By TAYLOR HARTZ
When Susan Saucier celebrated her 35th anniversary with Southington Youth Services (SYS) in September, she had no idea that she would be celebrating another major milestone before the end of the year.
But just this month, Saucier was awarded the Laura T. Brown Career Achievement award at the Connecticut Youth Services Association annual meeting. The award has been granted for more than 20 years to individuals who have dedicated their careers to serving young populations.
She was recognized at the annual dinner on Oct. 2. John Sperduti, her colleague of 34 years, spoke on behalf of her nomination.
At SYS, Saucier oversees the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS), counseling services, the Juvenile Review Board, a student job program, and a parent information series.
“I think when I became the director we really started to branch out into more positive youth development,” she said.
Since she joined the department, Saucier said that through programs such as youth advocacy, they have begun to focus on more preventative measures for youth success, rather than just conflict intervention services.
Saucier was recognized for the award at the Town Council meeting on Oct. 13, where she received a standing ovation for her dedication to the town’s youth. At the meeting, Town Manager Garry Brumback called her work “nothing short of extraordinary.”
“Your commitment to the town is beyond impressive,” added Councilor Chris Palmieri, who followed Councilor Dawn Miceli’s praise of her efforts to combat vandalism.
Saucier said the most rewarding part of her 26-year career is when former students return to visit, and she is able to see how successful they have become, especially those students who have pursued careers in counseling.
Saucier said she has also enjoyed growing the department over the past few decades and creating lasting collaborative efforts with other departments in town.