Gary Lavallee – Now and Then: A Community Like No OtherDecember 10, 2018
As one of the organization’s longest-tenured employees, Gary Lavallee has story upon story about his experiences at Spaulding Youth Center. After graduating from Springfield College with a double major in Psychology and Community Leadership Development, Gary began his career in health care and was inspired by the recently developed behavior modification approach. After two friends and colleagues accepted positions at Spaulding Youth Center, Gary decided to visit the campus and never looked back.
In over 42 years, Gary has worn many hats at Spaulding Youth Center. Originally hired as a Cottage Teacher (now called a Residential Counselor) in 1977, he was then promoted to Cottage Supervisor. From there, Gary progressed onto Administrative Director, Residential Director and Special Assistant to the CEO. Currently, Gary is the Residential Training Coordinator and is infamous for his depth and breadth of historical institutional knowledge.
When he first began his journey at Spaulding, Gary remembers that staff was very focused on building positive relationships with the children they served – an aspect that is still at the core of its mission and values to this day. Even after all these years, Gary feels that Spaulding continues to provide an invaluable service to children and their families. He has had the distinct pleasure of coordinating campus visits for former students, some over fifty years old, who share both their positive childhood memories and resulting successes. To Gary, these visits are a testament to the special people who work here and their dedication to the children.
Spaulding Youth Center is also more than just Gary’s place of employment. Not only did he meet his wife on campus, but his son, Garrett, also works at Spaulding as the Special Education Coordinator. Gary is proud that Garrett continues his legacy within the organization – a legacy that consists of positivity, hard work and dedication to improve the lives of the children enrolled at Spaulding. Gary is also proud to be a part of the expansive network of Spaulding alumni, some who have dedicated their career to Spaulding and others who moved onto significant community or state-level positions.
In his spare time, Gary enjoys golfing, reading and spending time with his family, including a son, a daughter, one grandson and one granddaughter.