By Jeff LaBonte

Auburn Youth and Family Services announced their annual awards on Wednesday, October 5, at the organization’s annual meeting. Each year, AYFS gives the Children’s Friend Award and the Ben Masterman Business Community Service Award.

The Auburn Children’s Friend Award is given to a person that has had a major impact on the lives of children in Auburn.  The individual has committed many volunteer hours at Auburn Youth and Family Services to improve the quality of many children’s lives.  The individual is active in many other civic organizations, and exemplifies charitable giving from deep in their heart.

Previous recipients of the Children’s Friend Award are Hilda Healy, Martha Pappas, Karen Dumas, Bill and Liz Gribbons, Frank Herberg, Dave and Vicki McLaughlin, Ronald Valerio, Ben and Linda Masterman, Sally D’Arcangelo, Robert Moffatt, Reverend Robert and Lee Fenby, Ray & Sue Butler, Jon & Sally Heaney, Norman LaFlash, and Maureen Kennedy.

This year, the Children’s Friend Award went to John Lynch, a retired paramedic and dedicated AYFS volunteer over the years. Unfortunately, Lynch is dealing with some health issues and was unable to attend the meeting. His daughter Jackie Lynch accepted the award on his behalf.

“He wants you to know how much this award means to him” Ms. Lynch said while accepting the award.

Rocco Morano, an AYFS Advisory Board member presented the award, called Lynch a wonderful human being.

“John is a man of integrity” said Morano. “You can always count on him. He is a man of his word.”

Lynch was a former officer of the AYFS Board of Directors.

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The Ben Masterman Business Community Service Award is given to a business that exemplifies the spirit of giving demonstrated by the late Ben Masterman and his company, Masterman’s. The award was established in 2013 to honor Ben Masterman, who passed away in June 2013. Previous recipients of the award are Masterman’s, Chuck’s Steak House, and Park ‘N Shop.

This year’s recipient is the Auburn Public School system. Tod Masterman presented the award.

Said Masterman, “Auburn Public Schools do so much to support the community. They sure win a lot of awards; we make a lot of jackets for them every year.”

Accepting the award on behalf of APS was Superintendent Dr. Maryellen Brunelle.

“The APS team appreciated the recognition” said Dr. Brunelle. “What is important is the partnerships like the one we [APS] have with AYFS that enable such support for youth but also for families.”

Senator Michael O. Moore presented a Senate proclamation to both Auburn Public Schools and to John Lynch in recognition of their accomplishments. Of AYFS, Senator Moore stated “People often associate people of need with Worcester, not realizing the need in the surrounding suburban communities.” Sen. Moore added, “We need these kinds of partnerships, and the APS-AYFS partnership is a strong one.”

State Representative Paul Frost also presented proclamations from the Massachusetts Legislature.

“AYFS does so much for those who need the most” said Representative Frost. “One thing everyone can agree on is the great work done by AYFS”.

In other Annual Meeting business, AYFS Executive Director, Sally D’Arcangelo announced that 22 year Board member, Robert Moffatt would be stepping down, though he will remain on the Advisory Board. D’Arcangelo presented Moffatt with a jacket embroidered with the new AYFS logo in appreciation of his years of service.

AYFS Vice President Ralph Capaldi announced the fiscal 2017 annual appeal, with a fundraising goal of $55,000.

“We have a new tagline, ‘Strong Families, Thriving Community” said Capaldi. “This is our community and these are our children. We need to help them any way we can.”

You can support AYFS by donating through their web page at, or by getting involved as a volunteer. For more information, contact Sally D’Arcangelo, Executive Director, at 508-832-5707, ext. 11.