Jennifer Van Dusen is the Director of School-Based Services for BestSelf Behavioral Health’s Building Brighter Futures. Here, Jenn oversees 5 school-based, public-funded afterschool programs that serve grades K-12. In addition to those programs, she supervises the department’s Academic and Sports Coordinators who implement supplemental program services across the department’s 20+ programs.
Jenn began her career in education and youth services in 2007 when she graduated with her B.S. in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. She earned her NYS Teacher Certifications and taught grades 1 and 2 in a rural school district until 2009. As a Masters’ candidate at Buffalo State College, she developed and implemented a pilot Supplemental Educational Services (SES) afterschool program with support from two professors and partnership with the college’s Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education (CEURE). When SES funding was eliminated, Jenn had no desire to return to the classroom after having been exposed to and subsequently falling in love with the afterschool world.
Jenn believes that afterschool is vital for youth’s success and must be sustained to bridge the gaps left within the current constraints of the education system. After 10 years of direct afterschool service, Jenn now works to support program coordinators: She is committed to mentor, develop, and support emerging leaders in the field as she also learns, grows, and develops new skills and knowledge. Jenn is looking forward to advocating for the afterschool programs she so dearly loves, as well as the professionals working within them, but most importantly the children and families who rely on the services they provide.
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