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One of Abby Roccapriore’s favorite facets of serving on Clinton’s Human Services Board is seeing how quickly members of the community reach out to their neighbors in need. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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Abby Roccapriore has lived—and been an active participant—in Clinton for more than a decade, though she’s not likely to ever escape her regional roots. Abby is part of the Waterhouse family, which helped found the Town of Chester.
According to the Chester Historical Society website, in 1729 Abraham and Gideon Waterhouse moved to the area that would become Chester and built a small, two-story grist mill, which turned grain into flour.
“It was always something I’ve known and our family would talk about,” Abby says. “Friends in high school would come up and say, ‘We just learned about your grandfather.’”
That history of community involvement is something Abby is perpetuating. She’s currently the vice chair of Clinton’s Human Services Board, a position she enjoys. The board functions as a check and balance for the Human Services Department by keeping track of the budgets and staying abreast of the things the department does to serve the community.
Abby went back to school to get an associates degree in human services, which is where she became involved with the Clinton Youth & Family Services office.
“I did my internship there and I’ve never left,” Abby says.
Abby says her interest in human services stems from her parents, who she describes as “two bleeding heart liberals.” Abby says her parents were always interested in and talking about treating other people fairly, and it rubbed off on her.
“It just makes sense to me to be a good and kind person,” she says.
Abby remarks she’s “proud to use who we are and what we do to push people together.” Abby says that when a situation arises where an individual or a group needs help, different groups of people in town come together to help. That’s something she really enjoys about her work.
“One of the best parts is seeing the Lions Club, or Families Helping Families, just seeing how everyone comes together,” she says.
In addition to the Human Services Board, Abby serves on the PTA (she and Brian are raising their children Rex, Aurora, and Nola in town), the Democratic Town Committee, and an organization that encourages people to vote. Abby got her start volunteering on Clinton’s boards and commissions when her husband Brian recommended that she become involved in the town.
Abby got her start on the Shellfish Commission, which she says, no pun intended, “Helped get my feet wet” in town.
Though she admits she’s not an expert, Abby says that protecting the wetlands is something that’s important to her, so that commission was a natural fit. Community involvement is something in which she wishes she’d have participated more when she was younger.
“If I could do it differently, I’d have done more in high school,” Abby says—though she noted she has been an active voter since she turned 18.
Besides being an active volunteer in town, Abby also owns a small business in Clinton, Shoreline Pallet Design, which helps people create customized wooden signs for home decoration. Abby says she started the business two years ago after a friend talked her into it.
“I always encourage my guests or customers to be creative, it’s fun,” Abby says.
Abby says she’s always been artistically inclined and loves her job, but she does admit a lot of hard work goes into her business that sometimes takes her away from her family.
Abby moved to Clinton in 2007, and says the town has several characteristics that separate it from other places she has lived. Abby says she loves the sense of community that Clinton has, especially compared to her time in New Haven where she says she struggled to meet people.
“It feels so diverse for such a small town,” Abby says. “It has so much of everything sometime you feel like you’re somewhere else.”
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