Community Service Alumni Award
Class of 2009, AS Human Services
Class of 2013, BS Child Study
“I didn't believe in myself, but Goodwin changed that.”
Carley Durkin graduated from Goodwin College with an associate degree in Human Services in 2009 and a bachelor’s degree in Child Study in 2013. Community-focused and civic-minded, Durkin takes advantage of every chance to volunteer and make a difference.
While Durkin was in the Human Services program, her internship with Hockanum Valley Community Council introduced her to many opportunities to serve the community. She continued to volunteer at their soup kitchen even after her internship was complete.
Having earned her Human Services degree, Durkin next enrolled in Goodwin’s Child Study program. While completing her bachelor’s degree, she was instrumental in bringing a Tabs for Tots program to Goodwin. Tabs for Tots is a national initiative in which aluminum soda can tabs are collected and turned into cash grants that are distributed to medical facilities to finance equipment or medical needs for children. The collection is still taking place at the College.
Through another internship at Goodwin, Durkin began volunteering at the Ellington Therapy Riding Center, which provides occupational therapy services to children and adults with autism, sensory processing disorders, cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, visual-motor deficits, upper extremity weakness and traumatic brain injury. Assisted and encouraged by volunteers, individuals with these challenges use horseback riding to improve their skills associated with physical, emotional, social or mental health disabilities. Inspired by the work of the Center, Durkin organized a successful fundraiser, devoting many hours of service to coordinate music, raffles, and food. Proceeds from the event made it possible for riders to continue their therapy.
Durkin’s other contributions to the community are considerable. She rescues cats and assists at cat shows by cleaning up after the show and promoting raffles to benefit abandoned cats. Durkin is also a passionate advocate for the environment. Every year, she plants a tree and works hard to encourage recycling. In continuing her environmental advocacy, she has established recycling programs in every classroom she works in and incorporates the importance of recycling and conserving in her lesson plans.
Durkin now works in the Ellington school system as a paraprofessional. Ellington has a “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” program designed to maintain a safe school environment, maximize academic success, and improve students’ behavior by rewarding them with redeemable prize tickets and trinkets. Durkin helps coordinate — and makes donations — to the prizes for students, making sure that they are appropriate to the program.
In addition, Durkin coordinates donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s premiere youth mentoring organization. While in school, Durkin acknowledged Goodwin teacher Christina Deptulski as someone who invoked confidence in her. Deptulski made her feel like she could succeed in school and beyond. s
Durkin embodies Goodwin’s mission of giving back by making significant contributions to the community through her service work.