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. Melissa and Brandon are also certified foster parents and have fostered nearly a dozen children so far, all under the age of ten.
Prior to coming to CFL, Melissa was a mental health professional working with dual-diagnosed adults, and an attorney specializing in family and matrimonial law. Additionally, Melissa worked at Catholic Charities in Syracuse for five years, where she 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.
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 Collier – Program Director
Andy Collier has been a lifelong resident of Cayuga County, growing up in Auburn and then moving to Moravia after marrying his wife, Maureen. He has three beautiful children—one son, Killian, and two daughters, Finan and Rowan. Andy joins the team with over 15 years of experience in the sports world, including working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Director of Athletics for Tyburn Academy and online sports writer.Collier was most recently the Assistant General Manager, Director of Operations for the Auburn Doubledays Baseball Club.
Andy joined the Champions for Life team in January 2019 and is excited to return to a place with fond memories. Collier was a part of the Blazers Boys Club while in high school and continued mentoring youth while in college. Andy was also a soccer referee at CFL for a few seasons. He’s an avid sports fan and looks forward to the opportunity to enrich people’s lives through sport.
Sherri Campagnola – Operations Manager, Gymnastics Program Manager
Sherri has been with Champions for Life for 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, as well as managing the operations of the sports center site.
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.