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Our Board of Directors

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Vickie Mendes-Branch

Advocate, Founder, Chair

Vickie Mendes-Branch, a devoted advocate for children with autism, draws inspiration from her personal journey as a mother to Ja'vyn, a child with autism. In 2015, fueled by the desire to make a positive impact, she founded the Branching Out Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals affected by autism in the Phillipsburg, New Jersey area.

Faced with the challenges of finding local resources for her son, Vickie took proactive steps to address the void in community interaction. "You can either sit there and complain about it, or you can do something about it, so I decided to do something about it," Mendes-Branch affirmed. Her commitment led to the establishment of the Branching Out Foundation, aimed at raising funds and providing a supportive network for families navigating the complexities of autism and developmental disorders.

As the first African American elected to the governing body of the Phillipsburg School Board, Vickie Mendes-Branch has broken new ground, paving the way for greater inclusivity and representation. Beyond her role in the school district, Vickie's leadership extends to her non-profit and its Page One Resource Center, offering a range of services including support groups, life skills programs, K-12 tutoring, and recreational activities.

Recognizing the importance of fostering community bonds, Vickie emphasizes the need for inclusive activities involving all families and children. "It's important for children with special needs to be able to function around other children so other children know how to function around them," she passionately states.

In collaboration with Norwescap, Vickie works towards empowering individuals and families in northwestern New Jersey to overcome the challenges and move towards a future of thriving. Her dedication and advocacy have not only impacted the lives of those directly touched by autism but have also created a legacy of support, breaking down barriers and providing a safe haven for families seeking resources.

Vickie Mendes-Branch's unwavering commitment, coupled with her groundbreaking achievements, marks her as a trailblazer, shaping a more inclusive and compassionate future to everyone in her community.

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Reggie Branch

Vice Chair

Reggie Branch, serving as the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to Branching Out. As the husband of founder Vickie Mendes-Branch, Reggie is deeply committed to the organization's mission and vision. Reggie's personal journey is intertwined with the cause of Branching Out as the proud father of Ja'vyn, a child with autism. This connection fuels Reggie's passion for creating a more inclusive and supportive community for families facing similar challenges.

Retired from New Jersey Transit, Reggie now devotes his time and energy to various aspects of Branching Out's operations. A hands-on contributor, he oversees all maintenance activities at the Page One Resource Center, ensuring that the organization's physical spaces are conducive to its mission.

Beyond his administrative responsibilities, Reggie is actively engaged in mentoring initiatives and plays a pivotal role in facilitating social groups within the organization. His genuine and compassionate approach fosters a sense of community among Branching Out members, creating a supportive network for families navigating the complexities of autism.

In his leisure time, Reggie finds joy in mountain biking and playing pool, embracing these activities as opportunities for both relaxation and personal growth. His diverse interests reflect his commitment to holistic well-being, a value that aligns seamlessly with Branching Out's holistic approach to supporting individuals and families.

As the right hand to Vickie Mendes-Branch, Reggie's collaborative spirit and tireless efforts contribute significantly to the success of Branching Out. His dedication to the cause and his invaluable role in the organization make Reggie Branch an integral part of the Branching Out family.

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Jessica McGourty

Secretary


I am a proud Hunterdon County resident, born and raised here. My supportive husband and I and our four kids recently returned here after 17 years in beautiful Warren County. We love spending every moment we can taking advantage of all the opportunities to get outside in nature, enjoy a delicious meal at a local restaurant, and to shop in our charming small towns. 

 

Our son, Mitchell, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3.That diagnosis changed the trajectory of our family’s future. We have become active in the autism community, organizing awareness campaigns, participating in walks, and attending local support groups to ensure that individuals with autism receive the care and understanding they deserve. A better future for Mitch and others like him, is my priority. 

 

My commitment to my family and my community embodies the true essence of the care, the passion, and dedication I wish to share with all around me. I think of all my wonderful neighbors and clients as friends and family as I guide them through what can sometimes be a complicated real estate process. My primary goal is to understand my clients' unique needs and concerns, then use my experience and strong communication and negotiating skills to guide them through their home buying journey. Our entire team of attorneys, lenders, and home inspectors are devoted to ensuring that are clients are happy, extremely satisfied, and proud to refer us to their friends and family

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Kelly Milazzo

Board Member

 

Kelly Milazzo is the President of the Greenwich Autism Alliance foundation, established in 2007 to support local organizations and families with loved ones with autism. After a thirty-year varied career in Corporate Finance, she finds devoting her time to families with special needs the most challenging and rewarding assignment of all.  

 

Greenwich Autism Alliance provides support to Warren County organizations such as the ARC, Abilities and Branching Out Foundation (to name a few) as well as Autism New Jersey, the State advocacy organization. GAA provides local grants to families and teachers for training, supplies, conference attendance, in-home support, awareness activities, and more.

 

Along with the Branching Out Foundation, Kelly helps lead parent support groups and provide sensory friendly recreation opportunities for families. Ms. Milazzo was an officer on the Autism NJ Board of Trustees from 2013-2022 where she held many officer positions. She is very active in the First Lutheran Church in Stewartsville where she serves on church council as Treasurer and as a worship leader.

 

Kelly is married to her husband Robert for a billion years, and she’s most proud of her three children Anastasia, Christina & William.

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Matthew Scerbo

Board Member

Matthew Scerbo is a distinguished individual whose commitment to community service and extensive experience make him an invaluable asset to Branching Out. A proud graduate of Phillipsburg High School, Class of 1998, and the Career Institute of Technology, Matthew's educational foundation has been a driving force in his successful career. Currently serving as an IBEW Union Electrician, Matthew contributes his skills and expertise to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

With a deep dedication to education, Matthew Scerbo has demonstrated his commitment through two terms on the Phillipsburg Board of Education. Notably, he held the position of Board of Education President for a year and Vice President for another, showcasing his leadership and collaborative spirit. His hands-on involvement extends to his role on the Board of Education Buildings and Grounds Committee, where his experience with school district budgets and construction planning proves invaluable.

Beyond his contributions to education, Matthew has been actively engaged in various community initiatives. His tenure as a Phillipsburg Housing Authority Commissioner and a former member of the Recreational Advisory Board reflects his commitment to enhancing the quality of life for local residents. Additionally, his role as the former President and Coach of the Firthtown Falcons Youth Sports Organization underlines his passion for fostering community engagement, youth development, and sportsmanship. He is now serving as a councilman in Philipsburg being sworn in on January 1, 2024. 

Matthew Scerbo's multifaceted involvement in community affairs and his wealth of experience make him a standout member of the Branching Out board. His leadership, dedication, and extensive background contribute significantly to the organization's mission and its positive impact on the community.

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