“A Taste Of Westport”: A Testament To CLASP

Tracy Flood grew up on South Compo Road — just down the street from CLASP’s Pine Drive house.

The raised ranch is home to 6 women — members of the long-time, low key organization that provides family environments for people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

CLASP’s Pine Drive home.

As a grad student in 1984, Tracy began working weekends at Pine Street. What started as a short-term job turned into a passion — and her calling.

Like many CLASP folks, she found an extended family among colleagues and residents.

Shortly after Tracy began her Pine Street job, her mother died. The residents swarmed her with hugs, and told her how beautiful she was. Their support helped her through a very tough time.

Tracy realized that being part of the CLASP family meant not only giving love, but receiving it back in volumes.

CLASP residents on a baseball outing.

More than 30 years later, Tracy is president of CLASP. The organization has grown to include 13 group homes. Four are in Westport: Pine Drive, Weston Road, Kings Highway and Sturges Highway. Residents — some of whom have lived there for decades — are deeply rooted in the community. They work, shop and play here, leading full, productive lives.

CLASP is one of those local organizations most Westporters are only vaguely aware of. Many don’t even know that the big spring event they always see signs for — A Taste of Westport — is CLASP’s major fundraiser.

It’s one you can really dig your teeth into.

Many of Westport’s finest restaurants offer specialty dishes. You can sample wine, beer and specialty cocktails — and end with dessert from Le Rouge Chocolates.

There’s music too, plus a silent auction.

All money raised goes directly to the residents. So they can continue to thrive — and give back the love they receive, to CLASP staffers and the entire community.

(A Taste of Westport is set for Thursday, May 4, 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Westport Inn. Participating restaurants and vendors include Amis, Black Bear Wines & Spirits, Bobby Q’s Cue & Co., Da Pietro’s, Dough & Co., El Segundo, Garelick & Herbs, Geronimo, Greens Farms Spirit Shop, Harvest, Hummock Island Oysters, Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti, Little Pub, Matsu Sushi, Mionetto Prosecco, Pane e Bene, Pearl at Longshore, Rive Bistro, Tacos Mexico, Tarantino Restaurant, The Spread and Washington Prime. Click here for tickets and more information. 

9 responses to ““A Taste Of Westport”: A Testament To CLASP

  1. Dan- GREAT article about Tracy, our one and only and about CLASP- the best family. Thank you for your support Tina Martire (a CLASP family member for 25 years)

  2. Linda Whitney at Staples

    What a wonderful representation of community.
    Thank you Dan for informing the town and promoting this event. If I lived closer, I would be there!!

    I worked in similar systems of care for 30 years as a PT visiting many homes maintained by multiple overseeing organizations in my end if the State. Group homes are SOO much better for everyone, clients AND staff. They do become family homes which create a motivation for staff to stay in spite of low pay and HIGH COMMITMENT!!

    Hats off to Westport AND to Tracy for their success in providing a community that supports ALL OF their citizens. It IS the TRUE portrait of community in THE TRUE UNITED STATES!!

  3. Elaine Marino

    Tracy and her deeply kind & caring staff at CLASP Homes are the hidden treasures of our community. They dedicate their lives to ensure that each resident is treated with dignity first and foremost. Thank you!

  4. Nancy Hunter

    Excellent work, Tracy. I remember your kind heart while at Staples.

  5. Jeffrey T Reilly

    Thanks for the great article about Tracy and CLASP and thanks for promoting the event! Tracy is an amazingly passionate and dedicated person and our entire world is a better place because of her and her worki!! My brother Neal has been a resident at the Blue Ridge home for many years and my parents were proud of all the work that CLASP has lovingly done over the years. Thanks for the picture too. My brother Neal is the guy to the far right, holding the banner. Thank you Tracy and thank you Dan your your continued great work!!

    • Oh Jeff, you just brought back a flood of memories of your Mom and Dad! They were the best. Thanks so much for your loving sentiments.