Susie Basler, the executive director of Project Return, the Westport based home for adolescent girls and young women in crisis, announced today she will retire this year after 30 years.
Susie Basler: will become director emeritus. Contributed photo
“It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege for me to serve as Project Return’s executive director, and I will always be grateful for the many ways in which the girls we have served, and staff and community members with whom I have partnered, have impacted both my life and my career,” said Basler.
She added that she will remain close the organization as director emeritus.
The organization plans to honor Basler at its annual Birdhouse Auction and Gala on Saturday, April 2, 7 to 11 p.m. at the Fairfield Theater Company Warehouse, officials said.
Basler was part of the group’s initial board of directors formed in 1984 by Kate McGraw, who was then assistant superintendent of special education for the Westport School District.
McGraw had determined that a facility for girls in crisis who could not live at home was needed in Fairfield County.
Today Board Chair Cindy Wormser lauded Basler’s leadership, saying that she “excelled at identifying each girl’s strengths, guiding their care with unconditional love and acceptance.”
“Susie always holds close to her heart the essence of what Project Return is, striving for the young women who find themselves hopeless,” said Naomi Kydes, former resident and current board member.
“Her wisdom, faith and tireless commitment will be missed.”
Board members said that Project Return will launch a nationwide search for its next executive director.