Board of Directors

Kay Scharoun

Co-Chair of Board
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My name is Kay Scharoun and at the present time I am the L’Arche Syracuse, Board of Directors, Co-Chair. I’ve held this position since 2015. I came to know L’Arche Syracuse through my work with the Syracuse Developmental Center (SDC). In the early 90’s when NYS was planning to close many of the larger state run institutions, SDC was chosen as one of them. I was part of a task force assigned to explore private agency residential opportunities in our local community for residents and their families to consider as we downsized and moved toward closure. I was familiar with most of the larger local agencies such as ARC and Liberty Resources and fortunately became aware of smaller more unique programs like L’Arche Syracuse. The spiritual dimension and individualized care aspect of the L’Arche Community for individuals with intellectual disabilities was truly one of a kind then and remains unequaled today in the Central N.Y. region.   

My husband, Michael and I are life long residents of Central N.Y. and this is where we raised our family. We have four sons, four grandchildren and a poodle named Ernie: Patrick and our grandchildren Molly and Michael live in N. Carolina; Christopher lives in Virginia (although at the moment he is living in a tent in multiple states attempting to walk the Appalachian Trail), Ryan and Rekha and our grandchildren Taj and Niam live in Massachusetts as does our son Corey.  

 My undergraduate and graduate work was in Psychology and I am a NYS permanently certified School Psychologist. Most of my professional career was spent working for the NYS Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (NYS OPWDD). My husband, Michael, a trained Rehabilitation Counselor, also spent his 35+ year career with the NYS OPWDD. My husband and I both have siblings who held professional positions with this agency and a family member who is presently residing in an individual residential alternative (IRA) run by NYS. Our mutual families share a belief that all people deserve a life of dignity and respect and our varied careers in this field and our enduring advocacy reflect this strong and important position. My husband and I are both retired from NYS.  

In addition to my work for NYS I served as an adjunct professor of Psychology at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. for 24 years. I am also retired from teaching. My husband and I (and Ernie) spend summer months in the Adirondacks where our children, grandchildren and friends frequently visit us. The older we get the more we like to spend some of the winter months in N. Carolina and Florida. In the past we liked to snow shoe and now we like to wear sandals!   

Eleanor (Elly) Pearlman

Co-Chair of Board
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Eleanor (Elly) Pearlman, has made Syracuse her home for 25 years. She worked for NYS in various roles for over 30 years with folks w/intellectual disabilities. Her first experience with L’Arche was when she was a Service Coordinator for a woman who was considering a move to one our homes. I still remember visiting Galster and being very disappointed that it didn’t work out for the woman I served.

Fast forward to 2016. Now retired and enjoying my twin grandchildren, traveling with my husband Steve, my crazy cat, Lizzy, and gardening, I was asked to join the L’Arche Board. I had already attended some of their events, Break Bread and their plant sale and now had dinner with folks from Croyden. I immediately felt at home. I have had a busy and rewarding 5 years. This is truly a community. 

Oh, by the way, the woman I took to visit Galster many, many years ago? She is now living there! 

Vice Chair
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David Lasda

Treasurer
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Dave was born and has lived his whole life in Onondaga County. He attended LeMoyne College where he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Relations. In November of that year, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he became a Military Police Investigator attached to the US Army CID at West Point, NY.

In 1987 Dave was elected Town Councilman for the Town of Onondaga. In 1989 he was elected County Legislator for the 11th District which is Onondaga County. From 1998-2000 he was employed by National Life and Health Insurance Companies. From 2000-2021 he worked as an Independent Registered Representative in Securities and from 2010-2012 he was a Consultant in the area of self-insured health care.

Dave spends his spare time gardening with his grandchildren and traveling to places like Canada, Ireland and England. He has a 1987 Corvette convertible reflecting his love of cars and car racing. He is also a gym rat, going approximately 5-6 times a week to get exercise.

His wife, Maureen, retired in 2021. They have one son who lives in Miami and a daughter who is married with two girls living in Syracuse and another daughter who lives in Syracuse with her three children.

Dave serves as the board treasurer and chairs the board Finance Committee.

Buster Melvin

Board Member
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I have been a member of the L’Arche Board of Directors since January 2015.  I’ve known many of the L’Arche core members and the assistants going back to 1998 when I started attending St. Lucy’s Church, where many of the L’Arche core members attended and served as altar servers.  Although I lived for two years in Liverpool in the late 1970s, my hometown is Wallingford Connecticut.  I am a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, which is where I met my wife, Debbie.  In 1993, I moved back to the Syracuse area to attend law school at Syracuse University and to live with my father, who had been a school superintendent in the Syracuse area since 1978.  Since 2014, I have been a partner with the Barclay Damon law firm, where I am a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area and am chair of its Higher Education Practice Area.  Debbie and I have two children, Danny and Margaret.  We live in Westvale, just outside the city of Syracuse.

Fr. Bill Dolan, S.J

Board Member
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Father Bill Dolan, S.J. a member of the East Coast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) serves as campus minister at LeMoyne College, instructor in Church History in the deacon formation program of the Syracuse Catholic Diocese as a weekend associate priest at Epiphany Parish Catholic Community in nearby Liverpool.  He is a native of Peekskill NY, but is also familiar with the Syracuse area from his high school years when his family moved to Fayetteville NY.  Father Dolan became involved with Syracuse  L’Arche Community through his long-time friendship with former Syracuse L’Arche Community Leader Peggy Harper.  He enjoys being with and being watched over by his companion Italian Greyhound, Secondo, who also works in the LeMoyne Campus Ministry as Canine Minister.  Father Dolan is grateful for learning from all of the members of L’Arche whom he has encountered that we are all loved unconditionally by God, just as we are and how God invites us to share that love with others.  

Amy Durkin

Board Member
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Amy Durkin is Director of Program Services at Huntington Family Centers in Syracuse, New York. She oversees the clinical programs within the agency, providing supervision, contract management, quality assurance, and administrative support. Since 1999 she’s worked within the non-profit sector, starting in Baltimore, Maryland and more recently Syracuse, New York. Prior to her love of non-profit work, she was a waitress and/or bartender in numerous restaurants. She found both professions aligned with what she was looking for in a career; opportunities to connect with people and to serve others within her role. 

Amy is drawn to the mission of L ’Arche, and its vision of a world where everyone belongs. She views her membership on the board as a privilege that allows her opportunities to serve and support those working toward that vision. 

Amy graduated from the University of Scranton with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Philosophy (go Jesuits). She earned her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Towson University. She spends as much of her free time as she can with her partner, four kids, and dog. She is most content when family free time includes camping, lawn games, or travel. 

Tom Buckel

Board Member
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Tom grew up in the Syracuse area, attended Canisius College in Buffalo, NY where he majored in political science and history before attending the University of Virginia School of Law. He worked most of his career as a commercial litigator for the law firm of Hancock Estabrook, LLP eventually becoming a senior partner. Late in his career Tom shifted his focus to public service as an elected Onondaga County Legislator and managing attorney for Legal Services of Central New York, where he handled cases in employment, consumer, housing, and public accommodations law as well as access to education. He recently started his own firm, continuing as a commercial litigator and serving as General Counsel to the Oswego School District.

He has served on the boards of SUNY ESF, Le Moyne College, Housing Visions Unlimited, Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order, Legal Services of Central New York and Legal Aid of Mid-New York, Everson Museum of Art, Hospitality House for Homeless Youth, and finally L’Arche Syracuse Board of Directors (2002 – 2008).

Tom is married to Mary Vossler with 3 kids and 2 grandkids. In his free time, Tom likes to work on pro bono law cases for people in need, spoil his grandchildren, serve community organizations, travel and play golf.

Scott Emery

Board Member
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Bio pending

Jeff Keeler

Board Member
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Bio pending

Patricia (Trish) Kinsella

Board Member
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Bio pending