The Riverbrook Regional YMCA has announced that Dr. Susan G. Weinberger and Richard J. Dubow will be the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Citizen Awards. These Awards are presented annually at the YMCA Community Celebration, being held this year at Millstone Farm. Sponsored by Fairfield County Bank, this year’s Farm to Table Event Celebration is on Sunday, Sept. 23.

The Distinguished Citizen Award has been given to over 83 individuals, businesses and organizations since the Community Celebration began in 1986. It honors outstanding volunteers who have been serving our communities on a long-term basis and making a positive difference that benefits Norwalk, Redding and Wilton and its residents.

Through the years, Wilton resident Richard J. Dubow has generously offered his time and talents to serve others in Wilton. “Dick” and his wife Anna Jo moved to Wilton 40 years ago with their five children and had two more children born in Wilton. For almost all that time, Dick has actively served Wilton as a volunteer. As a tireless public servant, Dick has brought his financial and organizational expertise, his insight, and his ability to build consensus around strategic solutions to bear on three of Wilton’s major boards: the Board of Selectman from 1996-1999, and 2011-2017, on the Board of Education from 1979-1987 and 2007-2011, and on the Board of Finance from 1999-2007, where Dick served as chair, and also as vice-chair. During his time on the Board of Finance he was the architect of the pension funding policy by which the Town’s contribution inversely increased as the funding percentage decreased, an achievement that helped reassure Moody’s of Wilton’s AAA credit worthiness.

Dick has actively served on several volunteer town committees often acting as the catalyst to get projects off the ground, such as: the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee, the Cider Mill Building Committee, the Wilton High School Building Committee, the Wilton Retirement and Pension Fund, the Tri-Board Committee to adopt cost-containment strategies, the Land-Use Advisory Committee, the Committee of Six to address the deficit in the Board of Education’s self-funded medical insurance reserve fund, the Wilton Board of Education Program and Facilities Planning Committee.

Many of the skills Dick has brought to his service to the Town of Wilton, he has also brought to his volunteer work in the greater Fairfield County community. Dick is a longtime volunteer for the Jewish Senior Services of Southern Connecticut where he has served as chair of the Board of Trustees, chair of the Investment Committee and vice chairman of the Foundation. Additionally, he has also served on the Board of Trustees for Manhattan Country Day School, served several terms on the Board of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (vice chairman for Legislative Relations), several years on the Board of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as a trustee of the Wilton Historical Society.

Dick serves as an example of an exemplary volunteer filled with modesty in what he accomplished. Dick’s humility is as real as his greatness. He has some unique skills and abilities that he has used in every position in which he has served. He is completely non-partisan and is always able to see a clear way to a solution through a muddy problem. These qualities have made Dick an invaluable volunteer to the Town of Wilton. Wilton is a vibrant community because of people like Dick.

Dr. Susan G. Weinberger (aka “Dr. Mentor”) moved to Norwalk with her husband, Dr. Norman and their two children 47 years ago. Susan’s pioneering efforts in school-based mentoring began in the early 1980s in Norwalk when she developed the Norwalk Mentoring Program for the Norwalk Public Schools – the first school-based mentoring program in the country. Since then, she has been at the forefront of mentoring’s evolutionary growth–as both an educator and an inspirational cheerleader. The guiding principle she established for this program is unchanged: matching students with positive adult role models has a profound impact on the lives of those students. Her work has been published widely and the program she designed has been replicated in the United States, Bermuda and Canada and internationally, impacting the lives of thousands of young people.

Dr. Weinberger’s volunteer contributions to the Greater Norwalk area include leadership board positions on the Norwalk Community College Foundation; Norwalk Mentor Scholarship Fund; former chair of the Board of the United Way of Norwalk & Wilton; former Board member of the Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, CT. She has collaborated with several lower Fairfield County organizations including Person-to-Person (P2P), advancing their Mentoring for Success (M4S) Scholarship program; is the marketing chair for the Carver Center; member of Norwalk ACTS; and former president of the Norwalk Symphony, to name a few. She will chair the 80th anniversary Gala of the Symphony in 2019.

Dr. Weinberger is the former chair of the Public Policy Council of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and is the founding member of its Technical Assistance Corps. She is a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, Health and Human Services, Labor and Justice, as well as to many state-level government agencies involved in mentoring. She is an Honor Roll Trustee of Scholarship America.

Susan won the August F. Serra Community Engagement Award for a Lifetime of Excellence in Community Engagement from the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and the William A. O’Neill Legacy Award from the Governor’s Prevention Partnership in Wethersfield.

In 1993, Dr. Weinberger traveled to the East Room of the White House to receive President Clinton’s coveted Volunteer Action Award for her work in mentoring. Her passion and efforts in this field have made a tremendous difference and is a natural part of her life. For students and mentors alike, the positive experiences gained in her programs inform their interactions with others in the community and, as a result, improve quality of life for us all, thanks to Susan.

The Riverbrook Regional YMCA and Fairfield County Bank will present The Distinguished Citizen Awards at the annual YMCA Community Celebration held on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 at Millstone Farm. For ticket information, contact the Development Office at 203.762.8384, ext. 273 or visit the YMCA website.