Category Archives: Children

Tiny Miracles, Humongous Hearts

Four years ago, Peggy Sawala delivered twins. Born at 29 weeks, they weighed just 2 1/2 pounds each.

“My husband and I didn’t know what to do,” the Westporter recalls. The girls were in Stamford Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 6 weeks, hooked up to monitors, feeding tubes and respirators. “It was a time of such tension, ignorance, fear and emotion.”

Within hours after delivery, a mentor from the Tiny Miracles Foundation visited Peggy’s room. She had never heard of the organization, a low-key group offering support, information, services and supplies to families of premature infants.

Few people hear of Tiny Miracles — until they need it. Then they never forget it.

Tiny Miracles logo

Tiny Miracles makes close matches. Mentors who have had gestational issues — or heart problems, or who lost their babies — help new moms in similar situations.

Peggy’s mentor had delivered twins too. “I didn’t even realize I needed to hear her story,” Peggy says. But it was a very important conversation.

Tiny Miracles runs resource rooms at 4 area hospitals: Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stamford and Danbury. The rooms are filled with books, and inspiring stories and photos of other NICU families. There’s a computer, printer, telephone, TV and toys for siblings.

Tiny Miracles provides welcome bags too, including preemie-sized clothing that allows access for medical equipment.

“My girls had so many monitors and tubes, they couldn’t wear clothes,” Peggy says. “The 1st time I saw one of them in a doll-sized t-shirt from Tiny Miracles, I sobbed. It made her so much more human.”

(Photo/Gary Esposito)

(Photo/Gary Esposito)

When Peggy’s twins finally left the hospital, Tiny Miracles provided a take-home bag. “There were these tiny sleepers and shirts,” Peggy says. “I wouldn’t have known where to get them.”

The kit also includes preemie-sized diapers, pacifiers, bottles, skin care and other supplies.

Tiny Miracles shirtMost of all though, Peggy appreciates the camaraderie Tiny Miracles provides. “As much support as we had from family and friends, no one had gone through such a premature birth. Tiny Miracles validated our feelings, gave us advice, and got us through that awful time.”

Four years later, Peggy volunteers as a Tiny Miracles mentor herself.

Another Westporter recalls the birth of her son, 8 weeks premature. She had 4 other kids at home — all under 5 1/2.

Tiny Miracles president Leelee Klein “came to my rescue. She listened. She told me everything I needed to hear. She let me cry,” the Westport mom recalls.

“I felt so much better. I could breathe. I could carry on. I swore that when Charlie was in preschool, I would give all of my free time to be a Leelee.”

She does. And she calls her hours in the NICU “some of the most special days in my life.”

A recent recipient of Tiny Miracles’ wisdom and generosity is Annie Batlin. Teddy was born July 1, with severe lung problems. He spent a week in the Norwalk Hospital NICU, and it was touch-and-go.

Teddy Batlin, in early July.

Teddy Batlin, in early July.

Annie’s husband Ned was as supportive as possible. But when Jennifer Lau walked in and introduced herself as a Tiny Miracles representative, he left the 2 women alone. “I knew Annie was in better hands than mine,” Ned says.

“It was wonderful to have someone there who’d actually been through the same thing. Jennifer was there all week. She helped Annie in her greatest hour of need — the worst time of our life.”

Ned adds, “You can be the biggest, toughest guy in the world” — and, as a Westport cop, he looks the part — “but no one can help in that situation the way Tiny Miracles can.

“If I ever won the lottery, I’d set up a charitable foundation to give money away. Tiny Miracles would definitely be near the top of the list.”

Like any non-profit, Tiny Miracles could use the help. In addition to the many items mentioned above, the organization offers financial assistance to defray non-medical costs, like parents’ transportation to visit their baby, babysitting for older siblings, and specialized equipment, supplies and services.

Fortunately, there is a way for Ned – and anyone else — to contribute.

For the 1st time ever, Tiny Miracles is holding a Westport fundraiser. The gala — “A Night of Miracles” — is Friday, May 2 (7 p.m.), at the Inn at Longshore. There’s cocktails, dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions.

“Live” auctions. To the mother of a premature baby — and the mentors of Tiny Miracles — that’s the sweetest word in the world.

(For tickets to the “Night of Miracles” gala, or more information, click here.)

Teddy Batlin today.

Teddy Batlin today.

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Riegler: Shrek, The Assistant Director

When most middle schools put on a show — let’s say, “Shrek the Musical” — it looks like a middle school “Shrek.”

Coleytown Company’s production will not be like most middle schools.

For one thing, this is Westport. We do things — particularly arts and kids things — in high-powered ways.

For another, director Ben Frimmer has got Shrek helping “Shrek.”

The real Shrek.

That’s Adam Riegler. A Staples sophomore, he spent nearly a year playing Young Shrek.

On Broadway.

Adam Riegler, aka Young Shrek.

Adam Riegler, aka Young Shrek.

Adam has plenty of other credits: a role in “David Copperfield” at the Westport Country Playhouse (directed by Joanne Woodward). Pugsley in “The Addams Family” (alongside Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth and Brooke Shields). A role in the film “The Way, Way Back.” He just returned from South By Southwest, and the premiere of his latest film “Premature.”

But right now, Adam is playing a new role: assistant director.

He brings a deep knowledge of “Shrek” to Coleytown. For a year before its December, 2008 opening Adam was involved in its workshops. He saw what it takes to get a show off the ground. He dealt with writers and directors, and worked with accomplished professionals.

He performed in “Shrek”‘s out-of-town tryouts, then made his Broadway debut. All along, he watched and learned.

“It’s got awesome music. It’s very funny, for kids and adults alike,” he says of the show. (Now that he’s older, he understands more of the jokes.)

Adam Riegler, un-Shrekked.

Adam Riegler, un-Shrekked.

At Coleytown, he helps Frimmer with directing ideas, like scene blocking. He also gives notes and tips to the young actors. “Ben is an amazing director,” Adam says. “But I can help, because I’ve seen so many versions of ‘Shrek.’”

Adam calls the young actors “very talented. They’ve got excellent voices, and great attitudes. They really are working hard at being team players too.”

Are the Coleytown Company actors impressed with his Broadway resume?

“I’d say excited, rather than impressed,” Adam answers. “They’re happy I can help.”

Adam, meanwhile, enjoys being on the other side of the stage. This is his first experience as a director, and he likes the ability to “be creative, change things, and see immediate results.”

So what’s his next role?

He may take Staples Players director David Roth’s directing course in the fall.

(“Shrek The Musical” will be performed at Coleytown Middle School on Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Click here for tickets; use the search term “Westport”.)

Autism Speaks — And Ethan Rocks

Two years ago, “06880″ profiled Ethan Walmark. The 6-year-old — on the autism spectrum, as a very high-functioning child — played and sang “Piano Man” in a YouTube video. It went viral (over 1.5 million views), and Ethan was an international star.

A lot has happened since.

Billy Joel called Ethan’s intro “better than mine.” Ethan performed live on the “Today Show.” He was 1 of only 14 people worldwide – and the youngest — to receive a “Genius of Autism” award. (Then he won it again.) The Huffington Post named him 1 of 20 “Child Prodigies.”

He helped Yoko Ono flip the switch to light the Empire State Building blue for World Autism Awareness Day. Ethan looked her in the eye and said, “Imagine a world without autism!”

Meeting Ethan before a concert, John Mayer said, “Hey, I know you! You’re the internet sensation!”

Ethan’s performance of “Eminence Front” brought down the house — at a Who show.

Clearly, Ethan rocks.

He’s got plenty of talent, for sure. And — after his parents enrolled him in Fairfield’s School of Rock — Ethan’s cognition, social abilities and musicality soared.

Now, Ethan — the resident “rock star” of Kings Highway Elementary School –brings his international talents to his home town.

This Saturday (March 22, 6:30 p.m.), 2 bands — Clueless and Pearl — perform at Toquet Hall. All musicians play at the School of Rock. All are from Westport and Fairfield.

Ethan — now 8 — is the youngest participant. By 5 years.

School of Rock logo

The bands play music by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, Santana and more. Many of the songs relate in some way to people on the autism spectrum.

Last November, the School of Rock house band drummer asked Ethan’s mother, Allison Ziering Walmark, if Ethan could join them in the concert.

“School of  Rock fosters an atmosphere of acceptance and respect, regardless of musical ability,” she says. “Ethan truly considers his bandmates his friends, and vice versa. The mere concept of friendship can be so foreign to people on the autism spectrum.”

A few days later, the band sent Allison another email: They wanted the concert to be a benefit for Autism Speaks.

If that doesn’t make your heart sing, nothing will.

Autism Speaks

David Friezo Does Santa

In Westport, where competition for everything — from bigger houses and fancier cars to tougher fitness regimens and more money raised for charity — is a blood sport, the stakes just got a lot higher.

David Friezo is trying to raise $500,000 to defray expenses for families with children being treated for cancer.

He’s doing it by running a marathon.

At the North Pole.

That’s right. On April 9 the Westporter — who has a perfectly sensible day job as managing partner with the Lydian Advisory Group — will run 26.2 miles at the geographic North Pole.

Specifically, he and 50 or so other participants in the UVU North Pole Marathon will race on Arctic ice floes, just a few feet away from 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean. Temperatures could reach 35 degrees below zero.

David Friezo, training recently. Running in Westport this winter was superb preparation for the North Pole.

David Friezo, training recently. Running in Westport this winter was superb preparation for the North Pole.

“I know what you’re thinking,” David says. “No, I am not crazy. I’m doing this for a cause that I’m extremely passionate about.”

That cause is the Friezo Family Support Fund at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.The fund has already donated $1 million to help families with costs like housing, transportation, prosthetic devices and prescription drugs while their children are being treated at MSKCC.

Lydian has agreed to match the first $100,000 of donations made by individuals to David’s I’m-not-crazy-but-on-the-other-hand-who-in-his-right-mind-runs-a-marathon-at-the-North-Pole venture.

“06880″ wants to help too. So, here’s our challenge: If readers can pledge $5,000 — just 1% of David’s goal — he’ll give us an exclusive story (with words and photos) when he gets back.

Not, as he jocularly (I hope) says, “If I get back.”

(For more information, and to pledge to David’s North Pole marathon, click here. In the line for “Donor Name,” please add “06880 Reader” after your name, so David can keep a tally. )

 

Canaan Partners’ Chimerix Does The Right Thing

Yesterday, the internet quivered with outrage as word spread of a drug company’s decision to deny giving an experimental drug to a 7-year-old boy dying of heart and kidney failure.

Chimerix-Inc.-logo (1)Josh Hardy had beaten cancer 4 times. But he needed brincidofovir, and Chimerix said no. It would cost $50,000 — because insurance does not pay for experimental drugs — and, the company president said, would divert manpower in the 50-person company. According to reports, Chimerix has $110 million in the bank.

Around the country, people used social media to put pressure on Chimerix. Westporters joined in — and found special reason to demand action.

canaan partners logoOne of the investors in Chimerix is Canaan Partners. The venture capital firm is headquartered in Silicon Valley, but its East Coast headquarters are right here: 285 Riverside Avenue.

Canaan controls one of Chimerix’s board seats. They could have nudged — or pushed — the company to take action.

Whether they did or not is unknown. But last night, Chimerix agreed to provide the medication to a boy who, without it, was almost certain to die.

Josh Hardy

Josh Hardy

Jennings Trail Hits A Dead End

When I was in 2nd grade — just days after dinosaurs roamed the Post Road — my Burr Farms Elementary School class took the Jennings Trail tour of Westport.

We hit all the historical sites: Green’s Farms, where the 5 Bankside farmers first settled. Church cemeteries, where all the cool bodies are buried. Tiny Machamux Park, named by a young Sachem called “Chickens.”

The tour was led by Bessie Jennings, the 9th-generation Westporter who created it. To my 2nd-grade eye, she seemed at least 110 years old. She was probably 40.

The Jennings Trail guide, available at the Westport Historical Society.

The Jennings Trail guide, available at the Westport Historical Society.

Generations of elementary school children have since taken the Jennings Trail tour. Most recently, it was 3rd graders. (2nd grade is now devoted to learning calculus, and compiling genome sequencing data.)

I say “most recently” because a while ago the tour morphed into a field trip to Wheeler House, the Westport Historical Society‘s very historic home. Each May, over a span of 2 weeks, 500 3rd graders toured the parlor, dining room, bedroom, kitchen and barn. Specially trained parent docent volunteers (wearing white-collared shirts, long black skirts and black shawls), and Staples High School senior interns (dressed normally), helped out.

At the end of the tour each child got an authentic piece of pound cake, freshly made by a volunteer parent. (That gift ended a couple of years ago; a couple of kids with allergies could not eat pound cake.)

This year though, the WHS field trip has been dropped too.

Long Lots Elementary School prinicpal Rex Jones explains that the social studies curriculum is being revised. Educators are still deciding which grade — K through 5 — is the best place to teach the history of Westport.

I hope a place is found for the WHS field trip. The parent volunteers were trained to not simply give answers, but to get children thinking about a different time, in a place still standing.

Third graders and parent docent volunteers stand happily outside the Wheeler barn.

Third graders and parent docent volunteers stand happily outside the Wheeler barn.

Ideally, the Jennings Trail tour will return too. There is so much to see and learn in Westport — tiny Adams Academy schoolhouse on North Morningside; stately Green’s Farms Church, a major meetinghouse in colonial days; the bridges that connected two sides of an important river.

Teaching kids modern-day skills is very important. But so is teaching them skills so they can examine the past.

Otherwise, they can never move forward.

TEAM Westport: Celebrating 10 Years of Diverse Progress

Growing up in Tennessee, Harold Bailey attended segregated schools.

The Supreme Court decided Brown vs. Board of Education when he was 6, but Bailey’s city integrated its schools s-l-o-w-l-y: one grade at a time. Not until 10th grade did he and his black classmates have the chance to attend school with whites — and even then, it was by choosing vocational offerings.

He and some friends wanted to be engineers. So they took drafting classes, adding as many academic subjects as they could. “That’s how we ‘integrated’ the high school,” Bailey — now a longtime Westporter, a business executive with IBM and other companies, and a former Brown University trustee — says.

Harold Bailey, today.

Harold Bailey, today.

White parents yelled; white students pushed the few black students into lockers. In late November, 1963 things came to a head. Everyone expected a big fight — but the next day, President Kennedy was assassinated. Bailey and his other friends talked to administrators when school resumed; things settled down.

Half a century later, Bailey recalls that “profound experience. It had a seminal effect on me.”

Realizing that racial prejudice has negative effects on members of the majority as well as minorities, he’s worked all his adult life to bring people together.

In the early 2000s, Bailey’s wife Bernicestine McLeod Bailey — owner of an IT consulting firm, and a Brown trustee emerita — talked with then-first selectwoman Diane Farrell about the need to address diversity in Westport. Local realtor Cheryl Scott-Daniels had the same idea, at the same time.

The "Jolly Nigger Bank," as described in the Westport Library exhibit.

The “Jolly Nigger” bank, as described in the Westport Library exhibit.

In February 2003, the Westport Library recognized Black History Month with a display of “black memorabilia.” Unfortunately, Bailey says, it was filled with “kitschy, offensive” items like a “Jolly Nigger” bank.

“There was no context,” he recalls. “Nothing showed how far we’d come.” Library director Maxine Bleiweis was away. When she returned, she immediately closed the exhibit. But damage had been done.

Bailey and other African American leaders in town met with library officials. (Bernicestine had just been named the first black library board member.) Soon, Farrell appointed a “Multicultural Steering Committee.”

The 16 original members — including Bailey and his wife — worked hard. Fairfield University professors led intense discussions on the history of race in the US. “We read 100 pages a week,” Bailey says. “We talked about the experiences of Chinese Americans, Hispanics and American Indians, and why Middle Easterners are considered ‘white’ here. It was intense.”

The group  evolved into TEAM Westport. (Member Ivan Fong came up with the acronym: Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism. Miggs Burroughs contributed the logo.) Farrell named it an official town commission. I was the 1st white male to join (representing the LGBT community). Al Puchala  and Nick Rudd followed.

TEAM-Westport-logo2“We never wanted to preach,” Bailey — the 1st, and so far only, chair — says, as TEAM Westport celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“Our aim is to work with different organizations, in a way that’s natural for Westport. And to have fun.”

Over the past decade, TEAM Westport has hosted an event on the former slave ship Amistad, and sponsored discussions at churches and synagogues.

They organized speakers for Staples High School US History classes: men and women who lived through segregation, were interned as Japanese-Americans in US camps during World War II, and suffered discrimination as Hispanics.  One year, all sophomores saw the Westport Country Playhouse production of “Thurgood,” starring James Earl Jones.

TEAM Westport brought a jazz master to work with the Staples band, as well as a black chef, authors and playwrights. The group also worked on issues of integrity and race relations with principal John Dodig. Each year, TEAM Westport presents 1 or 2 graduating seniors with scholarships, in recognition of their work around diversity issues.

2013 TEAM Westport scholarship winners Rusty Schindler and August Laska pose with Harold Bailey and then-1st selectman Gordon Joseloff.

2013 TEAM Westport scholarship winners Rusty Schindler and August Laska pose with Harold Bailey and then-1st selectman Gordon Joseloff.

The group also partnered with the Playhouse during “Raisin in the Sun,” sponsoring 24 lectures and discussions on topics like race and housing, and talkbacks following other productions. This fall they’ll offer programming around “Intimate Apparel,” the capstone of the 2014 Playhouse schedule.

TEAM Westport has awarded “Trailblazer” honors to people like Andy Boas, who works with Bridgeport schools; former superintendent of schools Claire Gold, and longtime pediatrician Dr. Al Beasley.

TEAM Westport Trailblazers (from left) Andy Boas, Claire Gold, Dr. Al Beasley.

TEAM Westport Trailblazers (from left) Andy Boas, Claire Gold, Dr. Al Beasley.

Earlier this year, TEAM Westport organized 7 weeks of panels around the famed “Eyes on the Prize” series. The group is also sponsoring an essay contest for high school students, on the theme of America as an increasingly pluralistic country.

Some of TEAM Westport’s most crucial work is done out of the limelight. “If someone is treated the wrong way by a merchant in town, or there is some sort of incident in one of the schools, we can talk about it,” Bailey says. “Maybe we can help get a resolution. That’s so rewarding — especially as we see children grow.”

Looking back on 10 years as Westport’s low-key, but very important, official multicultural organization, Bailey says, “So many people have told us, after a discussion or event, how touched they were. They say, in various ways, that what we do has enabled them to connect the dots of their lives — and talk about it all. That’s when we realize we really are making progress, and moving in the right direction.”

Some TEAM Westport members in 2010, at the home of longtime supporter Ann Sheffer. Front row (from left): Dolores Paoli, Patricia Wei, Stephanie Kirven, Susan Killian, Amy Lin-Myerson, Catherine Onyemelukwe. Rear: Barbara Butler, Glenn Lau-Kee, Nick Rudd, Harold Bailey, Bernicestine McLeod Bailey, Stu Losen.

Some TEAM Westport members in 2010, at the home of longtime supporter Ann Sheffer. From left: Dolores Paoli, Barbara  Butler, Patricia Wei, Glenn Lau-Kee, Stephanie Kirven, Nick Rudd, Susan Killian, Harold Bailey, Amy Lin-Myerson, Bernicestine McLeod Bailey, Stu Losen and Catherine Onyemelukwe.

K2BK: A Special “Kind” Of Impact

Kevin Watt seems to have it all. He’s a football player and wrestler. He’s intelligent, articulate, popular and respected.

But in elementary school in Westport, he says, he was bullied.

Kevin Watt

Kevin Watt

“It was the classic ‘give me your lunch money’ from kids a year older,” he recalls. He tried to fight back, but that made matters worse.

Finally, he told his mother. “The school handled it poorly,” Kevin says. “They treated me like an equal partner in it. But I was the victim. I hadn’t had lunch in 2 months!”

Last year, as a sophomore, Kevin saw someone at Staples High School in a “Kool 2B Kind” t-shirt. He asked a couple of questions, and after an interview was accepted into the club.

K2BK is a partnership between Staples students and 3rd grade classes. Together, they work to prevent “unkind behavior” (the preferred term to “bullying,” which implies hostility that can’t change). Small groups of teenagers go into 1 classroom 5 times a year. Using skits and guided discussions, the Stapleites provide ideas and strategies to help youngsters deal with difficult situations.

“I do this because I don’t want other kids to go through what I did,” Kevin explains.

Part of K2BK’s appeal to Kevin — and one reason it is so successful — is that it draws students from many different Staples groups. “There are sports girls and Players — all walks of life,” he says. “So the 3rd graders hear lots of different personalities and points of view.”

Some of the Staples K2BK members, in their "kool" shirts.

Some of the Staples K2BK members, in their “kool” shirts.

Jane Levy is a sophomore volleyball and softball athlete. She plays guitar, sings, writes for Inklings and is a teen trainer for the Anti-Defamation League.

She joined K2BK at the end of freshman year. Now she returns to her old elementary school — Green’s Farms — and loves her work. “It’s so worth it,” Jane says. “They just wrote the sweetest letters about being kind. We wrote back. And whenever we walk in the room, they’re so excited to see us.”

Middle school was “not the most kind experience,” Jane says. She appreciates the opportunity to show 3rd graders how much impact a simple smile or wave can have on others.

Jane Levy

Jane Levy

A recent discussion involved a child who was excluded at recess. One girl suggested telling the child, “Don’t worry, I’m still your friend.” Jane says, “They really are thinking about things. And now they’ve got strategies to help them cope.”

The skits are very realistic. K2BK senior Sebo Hood pretended to walk in late to a 3rd grade session. Jane — following her training — said, “I’m sorry, Sebo, you have to leave. We’ve already started.”

The children reacted immediately. “No, it’s okay!” they said. “You can sit here!”

That led to another great discussion, Jane said.

The 3rd graders are not the only ones who have learned to think about “unkind behavior.”

“A lot of us are not too kind ourselves,” Kevin says about his high school friends. “And that includes me. I did a lot of self-reflecting during our training sessions.”

At Staples, he now tries to stand up when he sees exclusionary behavior. He’s tried to involve outsiders in lunch conversations.

“Everyone’s been there,” Kevin says. “When someone notices you, and tries to include you, that can make your day.”

A "be kind" pledge, signed by 3rd graders and their Staples counterparts.

A “be kind” pledge, signed by 3rd graders and their Staples counterparts.

Main Street Mural Needs A Home

In preparation for the it-can’t-come-too-soon makeover of the pedestrian tunnel between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza, the mural created by local children in honor of Westport’s 1st “First Night” celebration in 1995 will be removed on Monday.

David Waldman will find a place for it in his Bedford Square project. But until then, it needs a home.

There are 6 panels. Each measures 4′ x 6′.

Downtown mural

If you can store it — perhaps even display it — for the next year or two, contact “Tunnel Vision” designer Miggs Burroughs: miggsb@optonline.net. First come, first served.

Let’s see — the mural is nearly 20 years old. The kids who created it are now in their 30s. I’m sure at least one of them owns a house big enough to provide a temporary home.

Just think of it as a McMansion version of refrigerator art.

It’s Official: Y Closes Early Learning Program

Last November, the Westport Family Y warned that if a suitable site was not found by January 1, its much-heralded Early Learning Program would close.

YMCA logoBecause a child care wing at the new Mahackeno facility is slated for Phase 2 at the new Mahackeno facility, for which no official timetable has been set, Y officials searched for an alternate site. Parents of the approximately 100 children — ages 6 weeks to 6 years — were devastated that the program’s engaging curriculum and community engagement would end. They were saddened too that staff members — some of whom were with the program for over 16 years — would lose their jobs.

Today the Y sent a letter to ELP parents. CEO Rob Reeves and child care senior director Tasha Dennison said that they were extending the service from June 30 to August 29.

However, that is the final day of the Early Learning Program.

The letter said:

Due to the complexities involved with establishing a new Child Care facility at our Mahackeno campus — approvals, public meetings, permitting, designs, site preparation and construction — we will not be able to complete this process in time to avoid an interruption in service. Therefore, Tasha and I, as well as the volunteer leaders who guide the Y’s operations, have had to make this unfortunate decision.

In an accompanying email, Reeves wrote:

Our staff have been touched by the feedback you’ve shared regarding the quality of our program which will be difficult for many of you to match. We remain committed to the care of your children and I want to personally thank Tasha and all her staff who have agreed to continue providing the love and care for your children until the last child leaves our care in August.

In my over 34 years of working for the YMCA, I have not worked with a more dedicated and caring group of teachers and care givers than what we have here at the Family Y and I’ll do all we possibly can to assist them in finding their next place of employment.

Quality day care is never easy to find. Today, dozens of parents begin looking for a program with the same dedication, care and love that they’ve lost.

An exterior view of the new YMCA at Mahackeno.

An exterior view of the new YMCA at Mahackeno.