Despite the late autumn chill in the air, 21 Pheasant Ct. was filled with excitement Wednesday morning as about three dozen people gathered for the dedication of the Auburn Youth and Family Services center in honor of longtime executive director, Sally D’Arcangelo.
Earlier this year, a proposal was brought before the Auburn Board of Selectmen to name the building Sally D’Arcangelo Center for Auburn Youth & Family Services. The BOS approved the name change, but the secret was kept from D’Arcangelo despite there having to be a public hearing and televised vote on the topic.
Fortunately, there was an AYFS function on the same night the Selectboard took up the motion, so D’Arcangelo was otherwise engaged that evening. Friends and AYFS board members tried to ensure Sally was not watching the meetings on ACTV’s YouTube channel or anything of the sort. Current Board President Scott Wren made the formal announcement at the AYFS annual meeting on October 6, catching D’Arcangelo by surprise, as they had hoped.
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On Wednesday, Sally was excited but relaxed, bouncing between a board meeting and greeting guests as they came into the center. D’Arcangelo has been the Executive Director of Auburn Youth and Family Services for thirty years. In that time, she has become known as the cornerstone of AYFS and a fixture in the Auburn Community. While AYFS does receive some government funding for programming and for the facility itself, most of the AYFS budget comes through donations and fundraising.
Dignitaries including Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury), Town Manager Julie Jacobson, and Selectwoman Doreen Goodrich each spoke to the impact D’Arcangelo has had on the Auburn Community, and how she has become
synonymous with Auburn’s human services scene. Jacobson said to D’Arcangelo – who is approaching retirement – that she’d like to see her around for a long time to come.
“Maybe it should be a rule that if we name a building after someone, they have to stick around for at least ten more years” Jacobson quipped.
State Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn) was unable to attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment, but met with D’Arcangelo later in the day. Frost presented D’Arcangelo with a citation from the Massachusetts House of
Representatives in recognition of the official dedication by the Town of Auburn to rename the AYFS building.
Frost told Auburn Mass Daily in a statement, “The renaming of this facility for Sally D’Arcangelo is an honor she truly deserves from the Town. Her 30 years of service and dedication to AYFS has brought the organization to new heights and has been a beacon of hope for so many families in the community. I remember over 20 years ago when AYFS, the town and state legislators were seeking a state grant to build their own building to provide services. Sally lead that charge and this is truly “The House that Sally Built.” She not only “built it” but created a center for those in the community who need help the most. I congratulate her and her loving family on this honor. I also commend the Auburn Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager for dedicating it in Sally’s name.”