Shehan Center director to assume Bridgeport’s McGivney Center leadership

Terry O’Connor, director of Bridgeport’s Cardinal Shehan Center the last 20 years, has also been named executive director of the McGivney Community Center on Bridgeport’s East Side.
Both youth centers are sponsored by the Diocese of Bridgeport and serve children of all faiths in the inner city.
O’Connor’s appointment was unanimously approved by the McGivney Center board, and by Msgr. Jerald Doyle, diocesan administrator.
The McGivney Community Center was founded to provide children with an educational “safe haven” from the dangers of the streets. Its after-school programs include computer literacy, learning center, tutoring, art and crafts, and health and recreation opportunities.
Anne McCrory, chancellor of the Diocese of Bridgeport, said the appointment was made because McGivney Center is facing financial challenges, and its services are vital to Bridgeport youth. “At a time when many not-for-profit agencies are challenged to find greater efficiencies and new fund raising sources, we welcome Terry O’Connor’s leadership. His fund-raising experience and overall management abilities will help to secure the future of McGivney Center and bring additional resources to the children it serves,” she said.
McCrory said there is an affinity between both youth centers with their mix of recreation, social and educational and child development programs. Nearly 300 youth between the ages of 6 and 18 are enrolled in McGivney’s after-school, evening and summer programs, while the Cardinal Shehan Center serves more than 4,000 youth from its downtown site.
The McGivney Center is celebrating 20 years of service, while the Cardinal Shehan Center turned 50 this year. Both centers are funded by a mix of grants, special events, program fees, foundation and Diocesan support.
“The last few years have been difficult ones for non-profits, and the McGivney Center has struggled, but this is a great organization that is a unique resource for youth and families on the East Side of the city,” said O’Connor. He’ll be working the McGivney board to secure new funding sources, build additional support and make building improvements.
O’Connor said Alexis Bevins, a nine-year employee who has served as McGivney interim director since October 2011, was named site director and will oversee day-to-day operations for McGivney.
The McGivney Center, at 338 Stillman Street on the grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, is named for Fr. Michael McGivney, 1852-1890, founder of the Knights of Columbus, an Irish immigrant who was committed to helping working families.

Michael Daly