GLA New Member Spotlight: Meet Kelly Mateja
How did you find out about GLA? When I first started working for the Town, I became acquainted with the GLA. Back then, as it is now, it was the biggest of the neighborhood associations. When I worked on the Town's first Comprehensive Plan, the GLA was a wonderful partner in helping get the word out on community planning meetings (this was in the days before the Social Web). What motivated you to become a member? The decision to become GLA members was due to a confluence of a few factors but primarily stimulated by the pandemic. With all of our kids' numerous school and sports commitments severely curtailed, our family's attention turned inward to the neighborhood. We got to know so many more neighbors during the pandemic, as everyone in the neighborhood spent every evening out walking. And as a planner, the GLA's mission and values line up with that of our family: community building and community service.
Tell us a bit about you, your family, your work and what you do in your free time. Rob and I met at Clemson University when we were graduate students in the Masters of City and Regional Planning Program. While we had initially planned to stay down South, we realized just how much we missed our families when we were getting ready to start a family of our own. In 2000, we moved back to the Capital Region, where his family and my sister live. We both were hired by the Town of Colonie - he in MIS (Management of Information Services) and I with the Planning Department. Over the subsequent years, we had three kids in two years who are now 16, 16, and 17. We moved to the same Loudonville neighborhood where Rob grew up and now lives within a stone's throw of his parents, as well as his sister's family. Rob has stayed at the Town, but I transitioned from planning into aging services - first with the local nonprofit Colonie Senior Service Centers, where I served as the Director of Programs and Services for five years. Currently, I lead the communications team for the New York State Office for the Aging. Over the past 12 years, I've been fortunate to be a part of the leadership team of every PTA in each school my kids attended. Ten years ago, I started the Morning of Kindness (www.morningofkindness.org); a one-day event held every Christmas Eve that connects over a thousand Capital Region neighbors with dozens of hardworking nonprofits that make our community safer, healthier, and kinder. For the past 12 years, we've been completely consumed by work, PTA, and youth sports - but now, with our children becoming drivers, our schedule is opening up, and we're looking forward to pouring our energy into whatever comes next.
What's your favorite thing about living in Greater Loudonville? I love our neighborhood - my kids can bike to their cousins, their friends, Frank's and Scoups for ice cream, Inferno for a slice, and our amazing library. I love the sense of community. It feels like we're all looking out for each others' kids and for neighbors. What do you hope to receive and contribute from being a GLA member? I'm looking forward to getting to know more of our GL neighbors - especially those who live outside our immediate WeLo (West Loudonville) neighborhood. I hope many of our GLA neighbors will learn more about and embrace the Morning of Kindness, an event that helps so many people and organizations in our community.