MEET THE TEAM

The Faces of Our Organization

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MELISSA ABEL

Executive Director

Melissa has been with the Center since 2001. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from University at Buffalo in Health and Human Services where she majored in Geriatrics.  Melissa serves on the Live Well Erie Committee, Amherst Central Park Task Force, Amherst Community Diversity Commission, Northwest Amherst Community Center Advisory Board, Amherst Generations Foundation (Ex-Officio), and is the Resource Person for the Center's Advisory Board.  She enjoys travelling, reading, gardening and volunteering.

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JODI KWARTA, MSW

Director of Volunteer Services

Jodi has been with the Center since 2008.  She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Communication and holds a Masters of Social Work Degree  from the University at Buffalo (UB).  Jodi is also an adjunct instructor in the field of social work at UB.  She enjoys antiquing, decorating and spending time with her dogs and cat.

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TAMMY JACOBS

Program Coordinator

Tammy has been with the Center since 2000.  The first sixteen years of that she was the Volunteer Coordinator for Amherst Meals on Wheels.  Tammy received a Bachelor or Arts Degree in Human Services from the University at Buffalo.  She enjoys reading a good mystery, spending time with her family and visiting new places.

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DONNA MUCK

Kitchen Manager

Donna began her career at the Center in 1997 as a Kitchen Helper.  She was quickly promoted to Cook and finally to Kitchen Manager.  Donna has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Tompkins Cortland Community College.  She enjoys reading, spending time with her family and honestly...loves to cook!

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KAREN LISIECKI, LMSW, CDP

Project Coordinator Senior Outreach

Karen has been with the Center for over 12 years.  Prior to that she was a Case Manager for Erie County Senior Services.  She has her master's-level license to practice as a nonclinical social worker.  Karen also holds a Certified Dementia Practitioner certification.  Shen enjoys taking care of her rescue dogs and gardening.

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CHRISTINA YENSAN

Public Relations Coordinator

Christina has been with the Center since 2018.  Prior to coming to the Center she worked for the Canisius College Center for Professional Development.  She has a Master's Degree in Adult Education and a a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from SUNY Brockport.  She enjoys spending time in the Adirondacks, boating, watching a good thriller and reading.

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CINDY WEISS

Class Coordinator

Cindy has been with the Center for close to five years.  Not only does she coordinate all of the classes offered at the Center, she is a Pickleball Instructor.  Prior to this she worked for Amherst Meals on Wheels for ten years.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Parks and Recreational Management from Medaille University.  Cindy enjoys playing Pickleball and has competed successfully in numerous tournaments.  She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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VIJAYA TOMAR, MSW

Social Caseworker

Vijaya has been with the Center for over seven years.  She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Master of Social Work Degree from University at Buffalo.  She also is certified in Case Management from Boston University.  Outside of work she likes to participate in social and cultural activities.  She practices yoga and meditation daily.  She enjoys nature and loves to walk, ride her bike and explore the wonderful nature in the Western New York area with her family and friends.

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JOHN JONES

Social Caseworker

John is the Center’s most recent hire, beginning in July 2022.  Prior to his position here, he has worked in care coordination, crisis services, suicide prevention and as a child care specialist.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences from University at Buffalo where his class concentration was in Community Mental Health.  John is an avid outdoorsman.  He enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, fishing and hunting.  Most of all-he also relishes his time with his grandchildren.

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JENNIFER LAZARZ

Program Leader

Jennifer has worked at the Center for over 21 years!  She is famous for her Cooking with Jen program and Pizza and Game Night.  Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two daughters.  She is active in her daughters’ school and cheer programs at Williamsville Junior Football and Core Cheer.