MIDDLEBURY — Doumina Noonan is a prime example of the adage that one doesn’t necessarily follow the career path one charts in college.
Noonan originally went to college to earn a degree in business administration. But more than two decades later, she has established herself as a leader in child care services in Addison County, a career that last week earned her statewide recognition.
“It was purely by accident,” she said of her career, which included a 15-year stint as director of the Otter Creek Child Center.
Since 2004, Noonan has worked as the protective services/family support specialist for Addison County Child Care Services, through which she provides services to some of the area’s most troubled and needy families. It is for this work that Noonan received, on Nov. 17, a 2009 Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) Award, given to “individuals, work teams, and organizations from outside of state government who work closely with the agency to serve and support Vermonters.”
It’s an award that recognizes “extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of Vermont citizens.” Winners exemplify the agency’s priorities of “excellent customer service, holistic service delivery, strength-based relationships and results-oriented practice,” according to an AHS press release.
In addition to her duties with Addison County Child Care Services, Noonan works part-time at the Addison County Parent-Child Center, working with young families and children with social, emotional and mental health needs. She’s also the former head of the Otter Creek Child Care Center.
Noonan conceded she was surprised to hear she had won the AHS award, an honor she believes must be shared with the many other people who look after children’s needs in the county.
“I view this work like putting together a quilt for a family,” Noonan said. “All of us have to work together to make that quilt whole.
“I think we are really fortunate in Addison County for the compassion people bring to their work,” she added.
Nominations for the awards were solicited from the AHS field service directors in each of the 12 human service districts in Vermont.
Noonan, a Cornwall resident, was specifically lauded for being a dedicated and passionate voice for children and families.
“Since she first came to Addison County, Doumina has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of local children,” reads an AHS statement accompanying her award. “Her calm, even demeanor belies an underlying will of steel and resolve to ensure that every child has the best start possible.”