On Thursday, May 15, the Kiwanis Club of Wilkes-Barre honored Tanya Olaviany, program director Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge, for her longtime service to area youth. Olaviany received the Tenth Annual Rev. Dr. Jule Ayers Spiritual Welfare Award, which recognizes selfless community service to children. The presentation was made at a noon luncheon at the Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre.
Tanya has dedicated her entire career to youth advocacy. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Mansfield State College, where she majored in psychology and human relations and minored in social welfare and special education. She also earned a master’s degree in social work from Marywood University and has been a Pennsylvania licensed social worker since 1997.
Tanya has worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge for 28 years and has served as program supervisor since 2002. Her previous positions include casework supervisor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge, caseworker with the Family Advocacy and School Team at The Bridge Youth Services, and runaway youth worker at The Bridge Youth Services. All are programs of Catholic Social Services. She also served as President of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Pennsylvania State Association and had previously served as Secretary of the organization. She is currently the Northeast Regional Vice-President. She has also served as a practicum instructor for the Marywood University Social Work Department, a Sunday School teacher at the Larksville United Methodist Church and is currently a lay servant at the Luzerne United Methodist Church.
As program director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge, Tanya’s responsibilities include fundraising, board development, volunteer recruitment and supervision of the professional staff and volunteers in five counties throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Vic, have two daughters: Amanda and Caitlyn. They reside in Larksville.