UNDER 40 AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Sacha Santimano likes making a difference. The 30-year-old teacher and head women’s basketball coach at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy said making an impact on the young lives in her charge “makes me enjoy waking up and coming to work every day.”
Chad Puclowski, 32, of Hanover, has been a campus minister and science teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood for the past seven years. “It’s rewarding to see the transformation over four years, the progression as they grow and mature,’’ he said. “It’s a blessing and a gift.”
For their efforts in their jobs and for their community involvement, Santimano, Puclowski, and 38 other professionals under the age of 40 are being honored at the third annual “40 Under 40 Awards” gala Sept. 28 at Siros on the Boardwalk at Marina Bay in Quincy. The award is sponsored by Stars in Weymouth, a nonprofit that runs early education and youth development programs on the South Shore. It was started in 1970 as South Shore Day Care Services.
Santimano said she was surprised “in a good way” by being named as an award winner. Her community involvement includes volunteering and serving with youth programs such as Special Olympics, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Ronald McDonald House. She is also a member of the Air Force Reserve.
“It feels pretty awesome to have the opportunity to make an impact on these kids’ lives, not for me personally, but for Eastern Nazarene College, to get our name out there and let everyone know we’re trying to make things happen,” said Santimano, a native of Kansas and second-year teacher and coach at the school.
Puclowski’s volunteer activities include being a mentor for Xaverian’s Christian Senior Service program and leading school service projects in West Virginia, New Orleans, Ecuador, and Mexico. He’s also worked with Catholic Charities in Syracuse, N.Y., assisting with refugee resettlement.
He is an Xaverian grad, class of 1998, and said giving back to the school isn’t unusual, adding, “We have a high number of alumni here, 15 or 20 of us in a 70-person faculty.”
The gala in Quincy will be hosted by Sorboni Banarjee, FOX 25 Morning News anchor, and is chaired by Chet Curtis, longtime Boston news anchor, now with NECN. Tickets are $100 each; for more information and a list of all those chosen for the honor, visit www.40under40stars.org or call 781-331-8505.
The gala started as a celebration of Stars’ 40th anniversary, said Gwen Tarbox, director of resource development at Stars who started as a volunteer 20 years ago. This year’s award winners include teachers, medical professionals, business executives, small-business owners, sports coaches, and theater founders. “It was so well-received, we decided to continue it,” Tarbox said. “It’s important to try to recognize younger civic-minded individuals who chose to not only live and work on the South Shore, but contribute by serving community-based organizations.”
SPECIAL ED GROUP STARTS: State Representative Thomas J. Calter, 12th Plymouth District, a resident of Kingston, and Silver Lake Regional School District Superintendent John Tuffy have started the Kingston Special Education Working Group, which meets monthly to share information on state and federal special education rules and the challenges they present locally.
The group started meeting in July at the Kingston Town Hall . The public is invited to attend all meetings, which will feature information and speakers.
“We felt there was a need for people to understand the intricacies of the special education regulations and the impact it has on the community,” Calter said.
For more information, call his district office at 508-732-0033.
NORWELL HIGH LANDS GRANT: Norwell High School was one of 15 youth sports organizations and schools nationwide to land a $2,500 grant from the Responsible Sports program, created in 2007 by Liberty Mutual Insurance with Positive Coaching Alliance.
Norwell High rallied its community to join in an online course on mentoring and responsibility in youth sports for coaches and parents at www.responsiblesports.com.
Each course completed earned a credit for the school, enabling it to have among the highest levels of participation based on population size. The school will use the grant to support its girls hockey program, according to Liberty Mutual officials.
As schools face budget crunches, they need to find other sources of money, said Rita Daddio, a saleswoman in Liberty Mutual’s Hingham office, adding that “Norwell High School has shown the commitment and dedication to the ideals promoted through youth sports, which is why today we award them much-needed funding that will help them continue to provide responsible sports environments for Norwell kids.”
FOOD PANTRY GETS A BOOST: Quincy’s Interfaith Social Services has received a $15,000 grant from the State Street Foundation to support its Pantry Shelf food program, as well as to support an innovative program that teaches life skills to food pantry clients, said Rick Doane, the nonprofit agency’s executive director.
Last year, the agency piloted the “Learning Pantry” program to share life skills and nutritional education workshops with clients, Doane said. “The response from presenters and participants has been incredibly positive. Many professionals in our community have life skills they want to voluntarily share but they have no outlet to do so.”