in a post pandemic world.

JVF: What originally drew you to the JVF?

MDF: "What originally drew me to the JVF was the notion that we could provide FREE and INCLUSIVE sports programming. Sports participation has been a part of life from the time I was 5 years old and has shaped the person I am today. To be able to provide this opportunity free of cost to youth athletes in our community is an unbelievable experience" 

JVF: You started as a volunteer, worked a ton of events, coordinated programming, did public relations, coaching, you name it, you served for years, dedicating you free time, and not once did you seek reward. Today, you were officially hired as an employee, and will serve as the Director of Operations. How would you describe how you started, and where you are now? 

MDF: When I started I would assist running the time clock at the JVF summer basketball program. I was blown away by the talent on the court and knew from the first day that this was a foundation I wanted to be a part of. Since then we have grown into a small family adding soccer, girls lacrosse, soon to come rugby and we have plans for many more sports down the line. I have helped fundraise, spoken around press conferences, organized events and even been on TV! I can’t believe what we have achieved together in the past two years, and I am so lucky that the JVF has taken me in. I look forward to the future and know we only have success in our future! 

JVF: What is your favorite JVF story thus far?  MDF: "I can’t say I have just one favorite story, the past two years have been an exciting whirlwind. Among my favorite memories was the Inclusion Cup at Albertus Magnus College. Our team worked tirelessly to make it happen for weeks, the day was filled with happy families and determined athletes. After the day was over our team celebrated our efforts by playing an impromptu game of soccer. Events like the Inclusion Cup remind me how lucky I am to be part of of a team that is able to give back to our community in such a big way." JVF: The JVF is starting a girls rugby circuit in which local teams can compete in games once a week, with US Rugby bankrupt, what will be your priorities for the athletes, and the program as whole?

MDF: "As a rugby player myself for the New Haven Women’s All Blacks I know how important rugby is, it’s more than a sport it’s a lifestyle! Rugby is a family and being able to provide young female athletes with the opportunity to continue playing after the pandemic is a top priority for me! The rugby community does not exclude anyone, they are an all-inclusive group that comes from all walks of life. I want to help support and build this program to provide girls with a place to play, develop their skills, and have the opportunity to participate for many years to come!" 

JVF: What are you currently binging on Netflix?

MDF: "Currently we are watching every Avengers movie chronologically and The Last Dance!"  

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