PAMELA A. LEWIS
Founder and Executive Director
Connect-Us founder Pamela A. Lewis has led a life of creating innovative and developmental afterschool programs for urban youth.
Her life’s work as a preeminent youth organizer began in 1984 when she started volunteering with the national nonprofit All Stars Project in New York City, and in 1989 joined the full time staff to direct its youth work. From 2011-2017, Ms. Lewis served as the national Vice President of Youth Programs and ran the All Stars' Center for Youth Program Expertise. In 2014, Ms. Lewis became the founding director of the All Stars Project of Bridgeport, which reached over 2,500 young people and their families during its three year lifespan. In 2017, she founded Connect-Us with the mission to connect suburban and urban neighbors in Fairfield County and beyond.
A pioneer in the emerging field of Afterschool Development, Ms. Lewis has helped drive the nationwide growth and impact of innovative efforts to engage poverty through a performance-based approach to youth and community development. She has worked with tens of thousands of young people from across the U.S. and globally, supporting their growth and teaching them to perform in new ways to become builders of their classrooms, communities, and countries. Her mantra is: "If you can perform on stage, you can perform in life."
Ms. Lewis' success and expertise has been recognized by several Fairfield County organizations: she received the Stamford Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Award for Community Person of the Year in recognition of her outstanding service, commitment, and dedication to the citizens of Fairfield County (March 2017), a Certificate for Community Service presented by Yale-Bridgeport Gear Up (May 2017), and her work was recognized in June 2017 at the Park City Regional Development Corporations Spring Gala for her achievements in direct service to youth of the greater Bridgeport area.
Additionally, Ms. Lewis is a member of the Core Leadership Team of Fairfield County's United Way: Bridgeport Prospers. Bridgeport Prospers is a coalition of businesses, colleges and non-profit organizations whose mission is to work collectively as a community of stakeholders to have a positive, measurable, and sustainable impact on outcomes for all children and families from cradle to career. Ms. Lewis is also on the New York Board for Covenant House, a powerful human rights movement for vulnerable youth in 30 cities across six countries, where she also serves on the Program Committee.
Ms. Lewis has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio programs, including NPR, News 12-TV Connecticut, and two PBS documentaries, America Beyond the Color Line, produced and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and The Promise of Play, produced by the Institute for Play.
Director of Finance and Operations
A founder of Connect-Us, Pam Hafer brings three decades of production, business operations, accounting and youth development experience to the Connect-Us team.
Over the course of Pam’s professional career, she has played a number of important behind-the-scenes roles in the success of many small businesses. First as a Commercial Lines Property & Casualty Insurance Agent and most recently as a Certified Professional Bookkeeper and QuickBooks Online Pro Advisor, providing remote bookkeeping and financial operations services to small businesses.
Pam’s first foray into youth development was in 1993 when she volunteered and produced the first hip hop All Stars Talent Show program in Philadelphia. Throughout the 90’s this program took off around the country, and for the next two decades Pam was a key player in developing the model of having the youth run the show, training dozens of production teams around the country.
Board of Directors
Arlene Doherty, Treasurer
Christopher Kunhardt, Secretary
Frances Rowland, Chair