Scott Auwarter and John Weed, Assistant Executive Directors

Scott Auwarter (left) and John Weed (right)
Scott Auwarter (left) and John Weed (right)

Here’s a fun statistic: the two Assistant Executive Directors of BronxWorks, John Weed and Scott Auwarter, have over 71 years of combined experience managing and providing social services to the Bronx. Both started their careers as interns in the 1980s at BronxWorks, then known as the Citizens Advice Bureau. Both stayed on full-time after graduating as Social Workers, and both have contributed their professional lives to growing the impact of an organization that would embody the entire borough. This year, as we celebrated 50 years of providing services to the Bronx, we were continuously reminded of how much both John and Scott give to feed, shelter, teach, and support our neighbors to build a stronger Bronx community.

Scott Auwarter

Scott joined BronxWorks in 1986. He grew up in Chenango County in upstate New York, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from SUNY Cortland, and spent two years with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa. When he came back to the U.S., Scott enrolled at the Hunter College School of Social Work for his Master’s in Social Work, and joined the Citizens Advice Bureau as a part of his field placement. In 1988, before graduating, he was hired full-time as a Program Coordinator, supervising and providing direct service, mostly in information referral. At that time, Scott estimates the organization had maybe twenty employees.

In his 37 years at BronxWorks, Scott has been a Program Coordinator, Program Director, Department Director, and, of course, Assistant Executive Director. He has worked in the areas of HIV/AIDS care and prevention, health care coordination, eviction prevention, foster care prevention, adult and family homeless services, street homeless outreach, and supportive housing.

I’ve always found this work to be very interesting and challenging. Working with homeless folks, severely mentally ill folks, people who have been left out, I believe it is important to have a pragmatic, thoughtful approach based on the reality of the situation to best address their needs.”

-Scott Auwarter, Assistant Executive Director

As Assistant Executive Director of BronxWorks, Scott now oversees a large portfolio that includes vital programs like the Homeless Outreach Team, Living Room Drop-in Center, Jerome Avenue Men’s Shelter, numerous adult and family homeless services, supportive housing, and eviction prevention programs.

I always felt I was cut out for this kind of work. When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to be a social worker. And becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer as well – it goes back to trying to do something decent.”

When he’s not working, Scott enjoys carpentry. He recently rebuilt a shed, and built a deck with his friend. He has two grandchildren and loves to spend time with his family. For exercise, he’s been riding his bike a lot.

John Weed

John started at BronxWorks in 1989, also as an intern. He grew up in Queens and spent his college years in New Mexico. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. After graduating, John also joined the Peace Corps and spent two-and-a-half years in the Dominican Republic.

My Peace Corps experience was first and foremost lifechanging for me. I learned a language, learned a new culture. I was a volunteer alone in a small town and I loved every moment of it.”

-John Weed, Assistant Executive Director

After he came to the U.S., John taught a bilingual program in California for eight months before moving back to New York City and enrolling at the Hunter College School of Social Work. He came across the BronxWorks (then CAB) Immigration program and recalls meeting Scott and asking him about the organization.

It was because of Scott that I decided it was a good internship for me. Picture this: the agency was so small at the time, we only had the 2070 Grand Concourse office and two others. Scott and I would eventually settle into different offices.”

John, too, would stay at BronxWorks full-time after graduating with his Master’s in Social Work. He helped run the Avenue St. John walk-in office, adding needed programs for the community such as a family childcare network, after-school and youth programming, and more. During his 34 years at BronxWorks, John has worked as a Program Director, Department Director, and, of course, Assistant Executive Director, overseeing all of the community programs at BronxWorks.

What we were able to do at Avenue St. John thrilled me. The community was tiny and there was a lot of devastation in the Bronx when I started. It looks a lot different now than back then, and we were able to make this community work through a variety of programs. I would say my professional accomplishment is to fill a need where it is and work with the community to do that.”

Outside of work, John loves to hike. He’s looking forward to a once-a-year hiking trip with his Peace Corps friends in the Adirondacks. He also loves to garden and travel, and he enjoys spending time with his family and adult children.

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