Bobbie Finkelstein is our Director of Youth Services. Bobbie oversees our five-day-a-week after school program during the school year, as well as all of our summer camp programs!
Director of After School
Photographed and Interviewed by Nate Jaffe, Communications Associate
“I love my work at CBE. The kids are amazing, and I just get inspired by their creativity every day working with them.” – Bobbie
Nate: How long have you worked at CBE?
Bobbie: I started working here in 1987, so 32 years. But this summer is my 30th anniversary as the director of CBE Kids Camps.
Nate: Where were you/what were you doing before you came to work at CBE?
Bobbie: I was working as a social worker, and I actually had a somewhat similar job for Children’s Aid Society. I was working at one of their centers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan as their After School and Day Camp Director.
Nate: Where are you from? If not, NYC, how did you get here?
Bobbie: I grew up in Flushing, Queens!
Nate: Who inspires you or who is someone you look up to?
Bobbie: I have to say that a lot of who I am came out of a sleepaway camp that I worked at, Wel-Met. It was a huge social justice, social service camp in New York, and a lot of the people at that camp inspired me to become a social worker.
Nate: If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Bobbie: Woody Guthrie; he inspired social change through his music. We sing “This Land is Your Land” as our first song of the camp season. Today more than ever, with all the sadness at our southern border, it is still inspiring social change!
Nate: What in your life are you most proud of?
Bobbie: My daughters! I’m also very proud of the programs I’ve created at CBE. It has been an amazing experience for me.
Nate: Describe a past experience, from any point in your life, that defined or impacted who you are today.
Bobbie: I would say both sleepaway camp and also social work school. I went to the Hunter School of Social Work, and that had a big impact on who I am and the work that I do.
Nate: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Bobbie: Live in the moment. I think it’s so important that we are all present in whatever we’re doing and that can help us so much in our work.
Nate: Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever been to?
Bobbie: I have traveled quite a lot, I traveled for a year after college in Europe, Israel, and Greece. Out of all the places I visited, I think Morocco was the most interesting culturally.
Nate: Where in the world have you never been to but have always wanted to visit?
Bobbie: There’s a lot of places that I’d love to visit! I think South America. I would love to go to Macchu Picchu, but also to experience the rest of Peru and especially Chile.
Nate: What motivates you?
Bobbie: I love my work at CBE. The kids are amazing, and I just get inspired by their creativity every day working with them.
Nate: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Bobbie: I’m a meatballs and spaghetti kind of girl!
Nate: What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
Bobbie: Be present.
Nate: How do you define success?
Bobbie: I think more in terms of who I am as a person and how productive I am, how much of me is part of the work that I do. I think being a productive part of society is how I define success.
Nate: What is your favorite movie, TV show, or book of all time?
Bobbie: For book, I’d have to go with To Kill a Mockingbird. For TV Show, I watch Mystery on Channel 13 a lot. And for movie, E.T. is one of my favorite movies. It really is so touching, as a portrait of a child growing up and what you have to face as you grow up, and questions about separating.