127 volunteers recognizedfor dedication to Woodbridge
WOODBRIDGE >> Amity High School senior Audrey Grotheer is a high-honors student with an eye toward becoming a doctor some day, but still finds time for so much volunteer work that she has received the First Selectman’s Youth Award.
Grotheer, 17, last year volunteered 80 hours at an Amity summer theater group for youngsters, volunteers at the library for kids’ math and reading programs, and also in programs her mother runs through Woodbridge Youth Services.
“It’s to give back to this community. I just try to help out whenever I can - whenever I have a free minute,” Grotheer said, adding she’s been inspired by her parents’ volunteer initiatives. “It definitely feels good to help other people out and I learn a lot while I’m volunteering.”
Grotheer was among 127 volunteers honored recently at the 28th annual volunteer tea sponsored by Woodbridge Human Services.
Resident Barry Vine, a longtime donor to the senior center and other town initiatives to help those in need, was honored as a “special friend” of Human Services and the Senior Center.
“The attitude of compassion and commitment of all the volunteers brings so much to Woodbridge,” said Mary Ellen LaRocca, director of Human Services.
Other honorees are:
• Elaine Marcucio received an Outstanding Volunteer award from the Human Services Department for her work with seniors, and says it was “awesome,” although she certainly doesn’t do it for recognition.
“They’re so good to me, it’s like having 100 little grandmas,” Marcucio said.
Marcucio worked at the senior lunch program for five years until recently, but after forming friendships there, also spent many volunteer hours, including establishing a program where area businesses donate desserts for lunch.
This year she will head up the 23rd annual holiday fair committee, the senior center’s only fundraiser.
• Dick Zambarano also received an Outstanding Volunteer Award, for service to the senior center, where he volunteers in the kitchen setting tables twice a month.
“He always has a smile on his face and has a very good sense of humor,” Senior Center Director Lee Canning said in a press release. He also bakes bread for the holiday fair and works the tag sale booth.
The Children’s House of Montessori, Beecher Road School kindergarten class, and Kathleen Habersang received Human Services Special Recognition awards.
• The Children’s House of Montessori was honored for its outstanding contribution to the “Adopt a Family” Holiday Basket Program, the release said.
“Each year they place a lit tree in their foyer and the children and their parents bring in beautiful hats, mittens and scarves to be distributed with the December holiday baskets for Woodbridge families in need,” it said.
• Teresa Ramia and Karen Zelem of Beecher Road School, along with their kindergarten class, were honored for “their generous donations of children’s hygiene care items for the food pantry last fall.”
“The children were excited to bring in items that they can relate to,” Ramia said in the release.
• Woodbridge Youth Services honored Amity Middle School science teacher Habersang for her dedication to her students and her “outstanding commitment” as coordinator to the Student Council.
“She has collaborated with Youth Services, the School Climate Committee, Leo Club and the Student Council over the years to bring Awareness Week, prevention and positive youth development programs to students while encouraging her team to collect items for local food pantries,” the release said.