Village Project Staff

Our small Village Project staff is a multi-talented group of professionals with a passion for our mission, vision, and ideals.  Together, we equip, empower, and encourage over 600 volunteers of all ages.

Meredith La Vecchia

Meredith La Vecchia

Executive Director

mlavecchia@ourvillageproject.com

Our new Executive Director, originally from New Jersey, is a seasoned non-profit leader.  She most recently worked as Community Membership Executive with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio. 

As a Westlake resident for over 20 years, Meredith has also served as Vice President, Fundraising, with the Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters.  She and her husband, Pat, have raised their three children here and continue to stay involved in the community. 

Meredith is most looking forward to expanding our reach, alliances and awareness in all of the communities we serve.  She feels Village Project is an organization like no other and is blessed and humbled to have been entrusted to grow this organization to the next level and continue to make life just a bit easier for our clients and their families.

Lisa McDanels

Lisa McDanels

Executive Operations Director

lmcdanels@ourvillageproject.com

Lisa is Village Project’s Executive Operations Director. She runs the day-to-day operations and oversees our team of volunteers. Lisa brings with her a strong work ethic and over 30 years of organizational, communication and marketing and sales skills having worked at companies such as Eaton, BP Oil, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

She enjoys the camaraderie and diverse backgrounds the volunteers bring to Village Project. From retired engineers and electricians to doctors to graphic designers, everyone brings their own unique skills to the table. Lisa’s also impressed by the commitment and dedication of the volunteers and donors.

Lisa and her husband Kendall Christian live in Bay Village along with their two cats. In her free time, Lisa enjoys exploring new walking trails throughout the country, reading, listening to music and just enjoying the little things in life.

Kira Wynocker

Kira Wynocker

Culinary Director

kwynocker@ourvillageproject.com

Kira is our Culinary Director and oversees our kitchen program, designing menus that are both nourishing and delicious. Having a passion for functional and nutritional health, Kira knows the value and potential impact of wholesome, healthy meals.

She is also a Registered Nurse and was a labor and delivery nurse at Cleveland Clinic’s Fairview Birthing Center for nearly 15 years, helping women assume the mantle of motherhood. Growing up with parents who loved to experiment in the kitchen, her zeal for food is deeply rooted. From preparation to feast, breaking bread with loved ones has always been important to her. Being the Culinary Director at Village Project gives Kira an opportunity to give guidance to young adults in the kitchen and share her love and giving spirit with her community. Continuing her interest in functional health, she also works as a nurse at a wellness center helping clients navigate their health journey.

Kira and her husband Mike live in Bay Village and she is trying hard to pass her love for cooking onto at least one of her four children.

Nicole Harrington

Nicole Harrington

Social Media & Project Shoppe Manager

nharrington@ourvillageproject.com

Nicole recently joined our team as our Social Media and Project Shoppe Manager creating posts to show appreciation to our volunteers and drive traffic to our website and Project Shoppe. She’s been volunteering in the Kitchen and Project Shoppe for over two years. Nicole also has quite an artistic side and has created several of our beautiful chalkboard signs.

She holds a degree in Interior Design from Ohio University and has worked with several architectural firms in the Cleveland area.

Nicole is above all a mom! She has four wonderful children that are always making her proud. In her free time, Nicole enjoys biking, kayaking, drinking wine with friends and, of course, spending time with her family.

Jean Prokes

Jean Prokes

Finance Manager

jprokes@ourvillageproject.com

 

This is Jean’s second year at Village Project as Finance Director and It is truly a labor of love. She has been a CPA for over 30 years and has been a client, volunteer and board member at Village Project during various times over the past 10 years. When not working at Village Project Jean spends time with her three children and three wonderful grandsons.

Julie McLaughlin

Julie McLaughlin

Client Intake & Delivery Coordinator

jmclaughlin@ourvillageproject.com

 

As Village Project’s Client Intake and Delivery Coordinator, Julie oversees all aspects of delivery to our clients. She assigns Delivery Angels their routes, packages the food and finds subs when Delivery Angels need one.

Julie is a recently retired preschool teacher and had been volunteering at Village Project for nearly three years before joining our staff. She enjoys the love, joy and care in the Village Project atmosphere. One of her favorite things about being part of the Village Project family is interacting with the Delivery Angels and getting to know them. She is encouraged every week by their caring hearts, as they interact with the clients.  Julie also likes talking to clients, answering their questions and helping them through their difficult journey.

Julie and her husband Dan raised their three children in Bay Village. She enjoys spending time playing the piano, walking, reading, and cooking, and her greatest joy is spending time with her family, especially her four grandchildren.

Sandy Deckelman

Sandy Deckelman

Kitchen Leader

 

Sandy’s past experience as a Social Worker working in the area of Residential Care with the Special Needs population, where she wrote and implemented many Habilitation Plans, teaching clients step by step to master life skills.  She has also worked for many years with volunteers in Children’s Ministry, at Bay Presbyterian Church, and a few years with Pampered Chef demonstrating how to cook with their products.

Volunteer Leaders

Jim Erlandson

Jim Erlandson

Photographer

 

Jim grew up in Cleveland Heights, graduated from Lutheran High School East and has BS (Biology) and MBA degrees from Cleveland State University. He has worked in general aviation, medical (cardiovascular/hypertension) research, medical device marketing and retail financial services.

When he isn’t photographing fast cars, airplanes and the people who drive and make them go, Jim can be found in his yard pretending to have a green thumb.

Jim and his wife Linda have lived in Bay Village for 44 years.

Sherri Reilly

Sherri Reilly

Garden Leader

 

This is Sherri’s 10th gardening season with Village Project.  She has a background in Outdoor Education and a degree in Elementary Education from Ohio State University. Sherri organizes and plans the layouts of our many garden plots at the Bay Village Community garden.  It is from these gardens that some of the organically-grown vegetables and herbs used in the preparation of the client’s meals are grown. The gardens are weeded and watered by volunteer children and adults; these indispensable workers are coordinated by Sherri. She conducts several gardening sessions a week in which children are taught every aspect of organic gardening–prepping soil, weeding, planting, watering, pruning, harvesting herbs and vegetables, cutting flowers, and collecting seeds for a later planting. Each week she carefully arranges and fills all of the vases for our clients with the plants and flowers that have been grown in the garden. This year she has been able to continue arranging and filling the vases through the winter with flowers that are donated by Big Hearted Blooms. She and her husband Bill raised their four daughters in Bay Village, three of whom are married and live in Bay Village with their six grandchildren-their youngest daughter Kelsey (a former Green Apron student volunteer) works and lives in Chicago . She enjoys time spent with family as well as gardening, cooking and the outdoors (especially with children).