Br. Terry Taffe first joined Downey Side in 1977, working alongside founder Father Paul Engel and remaining with the agency until 2013. After engagements with two large child welfare institutions in New York, he has rejoined Downey Side in 2021 in the role of executive director. A member of the Capuchin Franciscan order, Br. Terry received his master’s degree in social work in 2010 and wrote his theology master’s thesis about the foster care system. Despite the daily heartbreaks of encountering homeless children, he remains optimistic and profoundly grateful to continually witness the miracle of loving families creating permanent and embracing homes.
Dawn Rusinko, OFS, CLEM NJ Director
Dawn is on a mission- she wants ALL children to have a family to call their own. She was introduced to this mission by Fr. Paul Engel OFM Cap., the agency founder – and by one of her sons- who is an expert in Foster Care because he was in Foster Care before the Rusinko’s
adopted him. He came from a tough place, and his experience, shared liberally with Dawn and her family; has taught them all a great deal about the effects of pain in our lives. More, however, the family learned about resilience. “I am simply amazed at our kid’s ability to bounce back, and they teach me that I too can overcome the setbacks and obstacles I face. They also teach us not to take our family for granted.”
Dawn and her husband raised their three children on the Jersey Shore, and Dawn is happily a grandmother to three (with one on the way at writing….). I am excited to work in Downey Side; because it is an expression of the Franciscan spirit, which is extremely important to me. St. Francis of Assisi is a hero of mine because he saw the beauty in each one of us. He embraced lepers and made friends with Sultan al-Malek al-Kamil, at a time when so many were at war with the Muslim community. I believe he would be delighted with Downey Side.”
Kimberly Frink, Director of Operations
Kimberly joined Downey Side in 2006. Kim oversees ongoing financial operations, licensing, communication and administration. Kimberly learned about Downey Side through a wanted ad in the NY Times newspaper. She was impressed with Downey Side’s Mission of finding homes for homeless children and wanted to be a part of the wonderful organization.
Kim also assists with the digital transformation of the agency and she holds degrees in Technology and Art & Advertising Design.