What’s go­ing on in your part of Green­wich

Greenwich Time (Sunday) - - NEWS - KEN BOR­SUK

Cen­tral Green­wich

The needs of the Green­wich com­mu­nity will be front-and-cen­ter as Green­wich’s new state law­mak­ers at­tend a leg­isla­tive break­fast and dis­cus­sion Thurs­day morn­ing.

The Green­wich United Way hosts First Se­lect­man Peter Te­sei, who will be joined by state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-36, as well as state Reps. Livvy

Floren, R-149, Michael Bocchino, R-150, and Fred Camillo, R-151.

State Sen.elect Alexan­dra Berg­stein and state Rep.-elect

Stephen Meskers will also take part. Berg­stein, who de­feated Frantz in last month’s elec­tion, and Meskers, who beat Bocchino, will join Floren and Camillo in Hartford when the next leg­isla­tive ses­sion be­gins in Jan­uary.

Af­ter about a half-hour for break­fast on Thurs­day, the hour­long dis­cus­sion will be­gin. Green­wich United Way CEO David Rabin is col­lect­ing ques­tions to ask of the leg­is­la­tors, who will get the queries in ad­vance so they can pre­pare de­tailed responses. Some of the top­ics will in­clude the need for safe, re­li­able and ac­ces­si­ble pub­lic trans­porta­tion as well as do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and the opi­oid cri­sis.

The top­ics tie into con­cerns from the most re­cent sur­vey of Green­wich res­i­dents who are clas­si­fied as ALICE, or as­set lim­ited in­come con­strained and em­ployed. ALICE res­i­dents are work­ing but may be just a pay­check away from fi­nan­cial catas­tro­phe.

About 30 per­cent of work­ing fam­i­lies in Con­necti­cut face that hard­ship, and Rabin said he ex­pects it to be a ma­jor part of Thurs­day’s dis­cus­sion. The num­ber of ALICE res­i­dents in town has in­creased from 15 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion to 22 per­cent — and that’s in ad­di­tion to the 6 per­cent of res­i­dents who are liv­ing be­low the fed­eral poverty line, he said.

Rabin said he wants the crowd and the leg­is­la­tors “to be aware of the most press­ing hu­man ser­vices needs in Green­wich and how it re­lates to Hartford.”

Green­wich’s leg­isla­tive del­e­ga­tion can make sure that lead­ers in Hartford un­der­stand the ex­tent of the eco­nomic prob­lem and are pre­pared to deal with it, he said.

Rabin will be the mod­er­a­tor of the event, which will be­gin at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 6 in the meet­ing room on the first floor of Town Hall. It is free and open to all.

River­side

Stu­dents at River­side School are ral­ly­ing this hol­i­day season to help other chil­dren in a place far from town.

On Nov. 16, there was a school­wide com­mu­nity ser­vice event called Holi­days for Haiti. Kids in ev­ery grade brought in hol­i­day gifts that will be sent to a school in Haiti called Danita’s Chil­dren, which ed­u­cates more than 300 chil­dren in kinder­garten through 13th grade.

The event was put to­gether by River­side School and its PTA to get the stu­dents in­volved in the com­mu­nity and en­cour­age a cul­ture of giv­ing back. And it was heav­ily pro­moted at school, with class­room dis­cus­sions and lunchtime pre­sen­ta­tions.

It was a big suc­cess, River­side School PTA co-pres­i­dent Kristin Duda said. They worked closely with Danita’s Chil­dren to find out ex­actly what the Haitian chil­dren needed. The event was in­spired by a River­side School fam­ily who had re­cently vol­un­teered there.

“We are thrilled with the suc­cess of this event,” said Christo­pher Weiss, River­side’s prin­ci­pal. “This project al­lowed our stu­dents to give back in tan­gi­ble ways, and im­pact those in need in a mean­ing­ful and last­ing man­ner.”

The River­side kids showed “enor­mous en­thu­si­asm and par­tic­i­pa­tion,” said Duda.

“We do com­mu­nity projects that have an im­pact lo­cally, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Duda said. “We want to do as many dif­fer­ent kinds of projects as we can.”

More than 300 pack­ets were as­sem­bled, with more toys and trin­kets for the kids along with ne­ces­si­ties such as tooth­brushes and socks. The do­na­tions were worth more than $5,000. The stu­dents also made cards for the Haitian chil­dren.

Ev­ery­thing is ex­pected to be mailed to Danita’s Chil­dren early this month. Duda said they hope the River­side stu­dents learned a last­ing les­son.

“We wanted the chil­dren to learn about other chil­dren in a dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity and a dif­fer­ent cul­ture than them,” Duda said. “We want them to see they can im­pact oth­ers in a mean­ing­ful way.”

Down­town

The Green­wich Li­brary will cel­e­brate the season with its Win­terfest event on Dec. 15 with ac­tiv­i­ties for the en­tire fam­ily.

A Win­terfest-themed story time will be held from 10:30 to 11 a.m. at the li­brary with songs and sto­ries for tod­dlers, preschool­ers and early el­e­men­tary age chil­dren. A chil­dren’s crafts and ac­tiv­i­ties event — where kids can make play­dough snow­men, snowflake sun catch­ers and pic­ture frame or­na­ments — will fol­low from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. No reg­is­tra­tion re­quired for ei­ther ac­tiv­ity.

At 1 p.m., the Pa­per Bag Play­ers will per­form their Stand Up and Cheer pro­duc­tion. The fam­ily-friendly hour will be brim­ming with “lively mu­sic and dance, rau­cous au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion, larger-than-life char­ac­ters, sin­ga­long songs and hi­lar­i­ous sto­ries, all wrapped in sig­na­ture pa­per and card­board cos­tumes and sets.” Reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired for the per­for­mance at www.green­wich­li­brary.org.

The Win­terfest’s fi­nal event is called Cre­ate a Win­ter Wire Loop Game, which takes place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Kids will learn about ba­sic cir­cu­ity as they make a game that they can take home. Ar­rive five min­utes early; the ac­tiv­ity will be­gin promptly at 3:30 p.m.

Space is lim­ited; ad­vance reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired. No ex­pe­ri­ence in cir­cuitry is needed, and all ma­te­ri­als will be pro­vided.

Paige Shock­ley / Con­trib­uted photo

River­side School stu­dents So­phie Estrada and Khushi Choud­hary help to spread the word about a re­cent Holi­days for Haiti event at the school.

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