White set to continue senior center's excellence
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Feb. 22, 2013
Bringing a broad wealth of social services experience, Patti White is set to take the reins of the Glastonbury Senior Center after Maryleah Skoronski retires on Feb. 28. White had begun work in Glastonbury Nov. 28, working with Skoronski on the transition as she becomes the senior center coordinator.
White started her service career in Orange County, Calif., as an AmeriCorp VISTA (Volunteers in Service To America) volunteer, and became interested in the systems that provide services to people who need them. She became a director of community resources for a community action agency and dealt with everything from food pantries, to housing and fuel assistance services.
VISTA brought her to Connecticut, where she worked with the Naugatuck Valley Project – a coalition of churches, labor groups and community groups – working to improve social services. She later became the organizing director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and the Immaculate Conception Children and Housing Corporation in Hartford as its executive director, before becoming the director of the Colchester Senior Center.
“I've been across the spectrum and seen that people at different places in their lives need different supports,” White said, adding that she sees the opportunity in Glastonbury as a challenge, as well as a chance to see how resources are allocated to seniors' needs in Connecticut and the country, as the aging population changes.“It's figuring out how all the pieces come together,” she said.
White also said she accepts the challenge of continuing the “incredible job” Skoronski had done with the programming at the center. “I hope to continue the excellent programming folks have come to expect,” she said, “and to look at what gaps in services, or unidentified needs, have evolved in recent history or will evolve, and to try to address those through programming that fits.”
As her position is somewhat reconfigured from Skoronski's, White will also oversee more of the administration, and she will also be hiring more programming staff. Working with Skoronski, she said, has been amazing.
“She's so organized,” White said. “She has an amazing amount of institutional knowledge at the tip of her tongue. She's been sharing her 'trade secrets' as she's handing the baton over.”
White said she loves the Riverfront Community Center facility and the support from the community and the town itself for the Glastonbury seniors. Her hope is to get to know the seniors on a personal level, as well as the community, and to make sure the center is connected to what is happening elsewhere and with evidence-based programming.
“There's a lot of rich history here,” White said.