AP NEWS

Sablotski dedicates life to at-risk children

May 13, 2019

Underneath her calendar Lynne Sablotski keeps a letter she received from a young man who went through the Children’s Aid Home.

The letter talks about how she never gave up on him and how he is determined to make her proud.

“That is probably one of the greatest rewards, when you hear from ex-residents,” she said.

Sablotski, the home’s executive director, never thought her career would lead her to the Children’s Aid Home.

“I always knew I wanted to work with kids,” she said.

Thinking she would be a teacher, she started as a substitute. In 1996 she applied to be a youth care worker at the home.

“When I accepted the position, I thought it would be temporary,” she said.

But Sablotski fell in love with the agency.

“It is so rewarding,” she said. “I knew in three months I wouldn’t go back to teaching. It just felt like it was where I was meant to be — helping at-risk kids.”

It wasn’t long before she transitioned to a special needs adoption care worker.

It was during that time she was approached by then-Executive Director Pat Stone about going back to school to receive her master’s degree. She was then promoted to director of foster care and adoption and, in 2001, she was named the associate director under Bob Miller. When Miller became president of the foundation, she was named executive director in December 2009.

(See SABLOTSKI, A7)

Her job has several challenges. She said financial support is always a concern.

“We are blessed with a community that supports our finances when we need it,” she said.

Other challenges include making sure the children are getting the right level of care. She said finding the right employees is also key.

“It can be hard finding quality workers who are here because of the mission, not because of a paycheck,” she said. “Workers that want to dedicate their lives to at-risk children.”

Sablotski said that she works to understand the backgrounds of the children. Having grown up in a healthy environment, it surprised her that not all children have a healthy home life.

“The need is so great, and you see you are making a huge impact,” she said.

Sablotski grew up in Summerhill. She has lived in Somerset County since 1993.

She is active in the Relay For Life. Losing both her parents to cancer, she served as an ambassador. She also volunteers with Power in Purple, which is a group of community leaders that advocates for relay money.

“That’s what brings me joy,” she said about her volunteer work.

She has a 24-year-old daughter who lives in Pittsburgh and a 19-year-old son who just started his own carpentry business.

“They are my greatest blessings,” she said.

She also enjoys anything outdoors such as disc golf, fishing and kayaking.

Sablotski said she works to make sure the community understands what they do in the home.

“We always give tours,” she said. “We have folks have host meetings here just so they can have an in-depth look at my team and the kids.”

The home has a group home where the children reside in the home, a foster care program, adoption and three different educational programs.

Sablotski said that although she is an administrator, she makes time to stay connected to the children.

“I really have to make time with them so it is always fresh in my mind why I am doing what I am doing,” she said.