By JEN CARDINES
Southington Youth Services (SYS) director Sue Saucier recently retired after 36 years of service with the town. A retirement party in her honor will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Hawk’s Landing Country Club.
Saucier spent numerous years working with the SYS Department in Southington to help young people in the community through different projects. At SYS, Saucier oversaw the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS), counseling services, the Juvenile Review Board, a student job program, and a parent information series.
SYS counselor John Sperduti worked alongside Saucier for 35 years, and he said that she was instrumental in getting the STEPS program off the ground, collaborating with other town officials.
“One of the things I admire is that she has a lot of integrity and provides a lot of leadership,” said Sperduti. In addition, Sperduti was honored to present Saucier with the Laura T. Brown lifetime achievement award this past year.
Through programs such as youth advocacy, Saucier helped shift the focus of SYS toward more preventative measures for youth success, rather than just conflict intervention services.
Saucier helped launch Kristen’s Kloset, an annual drive which helps teens in need get proper prom apparel and tickets. Even those who don’t qualify for free products can get them at very low costs, thanks to the program that was named in honor of a Southington girl who died in a car accident.
She helped create “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” a support group to assist in the transition when grandparents take on a parenting role. Saucier dreamed of the project after witnessing a growing number of grandparents becoming legal guardians.
Sperduti says the program is now run by almost all volunteers, but Saucier was never afraid to roll up her sleeves and help out. That’s Saucier’s biggest legacy: service and hard work.
“She’s never asked us to do something she wouldn’t do herself,” said Sperduti.
Interviews are already underway to find her replacement, but Town Manager Garry Brumback acknowledged that Saucier has left big shoes to fill.
“Sue Saucier has been a community treasure who has dedicated over 30 years of her life to the betterment of our young people,” said Brumback. “Along with working closely with the school district and several community organizations, she was also the driving force behind STEPS. She’s left behind an organization that is positioned to be an asset to our community for years to come.”