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Boys & Girls Club of Big Island names chief professional officer


Zavi Brees-Saunders has been named Chief Professional Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island. The CPO serves as the executive in charge of the six-unit BGCBI program.

Zavi Brees-Saunders

Zavi Brees-Saunders

Brees-Saunders has nearly 10 years’ experience in non-profit management. She was raised in rural Hana, Maui, holds a masters’ degree in public health, worked in the Balkans and in Albania for the American Red Cross, and most recently, for Family Support Hawaii, for which she had oversight of island-wide programs.

“Zavi understands the nature of Hawaii Island, our vast geography and the need to make sure programs in the furthest reaches get the resources they need,” said Bill Walter, the Chief Volunteer Officer who leads the BGCBI board. “With units in Hilo, Kea’au, Pahoa, Pahala, Oceanview, and Hamakua, we need the skills she brings.”

Brees-Saunders has been the program director for Family Support Hawaii’s Malama Perinatal Program since 2007. Before that, she was with Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services on Oahu, where she oversaw women’s health and was director of the active living program. While at Kokua Kalihi Valley, she was instrumental in the launch of Hooulu Aina, a program that seeks to restore community health by healing the land. The former drug dealers’ hangout is now a vibrant community resource.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island is the Big Island of Hawaii’s premier youth development organization and an affiliate of the national organization, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The first Club in Hawaii opened its doors in 1952 as the Boys Club of Hilo, was originally located on Kamehameha Avenue, and destroyed by the 1960 tidal wave. The current headquarters is adjacent to Haili Street, in downtown Hilo. In 1988 girls were welcomed as members, thus giving the Club a new name, The Boys and Girls Club of Hilo. Since its inception the Club has serviced over 50,000 youth and has 1,200 active members in Hilo, Keaau, Pahoa, Pahala, Oceanview, and Hamakua. For an annual membership fee of $10, youth ages six through 18 are welcomed to join. Contact the Club for more information: 808-961-5536;

One Response to “Boys & Girls Club of Big Island names chief professional officer”

  1. Carol Perry says:


    I am so very happy that Zavi Brees-Saunders was hired as the CPO for the Boys and Girls Club. I have worked with Zavi and have the utmost respect for her, her skills, her honesty, and her integrity and know she will do an absolutely amazing job for the Boys and Girls Club. Zavi always inspired me and I know she will inspire all those who are fortunte enough to cross her path.

    Aloha nui loa,

    Carol Perry


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