Youth Leaders Begin Allocations Process

Youth Leaders helping with VUW's new home

Youth Leaders brightening the holidays

Silver Award for Youth Leadership Program

The Youth Leadership Program received the Silver Award from the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce. The Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce established this program in 1971 for the purpose of recognizing and honoring dedicated and outstanding community service. The Silver Medal is presented to volunteer groups, partnerships or individuals that have made singular extraordinary contributions to the community.

Valley United Way would also like to congratulate the other award winners this year:

Gold Seal: Randy Ritter
Gold Seal: Suzanne Reilly
Gold Seal: Naomi Wallace
Platinum Award: Norman Santa

The awards were be presented at a banquet on November 3.


Youth Leaders served as hosts for Campaign Kickoff 2011

Youth leaders took the lead in managing the stocking of the shelves at Harvest House IV

Youth Leaders are helping with the Back to School Project

Youth Leaders Receive Professional Development Training

Mary Jane Paris in action! 

Youth Leaders benefitted from the insight and expertise of a leadership and professional development pro. Mary Jane Paris, commonly referred to as MJ, serves as the president of Positive Impact Consulting Services. She provided a seminar for our Youth Leaders and the experience the kids had will last a lifetime.

She spoke about various professional development skills that will help Youth Leaders in their personal and professional lives for years to come. MJ touched on many topics that included: time management, leadership skills, the importance of planning, how to efficiently multi-task and establishing a work and school life balance. Youth Leaders will need the skills learned in this seminar on the road to allocations, where members will have to learn about the needs and concerns of the community and decide on how they chose to provide assistance.

Patricia Tarasovic, Director of Valley United Way’s Volunteer Center, said, “Valley United Way’s Youth Leaders have benefitted from MJ’s expertise for five consecutive years. We greatly appreciate her involvement in our Youth Leadership Program. Her points continue to be very well received by the Youth Leaders and they will put this knowledge to good use in their academic, professional and personal lives.”

Youth Leaders Assist in Center Stage Relocation

Youth Leaders additionally lent a hand in assisting Center Stage relocate. About 15 members working under the supervision of Youth Leadership Junior Advisor and past Co-President, Colleen Holt, joined up with Fran Scarpa, Executive Artistic Director at Center Stage, and her crew to move equipment from the Bridgeport Ave location to their new location in Shelton. 

Fran Scarpa of Center Stage said, “These young men and women are exceptional volunteers and we are very appreciative of their help. We hope to have the Youth Leadership members as ushers for future performances and we have cordially invited them to attend a summer performance.”   

Members of Valley United Way’s Youth Leadership Program continue to serve as excellent ambassadors to the Valley community.

The class of 2011 helping at the 2011 Letter Carriers Food Drive

Click on video to see highlights from Camp Jewell

Click here for more pictures from Camp Jewell

Click here for the students own stories

Valley United Way's Youth Leadership Program's 22nd year began on Thursday, March 31 with a meeting for students and parents held at Valley United Way. This year's program includes 30 students from eight different high schools in the area. The program strives to develop teens into future community leaders by educating them on the areas of need in the Valley, the importance of nonprofit agencies and the role volunteerism plays in addressing those needs.

The students first formal activity was a weekend team-building retreat at Camp Jewell, a YMCA outdoor center in Colebrook, CT on April 8-10. This retreat is an experience designed to bring the group together as a team for the first time. They are given a dynamic hands-on learning experience that emphasizes development in trust, leadership, confidence and communication. Throughout the year, Youth Leaders will receive additional training from corporate community members, which includes workshops in diversity, problem solving and decision making, interview skills and public speaking. Youth Leaders will also participate in various community service activities throughout the duration of the program.    

Youth Leaders conduct a needs assessment survey each fall to evaluate requests for programs and services aimed specifically at assisting youth. Once the results are compiled and the needs identified, requests for proposals are sent to all nonprofits in the community, which appeal for funding and cost estimates required to facilitate these programs and services. Youth Leadership members evaluate the proposals and distribute funding as part of their formal allocation process at the end of the year. Youth Leaders have allocated more than $50,000 since the program first began.

  • Caitlin Baker
    Sacred Heart
  • Alexander Barnard
    Holy Cross
  • Ashley Benoit
  • Hudson Boles
  • Christine Buswell
  • Talia Cirillo
  • Christina Cretella
  • Jessica DeFelice
  • Cristina Disorbo
    Sacred Heart
  • Elia D'Onofrio
  • Lisette Garcia
  • Tim Garrity
  • Billy Holt
  • Samantha Kalafut
  • Sukhmeet Kohli
  • Jake Komar
    Notre Dame, West Haven
  • Jake Lapinsky
  • Abigail Lynch
  • Caitlin Malloy
    Sacred Heart
  • Brienne Marks
  • Jennifer Mezzquelle
    Notre Dame, Fairfield
  • Daniel Mott
  • Louis Nicoletti
  • Meghan Poole
  • Travis Pyka
  • Kevin Saksa
  • Emma Bee Schwarz
  • Kelsey Sullivan
  • Aleksandra Szczesna
  • Zach Volo

2011 Youth Leaders

Valley United Way is the leading philanthropic resource for the Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton matching the needs of the community and the interests of donors to improve the quality of life in the community. United Way supports and creates initiatives addressing youth, families and people in crisis. Each year Valley United Way funds programs and organizations that make a measurable difference in the lives of people living and working in the Valley.


If you have questions about the Youth Leadership Program call Pat Tarasovic at Valley United Way at 203-926-9478or e-mail at

The Youth Leadership Program is made possible through the generous support of the Raymond P. Lavietes Foundation which provides core funding.

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