Melissa Gravius - Executive Director
Melissa Gravius was born and raised in Auburn and after nearly twenty years away, has returned to hometown, with her husband, Brandon, the controller at a local company, and son, Alex, a student at Cayuga Community College. She was formerly a mental health professional working with dual-diagnosed adults, and an attorney specializing in family and matrimonial law. Melissa worked at Catholic Charities in Syracuse for five years before coming here to Champions for Life. At Charities, Melissa ran all of the Homeless and Housing Vulnerable Relocation programs, the focus of which were to assist homeless and housing vulnerable men, women, and families with their basic needs, including shelter, food, clothing, and income. Over the course of her five years there, well over two thousand households moved out of, or were prevented from becoming homeless, including several hundred Veteran headed households.
In her spare time, Melissa volunteers for the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project as a member of the Vera House Legal Clinic, and for the Auburn Stingrays Swim Team. In 2014, she was awarded a 40 under Forty award, recognizing her civic contributions to Central New York. Melissa is incredibly excited about serving Auburn and the surrounding communities as the Executive Director of Champions for Life, as we continue to bring excellent, virtue-centered programming to Central New York’s children and families.
John Alberici – Director of Development and Everest Park
John Alberici is the Director of Development at Champions for Life, joining the team after more than 21 years in media sales and more than 25 years of coaching. In his role at Everest Park, John spearheaded the campaign to build five full size athletics fields there, where he is the tournament director for the Finger Lakes Sports Leagues in Lacrosse, Soccer, and Field Hockey.
A lifelong resident of the area, John and his wife Wendy reside in Auburn with their three daughters, Jessie, Jenna, and Jillian. John continues to coach the Auburn High School Wrestling Team, and can't go anywhere without a former wrestler, football player, or parent calling out "Hey Coach!".
Andrew Klock – Program Director
Andrew became part of the Champions for Life team in October of 2016. A local of Auburn, Andrew grew up as a member of the Conquest Boy’s Club at CFL. After graduating from nearby Union Springs High School, he attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, from which he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Sports Communications and minor in Theology.
Shortly after graduation, Andrew moved to Asia where he worked as a kindergarten and early elementary teacher at a private academy in Seoul, South Korea. After completing his contract, Andrew spent a few months backpacking multiple countries before deciding to come back to New York to reconnect with his family and friends.
Aside from teaching, Andrew has also been president of his college’s rugby club, worked as a communications and digital marketing manager for the Auburn Doubledays baseball team, and coached youth local wrestling and baseball. He speaks fluent Korean, and continues to both play and coach rugby in Syracuse.
Sherri Campagnola – Office Manager, Gymnastics Program Manager
Sherri has been with Champions for Life for close to twenty years. She started as a gymnastics instructor and added office management to her list of duties as her two children got older. Sherri was a gymnast as a child and continued coaching while attending college for her early childhood education degree through to today. Sherri has recently taken on additional responsibilities managing our gymnastics program and mentoring our coaching staff.
Sherri serves on the Board of Directors of Nick's Ride for Friends, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting awareness of the heroin and opiate addiction epidemic in our community, working to end the stigma of addiction, and helping people who have been touched by this disease, through scholarships, financial support, and community work.