Kelly Raggazino

Kelly Raggazino

It is not always easy to balance being a single mom of two children and being executive director of Open Hearth Inc., but Kelly Raggazino seems to handle it just right.

Originally from Clarion, Pa., she attended and graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She comes from a somewhat large family.

Top priority are her two children. Katie, 13, and Doug, 11. As a “proud mom,” Kelly announces that they are both good students and good kids. Between the two, they play every sport that you can name.

After working with the Montgomery County Department of Aging, she went to work with Open Hearth Inc. in 1999 as a case manager. “Moving on up,” she became the executive director five years ago.

The year preceding her move to Open Hearth while working at the Department of Aging, she served on the board of directors at Open Hearth.

Two years ago, she was named Decade to Doorway’s Governance Board chairwoman. This is a wonderful testament to her leadership throughout her entire career. Decade to Doorways is a 10-year plan to prevent and end homeless in Chester County by 2022.

Open Hearth is a non-profit organization serving Chester County and parts of Montgomery County. It provides innovative programs to help people end homeless and achieve financial self-sufficiency from housing people who were experiencing homelessness to helping first-time buyers with financial education and matched savings.

Kelly feels the success of Open Hearth is due to the amazing staff and their dedication. “We do what we say we’ll do,” she said.

Back on the home front, Kelly and her kids enjoy spending time together. Especially when it comes to watching movies and playing cards. They are active outside as fitness is a family direction.

Kelly strongly believes that it is most important to have a community of “girlfriends.”

They are a good support system — they have your back when you need them! To share the good times and the bad times — most important to share.

Kelly's motto is that she “cooks to live” and not “lives to cook.” So her recipe file is quite limited. But whenever she needs to bake something to take to an event, she always can rely on this cookie recipe (which she is noted for). Her neighbor Kate gave her the recipe — so it is named ...

KATE’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

4½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 cups butter – softened

1½ cups packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant vanilla pudding mix

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Sift together flour & baking soda – set aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar. Beat in instant pudding — mix until blended. Add in eggs & vanilla extract. Combine creamed mixture with flour mixture. Finally, stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

*Sometimes Kelly used semi-sweet, milk &/or white chocolate chips. A combination of a mixture of chips is really good.

ENJOY!

Contract columnist Bette at banjack303.verizon.net. Search YouTube – with BetteBanjack as well as phoenixvillenews.com (search bar Banjack). She can also be found on Facebook.

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