YOUNGSTOWN - Beatitude House, which has two housing facilities in Warren and several apartments in Girard, introduced its new executive director on Thursday.
Gina Pastella of Boardman, formerly of Hubbard, was chosen from a pool of nearly 50 applicants by the Beatitude House's Board of Directors. She replaces Sister Janet Gardner, who was elected last month to the General Council of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, according to Michele Gatts, communications director for the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, which runs the Beatitude House. Gardner led the agency for four years.
Pastella is the agency's first lay director, according to Sister Mary McCormick, general superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown
Pastella previously served as vice president of Girard-based VEC, a pre-fabrication specialist, as well as served as director of NEO HealthForce. She also has served in leadership positions at HealthRays Alliance in Cleveland and at Shepherd of the Valley. In addition, Pastella ran her own leadership and life coaching business, Create Success, for six years, according to a news release from Gatts.
"It's a privilege to serve as executive director for Beatitude House to continue to fulfill the Ursuline Sisters' ministry. I am excited to launch our new strategic plan to enhance our impact," Pastella said.
The agency recently completed a three-year strategic plan with a grant from the Raymond J. Wean Foundation and under the guidance of consultant Janus Small. The plan focuses on providing longer-term care for the homeless women and children Beatitude House serves as well as strengthening support for women who are pursuing secondary education. Beatitude House serves Trumbull, Mahoning and Ashtabula counties.
Now in its 26th year, Beatitude House has served more than 3,000 women and children. In 2016 alone, it served 156 women and 277 children agency-wide through its housing and education programs, Gatts said.
It opened a transitional housing site, A House of Blessing Warren, in 2002 and completed an expansion in 2009, bringing the total number of families living there to 13. Four permanent supportive apartments were added in Girard in 2012 in collaboration with Humility of Mary Housing.
In 2014, W.I.N.G.S. (Women Inspiring, Nurturing, Gaining Strength) opened at the former YWCA on North Park Avenue in Warren. The project is a collaboration between Beatitude House, YWCA Warren and Coleman Professional Services. Beatitude House provides case management for the 12 families living in the permanent supportive housing apartments.