What’s going on in your part of 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.
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.”
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.
Riverside School students Sophie Estrada and Khushi Choudhary help to spread the word about a recent Holidays for Haiti event at the school.