Trumbull resident Sofia Goncalves recently joined CFJ’s 17-member Board of Directors after several dedicated years supporting the agency as a volunteer.

A Vice President and Branch Manager with People’s United Bank in Bridgeport, Sofia has pitched in at many CFJ fundraising events, including our annual Speaking of Women luncheon. She is also an engaged member of CFJ’s Events Committee.

In addition to her community volunteerism, Sofia is devoted mother to her sixteen-year-old son and recently became engaged to her fiancé, Jack.

We recently spoke with Sofia about her passion for supporting CFJ’s mission of providing crisis and supportive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse in six area communities.

Here’s some of our chat:

CFJ: Welcome to CFJ’s Board of Directors! Can you tell us a bit about what motivated you to support our mission?

Sofia Goncalves: Thank you! I was at work one day and had the opportunity to meet CFJ’s President and CEO Debra Greenwood and CFO/COO Mark Antonini. They told me about the work CFJ does and invited me for a tour.  Once I got to CFJ and saw all the wonderful programs offered to victims and survivors, I immediately wanted to know how I could help.  After I casually said, “I love to plan parties,” Deb suggested I meet the Events Committee. I began to attend some of the Events Committee’s meetings and before long I was 100% committed and have been for the past 4 years

CFJ: Can you tell us about the new event you are helping launch this year?

SG:  As a Trumbull resident, I wanted my town to really get involved in trying to do a large scale community event to promote CFJ and that’s how the Food Truck Festival was born!  I was able to get (Trumbull) Chief of Police Michael Lombardo involved as well as Maria Pires, Trumbull’s Director of Finance. We have also asked several other Trumbull residents to be involved. We are in the middle of planning a food truck festival/craft fair to be held on the grounds of the Westfield/Trumbull Shopping Park on May 4.  Since this is our first event, we are starting off small to see how it goes. Hopefully, it will become an annual event that will support and bring awareness to CFJ’s mission in the town of Trumbull.

CFJ: You recently had a bake sale event at People’s Bank to support CFJ. What do you tell your colleagues about CFJ’s mission and why it’s important to you?

SG:  I was so happy to get a corporate-wide bake sale approved at People’s United Bank. I frequently talk about CFJ and all the good it does, so most of my colleagues already know how passionate I am about the mission. During the bake sale, I was able reach an even larger group of colleagues to explain that CFJ is right here Bridgeport, helping victims.  We had handmade baked goods, but I also did things to get people more interested. I used a large purple ribbon (a symbol of domestic violence awareness) and we did some games to draw people to the table.   I was pleasantly surprised about how many people were interested in learning more about what CFJ does for the community. After talking about the mission, I invited people for tours of CFJ and encouraged them to volunteer. Hopefully, I’ll recruit some more people for the Events Committee!