For her outstanding service to young people in her care, to
the community and to her school, Lucille Ruggiero of Middletown has been named
Foster Grandparent of the Year by Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters —
Connecticut’s premier youth mentoring organization.
Ruggiero, 90, received the award at Nutmeg’s annual Foster Grandparent Recognition Luncheon, held recently at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford. The award was presented to her by the event’s emcee, former state Senator Edith G. Prague, currently Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department on Aging.
Ruggiero has been a major asset to the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters Foster Grandparent Program since joining it in 1991. For all of these 22 years she’s been stationed at Middletown’s Wesley Elementary School, where she’s made a lasting impact on students, teachers and school administrators.
“I can’t imagine not having Mrs. Ruggiero on hand to assist me with my classes,” said Ann Anderson, a kindergarten teacher at the Wesley School.
“With her wonderfully calming disposition and her way of sparking their interest in learning, she’s very much loved and respected by current and past students and everybody she comes into contact with day in and day out. She’s invaluable to me.”
“We’re honored to present Mrs. Ruggiero with our Foster Grandparent of the Year Award,” said Andy Fleischmann, President and CEO of Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Her positive personality, commitment and advocacy for the intellectual and social growth of young people have made her a legend with many, many Middletown residents and educators.
Ruggiero inspires not only her students at the Wesley School, she inspires all of us at Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. And that includes me.”
The Foster Grandparent Program is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. It’s offered and managed locally by Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The mission of the Foster Grandparent Program is to address and alleviate the problems of young people and to enrich the lives of lower income older people by making it possible for qualified adults to participate in meaningful learning and bonding relationships with primary and elementary-aged schoolchildren.
The program offers Foster Grandparents (senior mentors) 20 hours a week of work with a tax-free stipend and travel reimbursement.
There are 52 seniors taking part in Nutmeg’s Foster Grandparent Program. They serve primarily in schools and daycare centers throughout the region.