RHINEBECK, N.Y. -- The Chief Operating Officer of Astor Services for Children & Families in Rhinebeck was among 11 people the Chamber Foundation honored recently with a 2016 Athena International Award .
Renée Fillette, Ph.D. and the nominees were chosen for their demonstrated strengths in career excellence and leadership, community volunteer involvement and willingness to serve as a mentor, particularly to women in the business community.
"My past and present bosses nominated me," said Fillette, telling the Daily Voice, receiving the Athena was "an honor."
She wanted to shine a lot on Astor Services and talked about how the agency plays a crucial role in the lives of kids and families in the Bronx and Hudson Valley region.
The community based, non-profit organization provides children’s mental health services, child welfare services, and early childhood development programs.
Fillette oversees its programming that affects 7,000 kids.
"We serve kids whose early experiences in life were either very traumatic or who have a mental health diagnosis early in life."
In addition, the organization has residential treatment programs.
One of these is a Residential Treatment Center and Therapeutic Boarding School at the Astor facility in Rhinebeck.
"It is the highest level of residential services for children, ages 5 to 14, with 64 kids living here," she said.
Other programs are therapeutic boarding homes in the Hudson Valley and Bronx Community-Based Educational and Mental Health Programs for Children and Adolescents.
"We're a children's behavioral health agency, foster agency and educational agency," said Fillette.
Head Start, Early Head Start, and Preschool Special Education at various sites in Dutchess County are educational programs.
Fillette knew she wanted to work in human services after volunteering as a teenager on a service trip to help underprivileged kids and families.
She worked as a behavior consultant for kids with Asperger's Syndrome and autism while earning a graduate degree in psychology.
Fillette founded, in 2003, the St. John Bosco Child & Family Services, which grew to have group homes and an independent living program.
In 2010, she became executive director at the Grace Smith House.
Then in 2014, she earned a doctorate in Public Service: Leaderhip and Management of Nonpprofit Organizations and became Chief Operating Officer at Astor Services.
Fillette serves on the board of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies.
Click here for more information about Astor Services for Children.
Click here for Daily Voice coverage of the Athena Awards.