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BRATTLEBORO — The staff and board of Community House extend best wishes upon the retirement of Clinical Director Leigh Pumilia. Pumilia stepped down on May 1, after decades of serving the community through her work with the organization.

In her 28-year tenure as clinical director of Community House, Pumilia worked with countless children and families from all over the state of Vermont. She has helped shepherd the program through expansion and change including the start of the Community Schoolhouse day school, the move to the current campus in the former Winston Prouty buildings on Oak and High streets, and several renovation projects.

Community House works with children who are referred by the Vermont Division of Family Services and Mental Health, and by the Vermont Department of Education, and sometimes from neighboring states as well. The residential program offers a structured stabilization and assessment program to assist children, ages 6-13, who need short-term care, usually 90-120 days. The main goal is to provide stabilization, assessment, short-term treatment and effective transitional planning and placement assistance.

Fellow workers note Pumilia’s advocacy for both children and their families. During her time at Community House, Pumilia is said to have brought a sense of calm and confidence to children, families, and staff even in the stormiest of situations. Her long-time colleague and program manager Debby Smith Johnston commented, “Leigh always brought play and creativity to her work with the children. She introduced many children to African drumming, photography, and painting. Leigh has always been enthusiastic about our work and the possible ways in which Community House could continue to grow and expand to further support Vermont children and families. Even while she is preparing to retire, she still gets excited at opportunities to share her ideas and vision for the future of the program. She is quick to downplay her role, but she has been a mentor and a wealth of wisdom for many staff over the years.”

One former parent of a child in the program said, “I’m so grateful for all the work done by Leigh and the employees at Community House. Their dedication is amazing. With Leigh’s support many children have stabilized and transitioned successfully back into more mainstream settings.”

“Leigh has been a joy to work with,” added board chair David Snyder. “We all wish her our very best.”