Shirley A. Adams became the Executive Director of Catharine Street Community Center, Inc. (CSCC) in November 1996, Established in 1922, CSCC provides “school readiness and literacy” support services to at-risk children and their parents who are in need of Pre-School, Before, Between, After School and Summer Enrichment Programs. CSCC strives to ensure the preservation and enrichment of families through education and skills building while empowering disadvantaged parents and children to cope with economic and social challenges.
Before joining Catharine St., Shirley had the distinguished honor to serve in NY City government under the leadership of Mayor Edward Koch. She served twelve years with the NYC Department of Investigations, Office of the Inspector General as a Special Investigator & Assistant Inspector General. She was appointed by Mayor David Dinkins, and re-appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to the position of First Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development Agency (YCD) where she was responsible for NYC’s Community-Based Programs and the NYS Community Action Program (CAP) including the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Her duties included the conduct of local need assessments, selection of service providers, and distribution of grants, programmatic and financial audits for more than 150 CBOs throughout NYC.
Shirley’s many honors and awards include the Crystal Apple Award for Outstanding Woman of the Year in NYC Government and the Distinguished Service Award from the NYS Department of Health – AIDS Institute. Shirley was one of the first to receive the Girl Scout of D.C. Seat of Honor Award. She received the Omega Psi Phi Award for Citizen of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. She also received the D.C. Leadership Alumni Award from the Chamber of Commerce. Shirley was honored at the NYS Capital-as one of NYS’s 2007-Women of Distinction. In April 2011, she received the Leadership in Excellence Award from the NYS Early Care & Learning Council for Children. Shirley became the first recipient of the Great Friend to Kids Award in 2014 from the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. In 2016, she received the Community Service Award from the Kappa Alpha Psi-Beyond the Dream Foundation.
Shirley’s devotion to her community is demonstrated through her care and concern for others. She was appointed by former Governor George Pataki to the NYS Governor’s Advisory Council to Advocate for Persons with Disabilities. She was also appointed by County Executive William Steinhaus and reappointed by County Executive Marc Molinaro to the Executive Board of the D.C. Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Shirley currently serves on the Board of Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery and is a Board Member and Past President of the Poughkeepsie-Arlington Rotary Club. In 2003, Shirley was appointed to the Poughkeepsie Housing Authority, serving as Board Chair for the past ten years. For more than ten years, tasked with the selection of new judges, Shirley along with two other members comprises the City of Poughkeepsie Mayor’s Judiciary Screening Committee.
Shirley earned a BA in Psychology and Special Education from Bennett College, Greensboro, NC, and a MA in Public Administration from NYU. She has served as an adjunct professor at Marist College, Graduate School of Management. Shirley resides with her family in Poughkeepsie, New York.