Six months into her new job, Office for Safe Environments (OSE) Director Kathy D’Amelio said she is honored and excited about her role and the possibilities that come with it.
Those possibilities include consolidating and digitizing the office’s records and providing educational support for parishes in implementing the Diocesan No Go Tell safe environment curriculum for children in parish faith formation programs. Her office is overseeing the production of a video parishes can use to teach the program to students. D’Amelio expects the video to be available in mid-January.
Her job involves overseeing the background screening and training of all diocesan volunteers who work with minors. Those safeguards also extend to all clergy, religious and diocesan employees. She also makes sure the diocese complies with safe environment training and screening protocols,
D’Amelio said every aspect of her job is important in ensuring that God’s children are protected. “I know that the work I am doing here is benefitting children and helping them in other ways and that is important to me,” she said.
Whether answering questions from parishes about screening protocols, updating records, or overseeing the No Go Tell program, D’Amelio’s work is part of the critical measures the diocese takes to give children the knowledge they need to protect themselves in all situations.
In assuming her new duties, life has come full circle for D’Amelio. Her road to the OSE began at Northeastern University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. As part of her degree requirements, she spent 18 months in an experiential learning program assisting with an investigation unit of the Connecticut State Police. After graduation she worked for the United States Department of Defense for 20 years, doing background checks for people who needed security clearances to work with classified government information.
Eventually, she felt a calling to education and returned to graduate school to get her master’s degree in education and professional teaching certification. After 12 years as a public-school teacher she left that post to become director of faith formation for Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Coventry and Storrs.
D’Amelio praised the contributions her OSE predecessor, Karen Caisse, and former OSE Database Coordinator Randy Bouley, who both retired last July, made to the office.
“Coming into this position I had concerns about the demands of the job, but because the office was so well-managed and organized by Karen and Randy, my transition was an easy one,” she said. “I am grateful for the knowledge and support they have given me in making my transition go well.”
D’Amelio is married to Deacon Dan D’Amelio. The couple, married 36 years, were high school sweethearts. They have two sons, three grandsons and are parishioners of St. Bridget of Kildare in Moodus, where Dan is assigned as well as at St. Patrick Church, East Hampton.
Reflecting on how their journey has brought both of them to ministry in the church, D’Amelio said, “It is amazing where our faith has led Dan and me over the years. God has truly blessed both of us in our lives.”
By Mary-Jo McLaughlin