Celebrating Women’s History Month – the woman who never stops


Mrs. Brennan, Owen Brennan, Mr. Brennan, Arlo Brennan

Emily Dyer and Carly Grohs

In honor of March being Women’s History Month it’s easy to find hundreds of women who empower other women and positively impact the community around them. When choosing a woman at Naugatuck High School, Mrs. Jennifer Brennan deserves so many accolades – for her devotion to her community and to all children.

While growing up in Meriden, CT, she was the youngest of three kids in a diligent working class family. She developed a strong relationship with  her siblings and her parents supported and empowered all of them. She was encouraged to follow her heart in: Girl Scouts, baseball, softball, basketball,soccer, piano, violin, summer camp and, even, volunteering at an animal shelter.

Mrs. Brennan has  instilled these same values in her children as well. They know “if there’s a need, fill it!  If you’ve got a skill or a talent, share it! The thing about volunteer work, is it takes so many to come together to truly make a difference and impact lives in positive ways.”

“My husband and I strive to teach them to ignore or to even help challenge limiting stereotypes.  At their age, this might be encouraging them to build friendships with both boys and girls, teaching them that colors or sports don’t belong exclusively to a certain gender, teaching them that not all families are structured the same,” said Mrs. Brennan about her parenting.

She also volunteers to fundraise money and organize events in her free time for many organizations and charities. Currently she volunteers for her sons’ school PTO where they organize dances, family movie nights and laser tag outings. Her children participate in Cub Scouts where she teaches them about the community values and pride in hard work.

As an 8 year cancer survivor, Mrs. Brennan values working for and supporting cancer research and hospitals. A few bigger organizations where she volunteers her time are Smilow Cancer Hospital and The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. For the Smilow Cancer Hospital they have an outcome of about 200 bike riders and 100 volunteers to raise money. She also walks as a team and camps overnight for cancer research and to help support families affected by cancer.

She further helps her community by teaching. Before making her decision to become an English teacher, she worked for many other industries and studied many other things. Her first real job was working in at an insurance agency, in which she would rise to a corporate level travel job.

She enjoyed making memories in these career paths, but the work was not satisfying her. Upon joining Literacy Volunteers for America she tutored 3 adult, second language learners. She loved “language and communication and reading.  I love stories – to tell them and to hear them.” It inspired her to make a difference in the lives of people through language.

“I was like, hey, this is pretty fun, so I went back to school for teaching English.”

Her colleagues have learned a lot from her and she inspires them daily.

“She inspires me to work hard because she is a hard worker;  she doesn’t stop this woman. She just keeps going,” said colleague and friend, Mrs. Carolyne Dymond.

Mrs. Brennan credits many women around her for continuing to empower her, namely her colleagues and her very best friend, A.

“She’s a fierce activist and where I used to shy away from politics and activism, she has modeled the courage to speak up for the underrepresented, to walk in protest or in support of women’s issues and more,” Mrs. Brennan said of A.

Her mother, however, tops the list.

“She was a stay at home mom for the first 13 years of my life and then went into the workforce.  She had (and still does) a group of women friends from high school that would constantly get together to talk and laugh and travel places together. They were my first models of strong women supporting women.”   

We are sure her mother is equally proud of and inspired by her. Thank you, Mrs. Brennan!