Kids of Character is a non-profit, community recognized resource for teaching the behavior standards our sons, daughters, students and future employees are to strive for.

The integrity of today’s youth impacts not only quality family life but also our schools and businesses. By partnering with local businesses and organizations that touch the lives of our youth each day, Kids of Character is striving to achieve character excellence in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. It is our mission to inspire youth to become ethical, responsible citizens who will live lives of integrity and make good decisions in their family lives and future work lives.

In February of 2009, Gwen Pongracz decided it was time to bring the focus in education back to character. In April of that year, Kids of Character was incorporated. In its first year, the organization has developed partnerships with the Center for Leadership & Ethics, Character Education Partnership, U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern PA District, local Rotary Clubs, KidsPeace, DeSales University and the Forum for Ethics in the Workplace. These partnerships have enabled us to present the Communities Building Kids of Character seminar, the Annual Lehigh Valley Youth Leadership & Ethics Conferences and the Character Education Roundtable. We also engage in advocacy work as we speak to leaders of other youth organizations, parent organizations, service organizations and business leaders. Our main focus is providing professional development for teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses and mentors.

Board of Directors

Dr. Gregg Amore

Dr. Gregg Amore has been a staunch supporter of Kids of Character since its inception, serving as both a consultant and presenter. His first presentation was at our debut seminar, “Communities Building Kids of Character” in October of 2009. He was instrumental in planning the First Annual Lehigh Valley Youth Leadership & Ethics Conferences held in March of 2010, where he also did our keynote presentation for 11th graders.

Dr. Amore is a licensed psychologist employed at DeSales University since 1972. He has served the college in multiple roles: Director of Counseling, Chairman of the Psychology Department, Director of DeSales Child Development Center, Director of Career Planning & Placement, & Co-Director of Professional Development. He was founder of DeSales Child Development Center, the Department of Psychology and the Professional Development Center. He has taught a variety of psychology courses, specializing in those geared toward personal, professional, and sport performance enhancement. Through his Personal IMPACT program, and as a contract psychologist with L.G.E. Performance Systems in Orlando, Florida, Men are from Mars / Women are from Venus in San Francisco, California, and Healthy Lifestyles Corp. in Torrance California, Dr. Amore has addressed the needs of business, professional, & sports groups nationally. He is a member of the National Speakers Association.

Extensive graduate study in business combined with first hand business experience as owner and operator of Amore Farms and Greenhouses and Amore Vineyard and Winery has enabled him to combine theory and practice. Growing and selling nearly 100 acres of fresh vegetables and 2 million greenhouse plants annually has equipped him with a keen appreciation for the unique circumstances and demands of both management and hourly employees. This first-hand experience in the business world gives him a unique dual perspective as both psychologist and businessman.

His interest in aviation and fitness add a special dimension to his presentations. As a multi-engine instrument flight instructor, and Learjet pilot, he has had numerous opportunities to enable individuals to challenge themselves, overcome their fears, and maximize their potential. A former high school and college athlete, Dr. Amore has maintained his interest in health and fitness through competitive natural bodybuilding since 1973. He has won over 140 awards, including four national championships, and the prestigious 2000 Grandmasters World Championship in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dr. Amore’s mission is to empower others to the realization of their full potential.

William R. Isemann, FACHE, FHFMA

William (Will) Isemann assumed the position of President & Chief Executive Officer of KidsPeace in 2008. Isemann joined KidsPeace in 2006 in the capacity of chief financial officer and since that time worked against challenging national financial trends for healthcare charities to strengthen regional management and accountability, strengthen worker pensions and protect resources for the organization. “Experience, a commitment to safety, organizational quality, and dedication to helping those in need are the characteristics that define Will Isemann’s life and career,” according to KidsPeace Chairman Joel Newman. “Will is a person who genuinely cares about people.”

In accepting his position as President & CEO, Isemann stressed his focus on safety and high-quality programs, as well as guiding the organization through the financial challenges that face KidsPeace and other charities across the country. Under his leadership, KidsPeace continues to consolidate, expand and introduce programs that meet the needs of today’s children and their most critical issues. In addition to creating the best possible environment for kids and staff, the new president is committed to building stronger bridges to the greater Lehigh Valley community — the public, their neighbors, and community and business leaders. In alignment with Isemann’s focus on community involvement and partnerships, KidsPeace has partnered with Kids of Character by sponsoring their debut seminar, “Communities Building Kids of Character”, held at the KidsPeace Orchard Hills Campus in October 2009. Isemann, along with Gwen Pongracz, Founder of Kids of Character, was interviewed by Eve Tannery on Channel 69 News. KidsPeace is also sponsoring a Character Education Roundtable being presented by Kids of Character in July of 2010.

Isemann is a Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a graduate of Duke University and has served as adjunct professor in the University of West Virginia System and Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia. Mr. Isemann has more than 30 years of experience serving as CEO, COO, CFO at Danville Regional Health System, and in other top positions at major hospital and healthcare systems, including Humana and American Medical International, as well as several non-profit organizations. He has received a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Duke University, is a fellow and national advisory council member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Gwen Pongracz

Mrs. Pongracz received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Kutztown University with a double major of social studies and Spanish. She later received her Master of Education Degree from Kutztown University and a certificate as a reading specialist. She has taught computer classes and was an adjunct faculty member for Lehigh Carbon Community College for whom she taught GED classes. During her time working at Xerox and Autodesk, she gained experience in event planning while supporting sales staffs of up to 135 people.

In 1996, Mrs. Pongracz founded a support group in the Lehigh Valley for people with Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD), a neurological voice disorder. Under her leadership, the group has promoted awareness by sending literature to 800 local physicians, placing articles about SD in several local newspapers, speaking on a local radio talk show and presenting to Kutztown University’s speech pathology students. The group has also done several fundraisers, including a benefit concert to raise money for research on SD. Mrs. Pongracz served as the Regional Coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic States for the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association for two years and continues to lead the local support group today.

Bill Cooper

Bill Cooper became involved with Kids of Character when he was assigned as our SCORE counselor when we were first formed. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (PA), a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (national certification), and is also Cerified as Clinical Member of AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Counseling). He has been a Practicing Professional Counselor since 1975; in Individual, Marriage, and Family Therapy, Sex Therapy (AASECT Certified Sex Therapist), and Rehabilitation Counseling. Throughout his time as a counselor, he has provided expert testimony in custody and litigated workers’ compensation cases.

Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. He later received his Master of Education (M.ED) in Counseling from Lehigh University. He has also completed 20 Graduate Credits beyond his M.Ed in Psychology and Sociology from Lehigh University, University of Pennsylvania and Kutztown University. His studies have also included advanced and specialized training in Group Dynamics, and completed Family Therapy Training Programs at Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (Philadelphia) and Lehigh University’s Centennial School.

Bill has been a Program Coordinator, Counselor, Adjunct Faculty Member (Psychology) and member of Labor Contract Negotiating Committee (both Administration and Faculty sides) at Lehigh Carbon Community College. He has supervised master’s level professional counseling staff and graduate student Counselor Interships. Additionally, he has held two Executive Director positions; one at a Community Mental Health Agency and one at a School Dropout Prevention Program serving three large school districts. Bill founded and operated three different Private Counseling Practices, a large Child Care/Nursery School, and a Transcription Service. Bill also worked in three different Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling organizations, the last of which is a wholly owned subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company where he provided direct Rehabilitation Counseling services.

Joshua N. Daly, Esq.

Joshua N. Daly joined the Board of Kids of Character in September 2011. Attorney Daly practices business and commercial law in the Lehigh Valley, and is of counsel to Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Daly was born in Bethlehem, PA. He received his J.D. and L.L.M. in Intellectual Property from UNH School of Law in 2007. He graduated from Moravian College in 2004 with a B.A. degree in Economics and Sociology, with Honors in Sociology. Mr. Daly also volunteers with the Steelworkers’ Archives.

Prior to attending Law School, Mr. Daly was an IT Systems Administrator for 6 years, most recently at former Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs research facility in Murray Hill, New Jersey.