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July 11, 2020
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Whether it’s ensuring those struggling through addiction have the resources they need, or making sure the members of the Morgan School Class of 2020 know the community is there for them, Erin Gaudet is first in line to get things done. Photo courtesy of Erin Gaudet

Whether it’s ensuring those struggling through addiction have the resources they need, or making sure the members of the Morgan School Class of 2020 know the community is there for them, Erin Gaudet is first in line to get things done. (Photo courtesy of Erin Gaudet )

Erin Gaudet: Supporting Students Through It All

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Erin Gaudet woke up one morning in April and knew she had to do something. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, it was unclear how The Morgan School would handle graduation, but Erin knew she wanted to find a way to honor the seniors in some way.

After talking with a coworker at the Guilford Fire Department, Erin became aware an idea other town were doing called adopt a senior. The way it works is simple: First, Erin started a Facebook page called “Adopt a Morgan Class of 2020 Senior” and in the group people posted a small biography about each senior including their hobbies, interesting tidbits, future plans, etc. Next, other members of the community then pledged to adopt that senior.

“In exactly one month after starting the page, on May 29, every single kid in the class was adopted,” says Erin.

Once adopted, periodically the seniors have been surprised with small gifts and signs of acknowledgment from their adoptive families. So far seniors have been gifted anything from cards to surprise decorations on their front lawn to baskets containing gift cards or apparel from their future schools.

“The kids have all been ecstatic about the gifts,” Erin says.

Since Erin started the page, The Morgan School was able to come up with a plan for a physical graduation ceremony. As for the adopt a senior program, the kids have been purposely kept in the dark about who adopted them, and Erin says she the answers will be revealed to them during the week of their graduation.

“The fact these kids have been shown they’re cared for and not forgotten is a town wide achievement,” says Erin.

Pitching in to help the Clinton community isn’t new for Erin. Erin has been volunteering her time for various causes in the schools such as project graduation and book fairs to community endeavors such as Partners in Community.

One area that is important to Erin is helping to curb youth substance abuse.

She says she has a passion for making sure the kids “go down the right path” and that they have access to “an adult who won’t judge them,” Erin says.

Erin reveals she was inspired to do this work after watching two of her siblings struggle with addiction in her youth.

“All my life I saw my brother and sister struggle with addiction and people didn’t believe it was something that happens in Madison and not just the inner cities,” says Erin.

The struggle her siblings had with being accepted by the community helped push Erin to work to make sure others in the same boat in her community have resources to help. In high school, Erin began volunteering her time as a peer advocate and with a group aimed at stopping youth substance abuse.

“I’m really passionate about substance abuse in teens. I’m a huge advocate for kids making the right decisions,” says Erin.

For the last few months, Erin has been serving as the chair for the Clinton Human Services Advisory Board. The board oversees the Human Services Department and reviews what programs are working and which ones aren’t. The board also hears from the department about what kinds of resources are being used.

“Right now with COVID, it’s huge with social services and seeing what’s going on,” Erin says. “There are so many different programs in town that are looking for volunteers,” she adds.

For work, Erin is the executive administrative assistant to the fire chief in the Guilford Fire Department.

“I do work with the billing, ambulances, and lots of office work,” Erin says.

Erin has been with the department for about six years. Prior to that she had been a stay-at-home mom, a special ed paraprofessional in the schools, and a sub. However, as her own children got older, she found she missed the office environment. Erin says she enjoys interacting with the firemen and EMTs.

“My favorite part of the job is hearing about their successes from saving a life to rescuing a duckling out of a catch basin,” says Erin.

Erin grew up in Madison and has lived in Clinton for more than 20 years.

“My husband grew up in Clinton and when it was time to buy a house, we knew we wanted to be close by and close by the shore,” Erin says. “My favorite part of Clinton is the way everyone comes together whether it’s for something good or something bad. All you need to do is say you need some help and people will come.”

In her spare time, Erin enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and volunteering at the soup kitchen with her family.

“I’m looking for them to reopen so I can get back there,” she says.

Most of all, Erin enjoys spending time with her husband John and their four children, Hannah, Mikaela, Heidi, and Sophie.

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