Tell Me Something: Dani Gorman's first job inspired her lifelong work

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Waterford native Dani Gorman has been the director of Waterford Youth Services since 2008.

The department offers programs to strengthen the emotional well-being of children, as well as other mental health services including drug and alcohol prevention programs. Gorman is a 1991 graduate of Simmons College in Boston where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She also holds a master's degree in counseling from Central Connecticut State University. She and her husband Jay have two sons, J.T. and Conor.

What was your favorite childhood toy or game to play?

I had two favorites; "Perfection" and my Mrs. Beasley doll. Both explain why I turned out the way I did. To my detriment, I am a perfectionist. On the bright side, though, I believe my Mrs. Beasley (talking) doll taught me how to effectively communicate with children.

Time for a road trip. Pick a destination and a vehicle. Also, pick a song to play when you leave and a song to play when you arrive.

As of this fall, my perfect destination for a road trip will be Plymouth, New Hampshire. My oldest son will be attending Plymouth State University. My husband Jay and I will be traveling up to see him in my Volkswagen Passat TDI, our fuel-efficient car now that we’re paying for college. I will most likely have Pandora set on the Zac Brown Band, Train, and Florida Georgia Line as we travel up to New Hampshire with a smile on my face. On our way home, I will have Pandora set to James Taylor with a tissue box on my lap after saying goodbye to our college freshman.

Say you have a modern-day high school locker. Whose picture would be hanging in it?

A picture of my husband and 2 sons. Seeing them is always the perfect reminder that I’m very fortunate to be in their lives.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

Peanut butter and Fluff. It’s always been my “comfort food.”

You’re locked in a museum for a night, which one would it be?

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It is adjacent to my alma mater, Simmons College, and I never felt as if I had enough time to visit and take in everything there was to see.

Other than your smartphone, name an item you can’t live without:

Now that I’m in my 40s, my eyeglasses. I can’t see a thing without them and feel completely lost if I’m not wearing them.

What’s your favorite quote?

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” - George Eliot (English novelist, 1819-1880)

What’s was your favorite summer job?

My favorite summer job was with TVCCA’s Summer Youth Employment Program. I was a job coach. It was my first experience in human services and it sparked a passion in me that led to where I am today.

What would be the best island to be stranded on?

Bora Bora without a doubt. Hopefully, I will be staying at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort in an overwater bungalow.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve got from your parents, grandparents, or someone older than you?

My father who raised 3 daughters, always told us ; “Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (Quote by Les Brown)

Out of all the books you’ve ever read which one would you give a copy to all of your friends?

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I’ve given it as a gift many times.

A word you can never spell correctly on the first try:

This is going to sound ridiculous, but the word “ridiculous.” I can never get it right.

Which movie, television show or theatrical production most accurately depicts life as a youth services worker?

I can only speak for myself as a youth services’ worker, but anyone who knows me pretty well knows that I’m a combination of Dr. Phil, Oprah, and Judge Judy.

Where in Connecticut or Rhode Island do you go to find serenity?

Sitting on my parents’ deck which overlooks Alewife Cove in Waterford. It’s the perfect place to find peace, serenity and special childhood memories.

The person alive today you most admire?

I admire a lot of people. In my line of work, I cross paths with people of all ages who take my breath away because they’ve had courage, shown resiliency or overcome a challenge. From a boy with special needs that I met this summer at our full day camp to my grandfather who was in a POW camp, I’ve admired and been inspired by more than just one person.

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