Tavares Perkins, raised in Bridgeport, has made it his mission to give back to his community in more ways than one. “After several years in the world of finance, I realized that I did not love it” reflected Tavares during our interview. Thus, he returned to school to receive his masters in education. Now, Tavares been a teacher in the Bridgeport School District for 7 years and has won the prestigious award of Outstanding Teacher of the Year 2016, for Bridgeport Public Schools.
Tavares seems to live by several mottos, “Do something that makes you happy” and “Live as a good example” he says. These sentiments led him to volunteer with the Family and Children’s Agency in Norwalk (FCA). During his time at FCA, Tavares hosted four foster children and currently is hosting one. Tavares is also involved with the Respite program where he provides social weekend activities for children in foster care, allowing “free-time” for foster parents to run errands or attend appointments. Outside of FCA, Tavares works with children in his community. “This is my neighborhood, nobody else is going to fix it for me,” said Tavares. He likes to work locally because he wants to give back to children who need a good role model that is a product of their own environment. Tavares initiated a boys group, in his school, that is involved in community service. Tavares also mentors the boys and takes them out for social and physical activities, and even some college tours. “I do what I can because it is important to give back and I know what hard times are like” Tavares said about, why he started the boys group.
In May, the Bridgeport Public Education Fund, Awarded Tavares Perkins for Excellence in Education with the Bridgeport’s Outstanding Teacher Award 2016. It was “shocking, exciting but a humbling situation,” says Tavares, as he was unknowingly nominated by his school principal and peers. Although “It feels good when people recognize you have good intentions”, he volunteers because he loves help those in need and is always willing to lend a hand. Tavares advises those who wish to follow in his footsteps that first step is “Seeing that there is a need and being open to helping people in a different way”. Tavares also recognizes that many people may not have the money to help others and he suggest that “If you do not have money, donate time”. Tavares emphasizes the importance of giving back when he says “pour into someone while you have the time and energy”.
FCA is very thankful to Tavares and the many volunteers who devote their lives to better those of others.
Lia Tavarez, Wilton High School, FCA Communications Intern 2016
Leona Bissonnette learned about Family & Children’s Agency from a presentation given at her church and decided that adding “volunteer” to her schedule has a retiree, would be an easy and fulfilling task. Read More,
This fall, Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) introduced a new program, Parents as Teachers (PAT), as part of its Family Support & Prevention services. PAT is a voluntary family education and support program based on the philosophy that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. PAT staff work with families prenatally until children enter Kindergarten and provides the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the critical early development years. PAT is funded by The Grossman Family Foundation.
“We are thankful to The Grossman Family Foundation for making the Parents as Teachers program possible and recognizing FCA as a leader in providing support to children and their families from birth through college or career,” said Robert F. Cashel, FCA President & CEO.
“The early years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their success in school and in life,” says Mary Kate Locke, Director of Prevention Services at FCA.
FCA’s Family Support & Prevention services provide support and guidance to more than 1,500 parents and their young children through the Nurturing Family Network, Fatherhood Initiative, Maternal Outreach and Mentoring Service (MOMS) Program, Healthy Start, Child FIRST, the Help Me Grow initiative and Parents as Teachers (PAT). The program’s trained staff educates parents so they can build a strong foundation for their family’s growth. All programs are offered free of charge in English and Spanish to interested families in the Greater Norwalk area.
Family & Children’s Agency held its Annual Meeting on Oct. 7, 2015 at Oak Hills on the Green in Norwalk. At the meeting, FCA honored Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children & Families (DCF) and Board member Virgina Martin for their work in strengthening families and volunteerism, respectively.
Family Strengthening Award
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) awarded Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), with the Family Strengthening Award at its annual meeting, held October 7 at Oak Hills on the Green in Norwalk. DCF has custody and guardianship for over 4,000 children and oversees services to 36,000 children and 16,000 families. The Commissioner is credited with changing the culture of DCF by reducing the overreliance on congregate care. FCA’s Specialized Foster Care program is honored to partner with DCF as we continue to support families and find permanency for Connecticut’s youth.
Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, accepts the Family Strengthening Award with FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel.
“This award means an enormous amount to me,” said Commissioner Katz as she accepted her award at the annual meeting. “Together, we changed the system and it’s with the help of your organization. You’re serving these children and families and making them whole again.”
During her time in this role, Commissioner Katz has reduced the reliance on congregate care by 60 percent. “Children should eat breakfast in the morning with the same person who put them to bed the night before. It’s about staying home, going home and finding home.”
“FCA is thrilled to present Commissioner Katz with the Family Strengthening Award, and we thank her for her incredible leadership and commitment to youth throughout out state,” said Robert F. Cashel, FCA President & CEO.
The Family Strengthening Award at FCA recognizes and celebrates individuals or organizations in the community whose outstanding contributions have dramatically impacted FCA’s ability to strengthen and stabilize families and offer help in all phases of life.
Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award
Board of Directors member Virginia Martin (far right) accepts the Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award with FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel and Board of Directors member KathleenP. Murphy.
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) presented Board member Virginia (Ginny) Martin with the Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award at its annual meeting, held October 7 at Oak Hills on the Green in Norwalk. Ginny has been involved with FCA for more than 35 years. She began volunteering in 1980, and eventually joined the Board of Directors in 1994. She has since served on countless committees, including the Development Committee, Benefit Committee, Advocacy Committee, Board Development & Nominating Committee.
“Ginny is a true ambassador of FCA,” said former Board Chair Kathleen P. Murphy, who presented the award. “She continuously keeps the Agency on the forefront of her mind and encourages her network of friends to become involved. We are thankful for her continued commitment and dedication.”
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Ginny assists programs throughout FCA, including families in FCA’s Prevention services, donating clothing to homeless adults and helping to sponsor events for Specialized Foster Care youth. She is incredibly loyal and makes every attempt to attend all meetings, informational tours and special events. Outside of FCA, Ginny is involved with the Christian Counseling Center, Darien-Rowayton Garden Club, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and, most notably, Darien’s Children’s Aid for 27 years. Ginny currently lives in Norwalk with her husband, Bob.
The Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest level of volunteerism on behalf of FCA. The award is named in honor of Anne C. Cary, who was involved in every aspect of volunteerism at the Agency for more than 25 years. Anne was also a Board member during the 1990’s.
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) hosted the 20th anniversary of its annual Golf Classic on Sep. 14, 2015 at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield. The golf tournament raised more than $100,000 for FCA’s client services. The event’s Co-Chairs, Jamie Bergin, Mark Brown, Peter Murphy and Bill Webster, have been longtime supporters of both FCA and the Golf Classic.
“The 20th anniversary of the Golf Classic was an enormous success,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “The Golf Classic is one of the Agency’s largest annual fundraisers. FCA is grateful to the supporters of this year’s event, and we’re proud to say that 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to helping those we serve.”
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the event, FCA recognized several longtime supporters of the Golf Classic, including Bill Webster, Peter Murphy, Mark Brown and William O. Murphy, who was represented by his son, Jimmy Murphy.
Corporate sponsors for the golf outing included 3D Asset Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Bloomberg Tradebook, CBP, cg42, Deutsche Bank, Glen Gate Company, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Markets, Johnston Asset Management Corporation, Maplewood Senior Living, McMahon Ford of Norwalk, MJP Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley, People’s United Bank, Peterson Engineering Group, Piper Jaffray & Co., RBS, Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking, State Street Global Markets, Stein I Troost architecture, LLC, UBS, Weeden & CO. LP. Individual sponsors included Tammy and Mark Brown, the Chapeys, Jill and Alex Dimitrief, Jay and Mark Lux, Kathleen and Peter Murphy, William O. Murphy and friends of FCA.
Family & Children’s Agency is thrilled to be named a Top Work Place for 2015 by Hearst Media Services. Companies are recognized as a Top Work Place based solely on surveys completed by their employees, which measure qualities such as company leadership, growth, opportunity, training, flexibility, compensation and benefits.