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Volunteer Testimonials

  Volunteer Testimonials

"As an educational specialist for ESE, I first became involved with SNA approximately ten years ago when I was asked to provide professional development training at a MA state conference. Since that time, I’ve continued to provide professional development training for both state conferences and local SNA chapter meetings. I also became a member of the state Nutrition Committee approximately three years ago.

School Foodservice is continually changing and SNA is a wonderful association for school foodservice personnel to come together to discuss, learn, and network with fellow professionals. I myself have learned a great deal from the professional development and networking opportunities SNA has provided.

State conferences, local chapter meetings and various committees are all ways you could get involved today. No commitment is too small. Join today and you too will see the benefits that go along with becoming a member."



Linda Fischer, RD, LDN
Educational Specialist
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)
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"My first exposure to SNA of Massachusetts or MSFSA, at the time, was through Angie Scolaro. We both began working in neighboring districts about the same time and we met at French River Education Center. Angie had relocated from New York and she had been in School Food Service for many years and I was just a beginner. We had a strong group of area directors at the time and they were very willing to share ideas and information.

One of those neighboring directors, Mary LeClair, was a delegate and enlisted Angie to be delegate-elect. They also convinced me that I should be attending SNA meetings and they included me in the group at conferences. At an annual state conference, Angie suggested that I might like to be her delegate-elect and so began my long journey through many roles and offices with SNA of Massachusetts and SNA National.

Memories of SNA meetings and conferences are always fond ones. The SNA National Conference was in Boston the year that I was delegate-elect with Angie. It was the first year I had been to a national conference and many of my staff attended. I came to realize what a dedicated group of volunteers the SNA board members are both in Massachusetts and on the national level. I was very fortunate to be part of the national committees, in later years, working on school nutrition issues, as well as working with SNA of Massachusetts as a board and committee member. Because of my involvement with SNA, I have met and worked with many talented and resourceful people. This has increased my own personal knowledge and expanded my view of child nutrition to not only a state-wide view but also a national and international view. Looking across the room at a LAC Conference always brings home the fact that we are a nation-wide organization with many moving parts in many places.

Involvement in SNA has brought working ideas and knowledge to my districts that I have acquired by taking part in SNA activities and meetings. It also has brought personal acknowledgement and respect from my peers, administration and state and community groups. I think one of the best things about SNA has been the people and the memories we all make together. One of my most special memories was of the Leadership Meeting we had in North Dakota. The hotel was under construction which was a real treat, but the last night we went to see Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore. Standing with fellow members watching the fireworks behind the faces of Mount Rushmore will be forever a feeling I can recall and feel the pride for an organization that places nutrition of students as its mission."



Ann Pitzen
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"Early on in my Career, I was encouraged to become involved with the association in order to become more effective at my job. I got and the ballot and became a delegate and also became a professional sponge. In 2002, I was questioning the board on an issue; I was told that if I had different ideas, I should run for office. I did and became the VP. I quickly learned that I had a golden opportunity to pay forward all that I had received from the association. Being a leader in the association has enabled me to grow professionally and personally. It has opened doors for me with our national association and with many state organizations. Helping others to grow and get involved gives me enormous satisfaction and the comfort of knowing that as our members grow and enhance their professional lives, the children they serve have a better chance of succeeding in life and that is what is most important.

I achieved a lot by serving a two year term as President of the Mass School Foodservice Association and the School Nutrition Association of Mass. My District Administration often has heard of my accomplishments through their associations and that is a direct reflection on them, which they like to hear! This has brought me respect, support and job security!

I encourage each and every one of you to get involved in some way. You all have something to offer and a tremendous opportunity to meet new people, share ideas, and expand your knowledge and expertise. I have enjoyed every minute that I have served as a volunteer for this association and can’t imagine what a struggle my job would have been if I had not become involved. Also never pass up an opportunity to recruit a new member!"



Sheila Parisien
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"Opportunity………This word comes to mind when I think about my experience with SNA, and how it has benefited me. I am so humbled and honored to have been chosen this year’s food service director of the year. This incredible honor did not come by chance: it happened because of all the opportunities that SNA has provided to me over the past decade. I often wonder what kind of director would I be if I wasn’t a member of SNA? How do the people who are not involved stay informed? How do they improve?

These opportunities are there for the taking, and available to all! We are so lucky to have this well- run association to help us do our jobs better. Take advantage of every little bit of it! That’s what I did!

Education: SNA provides excellent quality training for us, many times of the year. It is rare that I miss any SNA event, whether it is a chapter meeting or conference, because I’m afraid I’m going to miss something important. This ongoing learning continues to help me grow as a director and as a person. You should never stop learning, no matter what your age is! They always say, if you learn just 1 thing at a meeting, it has been worthwhile. I usually come away from meetings and conferences with more than just one thing that I learned! Opportunities abound!

Volunteerism: serving on the board, as a delegate twice and now as the membership chair, I’ve learned so much about serving you, our members. Three beliefs that I live by are: pay it forward, you reap what you sow, and you get what you give. We are all good at something, and every one of you can help this volunteer- run association in some way. Whether you like to work on things by yourself, or prefer to work with a group of people, we can find something for you to do….and this applies to everyone: not just directors, but line staff and managers. Our board has benefited greatly from the perspective of our delegates from Chicopee, who are managers. Oh, and by the way, being busy is not a good excuse for not volunteering…..we’re all busy. I guarantee that the energy that you will feel from helping out a worthwhile group like SNA will recharge you, and make your day a little more interesting. Janice King, our past president, is seeking nominations for different board positions, so talk with her or any board member if you have questions. It’s a great opportunity to build your resume!

Networking: Because of my association with SNA, I have so many colleagues and friends, not only from all over Massachusetts, but all over the country. Whenever I have a question that I need to troubleshoot, I have the wonderful support of many knowledgeable, talented people to help me out…just an email away. It’s so great! I was lucky to have been granted a spot at Future Leaders a few years, which was an amazing learning experience, and made connections with people from all over America. Again, I saw the “opportunity” when SNA sent a shout out looking for applicants. Pay attention to those notification emails from SNA, and really consider the opportunity that is being presented to you.

Scholarships: SNA offers scholarships for members who are pursuing a college degree related to school food service, and several for professional development. In these tough economic times, it’s hard to have extra cash to pay for continuing education. But that’s no excuse…if you have the desire to learn more to help you do your job better, why not apply for a scholarship? They can be used for Servsafe, Healthy Edge, JSI classes….just about anything related to school food service. And, if you’re not certified yet, why not set a personal goal to get that done in the next year. Level 1 certification only requires Servsafe & a basic nutrition course (such as Healthy Edge, or JSI Nutrition Fundamentals). One of my staff, Judene Cahill, who is in her 70’s, just passed Servsafe & Nutrition Fundamentals, and will be applying for certification soon….you’re never too old to learn, either! Scholarship applications are online and are due March 1. We also have some at the membership booth on the show floor, so stop by.

I’m glad that I had the opportunity to speak to you today….never, in a million years, when I was a quiet little director from a small district, did I imagine that I would be standing here. Just getting involved a little bit a few years ago has propelled my professional and personal life to a much higher, more satisfying level. One thing leads to another….I have SNA to thank for my success! So many opportunities!"


Janice Watt

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