New Horizons Resources Presents Its 26th Annual Community Leadership Awards

The New Horizons 2021 Community Leadership award was presented to James and Judith Barba of Poughkeepsie and Michael Kessler of Hyde Park. The award is given annually to members of the Community “for their spirit, dedication, and leadership in fostering a better life for all residents of the Hudson Valley.”

All the recipients of the 2021 award demonstrated community service over a period of years and have helped people and organizations throughout the community by volunteering their professional skills at nonprofit organizations throughout the community.

Barba awards James and Judy Barba have both shared their professional skills to help non-profit organizations be more successful. James is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Bentley College. He worked at IBM where he managed numerous accounting and finance functions. In his volunteer work he used his accounting skills to design and implement accounting systems for several nonprofit organizations, including the Youth Resource Development Corp., Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. and the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center. He also volunteered with several community organizations including Board service at Family Services, Family Partnership Center, the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union and the Hudson Valley Sloop Clearwater.

Judy also has a background in banking and bookkeeping. With her knowledge and experience she and Jim founded jb Administrative services in 1985. She has also worked for several not-for-profit organizations including Hudson River Scoop Clearwater, where she was coordinator of financial administration for several years. She also worked for the Garden Conservancy and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. She has and continues to provide financial services to the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.

Judy has also been a very involved and valuable community volunteer. She volunteered for Friends of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic projects, the Girl Scouts, and the Vassar Warner Home’s Audit committee. She has volunteered and served on many Boards, serving as the Treasurer and often President of organizations including the Junior League of Poughkeepsie (Treasurer), Saint Simeon’s Second Mile (treasurer), the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie (Treasurer, President of the Board), the Poughkeepsie Garden Club (Recording and Corresponding Secretary) and the New York Altar Guild in Manhattan (Treasurer). Judy also received the Director’s Award from the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

Mike Kessler was an elementary school teacher and later and elementary school principal in the Arlington School District. When nominated he was described as being driven by his student-centered values and commitment to the students and staff. Mike extended his career into community service, becoming a mentor in the Coming Home Program, where he helped formerly incarcerated men and women restart their new lives at home. He also worked in programs to reunite separated migrant families and to safely resettle refugees.

During the past several years Mike has also been an active participant in the Race Unity Circle.

Mike has been longstanding member and leader of the Pleasant Valley Lions Club. Among some of his achievements are helping fund student scholarships, manage food banks, help provide services for people with sight or hearing loss, as well as many other community projects.

Mike has also been very active at New Horizons, helping establish the home at Angelo Blvd. in Poughkeepsie as a home for six men. He continues to find ways to support the home and reward the staff for their hard work and support.

Past Honorees

2021 – Grace and Robert Dietz, Anita and Daniel Jones, and Julie and Michael Krieger
2019 – Nancy and Larry Miller, Susan Grove, and Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers
2018 – Muriel Horowitz and Frank Van Zanten
2016 – Maureen Kangas, Ellen & Rocco Staino, Miriam Zimet-Aaron
2015 – The Bottini Family, The Hahn Family
2013 – Vincent J. Miller, Cora Mallory Davis & William Davis
2012 – John & Gloria Golden, Karen Hansen Simon, Kelly Traver, Esq
2011 – Tony Campillii, Barbara & Stephen Lumb
2010 – Stacey Langenthal, Rita McPeck & Lisa Morris
2009 – Michael H. Graham, Lorraine M. Roberts, Gail V. Webster & Roderick J. MacLeod
2008 – Linda & Owen Clarke
2007 – Eleanor & Martin Charwat, Tim Dean, Marie Traver
2005 – Carol & Joseph DeVirgilio
2004 – Mary & Kennon Moody
2003 – Jackie Chatfield and Larry Hughes
2002 – Bea & Edward McCormick
2001 – Timmian Masse
2000 – Kathy & James Tallman
1999 – George Decker, Silver Jubilee Recipient
1998 – JoAnn Feigenheimer & Tom Sipos
1997 – Joan & Vincent DiMaso
1996 – Eileen & Dan Hickey, Sr.
1995 – Polly Gage
1994 – Helen & Hamilton Meserve


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