Not many people begin volunteering at the young age of six, but that is exactly what Lauren Attenello, an alumna of Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) did. Her commitment to seniors at Kettlebrook Care Center was rewarded at the age of 14 when she was named Connecticut’s Volunteer of the Year. Originally from Enfield, Attenello volunteered at that young age, at the skilled nursing facility, to help the Recreation Department during every school vacation, holiday, or snow day. “When they nominated me, it was a surprise. It was such an honor to earn the award, knowing how many people I had impacted,” said Attenello. “It never felt like work because I enjoyed volunteering so much. That is when I realized that geriatrics was the right field to enter into.”
Fast forward to 2014 when decisions needed to be made for college and Attenello was inspired by her mother who was an alumna of Asnuntuck, and decided to attend the same college and follow her mother’s footsteps.
Attenello earned an Associate Degree in Human Services from Asnuntuck, along with certificates in Human Services Management and Gerontology. Her educational journey continued when she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Goodwin College and was the Valedictorian for her class. It didn’t end there. She returned to the classroom at Manchester Community College (MCC) and earned an Associate Degree in Therapeutic Recreation.
She took full advantage of what was offered to her and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was inducted into Tau Upsilon Alpha (the National Honor Society in Human Services). She also won the outstanding graduate award in Therapeutic Recreation at MCC.
Now a resident of East Windsor, Attenello is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. She is the Memory Care Manager at Stonebrook Village of Windsor Locks. “I started as the Memory Care Activity Coordinator but was promoted into this position during COVID.” She added, “COVID was a unique experience for all of us. I had to step in and assist doing CNA work during that time, which allowed me to gain respect from my co-workers.” She continued, “While going to school I was also a Therapeutic Recreation Director at Fresh River Healthcare in East Windsor and have been there for almost 6 years part-time.” She is also certified in Parkinson’s Disease Awareness and a part of the Connecticut Association of Therapeutic Recreation Directors.
Want to learn more about Asnuntuck? Next Step Saturday will be held on Saturday, July 10th. Visit Asnuntuck.edu/nextstepsaturday/.
ACC grad Lauren Attenello serves as EGIS Memory Care Manager at Stone Brook Village in Windsor Locks. Photo by Julie Cotnoir