Foster Care youth take a weekend visit to Camp Jewell
Overnights at camp, whether for a weekend or the summer, are normalizing parts of childhood for so many of us. It’s a chance to explore, laugh, play, grow and learn with new friends. Whether you loved it or hated it, for a short period of time you were taken out of your element and came out knowing more about yourself and others. Youth in the foster care system more often than not never have a chance to experience these opportunities. On Feb. 21, however, 24 adolescents, and their dedicated FCA staff and parent volunteers, were taken to Camp Jewell in Colebrook, Conn. for a weekend that was nothing less than extraordinary.
Although this winter has been especially brutal, it did not hinder the fun to be had at Camp Jewell. The youth participated in a range of activities including snow tubing, rope climbing, rock climbing and broom ball on ice. The youth dined together, participated in team-building exercises, had a dance party and huddled together in sleeping bags for a scary movie night. After all, what’s camp without a few ghost stories?
Moreover, these activities allowed the youth to enhance such skills as problem solving, conflict resolution, team building, public speaking and strategizing.
“It was wonderful being able to watch the youth build positive relationships with their peers, learn to appreciate the difference in others while building confidence and self-esteem about the young adults they are becoming,” said Janeen Reid, Specialized Foster Care Adolescent Services Supervisor. “Youth in foster care need to be able to feel and experience normality like other youth, and our Adolescent Programming unit is committed to doing just that.”
Click here to learn more about Specialized Foster Care at Family & Children’s Agency.
Minks to Sinks Gives its largest donation in the auxiliary’s history to Family & Children’s Agency
Minks to Sinks, the Wilton Auxiliary of Family & Children’s Agency (FCA), gave its largest donation in the auxiliary’s history to FCA at its annual kick-off meeting, held Jan. 29 at Trackside in Wilton. The auxiliary organization,
From left to right, outgoing 2013 Minks to Sinks Chair Meg Campbell, outgoing 2013 Minks to Sinks Chair and FCA Board of Directors member Trish Weber, Minks to Sinks Treasurer Yolanda Bonomo, FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel and FCA Board Chairman Julene Greenshields.
which has been in existence since 1931, has a longstanding tradition of supporting FCA. Meg Campbell and Trish Weber, outgoing chairs of Minks to Sinks, presented the donation of $100,000 to FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel at the organization’s annual meeting. Including this gift, Minks to Sinks has donated $120,000 to FCA this fiscal year.
Minks to Sinks hosts two semiannual tag sales in May and in October each year in Wilton. The event has taken place since 1931, and the name was derived in 1952 when one volunteer donated a mink, and another a sink. Volunteers donate a variety of household items, clothing, furniture, and toys for consignment. Today, the sales bring out nearly 200 volunteers from the community, many of whom have been involved in Minks to Sinks for over 30 years. The sales are held at the intersection of Route 7 and School Road in Wilton under the tents, and volunteers can be found wearing the red, white, and blue striped aprons.
“FCA would like to thank Minks to Sinks for their recent donation and their hard work yearlong to support the Agency’s work with the more than 10,000 children, families, youth, adults and seniors we help each year,” said Robert F. Cashel. “
The next Minks to Sinks sale will be held May 2-4, 2014. To learn more about Minks to Sinks, visit www.MinkstoSinks.info.
Family & Children’s Agency Offers Tax Preparation Assistance
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is a designated site in Norwalk for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program this upcoming tax season. The VITA Program is part of a nationwide initiative sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and provides free income tax preparation to low-to-moderate individuals and families earning less than $52,000 a year. VITA volunteers play a critical role in ensuring that all Connecticut families can access valuable tax credits without paying high fees. Volunteers will serve residents of the greater Norwalk area and work on-site at FCA. FCA is part of a VITA Program coalition, sponsored by the Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS), which coordinates VITA campaigns across Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield Counties.
IRS-trained volunteers are certified to prepare basic tax returns using TaxWise Online software. VITA sites also connect families to programs and services that can help them to maximize their tax refunds, such as matched savings programs, budget coaching, financial education, and benefits screenings.
Tax preparation appointments are available on Thursdays between 5-9 p.m. from Jan. 30-April 3 at FCA’s 140 Water St. location in Norwalk. To make an appointment, please contact Dijuana Jordan, (203) 523-5723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Taste of Fairfield County Raises over $8,000 for Homeless Services
(Left to right) Robert F. Cashel, FCA President & CEO, with Junior Board of Directors Co-Chairs Kristin McClutchy, Doug Stern and Victorai Whitehead
On Nov. 21, the Junior Board of Directors at Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) hosted A Taste of Fairfield County at Aitoro Appliances to benefit Homeless Services. In addition to great food, live music and raffles, guests were able to hear from Homeless Services staff members about the work they do and the struggles their clients face. Many guests also donated nonperishable food items for clients. Nearly 140 guests came out to support the Agency and over $8,000 was raised to support the Agency’s Homeless Services.
“A Taste of Fairfield County was a great success, and we are extremely appreciative of all the hard work from our Junior Board of Directors in organizing this event,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “The holidays are fast approaching, and this event was a reminder to many that as we gather around our table with family and friends, we should also give back to those who may be less fortunate.”
Five chefs, A Dash of Salt Catering, Cappriccio Café, Jeff’s BBQ & Catering, The Kiddie Kitchen and Paella, prepared food in the kitchens of Aitoro Appliances. The Brownie Factory, DiMare Pastry Shop, Diageo, Norwalk Community College and The Village Market also donated food and beverages, and FactSet Research Systems was a sponsor.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
FactSet Research Systems
A Dash of Salt
The Kiddie Kitchen
The Brownie Factory, LLC
Di Mare Pastry Shop
Norwalk Community College
Jill and Alex Dimitrief
Kris and Jeff Heryln
Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning
Ginny & Bob Martin
Fairfield County Look visited A Taste of Fairfield County! Click to view more pictures!
Expressive Arts Class Motivates Youth in the After School Program
The Rowayton Arts Center has partnered with Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) to promote creative expression through the arts in the youth we serve. The Expressive Arts Class, a six-week program underwritten by the Rowayton Arts Center, offers students in the After School Program the opportunity to study visual arts and enhance their personal expression. Art created by these select students will be displayed at the center from Nov. 1-Nov. 8. A reception for the gallery opening will be held Friday, Nov. 1 at 5:45 p.m. at the Rowayton Arts Center.
“It is amazing to see the impact of exposure to the arts in the young people we work with,” said Jennifer Barahona, Director of Youth Development at FCA. “Time and time again, we witness the power of visual and creative arts in drawing out a young person and developing self-esteem. That kind of social and emotional learning is priceless. We have kids who are like whole new people in the hour they are in the art program.”
The After School Program serves 50 Norwalk middle school youth on the campus of Norwalk Community College Monday-Friday. Students served through the program potentially face multiple barriers to success. In addition to academic support, the Program offers enrichment activities, helps promote character development, reinforces executive functioning skills, and prepares students for a successful transition into high school.
“Self-esteem in young people is built by learning new skills, discovering exciting and creative aspects of themselves, and having the satisfaction of a finished product,” says Jennifer. “To then have it displayed in a professional gallery is a source of enormous pride that is obvious to all.”
For more than 50 years the Rowayton Arts Center (RAC) has been a community cultural hub that provides a welcoming environment for the exchange of arts-related ideas and for regional artists in all media to exhibit and sell their work. Located on the banks of the scenic Five Mile River, the Arts Center hosts exhibitions, lectures, musical events and other activities. In its second-floor studio, RAC offers year-round classes and workshops for creative people of all ages and at all ability levels. RAC also underwrites arts education programs throughout Norwalk. The Rowayton Arts Center is located at 145 Rowayton Avenue and is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00-5:00 p.m. and Sunday’s 1-4pm. Admission is free. For information call 203-866-2744 or visit the web site at www.rowaytonartscenter.org.
For more information regarding the After School Program at FCA, please contact Marion Herbert, Manager of Communications, at (203) 523-5777 or visit www.FamilyandChildrensAgency.org.
Join us for a shopping event at Eileen Fisher in Westport!
Shop at Eileen Fisher in Westport on Saturday, September 21 for their Fall Event and support the Girls’ Challenge program at Family & Children’s Agency. 10 percent of the day’s proceeds will support Girls’ Challenge. The event will last all day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Girls’ Challenge is a component of the After School Program at Family & Children’s Agency. It helps girls in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade explore issues and topics relevant to their lives, such as self-esteem, body image, peer pressure, self-care, and stress management. They also work on team building, cooperation, and communication to build leadership skills. Development of personal value systems and participation in community service projects is also a central theme in the program. The senior group of eighth-grade girls work to prepare for the transition into high school and further explore personal interests and life goals.
160 Main Street
Join Family & Children’s Agency on Sep. 9 for the 2013 Golf & Tennis Classic!
The 2013 Golf & Tennis Classic on Sep. 9 was a great success! Thank you to all who came out to enjoy the beautiful weather at Brooklawn Country Club and support Family & Children’s Agency!
89 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to helping our clients.
See pictures from the event!
Take me out to the ball game! Homeless Services clients watch Bridgeport Bluefish!
On Wednesday, July 31, staff from Homeless Services took clients from the Community Connections Center and Supportive Housing to a Bridgeport Bluefish baseball game at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Staff and clients said they had an amazing time and the weather was sunny and warm—perfect for a ballgame. One client said it was their “favorite field trip so far!” Although the Bluefish lost 4-2 to the Somerset Patriots, it was a trip to remember for many.
Open house for the new 140 Water St. location will be held this fall!
Family & Children’s Agency’s primary service location has a new home at the coral-colored building at 140 Water St. in Norwalk. The site, which will be home to Specialized Foster Care, Home Care Services for Seniors, and Homeless Services, including the Community Connections Center, will provide the Agency with the space it needs for its growing programs for a decade to come. An open house for the public to view the new location will be held later this month.
Specialized Foster Care and Homeless Services was formerly housed at 149 Water St. for x number of years. The 149 Water St. location incurred severe damage during Tropical Storm Sandy in late October 2012. Although services to clients were not disrupted, the bottom floor occupied by Family & Children’s Agency was left uninhabitable for several months. The last few months have been a continuous period of transition for the Specialized Foster Care and Homeless Services staff, although they are happy to have the opportunity to settle at 140 Water St. in a building retrofitted to meet the needs of both them and their clients.
“The new site at 140 Water St. will be home to many of the Agency’s largest and growing programs,” said President & CEO Robert F. Cashel. “We are thrilled that after a long road, the building is completed and our program staff can begin settling in.”
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Come “Cycle for the Community!”
Join our Junior Board of Directors and friends of the Agency on Sunday, June 23 at 2 p.m. at SoulCycle in Greenwich for “Cycle for the Community,” an engaging cycling workout that benefits both the mind and body. This event, sponsored by the Junior Board of Directors, will support Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency. Together, we can ride as one to make a difference in the community!
Tickets are available now!
Tickets include shoe rental fees. Raffle tickets will also be at available at the event to win 5 class spin series at SoulCycle in Greenwich.
Rock Star Ticket (one seat and gift bag)–$50
Legend Sponsor (one seat, gift bag, and ten raffle tickets)–$250
Warrior Sponsor (one seat, gift bag, and five raffle tickets)–$100
Please contact Janina Castiglia, Manager, Development & Marketing, at email@example.com or (203)-523-5719 with any questions.