LYSB History

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau traces its beginnings to 1976 when concerned families, school representatives, churches, and several elected officials laid the groundwork for a permanent youth service program. Mr. W.E.S. Griswold, Chairman of the MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation pledged start-up support from the Foundation. With funding secure, Dr. George Willauer initiated a public meeting at Old Lyme Town Hall which was attended by more than 50 supporters. Mr. Ted Etherington, Dr. Willis Umberger, the Pike Family, Mr. Charles Kiernan, Mrs. Barbara Romeo, Mr. Thomas McGarry, and others were responsible for establishing the organization of an official Youth Service Bureau.

As Town backing was imperative to the success of the project, ordinances creating the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau were passed at Town Meetings in both Lyme and Old Lyme. The Selectmen appointed the first Board of Directors, a building was offered to house the agency, and our first Director, Adele Pike, was hired. Town funding was matched by the State of Connecticut and on October 13, 1978 the doors at 59 Lyme Street officially opened. Under Ms. Pike’s able direction, a variety of programs were offered including a Job Bank, Driver and Bicycle Safety Programs, Crisis Intervention Services, a Host Home Network, and local trips and activities for youth. Ms. Pike established the Bureau’s close relationship to the school system, providing education and awareness programs directly in the schools.

Finding a home for the LYSB began with the ingenuity and generosity of Adele Pike and her family. The Pike’s found and renovated the house at 59 Lyme Street, gathering donated furniture and supplies. They were custodians of the house for the first few years of the Bureau’s operation, allowing the Board of Directors to devote all of their attention to the formation of a solid program. It was not unusual to find one of the Pikes there on a Saturday morning, repairing a fence, or raking leaves with neighborhood youth volunteers. In 1981, the Board voted unanimously to try and make the beautifully suitable property a permanent home. Its close proximity to the schools and welcoming architecture made it the perfect site.

The Etherington family led the community in a major effort to raise interest and funding in order to purchase the property for the LYSB. Mr. & Mrs. Etherington lost their daughter Mimi in a tragic accident in 1978 and established a memorial fund at LYSB in her name. The house at 59 Lyme Street is named after Mimi. A plaque in the house reads:

“This house is dedicated to Marion L. (Mimi) Etherington who died September 1, 1978 in an automobile accident when she was fifteen years old. If she had lived, she would have been a center of joy in this house. Her warmth, her humor and her good sense, so suddenly gone, will remain with us here.”

The Etheringtons channeled much of their grief for Mimi into love for other children. When they learned of the LYSB Board’s intention to purchase the building; they took the lead. As former President of Wesleyan University, Ted Etherington was able to offer vast experience and knowledge to help involve supporters and raise the money to purchase the home. With lead gifts from the Etheringtons and the Pikes, the “Buy Our Beautiful Building” campaign raised funds to purchase the building and establish an endowment.

To assist young people to become capable, contributing members of society. The LYSB works closely with parents, schools, churches, police, and the community to enhance the total environment for youth. We subscribe to the philosophy that in order for youth to develop into responsible adults, they must:

  • Find opportunities for involvement
  • Develop basic life skills require for participation
  • Recognize their own ability to choose and affect the outcome of their decisions.

Through the years, LYSB has become an integral part of the community serving as the principal youth-serving agency in Lyme and Old Lyme, and a rich variety of programs and services are offered to our youth and families. The communities of Lyme and Old Lyme have become deeply involved in supporting the young people through individual and organizational efforts. LYSB enjoys a strong, solid footing thanks to the hard work of our Board of Directors and the generous financial support of our community.

Charles J. Kiernan 1978-1979
Rev. David Good 1979-1980
Nancy Marcy 1980-1982
Bruce Buckley 1982-1984
Marylin Clarke 1984-1989
Anne Clement 1991-1994
Jack Collins 1994-1996
Jane Schellens 1996-1998
Dyanne Rafal 1998-2001
Ken Kitchings 2001-2003
Skip Sibley 2003-2004
Sue Frost 2004-2006
Betsy Groth 2006-2007
Michelle Sagristano 2007-2009
Laura Mooney 2009-2011
Maddy Mattson 2011-2012
Sue Jette 2012-2013
Tom Richardson 2013-2015
Christopher Buckley 2015-2017
Cyndi Miller Aird 2017-2019
Leslie O’Connor 2019-2020
Erik Olsen 2020-2022
Ryan Lee 2022-2023
Marisa Hartmann 2023-