Making A Difference: Kate Sikorski, Ledyard Youth Services Director

Ledyard Youth Services Director Kate Sikorski calmly manages her many responsibilities with a little bit of help from an unlikely source: Lola, her family’s nine-year-old pit bull.

Lola provides a soothing presence for the individuals and families who turn to Sikorski for town-sponsored mental and behavioral health services that are in ever-higher demand.

“Lola is definitely a benefit,” Sikorski smiled. “She makes people more comfortable.”

Sikorski, who has a Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, is currently the president of AFSCME Local 818-045, representing Ledyard Town Supervisors. With nearly 11 years of experience in Ledyard, she is deeply committed to improving life for children and parents alike.

“Our department can make a substantial and long-lasting change in people’s lives,” Sikorski reflected. “We are helping families and strengthening their support system so they can make good decisions. We can intervene to keep kids from entering the [juvenile justice] system.”

Under Sikorski’s direction, Ledyard Youth Service provides a wide array of services, both in-school and office-based. Programs run the gamut from anger management and bullying prevention to dealing with divorce and effective parenting.

Sikorski has seen many changes in her profession since coming to Ledyard. “The state is putting more responsibility on youth service bureaus,” she observed. “There’s a lot more that I do today than when I took this job [in 2009].”

Unlike other neighboring towns, Ledyard’s Youth Services has no staff beyond the Director’s position. However, the department is an internship site for Masters-level clinicians. “We could not provide the service we do without our interns,” Sikorski said.

Recognizing that her responsibilities had vastly changed – and that in contrast to other towns, she was a “one-person department” with no paid staff – Sikorski and Council 4 Staff Representative Scott Soares worked with town officials to modernize her job description and upgrade her pay.

As a result, the parties reached a memorandum of understanding at the end of 2018 that updates the Youth Services Director’s duties and boosts the position’s salary by a total 18% (including general wage increases) over three years.

“I would not have had the confidence to pursue this without the help of Council 4,” Sikorski observed. “It was helpful to have the support of Scott and the members of our union.”

Sikorski embodies the best in public service, according to Soares.

“Kate is a great advocate for the families of Ledyard. She’s taken on more responsibilities and has grown the program to the point where it’s a major part of the town’s mission,” he said.

We thank Kate Sikorski for embodying AFSCME’s “Never Quit” attitude when it comes to serving her clients and her community.