Newtown Square’s Garrett Williamson Foundation is dedicated to providing educational and recreational programs for children. At the helm of the nonprofit is executive director Carol Kaplan Ruark, who’s devoted her career to children’s education. Visit www.garrettwilliamson.org.
1. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. “It was sort of a new concept for me. Vulnerability sounded a bit scary, but taking the risk of getting to know someone better sounded like a worthwhile risk.”
2. Lady Gaga, Bob Seger and Justin Timberlake. “I have such a diversified interest in music.”
3. The Whip Tavern. “The place takes you back in time.”
4. Elf. “It’s hilarious, and it still leaves us with a sense of wonder.”
5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. “It’s the illustrations—just the joy the pictures bring.”
MLT: What inspired you to get involved with Garrett Williamson?
CKR: I grew up in the area and I didn’t know anything about Garrett Williamson, but then as an adult, I was running another childcare center in the area and I got to know a bit about Garrett Williamson. Several years later I was asked to be [an interim] childcare director, while the director was out for several weeks. I just fell in love with the environment. My first love is being around the children and knowing that we make a difference in the children’s lives.
MLT: What does your role as executive director entail?
CKR: I oversee the multiple departments, childcare, camp, which is for rising first graders through age 15, and our camp staff. We have five residential tenants and then we have business tenants. We have Talk Institute, which is a school for children that are severely language delayed—typically the students are on the autism spectrum be.
MLT: What are your hopes for the future?
CKR: A dream of mine would be to renovate one of our buildings or to open a brand new building.