The 'heart' of Woods at Wareham bids farewell

Resident Services Coordinator Lori Luzzo accepts new job
By Matthew Bernat | Jun 29, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Woods of Wareham Resident Services Coordinator Lori Luzzo, second from left, stands with members of the affordable housing complex's staff on Thursday. Friday will mark her last day after nearly three years of starting a slew of new programs for residents.

After nearly three years, Lori Luzzo has transformed Woods at Wareham from just a place to live into something more important for residents, she helped make it home.

“The Woods is losing someone special,” said the affordable housing complex's Property Manager Beverly Schnitzlein. “She is the heart of the community. When she arrived the Woods was stigmatized, but she made others see there are wonderful souls living here who are doing their best.”

Friday will mark Luzzo’s last day as resident services coordinator for the 100-unit complex on Swifts Beach Road. In her time, she launched many new programs for residents and endeared herself to the complex’s 112 children. In addition, she’s served as resident services coordinator at the 24-unit Cranberry Manor and 32-unit Depot Crossing. Both are also affordable housing complexes.

On Thursday, Woods at Wareham held its annual resident appreciation picnic, which informally doubled as a going away party for Luzzo. Several kids handed her going away presents.

During her time, Luzzo partnered with the Gleason Family YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club, launching programs that welcomed Woods at Wareham kids at those locations. She also started groups focused on making girls feel empowered and helped bring in after school programs.

Luzzo’s goal, she and Schnitzlein noted, was to provide opportunities.

“These programs were about offering experiences the kids might not have a chance to experience otherwise,” said Luzzo. “We want to give them a sense of self and build up their emotional fortitude.”

Schnitzlein said Luzzo was instrumental in providing residents much-needed access to public transportation.

“That was so important. Many of our residents rely on services that are located in New Bedford,” said Schnitzlein.

Luzzo accepted a new position at an apartment building in Boston in its leasing and sales office. She said it was a difficult decision, but it was the right one for her.

“Wareham has become so much more than a place where I work,” said Luzzo. “The decision to leave here has not been an easy one.”

Schnitzlein said Luzzo will be deeply missed.

“When you lose a person on your team it’s like losing a part of your anatomy,” she said.

Most of all, Schnitzlein said she would miss Luzzo’s passion. That’s something that will be hard to replace, said Schnitzlein.

Luzzo offered thanks to the community-oriented agencies she’s partnered with through the years. She also encouraged residents to keep the programs she launched vibrant and embrace whoever takes over for her.

“This wasn’t just a job for me,” said Luzzo. “This was a passion of mine, and I’ll always have love for the residents.”

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