DIY Star Award Recipient August 2015

DIY Star Award

Star  Dawn Maletta, Deputy Chief Clerk, Suffolk County Family Court

Suffolk County Family Court
Lou Pelosi, Steve Safonte, Phyllis Masarik, Dawn Maletta, Terry Matyszczyk, Linda Beggins, Debra Mirabella, & Liz Vanderhoef. Not pictured: Patrick Gillen and Barbara Siar

Suffolk County Deputy Chief Clerk Dawn Maletta received the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program’s DIY Star Award on August 20, 2015, at a lovely ceremony held at the Suffolk County Family Court. NYS Courts Access to Justice Program Director Justice Fern A. Fisher, Suffolk County District Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrich, Chief Clerk of Suffolk County Family Court Terry Matyszczyk and Special Counsel Tracy McNeil all spoke about the amazing innovations that Dawn implemented in the Suffolk County Family Court. DIY Star Awards are given to individuals who are critical in creating last change in the court culture and work environment. Winners are chosen based on their court’s statistics, user comments, and personal initiative.

Terry Matyszczyk, Judge Fern Fisher, Dawn Maletta, and Judge C. Randall Hinrich
Terry Matyszczyk, Judge Fern Fisher, Dawn Maletta, and Judge C. Randall Hinrich

Dawn contributed to the overall promotion of DIY Form programs when she produced the Alternative DIY Instructions for Family Court. In 2013, she noticed that litigants in her court needed additional assistance in logging into and out of the programs. In direct response to this need, she and her staff created new work station signage that not only assisted the public in using the program but freed up court staff to attend other matters. This poster is now used in Family Courts statewide to assist DIY Form users.

Dawn furthered her commitment to assist unrepresented litigants with the creation of the “DIY Center” at the Central Islip Family Court location. She established the protocol whereby people could fill out their forms on one of two computers that afforded privacy and dignity, which would then print out directly to the clerk’s office. Decorated with court posters and postcards, her office even developed an individualized postcard to direct the public on what to do next. Dawn then shared her court’s experiences with DIY Forms in the April 2014 “How DIY Programs Can Increase Court Efficiency” webinar for upper management level court employees. Presenting on “Inside the Courthouse: Signage, Spacing, and Individual Initiative,” Dawn explained which techniques worked to encourage DIY usage in your courthouse.

This summer, Dawn continued her efforts to assist the unrepresented by having various Suffolk County Family Court summer interns assist the public in the DIY Center. From her idea to include DIY cards with every order to encouraging court staff to embrace the programs, she has made DIY Form programs a part of her court’s culture. Dawn contributed to DIY Form Programs in a variety of ways from the creation of the new statewide promotional materials, to speaking in webinars about how DIY Form programs has assisted your court, to the creation and implementation of a “DIY Center” at the Central Islip Family Court. Her efforts have furthered access to justice for unrepresented litigants both in Suffolk County and the rest of the state, making her a true DIY star!

Dawn Maletta
Dawn Maletta, DIY Star!

After hearing several speeches extolling her praises, Dawn took the podium and expressed her appreciation for the DIY Star Award, stating that she could not have won without the support of her Chief Clerk Terry Matyszczyk and her amazing coworkers, Patrick Gillen, Debra Mirabella, Steve Safonte, Barbara Siar, Phyllis Masarik, Elizabeth Vanderhoef, Lou Pelosi, Linda Beggins and former employee, Katherine Sexton. Dawn accepted her award amidst rousing applause and cheers from Suffolk County Family, Supreme, and Help Center staff. Following the ceremony, a reception sponsored by the Suffolk County Family Court was held to celebrate Dawn’s achievement.


View the photo gallery of the awards presentation.


Read a sampling of litigants' survey comments about their DIY experience in the Suffolk County Family Court

"Very helpful and valuable. Thank you for making this service available." - Support Modification Program, June 26, 2015

"Great Program - Thanks, NY." - Support Modification Program, June 8, 2015

"This program and format really made it easy to complete the necessary forms." - Support Modification Program, June 8, 2015

"It was extremely helpful." - Support Enforcement Program, May 14, 2015

"It made the process much easier. " - Support Modification Program, February 17, 2015

"Directions were very clear and concise. " - Support Modification Program, February 10, 2015

"Very good program." - Support Modification Program, February 6, 2015

"This program and format really made it easy to complete the necessary forms. " - Support Modification Program, December 10, 2014

"Great system." - Support Enforcement Program, October 22, 2014

"It was very easy." - Custody Modification Program, September 11, 2014

"Great! Loved it! Saved time." - Support Enforcement Program, August 25, 2014

"Great program." - Support Modification Program, August 13, 2014

"You have a great system. Thank you." - Support Modification Program, July 7, 2014

"This program was extremely helpful and easy to navigate through." - Custody Modification Program, June 19, 2014

"Your employees were very nice and helpful." - Support Modification Program, May 21, 2014

"Program is great!" - Support Enforcement Program, May 21, 2014

"Any and all step by step programs help very much, considering how stressful the family court process already is, and not being able to have a lawyer " - Support Modification Program, March 3, 2014

"Helpful." - Support Enforcement Program, February 24, 2014

"Thank you!  Made things so much easier.  I live out of State. " - Support Modification Program, February 13, 2014.

"Very easy to follow." - Support Modification Program, January 16, 2014