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Board chairman named for Riverbend Head Start & Family Services

Riverbend Head Start & Family Services has appointed Angela Braida, director of Operations and Compliance at Ziemer, as chairman of its board of directors.

Braida, who joined the Riverbend Head Start and Family Services board in 2013, succeeds Kristin Tanzyus, market manager in WorkPlace Banking at PNC Bank in Missouri and Downstate Illinois, who served as chairman since 2018.

The agency is an early childhood and family development nonprofit organization based in Alton.

“It has been a great honor to have served as chairman of the Riverbend Head Start and Family Services’ Board of Directors,” said Tanzyus. “I am proud of all the accomplishments in the past several years. It amazes me on how we help over 1,000 children and their families each year from parents gaining confidence to enroll in school, move into their first home, or simply understanding how to help their child socially and emotionally. It all impacts the greater community. I am confident in our future and in Angela’s leadership as we continue to grow and expand our impact.”

Braida (shown) has served on the board of Alton Pride Incorporated and is also a charter member and first president of the Rotary of the Riverbend. She spent six years coordinating a golf tournament fundraiser for Andy’s Tire and Auto to benefit 5A’s.

“I am deeply honored to have been appointed as the chairman of the Riverbend Head Start and Family Services’ Board of Directors,” said Braida. “Joining the board years ago was an easy decision for me. They provide opportunities for children that others do not. They empower parents and provide the support resources to help families thrive. Children are the most important gift we have as they represent our hope for the future.  Making sure that all children are given the opportunity to thrive and learn is a priority we all must work to achieve.  When we help a child, we open doors to the future. … Whether they become loving parents or doctors, each will play a part in making the world a better place; but we must start at an early age to give them the love and support needed to make them healthy, happy and confident.  When we fail to do this, we have lost an opportunity … an opportunity to create a future leader, parent, teacher or even fireman.”

During the past seven years, Braida has served on the executive committee of the board and on the Finance Committee. She has been actively involved in assisting the agency in streamlining the organization’s bank accounts as well as investing operation reserves in a manner that is both responsible and leveraging as strong a position as possible to ensure the financial stability of the agency for generations to come.

“I’m honored to partner with Angela as our Board Chair. She has a vision to continue to strengthen the agency capacity through a collaborative relationship of the board of directors, policy council and our management team,” said Gene Howell, president and CEO of Riverbend Head Start and Family Services.

Braida said her goal as chair for the next two years is to simply continue “the great works that Head Start has already established and work with the board, Head Start staff, and the community to continue to look at ways in our everchanging world to make improvements where necessary so that together, we can give so many children in the Metro East the hand up to become the best that they can be.”

The board also filled and elected other officer roles for the 2020-2021 board cycle. The board members appointed to new roles include James Wing – New American Funding as vice chairman, Jen Weber – Bethalto School District as secretary and Sandy Smith – Busey Bank as treasurer. In addition, two new board members were elected including Damian Jones – S.A.L.T. Youth and Kira Hamann – SIUE Early Childhood.

About Riverbend Head Start and Family Services

Riverbend Head Start & Family Services began supporting the families and individuals of Madison County in 1916. More than 104 years later, Riverbend Head Start & Family Services operates six centers, offering a two generational approach supporting growth of both parents and children through its Head Start and Early Head Start programs that serve more than 2,000 people each year. For the young child, ages Riverbend Head Start & Family Services offer early childhood education, as well as health and nutrition services. For families and individuals they offer parenting and emotional support, social services, family literacy and various individual strengthening and family case management services.  Visit or call (618) 463-5946.

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