2010 Valley Council Awards
The Valley Council for Health & Human Services presented its annual awards at its annual meeting held on December 1, 2010 at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby:
The Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award is given to an individual for extraordinary service as an employee in the non-profit community who has made a positive impact on the quality of life of residents in the lower Naugatuck Valley. This year, we are delighted to present this award to Pamela Lorenzo. The award recognizes Pam’s tremendous professional contributions in her own agency, the VNA of South Central Connecticut, as well as in her role as Chair of the Valley Council’s Early Childhood Taskforce.
Pam received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Albertus Magnus College and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. For the past 15 years,
she has served as Director of the Nurturing Families Network at the VNA. This program assists first-time parents and their babies in making a positive start in life by providing support and parenting skills education. John Quinn, President & CEO of the VNA of South Central Connecticut, commented on Pam’s impact on the agency and on children & families in the state: “Pam is an outstanding professional employee of the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut and advances our mission daily by her active role in managing the Nurturing Families Network for our region. She is a dedicated health care advocate for children and families and is a strong voice in the legislative process for preserving and expanding these services statewide. I am proud to have her on our VNA leadership team.”
Pam’s nomination for the Savitsky award focused especially on her leadership role in the Council’s early childhood efforts. As her nomination stated, “Pam Lorenzo has been the heart and soul of the Council’s Early Childhood Committee for years. She has also been the driving force behind the Regional Discovery initiative that has resulted from the Early Childhood Committee’s efforts to join all of the Valley’s efforts together. She has been a master in ensuring that all the partners are at the table and feel comfortable in working together to ensure the educational success of children in the Valley.”
A member of the Early Childhood Taskforce highlighted Pam’s role: “Pam Lorenzo has been tireless in her efforts to improve the lives of Children in the Valley. As chair of the Early Childhood Taskforce, Pam worked with the representatives from Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Shelton to build consensus on those activities that would benefit all children and families. While her role with the Task Force was as Chair, Pam took it upon herself to also become grant writer, secretary and chief communicator ensuring that additional funds were secured to support the work and that all parties involved were fully informed. It is not always an easy task to bring together separate and distinct communities to further a common purpose, but Pam did just that!”
Another Taskforce member shared the following observation about Pam: “On a note you have probably not heard about Pam, in addition to all her other work, she volunteers weekly at Hospice in Branford. She visits with patients and brings them comfort and compassion and caring at a time when they are leaving this world. Her strength and commitment to the human spirit are nowhere exemplified better or more profoundly felt.”
Although this last example goes beyond Pam’s work in the Valley and beyond her work with children, it demonstrates her profound dedication to improving life for all. As her nominator concluded, “I think she truly exemplifies someone who has gone over and above their daily duties to make the Valley a better place.”
The Program/Agency of the Year award goes to a nonprofit agency or a program whose staff and volunteers exemplify excellence in the community and whose services have made a significant and lasting contribution to the health and well being of the residents of the lower Naugatuck Valley. This year’s Agency of the Year award goes to the Valley Community Foundation.
The Valley Community Foundation was established in 2004 to serve Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton. Since that time, the foundation has dedicated itself to the mission of making the Naugatuck Valley a better place to live and work.
The nomination of the Valley Community Foundation recognized a milestone in its history this year, with the signing of a new affiliation agreement between the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the valley Community Foundation. As the nominator stated, “Leaders of both organizations see the new agreement as a recognition that the Valley Community Foundation has established itself since its founding in 2004 as the institution individuals, families, and institutions turn to in order to create permanent philanthropic endowment for the benefit of the Valley. The endowment is valued at approximately $7 million and has distributed nearly $1.5 million in its short history.”
The impact of these contributions on the Valley community has already been profound. While the examples are too numerous to list, a few illustrations from Council member agencies give a small indication of this impact on local quality of life.
Over the last few years, VCF funding has assisted the Valley YMCA with the purchase of a swimming pool lift to help make our pool ADA compliant and accessible to all individuals and the purchase of Instructional Playground Equipment at their Child Care Center at 32 Howard Avenue. In addition to the Foundation’s assistance for general operating support, these funds enable the Y to help Valley residents to relax, exercise, develop self-esteem through leadership activities and experience personal growth to attain healthy lifestyles. This helps to improve the quality of life for Valley residents at a time when life’s daily stress and challenges are at an all time high.
Another example comes from TEAM: “Through its grant making, the VCF has permitted TEAM to improve its Early Education program – by assisting with a facility change – as well as to strengthen our infrastructure by assisting with the costs for a key staff position. As a result, our children enjoy a better classroom environment and managers will be able to receive better and more efficient tracking reports of program and financial results.”
Beyond the grantmaking support it provides for Valley nonprofits and community groups, the Valley Community Foundation plays a crucial role in
In these many, many ways, the Valley Community Foundation has become and will continue to be an incredibly valuable force for community improvement in the Valley, helping to improve the health & quality of life of our residents.
The Richard O. Belden Community Service Award goes to an individual or organization outside the non-profit sector whose efforts have made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of residents in the lower Naugatuck Valley. I would like to introduce Bertha Belden, who will present this award established by the Council to commemorate the profound legacy of community service of her late husband, Richard Belden.
This year’s Richard O. Belden Community Service award goes to John J. Sullivan’s Restaurant for the numerous ways it collaborates with the Valley’s nonprofits in improving quality of life in the region.
For the past 5 years, Sullivan’ has fully sponsored the Birmingham Group’s Bowl to Benefit Awards Dinner, which makes it possible for the agency to honor its volunteers, event sponsors, and top fundraisers. Similarly, Sullivan’s has provided the venue and dinner for the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year awards at no charge. John J. Sullivan’s generosity allows Valley volunteers to be thanked in a way that would otherwise not be possible.
For the past two years, Charlie Sullivan has volunteered as Co-Chairman of TEAM’s first major fundraiser, “Men Who Cook” to raise funds for TEAM programs. His expertise, dedication, hard work and enthusiasm has been extremely instrumental in the success of the fundraising event. John J. Sullivan’s also hosts the event’s Thank You Bar-B-Q dinner for the event’s volunteers and the annual Toys for Tots Kick Off breakfast.
During this past year, John J. Sullivan’s served as “command central” for the planning and organization of the first Housy One Miler Swim to benefit Griffin Hospital’s Breast Wellness Center. Space was donated for meetings and event registration and the restaurant’s staff promoted the fundraising and community awareness event. As chairman of the Housy One Miler Swim, Charlie Sullivan spent countless hours coordinating resources and activities, and engaged his home Birchbank community to open their front yards where this event was held.
In addition to offering the restaurant as a venue for nonprofit events and fundraising activities to benefit the Valley community, Charlie has shown his compassion and commitment to helping others through direct volunteer work with numerous Valley organizations.
The nomination for John J. Sullivan’s Restaurant for the Belden award included the following comment: “There is a quote by Henry Ford that states, “To do more for the world than the world does for you – that is success”. TEAM believes Charlie Sullivan & John Markette live by those words.”