Valley Council for Health & Human Services
2006 Award Winners
Agency of the Year Award:
The mission of the Valley YMCA is to serve the people within our area through Christian ideals by providing opportunities to enhance spirit, mind and body. The YMCA values the attributes of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. Through these values, the Valley YMCA has been serving the residents of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton since 1866.
At the Valley YMCA "We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities." This phrase sums up the programs and involvements of the Valley YMCA. Child care, pre-school, youth fitness, adult fitness, sports, camps, aquatics, rooms for single men and more can be found at the Y. Through its Youth Fund and Annual Support Campaign, Valley YMCA offers financial assistance to anyone who cannot afford to become a member or participate in a program.
Valley YMCA approaches its mission in a number of ways both within and outside of its facility at 12 State Street in Ansonia. The agency collaborates with other organizations in the community to promote and streamline access to services by community members. Staff members are involved in the Valley Council for Health and Human Services, Rotary and other groups and organizations in the community and state and; during the holidays, Valley YMCA sponsors a Giving Tree which provides an avenue for community members to provide caring assistance to families in our community.
Savitsky Staff Excellence Award
Michele Holovach: Michele has been an educator for 32 years. She joined the staff at Valley Regional Adult Education in 1993 and began teaching ESL classes. She also taught the adult basic education & GED courses and parenting classes at the Tinney Community Center. Michele is a trained workplace auditor and taught workplace ESL classes.
In 2000, Michele became the Director of Valley Even Start. She is a nationally certified Parents as Teachers Parent Educator and has provided the Derby School Readiness program with parenting workshops for four years.
Michele is a member of many councils and committees including the Valley Council of Health and Human Services and its Early Childhood subcommittee; TEAM, Inc. Policy Council; Prevention Through Early Intervention Advisory Committee; Valley Director’s Network; Derby School Readiness Council, Shelton School Readiness Council, co-chair of Ansonia School Readiness Council, and secretary of Seymour School Readiness Council. She also serves on the Graustein Discovery Committees of Derby and Shelton and she is the co-chair of the Ansonia Discovery Committee.
In 2004, Michele was cited by the CT Family Day Committee and State Senator Joe Crisco for her work with families. Michele was the recipient of the 2005 Wilbur Cross Award for Humanities Director of the Year. She lives in North Haven with her husband of 30 years, Joe and her daughters, Ashley – a graduate of Framingham State College and Whitney - a junior at UMass Amherst.
Laura Mutrie: Laura is Director of Clinical Services at the Parent Child Resource Center, received a B.A. from Fairfield University, an M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work and completed Post-graduate training in Family Skills Development at the Ackerman Family Institute in New York. Laura developed PCRC’s Internship Program into a sought after field work placement for students pursuing their Master’s of Social Work degrees. Columbia, Fordham, Southern, and Fairfield Universities have all placed students at the agency.
Laura has been instrumental in developing many programs offered by PCRC to address the concerns of families, schools, and other providers in the area. These programs includethe Prevention through Early Intervention Project (PEIP), IMPACT, an intensive mentoring program, to match children and adolescents with positive role models in the community and Laura was an important part in bringing Motheread/Fatheread to the Valley. And, in one of her greatest undertakings as Director of Clinical Services, Laura supervised the development of TRECC – Training in Relationships and Emotional Competency for Children – the Valley’s only intensive outpatient program for children.
Laura is also an active volunteer with many special projects in the area. She has been the Chair of the Derby School Readiness/Graustein Discovery Committee, a member of the Connecticut State Behavioral Health Response Team, and she chairs the Community Mental Health Crisis Team. She also presents to groups throughout the Valley on topics such as Physical and Sexual Abuse Issues, Eating Disorders, Coping with the Loss of a Child, and Anxiety.
In October 2006, Laura received the TEAM, Inc. Lillian Chrostowski Award.