Anna Sebunnya Named Waltham Boys & Girls Club Employee of the Quarter

Anna Sebunnya has been named the most recent recipient of the “Whatever it Takes” Award for going “above & beyond” in the best interest of the Waltham Boys & Girls Club. The Club’s quarterly award recognizes extraordinary staff for their dedication to our mission, outstanding achievements, and a positive ‘whatever it takes’ attitude that exhibits their unwavering commitment to supporting the Waltham youth and teens our Club serves each day.

Recently promoted to Education Specialist and STEM Administrator, Anna is responsible for creating the roadmap of educational programming for members of all ages. From providing program coordinators with intentional curriculum to building connections with organizations and subject matter experts to help run specialized programs at the Club, Anna aims to make learning and discovery fun for our members. Anna’s passion for her work radiates with so much energy, creativity, and innovation – it’s no wonder members and staff alike find her a bright light within the Club’s culture.

“Anna is a tremendous leader and does an outstanding job developing high-quality and impactful educational programming for our kids and teens,” said Waltham Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Erica Young. “She has been recognized by Boys & Girls Club of America for her innovative programming and is now part of the National program curriculum design team – impacting education programs at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. We’re fortunate to have someone of Anna’s caliber on our team and we’re grateful for her many skills and commitment to excellence.”

We sat down with Anna to learn more about her current role, what inspires her, and future plans for Club programming.

What’s the best thing about your job and the Waltham Boys & Girls Club?
The best thing about my job is the youth that we serve. They are the most genuine and funny people I’ll ever interact with. Their sheer curiosity and fearlessness encourage me to push past my perceived limits to provide the best programming I can.

What has been one of your proudest moments working at the Club?
One of my proudest moments would be when one of our middle school members participated in our App Lab Program and fell in love with coding. They began practicing javascript outside of the Club and soon started coding simple games. During the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and social distance programming, I would reach out to them every once in a while via phone call to check in and see how they were doing, and every time they shared with me their growth in their skill. They are currently developing more complex games and apps and even started a YouTube series reviewing games and teaching simple code. I’m so lucky to see a spark ignite in this youth and watch how far that light has taken them!

What inspires you?
The potential of the future is what inspires me. My future, our youths’ futures, my colleagues’ futures – so much is changing and we are growing every day at an exponential rate. That’s what excites me. What we will become inspires me because I am confident that whatever it is, it will be great.

How has the Waltham Boys & Girls Club helped you in your career development?
The team is always asking me what I want to do next – and supports my vision. I came on as the Education Coordinator in 2017 as a bright-eyed Americorp fellow just looking to serve. Now I am still bright-eyed, and find myself privileged to develop intentional, culturally relevant, goal-oriented programming, facilitate training for youth and staff, and be empowered to lead the community in changing to meet the needs of its members.

What is the best career lesson you’ve learned so far?
One important lesson I have learned here is to meet people where they are and grow with them. It’s futile to want to change others and your environment at your speed. Thinking that way, however, doesn’t foster mutual growth – it’s just pushing your own agenda and not necessarily meeting the other person’s needs. Communal growth comes from getting to know and understand individuals and taking steps for the better slowly and together. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and one you can take at your own pace at that.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still growing and learning and serving my community! Matthew McCoughanhey once said that his only competition is himself five years from now. That’s my competition, my self: why do I have to strive for something better in the distant future when I can strive for it now? I want the education program to be expanded and have its own team. I want to be consulting other nonprofits and community organizations in ways they can provide more equitable intentional programming. I’ve already been privileged enough to be part of this team and be on a DEI task force for BGCA STEM programming this year. I also participated in other community groups leading and supporting equity work. Five years you ask? What about in a month? How much will I accomplish tomorrow?