Hudson Community First names new co-direct with years of local service

by Patty Reiman    

Hudson Community First recently welcomed Jennifer Fisher to one of two co-director positions. She joins Laura Jones in sharing leadership responsibilities for the organization that promotes positive youth development in all Hudson schools, including Western Reserve Academy, Hudson Montessori and Seton Catholic, as well as the Hudson City School District.

Fisher fills the co-director spots left vacant when one of Hudson Community First’s founding co-leaders Laura Gasbarro stepped down.

“I joined Hudson Community First nine years ago. I was inspired by the leadership of Laura Gasbarro and [former co-director] Cheryl Rauch, and then Laura Jones, who is an amazing member of our community,” said Fisher. “I know Laura well from our time co-chairing the PTO Pancake Breakfast and working on levy campaigns together. I knew working with her would be a joy.”

Fisher said she looks forward to refreshing events that were put on hold since 2020, as well as involving Hudson Community First in new endeavors to support Hudson youth. For instance, the Holiday Gift Shoppe and Craft Fair will return to East Woods Intermediate School on Saturday, Dec. 3.

New plans for the future include programming to address mental health issues among young people and talks with WRA about forming a youth board, similar to the one thriving at Hudson High School.

“I believe in the mission of Hudson Community First: to promote positive youth development by introducing 40 assets that give young people the tools to help them make better life decisions,” Fisher said.  

She further explained how Hudson Community First plans their activities based on one or more of those assets, which promote positive development of children from kindergarten through graduation. The assets, developed by Search Institute in Minneapolis, were the foundation upon which Hudson Community First was built. According to the Search Institute website, half of the assets are external/relational; the other half are internal/social-emotional.

A Hudson resident for nearly 20 years, Fisher started her community involvement on the leadership board of Hudson Preschool Parents when her son and daughter were young. (Both are currently in college.) She then spent 15 years volunteering in numerous capacities with Hudson PTO and other school-related groups. She was PTO president in 2012 and headed up the group’s annual pancake breakfast for many years.

“Truly, it’s one of my most favorite events here in Hudson. There’s no better sight than lots of people in the HHS Commons, eating pancakes and sausage, listening to wonderful music by the students and hoping to win a great raffle item.”

Before moving to Hudson, Fisher spent more than 10 years in book publishing and editing. She and her husband left New York City after the 9/11 attacks to return to her Ohio roots and chose Hudson, which is close to her hometown of Hiram, where her mother currently resides.

She began an editorial consulting business in 2006, while looking for ways to be active in the Hudson community.

“I am extremely fortunate to have the ability to make my own schedule, allowing me to volunteer as much as I wish and still be present for my family,” she said. “So much of my job is about communicating clearly through words, as well as making connection with people, so my new role with Hudson Community First is a natural extension of the work I do every day.

“I am very excited to take on this new role as co-director of Hudson Community First, but Laura and I can’t do this work alone. We so appreciate the contributions of experience, expertise and time from our advisory and volunteer boards as well as the financial generosity of the entire Hudson community.”

She encourages anyone interested in supporting Hudson youth to contact her at or check out the Hudson Community First website at ∞

Featured Photo: Hudson Community First co-Directors, Laura Jones (l) and Jennifer Fisher held their first event of the 2022-23 school year, a fudraiser and social hour for women at The Wine Mill. Photo submitted.