Salem Family Resources Honors Michael Delahanty at Breakfast Fundraiser

May 15, 2015


Superintendent of Schools Michael Delahanty

Superintendent of Schools Michael Delahanty

by Jay Hobson

Salem Family Resources Success By Six honored Superintendent of Schools Michael Delahanty at a breakfast fundraiser last Thursday.

More than 70 community leaders turned out for this year’s Friends of Salem Family Resources Breakfast Fundraiser to support the organization and honor its 2015 Children’s Champion, Michael Delahanty.

According to SFR Executive Director Cindy Jury, the event is an opportunity for supporters to learn more about the organization, which offers programming to strengthen families with young children in the greater Salem area.

“Delahanty was recognized for his significant work toward improving the lives of children in greater Salem in the areas of early learning, family wellness and early development,” Jury said.

Board President Kortney Yasenka presented the award, noting Delahanty’s work for children extends beyond his role as school superintendent.  Addressing the audience, Delahanty stressed the importance of early education and informed parenting in overcoming obstacles, including poverty.

Yasenka said that in addition to having held the positions of North Salem elementary school principal, Woodbury middle school principal, Salem High School principal, assistant superintendent of schools and now superintendent of schools, Delahanty also served on the SFR Board of Directors.

“He provides the board with valuable insights to children and education.  One of the most notable achievements is his commitment to better the lives of district students,” Yasenka said.

She said that Delahanty takes time out of his busy schedule to support and work with local charities and programs to help provide housing for homeless families.

Delahanty said that there are two outstanding social issues that must be addressed.

“One is poverty and the other is ignorance,” Delahanty said.

Delahanty told the story of Mollie Orshansky who grew up poor and eventually was assigned by the Social Security Administration to do an in-house research project on Poverty as it Affects Children.  At that time there was no generally accepted measure of poverty, so to do the project she developed her own poverty measure.

“That measure is used to this day,” Delahanty said.

Salem resident Jen Trela, a NH Children’s Trust “Unsung Hero” who was nominated for that statewide award by Salem Family Resources, was also recognized at this event.  Trela described her journey as a parent and the help she received from Salem Family Resources to advocate for her child, and herself, an emotional story to which all in the room related.

“Trela was recognized, along with 27 other parents and caregivers, as going above and beyond to be the best parents they could possibly be,” Jury said.

Trela said that she was a person who avoided other people and that she didn’t want her son to be a person that avoided people so she brought him to the Success By Six program and helped him to interact with people.

“As a child I was always the one in the back of the room with my head down and hoping no one would notice me.  Even as an adult I would stand in the back of the room.  I didn’t want my son to be that way, so when I heard about Parenting and Play Groups, I thought I would try it out,” Trela said.

Trela said that the playgroup worked, and that her son is outgoing and makes friends.

Jury said that a new memorial fund dedicated to Michael G. Murray, Sr. was launched.  The fund will provide financial aid to families who qualify for assistance to participate in programs such as Parenting and Play Group or TLC Preschool.

“The fundraising from this event will support programs for families with young children in Salem, Derry and surrounding communities,” Jury said, adding that, “community support helps ensure we can continue to provide evidence-based programming such as Parenting and Play Groups and The Learning Cooperative preschool.  It also allows us to educate the community about exciting new neuroscience that links the importance of early attachment to the development of healthy brain architecture.”