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Young director quick to make his mark

December 30, 2000

Young director quick to make his mark



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


John Budesky has a simple goal: Improve the lives of local children and families.

That is exactly what he is doing as executive director of the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families. The group, created by the state, obtains government grants to fund programs to help local residents.

He's doing it well, local officials say.

"I certainly enjoy working with John greatly," said Community Action Council Executive Director Cheryl Moyer Walkley.

Under Budesky's helm, the department has brought in at least $7 million in grants to local agencies in recent years, said Commissioner John L. Schnebly, who sits on the department's 19-member board.

"He has done a wonderful job in terms of organizing it and making an aggressive and organized effort to get those state moneys that are available to Washington County," Schnebly said.

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"In John's short tenure as director of the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families he has impressed everyone that he has worked with, including not only County Commissioners but officials at the state level," said County Administrator Rodney Shoop.

Shoop said he is particularly impressed by all Budesky is doing considering he is 28 years old.

"As the youngest department head in county government, he has quickly established himself as a bright and shining star in a leadership position in county government," Shoop said.

Budesky is at least 10 years younger than all other department heads, Shoop said.

An admittedly humble Budesky said he doesn't like to focus on his age, preferring that people focus on his actions instead.

In May 2000, the department adopted its present name. It was formerly the Local Management Board, created in 1996. The name was changed because the Local Management Board was merging with the Office for Children, Youth and Families.

It was also important to have a less confusing name and one that made clear what the department seeks to do.

The department works to ensure the needs if local agencies are met with funding or technical assistance, Budesky said.

While all counties have some type of a Local Management Board, Washington County's has been praised by state officials and used as a model for other counties boards, he said.

The department also has a site, www.wccp-online.org, which has information on all human service providers in the county.

Budesky, a Pittsburgh, Pa. native, holds a degree in psychology with minors in sociology and criminal justice.

When he graduated at age 20 from Edinborough University in Eerie, Pa., he thought he could change the world, he said. Now he knows the best plan is to use your skills and do what you can.

It is also important to find others who complement your skills, which is easy to do when surrounded by such a strong staff and experts on the department's 19-member board, Budesky said.

At about age 22 he started his own company, Wake Up Enterprise, and was its sole employee. Working as a nonpreaching motivational speaker, he told school assemblies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York about making the right decisions in life, and the consequences of those decisions. He did that for about a year.

Between ages 20 and 25 his other jobs included serving as a prevention coordinator, conducting addictions and mental therapy and working as a case management director.

He was later hired to work with students at the Cumberland Valley Mental Health Center. While there he heard about a job - family services coordinator, with the Local Management Board.

"I jumped on it," he said.

That was three years ago.

While Budesky was serving in that capacity, the executive director position opened up and he applied for and secured it in January 1999.

He immediately began applying for more grants and encouraged more agency cooperation. Now agencies that never worked together before are doing so, he said.

Budesky is a certified addictions counselor and national prevention and Character Counts trainer. He has also completed the Human Services Management program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

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