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Meriden, CT 06450
Tel: 203.630.3566
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Board of Directors

The Meriden Children First Initiative (CFI) makes great strides in creating positive educational, social and health outcomes for all children in greater Meriden with the assistance of the following dedicated members of its board of directors (2013-2014):


Marisol Estrada-Soto                       President

Meriden resident for over 30 years.  Graduated from Maloney High School.  Two children.  2007 Parent Leadership Training Institute graduate.  She is employed full time and holds an A.S. from Middlesex Community College and a B.S. from the University of Hartford.  Passions include educating parents on the importance of their involvement in their children's education and providing continuity for all children K – 12.


Sonya Jelks                                        Vice President

Sonya is an involved and energetic member of the Meriden community. She is an active volunteer at her children's school and has been a CFI board member for three years. In addition to her volunteer activities in Meriden, she is also a member of the Junior League of Hartford, a member of SNEC PMI Chapter, a soccer coach and a new Daisy troop leader with the Girl Scouts of CT.  Sonya is also a 2009 graduate from the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI). Sonya earned a BA in Anthropology and a BS in MIS from Syracuse University and she currently works as the CT FIRST Robotics JFLL Program Manager. Sonya has been a Meriden resident for over nine years where she lives with her two daughters, Zari (age 8) and Aja (age 5).


Craig Hazel                                       Treasurer                 

Craig has over twenty years experience in the banking, finance and insurance industries.   His formal educational background includes a BA from Wesleyan University in 1985, completion of a formal credit-training program at a money center bank in NYC, with courses in Advanced Accounting, and Banking Law.  He has designed and conducted Corporate Training programs and has had several public speaking engagements. He joined Tuttle Inc. in February 2011 as Chief Financial Officer.  Previously he was the CFO and Business Manager of Capital Access Sources, LLC, a specialized funding source for Rehabbers who invested in low and middle income communities.  Mr. Hazel also spearheaded a national lending program. Originally from NYC, Mr. Hazel is a 14 year resident of Meriden.  Along with his wife Shirene, he is raising two teenage daughters – Chase and Skye.  


Karen Roesler                                    Secretary

Karen Roesler is the mother of five grown, public school educated children, and a 35 year resident of Meriden.  She currently is the Director of the Meriden Public Library.  Over the years she has been active in many community initiatives including school PTO/PTA’s, the School Readiness Council, and her neighborhood association.  


Kim Carbone-Pandiani                                                      

Lifelong resident of Meriden.  Married/mother of three children, the oldest two enrolled in Meriden Public Schools.  Active parent leader.  Member of Meriden Board of Education and School Building Committee-City of Meriden. St. Joseph's Parish - CCD teacher.


Asaad Elsaadani

Asaad is married with two children and has been a resident of Meriden for over seven years. He is employed full time and holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt and University of New Haven, CT. Asaad is a graduate of the 2012 Meriden Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI).


Pam Bahre

Pam was born and raised in West Virginia and has lived in Meriden for almost 14 years.  She is married to George, who was born and raised in Meriden.  Pam is mother to 12 year old Matthew who attends Washington Middle School.  She has BS degrees in Medical Technology/Biology from West Liberty University in WV and works as a Client Integration Analyst at Clinical Laboratory Partners. Pam was elected to the Meriden Board of Education in 2011.   She currently serves on the Meriden BOE Finance Committee and the Policy Committee.   She also serves as a liaison on the Class Size Committee.  Pam actively serves on the Board of Directors for Meriden Children First and serves as the Charter Organization Representative for Boy Scout Troop 52.  She is also active in the Washington Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization, Band Boosters, City-Wide Band Boosters and is also a member of the First United Methodist Church.  Pam’s interests involve volunteering especially in activities involving youth and activities that her son is associated with.


David Salafia

David is a lifelong Meriden resident, a Platt High School graduate and a graduate of the University of Hartford. He is the father of Ali and Joey. David spent 18 years as a commercial printing account executive and 9 years as a small business owner in downtown Meriden.  David is currently the Family-School Liaison Coordinator for the Meriden Public Schools. David has spent over 30 years coaching and mentoring Meriden's youth with organizations such as the Meriden Boys and Girls Club, Meriden Y, Ed Walsh and South Meriden Youth Baseball leagues. David is a former Meriden City Councilor where he served as the chairman of Falcon Field Building Committee.


Cathy Abercrombie

Cathy is serving her fifth term as State Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly for the 83rd House District of Meriden, Berlin & Kensington; she claimed her seat in 2005 under a special election. Catherine is currently the House Chair of the Human Services Committee, and serves on the Appropriations and Insurance Committees. During her tenure in the General Assembly, Rep. Abercrombie has been a strong supporter and advocate of social service programs, children and family welfare, and services for the disabled and educational issues. Cathy has also partnered with several groups and organizations to help raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a condition that affects as many as one in every 110 children in the United States. She is a small business owner and board member of “Beat the Street” in Meriden, The Meriden & Wallingford Substance Abuse Council (MAWSAC), the Meriden Children First Initiative and The League of Women Voters. Catherine and her husband John reside in Meriden and are the proud parents of three boys, Sean, Jason and Kyle.


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