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Press Conference re new Early Identification Issue Brief

April 24, 2014 Events, News, Releases No Comments

(Hartford, Connecticut) The Children’s Committee of the Keep the Promise Coalition (KTP) is pleased to announce a Press Conference announcing the release of its new issue brief: Earlier = Better: Communities Proactively Addressing Children’s Mental Health. KTP is Connecticut’s largest group of stakeholders advocating for smart policy reforms and systems change to benefit people impacted by mental health challenges. The early identification/intervention initiatives that are showcased in the brief have been supported by the CT Health Foundation since their inception in 2005.

The press conference will be held on May 1st at 10:00am at the Legislative Office Building, Room 1C, in Hartford, CT. The legislative Children’s Committee chairs, Sen. Bartolomeo and Rep. Urban will be attending and giving their comments. The issue brief highlights the work of two Connecticut community based initiatives, iCare and Valley Kids Belong (VKB) which are contributing to the success and wellbeing of Connecticut’s children in schools through their models for early identification, prevention, and treatment of children’s mental health problems.

The Issue Brief has been submitted as part of the Department of Children and Families current development, as required under PA 13-178, of a comprehensive statewide Children’s Behavioral Health Plan by October of this year. The press conference further kicks off the celebration of May as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness month, as well as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness week, May 4-10 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Connecticut (NAMI CT) and KTP.

A copy of the Issue Brief can be found by clicking the following link:

Information on the KTP can be found here:

Information on NAMI Connecticut can be found here:


Sacred Heart University to Host Popular S4 Study Skills Program and New Study Skills 2.0 Workshops for Middle, High and Pre-College Students at their Fairfield and Stamford Campuses

April 23, 2014 Events No Comments


Funda Alp, Sacred Heart University, (203) 396-8241,
Tracy Deer-Mirek, Sacred Heart University, (203) 371-7751,
Michelle Sagalyn, S4 Study Skills, (203) 307-5455,

Sacred Heart University to Host Popular S4 Study Skills Program and New Study Skills 2.0 Workshops for Middle, High and Pre-College Students at their Fairfield and Stamford Campuses

Fairfield/Stamford, Conn., April 16, 2014 – Sacred Heart University (SHU) and Successful Study Skills 4 Students (S4) are proud to announce six sessions of S4’s popular Study Skills Workshop and three sessions of the new Study Skills 2.0 workshop, to be held at the Fairfield and Stamford SHU campuses. The workshops, which are for middle, high and pre-college students, promote academic achievement by teaching students key study strategies that help them learn while reducing stress.

“We are pleased to host for the second summer, the S4 Study Skills program. Learning proven methods for studying and schoolwork management can be of immeasurable value to students, and summer is the perfect time for students to step back and recalibrate their approach to their studies,” said Angela Pitcher, director of Summer/Winter Sessions and Special Programs at SHU. “We look forward to giving students the opportunity to learn these critical skills for success, both in and out of class.”

The S4 program is founded on educational research and evidence-based studies. Its highly interactive approach is designed to clearly demonstrate how to apply students’ own curriculum and course material with the taught methodologies and systems.

Michelle Sagalyn, president of S4 said, “We are excited to again offer the S4 workshops at Sacred Heart University. Whether students are facing a transition into middle school, high school or college, or just looking to improve their overall academic experience, the S4 program offers tools that can help them succeed. Implementing even a single new skill has been shown to boost students’ motivation and academic performance.”

Taught by accredited teachers, students in the foundational Study Skills Workshop learn logical and easy-to-implement skills that are essential for successful learning and studying. This includes skills such as goal setting, time management, note-taking methods, asking questions, summarizing to learn, notebook organization and quiz, test, and long-term project preparation strategies, and many others.

Study Skills 2.0 Workshops are recommended for students who have already mastered foundational study skills as this workshop builds on the skills taught in the Study Skills 1.0 Workshop. Study Skills 2.0 focuses on providing students with tools that increase self-motivation, improve focus, and encourage greater independence and self-management to maximize in-class participation, strengthen reading skills and develop stronger memorization and retention.

The S4 program provides take-home materials that complement and outline the workshop sessions, and are designed for ongoing student support. Each three-workshop session costs $395. There is a 10% sibling discount for parents who register more than one student. To provide concentrated attention to each student, class size is limited to 15 students.

The S4 workshops at Sacred Heart University are as follows:

Study Skills 1.0, Middle School





Aug. 12, 13, 14

9:30 am- Noon

SHU, Fairfield

Study Skills 1.0, High School





July 8, 9, 10

9:30 am- Noon

SHU, Fairfield

Aug. 12, 13, 14

9:30 am- Noon

SHU, Fairfield

Aug. 12, 13, 14

6:00 pm- 8:30 pm

SHU, Stamford

Aug. 19, 20, 21

2:00 pm- 4:30 pm

SHU, Stamford

Aug. 19, 20, 21

5:00 pm- 7:30 pm

SHU, Stamford

Study Skills 2.0, Grades 8-13





July 15, 16, 17

6:00 pm- 8:30 pm

SHU, Fairfield

Aug. 19, 20, 21

6:00 pm- 8:30 pm

SHU, Fairfield

Aug. 19, 20, 21

5:00 pm- 7:30 pm

SHU, Stamford

SHU Fairfield campus is located at 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield, CT 06825

SHU Stamford is conveniently located at 3 Landmark Square, Stamford, CT 06907

More information may be obtained by calling S4 at 203-30-SKILL (203-307-5455) or by emailing To contact someone at Sacred Heart University, call or e-mail Angela Pitcher at (203) 371-7942

About Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University, the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, offers more than 50 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs on its main campus in Fairfield, Conn., and satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland. More than 6,000 students attend the University’s five colleges: Arts & Sciences; Health Professions; University College; the AACSB-accredited John F. (Jack) Welch College of Business; and the NCATE-accredited Isabelle Farrington College of Education. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its guides “Best 377 Colleges — 2013 Edition,” “Best in the Northeast” and “Best 294 Business Schools — 2012 Edition.” U.S. News & World Report ranks SHU among the best master’s universities in the North in its annual “America’s Best Colleges” publication. Sacred Heart was also mentioned in Money magazine’s ranking of Fairfield as the 64th best town to live. As one of just 23 institutions nationally, SHU is a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ (AAC&U) Core Commitments Leadership Consortium, in recognition of its core, “The Human Journey.” SHU fields 31 division I athletic teams and has an award-winning program of community service.
About S4

S4 partners with public, independent, charter and parochial schools to offer an accessible, logical and easy-to-implement study skills system. The program is specifically designed and customizable to dovetail with all school and student curriculum. To date, over 1,800 students have participated in the S4 program to learn invaluable skills for better classroom engagement, increased focus, better preparation for class, tests, and projects, resulting in increased confidence and independent learning.


Duncaster President to be Honored with Rotary Award

April 22, 2014 News No Comments

Duncaster President and CEO Michael A. O’Brien will receive the Bloomfield Rotary Club’s highest honor on Thursday, May 1. The Paul Harris Award acknowledges the outstanding contributions and exceptional service of members of both the community and/or the club. O’Brien and member Norman Famely will each receive the award at a ceremony at The Mill on the River at 6:00 p.m.

The award was created in memory of Paul Harris who established the Rotary Club over 106 years ago. O’Brien has actively supported the Bloomfield Rotary for four years, donating the space for the club’s weekly meetings, which take place every Thursday at Duncaster. Duncaster is also a major sponsor of the Club’s Annual Wine Tasting and serves as event venue as well.

About Duncaster:

Duncaster is the Hartford Area’s first life care community for active, engaging seniors. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the community is located just minutes from West Hartford and Simsbury, in Bloomfield, CT. Duncaster residents enjoy an intellectually stimulating lifestyle while experiencing security and peace of mind. Duncaster was voted the Best Retirement Community by readers of Harford Magazine and the Connecticut Law Tribune. Residents have a role in governance and sit on the board – a rare distinction. The community’s 87-acre campus includes apartment homes, assisted living apartments and short-and long-term skilled nursing accommodations (all private). Duncaster offers its residents lifetime protection against the potentially catastrophic costs of long-term care through the LifeCare plan. For more information, visit or call (860) 380-5005.

Media contact:
Andrea Obston
(860) 243-1447 (office) (860) 803-1155 (cell)
(860) 653-2712 (home)

Fairfield County Community Foundation Awards Carver $35,000 for Summer Learning and High School Transition Programs

April 21, 2014 News No Comments

The Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) awarded a $35,000 grant to the Carver Foundation of Norwalk for its 2014 summer enrichment programs.

The grant will support Carver’s traditional summer camp at the George Washington Carver Community Center, serving 178 Norwalk students ages 5 to 13.

Campers will engage in hands-on activities led by certified science and math teachers and aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Field trips will take campers to museums, zoos, nature centers and other destinations to reinforce learning.

Summer camp program partners include Girl Scouts, The Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk Grassroots Tennis and The Norwalk Seaport Association.

The FCCF grant will also support a new Freshman Summer Success Academy transition program for students from West Rocks and Roton Middle Schools who will enter ninth grade at Norwalk High School in September.

During the transition into high school, freshmen encounter a bewildering array of new emotions, faces, responsibilities, distractions, social situations, and intellectual challenges. For students who enter high school unprepared academically, emotionally, or socially, the stakes are high.

“More students fail ninth grade than any other grade. Many ultimately drop out,” said Novelette Peterkin, Executive Director of the Carver Foundation of Norwalk. “Emerging evidence suggests that eighth-grade transition programs increase pass rates, boost enthusiasm for learning, improve academic skills, enhance self-esteem, and reduce discipline problems.”
For five summer weeks, future freshmen from West Rocks and Roton Middle Schools will engage in project-based activities and field trips with their new Norwalk High School English, Math, Science, Technology, and History teachers. This early bonding and activities tied to the Common Core State Standards will ease students’ transition to high school.

This program was piloted last summer at Brien McMahon High School. Principal Suzanne Brown Koroshetz said, “No freshmen were suspended for the entire month of September. This is a first in the school’s memory, if not history.”

Duncaster’s Mind, Body and Spirit Programs Get a Lift from Grant from the Harlow Savage Fund

April 21, 2014 News No Comments

Duncaster will launch a significant, year-long mind, body and spirit initiative funded by a new grant from the Harlow D. Savage Jr. Fund for $60,000. Duncaster will use this funding to bring exciting new technology and programming to the community’s ongoing programs in these areas as part of its year-long 30th Anniversary Celebration. Mr. Savage and his wife were residents of Duncaster.

Among the programs the grant will strengthen is Duncaster’s mind aerobics. The community will purchase 12 iPads for resident use in this program. This addition enables the program to tap into a vast array of cognitive development resources available on Apple’s application store. These applications will take Duncaster’s mind aerobics to the next level with access to new and challenging puzzles. It will also allow the program to keep up-to-date with new developments. The Mind Aerobics program was installed in 2012 and has expanded due to strong resident response.

The grant will also fund a Duncaster’s new “Gift of Life” series with their chaplain as well as monthly interfaith workshops, yoga, meditation and music therapy.

“Our annual resident satisfaction survey told us that they wanted to improve their awareness of spirituality resources to help them cope with changes in themselves and loved ones, resources to help them grieve, balance challenges and more effectively deal with the deeper and more personal side of aging,” says Vanessa Giannasi, Director of Foundation and Community Relations. “We applied for this grant to help us add to our ongoing array of spirituality. Last year, we introduced a new monthly interfaith worship service to our residents. They really appreciated this program as many said they wanted to learn and explore religious perspectives other than their own. This grant will allow us to continue that program and add to it.”

The programs are part of Duncaster’s Wellness program, which includes an Integrated Mind, Body Spirit Initiative. The initiative, which is a cornerstone of Duncaster’s 30 year anniversary celebration this year, seeks to emphasize the whole person and overall wellness. It addresses the three elements of a person’s psyche: the mind, body and spirit. The program helps residents take a proactive approach to their own wellness.

18th Annual Secret Gardens Tour, Saturday, June 14, 2014

April 21, 2014 Events No Comments

18th Annual Secret Gardens Tour, Saturday, June 14, 2014

Event website where tickets can be purchased online:

GUILFORD, CT — This highly anticipated event will be held on Saturday, June 14th from 10 am until 4 pm, regardless of weather. This year’s tour will include both in-town gardens and six seashore gardens, each with waterfront views. Many of this year’s gardens have never been on the tour before.

New features of this year’s tour will include a curated Secret Gardens Marketplace featuring unusual gifts and garden-related treasures, choice annuals and a special Secret Garden perennial plant, as well as morning coffee, pastries and box lunches for purchase online in advance and on the day of the event. The marketplace, free to all, will be open before, during and after the tour, from 9 am – 6 pm at St. George Church Hall, 33 Whitfield Street, where tickets and programs describing each garden will be distributed.

Free bus service to the seashore gardens will leave from St George’s parking lot every few minutes beginning at 9:45 am, with drop-off and pick-up locations between gardens. A no parking ordinance will be in effect around all seashore gardens on the tour.

Secret Gardens Tour tickets are $25 if purchased in advance at or $30 on the day of the event. Ticket price includes free bus transportation to and from the shoreline gardens as well as access to all tour gardens, each of which will have knowledgeable volunteers.

Tickets are available online and at local merchants including Hole in the Wall, Breakwater Books, MIX, Star Fish Market, and the Guilford Chamber of Commerce. This year’s Secret Gardens Tour committee chairmen include Barbara Angle, Marie Berry, Helen Carlson, Connie Dickinson, Kaaren Janssen, Kathy MacElhiney, John Mele, Eileen O’Brien, Patty Penman, Barbara Pine, Winnie Seibert, and Susanna Smith.

CT Technical High School students gain top honors during SkillsUSA CT competition

April 17, 2014 Releases No Comments

(Hartford, Conn., April 17, 2014) – In more than 72 specialized contests that simulated on-the-job challenges, 351 students from 15 technical high schools across Connecticut earned top honors during SkillsUSA Connecticut’s 37th Annual State Leadership Conference and Skill Championships held last month at A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford, Conn.

During the day-long competition, held in cooperation with the Connecticut Technical High School System, more than 1,000 technical high school students proved their occupational knowledge and trade, industrial and technical expertise in skilled and technical sciences and occupational skills such as architectural drafting, CNC milling, electronics technology, nurse assisting, technical computer applications, HVAC maintenance, culinary arts and more.

These first place category winners and school teams will go on to compete in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo.

Ansonia – Emmett O Brien Technical High School
Gabriel Jeannin – Technical Drafting

Bridgeport – Bullard-Havens Technical High School
Christina Figueroa – Job Skill Demonstration Open

Danielson – H.H. Ellis Technical High School
Cody Corey – Architectural Drafting
Vincent Pierce – Masonry

Groton – E.T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School
Hassan George – Restaurant Service

Hartford – A.I. Prince Technical High School
Audio/Radio Production School Team Winner

Manchester – Howell Cheney Technical High School
Television/Video Production School Team Winner
Stephen Schneider – Automotive Service Technology
Cody Moreno – Diesel Equipment Technology
Amanda Reel – Welding

Meriden – H.C. Wilcox Technical High School
Chapter Display School Team Winner
Community Service School Team Winner
Opening and Closing Ceremonies School Winner
Quiz Bowl School Winner
Erin FitzGerald – Extemp Finals
Kathryn Keene – Graphic Communications

Meriden – Francis T. Maloney High School
Health Knowledge Bowl School Team Winner

Middletown – Vinal Technical High School
Robotics and Automation Tech School Team Winner
Constance Kelleher – T-Shirt Design
Nathan Bugbee – Cabinetmaking

Milford – Platt Technical High School
Anthony Pizzola – CNC Milling Specialist
Paul Robles – CNC Turning Specialist
Shawn McAuley – HVAC/R
Michael Gendreau – Job Interview Finals
Michael Lozzo – Job Skill Demo A-Finals and Job Skill Demonstration A
The Platt Technical High School Team – Mobile Robotics Technology
Jake Forgette – Precision Machining
Brian Phillips – Prepared Speech
Carlos Urena – Technical Computer Applications

New Britian – E.C. Goodwin Technical High School
Luis Martinez – Commercial Banking

Norwich Technical High School
Karen Castillo – Cosmetology
Antonio Vargas – Customer Service
Daniel Benoit – Electrical Construction Wiring
Alexander Valdes – Electronics Technology
Mark Novic – Plumbing

Waterbury – W.F. Kaynor Technical High School
Outstanding Chapter Winner
Promotional Bulletin Board Winner
Joseph Davino – Carpentry
Nicholas Donnangolo – Collision Repair Technology
Justin Cipriano – Culinary Arts
Fation Ajro – First Aid/CPR
Maureen Nolan – Pin Design
Eric Simmons – Related Technical Math

Willimantic – Windham Technical High School
Catherine Gonzalez – Job Skill O-Finals

Wolcott High School
Tyler Sheldon -Anatomy and Physiology and Medical Terminology
Sommer Gilliam – Nurse Assisting

The New England Institute of Technology, the Universal Technical Institute & Lincoln Technical Institute, Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America provided scholarships to winners in 34 of the SkillsUSA contests.

Students received prizes of tools to support their education and employment from Dewalt (Carpentry & Cabinetmaking) Snap-On Tools (Automotive, Collision Repair and Diesel) from Snap-On Tools, Lincoln Electric (Welding) and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 777 (Plumbing and HVAC).

One hundred judges, representing more than 100 companies and industries across Connecticut, assessed students’ performance during the contests.

More than $1 million in industry and education contributions were donated for the event including time, equipment and materials.

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a national vocational student organization that is a partnership between students, teachers and the industry. SkillsUSA’s mission is to help each student excel to ensure a skilled future workforce.
SkillsUSA Connecticut is supported by over 100 industry partners across the state.

About The Connecticut Technical High School System
The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) currently operates 17 diploma-granting technical high schools, one technical education center and two aviation maintenance programs located throughout the state. The system serves approximately 11,200 full-time high school and adult day students, with comprehensive education and training in 31 occupational areas and 2,000 apprenticeship students. CTHSS is the largest high school system in Connecticut, serving all geographic regions and all demographic and diverse populations. For more information, visit


Duncaster’s Apr. 22 World Affairs Meeting to Discuss the Influence of Russia’s Vladimir Putin

April 17, 2014 Events No Comments

“Vladimir Putin and His War With the People of Russia and Ukraine” is the title of the next discussion at Duncaster’s World Affairs meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 22. The meeting will be held at Duncaster from 10:30 a.m. to noon. It is free to the public with preregistration.

The discussion will focus on Putin’s ongoing impact on both Russia and Ukraine and the implications as he considers running for another six-year term. Should he run again, Putin’s 20-year tenure would exceed that of all prior Soviet rulers other than Stalin, who held power from 1923 to 1953.

The April 22nd session will include video interviews with two of Moscow’s leading female dissidents who have gained worldwide attention and two young Ukrainian women whose performing artist talents have been an inspiration to the Ukrainian public seeking freedom and independence.

The discussion is part of Duncaster’s World Affairs Series, which is presented to the community by the residents of Duncaster on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. Participants include Duncaster residents, as well as members of the community.

Attendance is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. To register, or for more information, contact Fran Kent at (860) 380-5006 or

Hartford Marathon Foundation Names Two New Members to the Board of Directors

April 16, 2014 News No Comments

Glastonbury, CT – The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF), a charitable organization that produces 40+ family fitness events across Connecticut, welcomes two new members to its distinguished Board of Directors. Oz Griebel, of the Metro Hartford Alliance, and Robinson & Cole lawyer Andrea Donovan Napp join the 15-member board.

“The Board is very pleased to have the valuable insight of Oz Griebel and Andrea Donovan Napp, two leaders in their fields who possess strong connections to the local running and civic communities,” said Christine Andrews, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “It’s an exciting time for the Hartford Marathon Foundation as we continue to experience growth in annual participants at HMF events as well as increases in charity fundraising activity and positive local economic contribution. We look forward to working with our new Board members to support and continue these positive trends.”

Since 2001, Oz Griebel has served as President and CEO of Metro Hartford Alliance, leading the Hartford region’s economic development efforts. Mr. Griebel is a former teacher and coach at Worcester Academy and also previously served as CEO of BankBoston Connecticut. Griebel is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played baseball and football. Griebel also earned a J.D. from Suffolk University.

Andrea Donovan Napp, a resident of Portland, is a member of Robinson & Cole’s Business Litigation Group and the chair of its Electronic Discovery and Information Management Governance Team. In addition to e-discovery, Ms. Napp focuses her practice on complex commercial matters involving a broad spectrum of issues, including intellectual property, data privacy and security, and unfair trade practices. She earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from Quinnipiac University School of Law and her B.S., cum laude, from Boston University in Journalism.

These new directors join Christine Andrews, chair; Timothy Larson, vice chair; Robert Haggett, treasurer; Peter Gutermann, secretary; David Polk, past chairman; and members Susan Albano, Joe Loparco, Stacie Dykins, Brewster Perkins, James Sullivan, Irvin Girard, Tim Bannon and Elizabeth Shluger, founder of the Hartford Marathon Foundation and CEO and executive director.

Existing Hartford Marathon Foundation board members identify new candidates for the Board of Directors. The desired qualities of a Foundation board member include the contribution of experience and expertise, ability to raise funds, extensive network of contacts to expand the influence and reputation of the organization. Members should also be excited to share their
passion for both running and for the contributions which the organization can make to the community at large.

About the Hartford Marathon Foundation
The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to create and manage fitness events that inspire people to be healthy and fit. Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the Hartford Marathon Foundation organizes nearly 42 annual athletic events, including the Hartford Marathon, and 25 training programs. For more information, and on Facebook at HMF Events.

Duncaster Displays work of Artist Lucia Liao During May

April 14, 2014 Events No Comments

The Duncaster Art Gallery will be showcasing a new exhibit from local artist Lucia Liao during May. Duncaster Retirement Community will host a free public opening reception of the work on Sunday, May 4 at 4 p.m. Titled, “Hometown Impressions” the exhibit is open to the public Monday through Sunday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. through the month of May.

Lucia Liao currently resides in South Windsor, where she works as an engineer. Her “Hometown Impressions” series is a snapshot of her time growing up in Nankang, China. This collection of oil paintings reflects memories of a carefree time before rapidly changing technology swayed the landscape. Liao has her Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Master in Fine Arts in Figurative Painting from the Academy of Art University. Her science training and passion for art provides a unique view of the world and human civilization. Her work has been exhibited in Connecticut by the West Hartford Art League, South Windsor Library, Connecticut Women Artists, Windsor Art Center and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club.

Duncaster has been showcasing Connecticut artists for more than 13 years.
Attendance at the Opening Reception is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Visitors are also welcome to visit the exhibit daily from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. throughout the month. For more information or to make a reservation to attend the Opening Reception, contact Fran Kent at (860) 380-5006 or

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