Who We Are
Debra Eileen Lewis, Founding Board President
Debra holds a BA entitled The Arts and Education from William Smith College in Geneva, NY, with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Religious Studies. She is a graduate of The Entrepreneurship Network in Rochester, NY, where she acquired knowledge that helped her in planning and running the organization. She has experience teaching children creative writing, being a self-employed massage therapist, and teaching yoga (mostly prenatal and children's yoga).
These days, Debra is primarily a full-time homeschool mom of a daughter named Theia (now 8!). As Debra was founding the toy library, Theia’s scribbles could be found all over toy library papers and notes where she added her own two cents to the project. Debra enjoys nature connection, music, dancing, herbalism, gardening, yoga, and the arts, and is excited to see the toy library grow.
“I hope every child in our region will have access to a large variety of high-quality playthings, and that all our lives will become more playful and joyful because of it,” Debra says. “I look forward to helping the community join together to continue to make our organization's vision a reality.”
Connect with me on LinkedIn to learn more. Just say you know me through my job at the toy library ;)
Sarah Wicker, Vice-President & Open Hours Volunteer
Sarah holds a BA in French Literature from Cornell University and a MBA from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Sarah enjoyed a rewarding career at Cornell University, first as a principal gifts fundraiser and culminating as Associate Dean for Administration at the Graduate School prior to resigning in 2014 with the birth of her twin girls. In addition to the Finger Lakes Toy Library, Sarah is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Arts Partnership.
You frequently can find Sarah digging in her garden with Laurel and Bridget or quilting with their help. Sarah also enjoys running, yoga, reading, and travel.
As a mom, Sarah delights in seeing her children engage in creative active play and is thrilled to be part of the Finger Lakes Toy Library with its mission to bring these opportunities to all children in our community while supporting an ethic of reuse and sustainability. “I love the concept of the toy library,” she says. “Children learn so much through active play. The Finger Lakes Toy Library provides a place for parents and children to meet, to discover new toys and engage in new play, and to help our environment. It’s a win for everyone.”
Kelly Sauve, Treasurer (she/her)
Kelly holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Northeastern University (NU) in Boston, MA and she obtained a teaching license for grades 1-6. While living in Boston, she worked in various educational settings before landing a job at NU as an implementation coordinator for the Center for STEM Education. In that capacity, Kelly worked with the Mayor's office, non-profits and industry professionals to develop and implement programs aimed at eliminating the achievement gap in Boston Public Schools. One of the programs, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, eventually led to a cross country move to Houston, TX to work for The Harris Foundation in a national role as a program director.
Kelly's experience in education has focused primarily in the STEM areas and her work has encompassed everything from grant writing to program development and implementation to staff management to data analysis and program evaluation.
Now in Ithaca, NY, Kelly spends her time as a mom to two children, Jordan and Lucy, and manager of the Ithaca Farmers Market. She loves the toy library because it allows children to construct their own meaning of the world through play. "The Toy Library is a great opportunity for lots of children and is also affordable and environmentally conscious. I'm excited to be a part of the organization and see how it helps our community."
Erika Mudrak, Secretary
Erika Mudrak grew up in Ithaca. After she attended college at the University of Rochester (earning degrees in Mathematics and Biology), she spent 10 years living in Virginia, Wisconsin, and Iowa while pursuing degrees and training in Ecology and Statistics. In 2013 she moved back to Ithaca to accept a job as a statistical consultant at Cornell.
Erika has two young daughters and was an enthusiastic member of the Toy Library for 18 months before joining the board.
“We love the toy library because we are able try out a new toy without investing money in it and I can keep up with a variety of age-appropriate toys as my daughters grow. I love that there are also a variety of board games, building sets, and puzzles that appeal to adults as well. I also love supporting an organization that provides all these things to families across our community.”
Alexandra Appel, Board Member
Alexandra grew up in Colorado and Illinois. She is an alum of the University of Chicago, where she received her B.A. in history and in gender studies, with a minor in Jewish studies. After graduating, she worked in a variety of administrative, fundraising, event planning, and research capacities for non-profits in Boston and Washington, D.C., before leaving the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom to her son Ira.
When she's not busy chasing her son around the house, she enjoys literature, films, hiking, and toddler art projects.
Alexandra believes strongly in making educational toys accessible to everyone in the community. She has a particular interest in toys geared toward building children's interest and capabilities in STEM fields and the arts. She looks forward to helping to bring joy, play, and learning to the children of Ithaca!
Fiona McDevitt, Board Member (she/her/hers)
Fiona is originally from Newport, Rhode Island. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology and sociology from Regis College before pursuing her MSW at the University of South Carolina.
After practicing as a trauma therapist in New York City, Fiona moved to Ithaca, NY, where she was a therapist at Family and Children’s Service of Ithaca, before starting her own private practice. She continues to work closely with clients and has recently become a mother to a wonderful little girl.
Fiona is excited to be a part of the Finger Lakes Toy Library! She deeply believes in their mission and ethos to provide children access to safe, educational, and sustainable toys without financial constraints and to provide the opportunity for parents/caregivers to bond with their children through play.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood,” Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers
Maddy Dolkart, Board Member
Maddy holds a BS from Mills College of Education and an MS in Education from Hunter College. Originally from NJ and RI, she and her husband moved to Elmira, NY where they raised their now grown daughter and son.
For over 45 years, Maddy served as a preschool teacher and was always the one her friends turned to for fun early childhood activities. Her at-home play dates were memorable for their messiness and wealth of developmentally appropriate activities
She did not have a dining room with real furniture until her children were past needing that play space. Thus, her favorite hurrah came in 1993 when she created The Toddler Program at Chemung Valley Montessori School in Elmira, NY. There she worked for 23 years guiding numerous 2-3 year olds and their families - always ready to recommend specific educational resources, including literature and toys, and eager to make a difference in the lives of parents.
Maddy currently serves on the Chemung Valley Reading Partnership Board, is a member of Traveling Books, prepares meals for The Community Kitchen, and helps fundraise for Congregation Kol Ami. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, exercising, yoga, walking with friends, playing mahjong, and traveling with her husband - especially to visit her grown children and other relatives and friends in NYC, Philly, NH, and Maine.
Our Director of Operations
Josselyn Richards-Daniels (she/her)
Josselyn moved to Ithaca from her home state of Maine in 2019. Holding a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, she brings a broad range of skills and experience and is always eager to learn more. With her background in collections care, educational non-profits, and customer service, Josselyn is committed to helping further develop the toy library and watching it continue to flourish.
When she's not working at the toy library, Josselyn enjoys hiking, running, starting (and sometimes finishing) creative projects, and spending quality time with her partner and their cat.
Our Operations Assistant
Oluademi James-Daniel (she/her)
I'm Oluademi (oh-LOO-ah-DAY-mee), and I've lived in Ithaca for ten years with my awesome partner and our menagerie. I was born in Brooklyn, NY. My mother was a teacher for 30+ years, so hands-on play and learning was a HUGE part of my childhood! After graduating from college, I started my career in my biggest passion: animals! I worked at an animal shelter on Long Island for 3 years before moving up here, where I worked at a dog daycare for seven years before starting my own dog training business.
Alex is from Baltimore, Maryland and is currently a Senior at Ithaca college where he majors in Business administration with concentrations in sport management, marketing, and a minor in business analytics. He is also a captain of the cross country and track and field team at Ithaca. He is very excited to join the Finger Lakes Toy Library team as an intern and help the FLTL community in any way possible.
Founding Board Vice President (2016-2020)
Open Hours Host
Amber was the toy library's volunteer Executive Director for our first 15 months of operation and is now the Executive Director of the Family Reading Partnership. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Child Development from Empire State College and has 15+ years of experience as a nanny. Much of her research during her education focused on play and its benefits and international iterations. She has extensive knowledge of infant and toddler development and its relationship to their play.
In her spare time Amber loves to hike, camp, kayak, and sit around a bonfire with friends.
"Creative, open-ended, and imaginative play are essential to early development. Play is a child's method of communication and growth, and the toy library is a fantastic way to bring children from all corners of our community together in play."
Kay V. (she/her)
Open Hours Host
Kay joined FLTL because she just loves libraries!
Anna Sannes (she/her)
Open Hours host
Anna joined the toy library to find games and toys for preschoolers at church, and she was amazed by the diversity of toys and the friendly faces.
"I volunteer to support more accessible and sustainable play in our community."
Open Hours Host
Yvonne joined FLTL as a volunteer because she loves the premise of the Toy Library!
"I love spending time with children and their families."
Jack is excited to be a part of the Finger Lakes Toy Library as a playtime volunteer in collaboration with the Tompkins County Public Library. As a member of the Park Scholar Program at Ithaca College, Jack loves giving back to the local community and seeing smiles on the faces of those he serves. Jack is extremely grateful to be a part of such an inclusive community at TCPL, helping to create a space for kids to have fun and play!
I am originally from Japan, and I have been in the US for 5 years.
I do volunteer because I am interested in reuse and recycle in community.
I love children!
Challenge Workforce Solutions
Challenge Workforce Solutions is a non-profit organization that is committed to creating pathways to employment for people with disabilities or barriers. They began volunteering weekly at FLTL in November 2022. The participants always enjoy their time at the toy library!