Bridgeport domestic violence program honors volunteers
BRIDGEPORT — The Center for Family Justice has named Fairfield residents Debra Kovachi and Amanda Valese its 2020 Beatrice Boucher Volunteers of the Year.
The women were given the honor June 25 at the center’s annual meeting, which was conducted virtually via Facebook due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, the center serves more than 4,500 adult and child victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Clients come from Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.
The volunteering award is given annually to honor the late Beatrice Boucher, a Trumbull resident, who served the center as a volunteer for more than a decade.
“Deb and Amanda each epitomize the best of our outstanding volunteers at The Center for Family Justice,” said Debra A. Greenwood, the center’s president and CEO, in a news release. “Our clients and staff really value their kindness and compassion when working with our clients impacted by trauma. Both women have jumped in to support us in so many meaningful and impactful ways. We’re truly grateful and thrilled they share this honor they deserve.”
Valese, who has been a volunteer for more than three years, first came to the agency as a prospective intern and ended up volunteering at its crisis reception desk twice a week.
When the center created a new crisis navigator role, which allows select volunteers to work directly with clients in crisis, she was the second person to take that position. Valese continues to work at the center several hours each week, even while busy with the demands of a counseling internship at another nonprofit.
Kovachi, the former principal of Monroe Elementary School, began training for her volunteer role at the center before her retirement. She works two shifts a week as a crisis navigator volunteer, making her one of the first people to greet and support victims of domestic and sexual violence who come to the nonprofit’s headquarters seeking crisis services.