The Valley Council for Health and Human Services held its 24th Annual Meeting at Brownson Country Club in Shelton. Jennifer DeLeon-Prutting, was awarded the Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award and Joesph A. Pagliaro Jr. the Richard O. Belden Community Service Award.
Jennifer joined the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley when she was eight years old. It was immediately apparent to all that Jen was an incredible individual. She quickly became an active participant in many of the activities, excelling in our youth leadership programs when she was old enough to join them. Jen’s sincere kindness and eagerness to help others landed her the role of president in both Torch Club and then Keystone Club, where her hard work, innovative ideas, and creative talents led her group to many accolades.
In 2005 Jen was named Youth of the Year, exemplifying all the qualities the award stands for and more while remaining a humble, genuine individual. Through the years Jen has become an integral part of the Boys & Girls Club, securing a position as one of our elite counselors and eventually joining the full-time staff. Jen has always shared her skills, sincere advocacy of children, and the importance of the ability to multi-task. She is currently the Unit Director of the Raymond P. Lavietes Unit, where she successfully and effectively manages staff, membership, and programs while creating a positive relationship with parents and community leaders.
As a licensed social worker, Jen is well aware that advocating for middle school children brings some unique challenges. This age group must navigate their way through a confusing and often awkward time, and Jen provides encouragement and practical assistance for members who struggle with a variety of concerns. It seems she is always able to make the necessary adjustments in her counseling methods and techniques to successfully assist these members. Jen stretches beyond what is required, and the end result is always more than what was imagined. Jen puts in endless hours with her teens, leading by example to teach them what Keystone Club and Youth of the Year truly mean. She unstintingly shares her skills and expertise, modeling good citizenship for her young charges. Jen’s desire is to give each of them the fullest Boys & Girls Club experience.
Jen’s goal is to provide a safe haven for members and parents. Just by doing what she does every day, she touches the lives of all the kids who walk through the door—guiding them, leading them, teaching them. With her unique social work experience, Jen is able to bridge the gap of kids and parents needing something but not knowing what that something is.
The Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellent Award is presented 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. The award is named in honor of Lewis Savitsky, a long-time employee of Valley United Way who was active not only with Valley United Way, but also with multiple groups in the community.
Joe Pagliaro Jr.’s involvement with the community began with the Shelton Board of Education, the Parent Child Resource Center, and Junior Achievement Valley Division. Following his father’s death in 2004, Joe joined our Board of Directors and never looked back. When he was approached in 2013 to be Board President, he accepted without hesitation, happy to serve our kids in any way he could. Since then Joe has served on our personnel, executive, and development committees, and is now in the midst of his second term as Board President. He’s been a generous supporter of our Back-a- Kid annual appeal each year, as well as our annual Service to Youth Awards. In addition to his support of our Club, he’s continued his service with the Valley United Way, the Valley Community Foundation, the Gift of Life Foundation, St. Lawrence Parish Council, St. Joseph’s High School, The Recreation Camp, Griffin Hospital, and St. Catherine Academy. Joe served as our Board president for his full two-year term, and was serving as Chairman of the Board when our organization found itself without a Board President. Joe graciously accepted the position of President again without a second thought, regardless of the time commitment it required. Joe has literally never said no to the club.
The Richard O. Belden Community Award is for an individual or organization whose efforts have made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of residents in the Lower Naugatuck Valley. It is presented in honor of the late State Representative Richard O. Belden and his standards of ethics and community involvement.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, please visit us at www.BGC-LNV.org.