Glendale Healthy Kids names new leader

They've known each other for years. They've collaborated on fundraising projects. They're fellow Rotarians.

Now, Sharon Townsend Roth will be taking over as executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids as the organization's current effervescent leader, Camille Levee, prepares to leave for a job in Arizona.

“I'm just really proud to follow in her footsteps,” Roth said. “At the same time, I know I have to create my own footsteps.”

Roth is foundation director for GAR Services, which provides residential, educational and vocational programs for adults with developmental disabilities. She has held the post since 2007 and will take over at Glendale Healthy Kids, which provides access to free health services for children in need, in the middle of June.

Roth and Levee have known each other since Levee came to Glendale more than five years ago.

“We bonded immediately,” Roth said.

They are both active in the Glendale Sunrise Rotary and have collaborated on fundraising events for their respective nonprofits.

A Glendale resident since the eighth grade, Roth said she knew that if Levee left Glendale Healthy Kids, she would want to throw her hat in the ring to take over the helm.

Sandy Doughty, executive director of GAR Services, said she will be sad to see Roth leave.

“It's going to be bittersweet,” she said. “But this is a great opportunity for Sharon.”

At GAR, Roth has helped raise record amounts of money in the last two years with the organization's Derby Day — held on the same day as the Kentucky Derby — netting $82,000 at this month's event.

Roth said she doesn't plan to make any big changes when she starts at Glendale Healthy Kids.

“I think it's important to listen first. I'm going to hit the ground running and get my feet wet — at the same time,” she said with a chuckle.

A classical pianist, Roth still plays and has a few students. She is also on the development board of the Music Teachers National Assn. and on the judging circuit for music competitions.

Roth said she might consider using the arts in future fundraisers for Glendale Healthy Kids, perhaps even performing at an event herself someday.

Levee said she is pleased Roth got the position and is confident she will do well.

“We have a great board of directors. I can't see them making a bad choice,” Levee said.

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