Tracy Bollinger Boucher ’01 B.A. says that her sociology degree from Rivier gave her a broad sense of the differences between groups of people—and an understanding of how to work effectively with those different groups. “My education gave me the ability to adjust to different people from a variety of backgrounds and the dynamics that come with that,” she says.
Tracy found the perfect fit in her job as Director of Social Services for The Community House, a non-profit in Hinsdale, Illinois that provides recreation and social services ranging from after school programs to counseling and outreach. Tracy oversees the Willowbrook Corner Initiative, focused on one neighborhood. “It’s a pocket of working poor, located within the boundaries of an extremely wealthy county outside of Chicago. The residents are primarily low-income minorities in female-led households,” she says. Tracy manages after school and summer programs for the children in this neighborhood, as well as the Willowbrook Corner Coalition, a group of organizations who collaborate to assist the residents of the neighborhood and fill gaps in services.
Tracy also oversees the administrative aspects of the Charlie’s Gift Autism program. Charlie’s Gift serves the immediate and long term needs of children and families facing autism, providing recreation and speech, occupational, and behavioral therapies. “I love my job—it’s always changing and evolving. Day to day things are never the same. Certainly, there are challenges, but I’m doing something I’m very passionate about,” she says.
Tracy acknowledges Rivier sociology professor Dr. Marjorie Marcoux-Faiia for inspiring her interest in sociology and different cultures. “I really looked up to Dr. Faiia and admire her,” Tracy says. She also admires her current boss, Theresa Forthofer, Executive Director of The Community House. “She has a clear vision driving the agency to be the best we can be, keeping us innovative and relevant.”
Where does Tracy see herself five years from now? “I’d love to continue the work that I’m doing now, especially with Willowbrook Corner,” she says. “It’s an exciting time with lots of growth and opportunities. I enjoy seeing the impact that a small group of people can have on a large community in need,” she says.