Category Archives: Children

Kids Around The World Enjoy Westport Playgrounds

Compo Beach is home to Westport’s biggest and best known playground. It’s jammed in summer — and well used the rest of the year too.

But it’s not the only one in town.

Every elementary school has a playground too. They’re used at recess, sure — but after schools and weekends as well.

Playground aficionados will be delighted to know that this year, both Kings Highway and Saugatuck Elementary raised funds for new playgrounds. They’ll be installed before schools begins next fall.

One element of the new Kings Highway Elementary School playground.

They’re ADA compliant (of course!). Also (of course!) they use recycled content, and are made to high environmental health standards.

The new playgrounds are “designed for social interaction and cooperative play,” says Lauren Turner, a Kings Highway parent involved in the project.

They include interactive climbing blocks, slides, spinning elements, quiet areas and more. All elements provide “physical, emotional and intellectual stimulation.” Play is (of course!) a key to children’s development.

But what happens to an old playground?

Kings Highway 2nd graders enjoy their “old” playground …

Kings Highway and Saugatuck El have partnered with Kids Around the World. The organization helps children and families affected by war, poverty, illness and natural disasters.

The 2 schools’ current playgrounds will be donated to a third world country, where such things are luxuries.

Turner is glad that youngsters there too will be able to play — and grow.

She hopes this project helps Westport kids understand the impact they can have on other children’s lives, around the globe.

… and so do 5th graders.

KHS and SES are reinforcing that message through a few programs. Youngsters will write letters to be sent with the old playground. Turner hopes this leads to a pen-pal program.

Kings Highway Principal Lou DiBella will open the library once a week in July and August, so children can write journals about the playground.

And on July 21, all of Westport is invited to help break down the old playgrounds. Kids Around the World will refurbish it, then ship it overseas.

You don’t have to be a Kings Highway family to help. Just click here.

Then — if you’re a kid — stop staring at this screen.

Go outside and play!

Evan Stein: “I’m A Very Lucky Father”

Evan Stein is a native Westporter, a 1992 Staples High School graduate, and a proud father.

He now lives in Manhattan, and works as a neuroradiologist in Brooklyn. But he, his wife and boys will be at Compo all summer long. (They ponied up for an out-of-town beach sticker.)

On this Father’s Day, he reflects on the challenges — and joys — of a special type of fatherhood. The piece was posted this past Thursday on “The New Normal.”

Sometimes I feel bad about being a father of a child with autism. And then something crazy happens.

This week it was something tragic. A little boy who was born the day before my son, in the same hospital 10 years ago, died in a tragic accident while on a joyful visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. And now, I can’t sleep.

I don’t think my son could enjoy the Baseball Hall of Fame. He doesn’t really like baseball. I think he thinks he’s supposed to like it. He even tried a Challenger League (Little League for kids with special needs) last year.

Josh Stein

When he said he wanted to try it, I ran to a sporting goods store to buy him a lefty mitt. They asked if I wanted to donate $2 to help children with autism. I said, “this whole purchase is to help a child with autism!”

He wore the mitt twice. He stood in the field and waved his bat at the ball. He ran to first. He ate 2 hot dogs.

It’s always 2 hot dogs. He prefers CitiField to Yankee Stadium. It’s not the Mets or the better sight lines. It’s Shake Shack. CitiField has it. Yankee Stadium does not. 2 hot dogs. Always 2 hot dogs. Shake Shack because he’s a hot dog snob.

But he’s mine. If he wants to repeat 10 jokes or skits from Sesame Street with Ernie and Bert or Neil Patrick Harris as the Fairy Shoe Person or Lin Manuel Miranda as Freddy Flapman or a bit with the Good Cop and the Bad Cop from the LEGO Movie or from some other video on YouTube that I can’t stand but he loves, I’ll do it.

I’ll let him do the sequence of jokes and skits 10 times in a row. Sometimes 20. When I’m supposed to do it alone or it’s a team act, like Abbott and Costello, I’ll let him correct me until I get the accent just the way he wants it and say it with the inflection he prefers. I’ll do it over and over because when I get it right he smiles and giggles and laughs.

Josh enjoys Compo Beach.

He’s falling behind his grade level because it’s hard to get him to pay attention to his lessons. His academic progress seems to be slower and slower while the therapists and teachers focus on keeping him focused.

I would work on his homework with him but he won’t let me. I’d teach him multiplication and math tricks I’ve learned but it’s pointless. His memory lets him memorize arithmetic in a way that often surpasses my skills. And he’s starting to get fractions now — at least that’s what I see in his reports from school. He doesn’t do that with me. Mostly, he leaves school in school and only acquiesces to homework with his therapists but not with me. Maybe someday.

He likes when I take him to run short distances at New York Road Runner events and he runs 400 yards with a smile burned onto his face. He loves the cheering and the medal around his neck. And then he wants the 2 hot dogs at Shake Shack. And he wants to pick the Shake Shack. Even if it’s one that’s 45 minutes away without traffic. And I’ll take him because I just want to see him smile.

The Stein family

I give him almost whatever he wants whenever he wants. I’m pretty sure it makes me a bad dad but he has the short end of the stick and I’m not sure the stick is ever going to get any longer. I’ll usually give him whatever I can to make him happy.

Except when he makes me crazy.

I’ll try again tomorrow to not yell when he makes me crazy. When he asks one too many times for me to do it again. When he says something mean to me or his mom or his brother for no reason other than that he likes the way it sounds to say idiot or moron or jerk. He doesn’t mean it and I think he knows it’s wrong but it’s just one more thing that he can’t seem to control. And getting upset is stupid (another favorite word of his) because then he knows he got me and that’s really his goal so when I get upset I’ve lost twice.

But he’s here and he’s mine and I don’t ever want to lose him.

Josh, as a newborn

My son has autism. Being a father isn’t what I thought it would be but maybe it’s the same father I would have always been.

I’ll never know. Can’t really compare it to being a father to my son without autism because he’s still the son to a father who is the father of a boy with autism. It will always be an uncontrolled experiment.

I love being his father. Being father to both of them. Separately and together.

I’m very lucky. Really, I am. Sometimes I just need a reminder of just how lucky.

Pic Of The Day #425

Kids on the Compo Beach lifeguard stand (Photo by Coleytown Middle School 6th grader Ashley Carcara; photo editing by Melody Stanger)

Hockey Champ Brings Cup To Westport

Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup.

Big deal.

Rebecca Russo and the Metropolitan Riveters captured the Isobel Cup.

And Westport’s got Rebecca Russo.

Yesterday, the National Women’s Hockey League champion brought her prize to her alma mater: Saugatuck Elementary School.

She held the cup while posing for photos with students — and former teachers like Peter van Euler and Amy Howland.

Rebecca Russo, the Isobel Cup, and Saugatuck Elementary School 5th graders.

Then she headed off to Bedford Middle School.

No word on whether the Riveters are headed to the White House too.

Rebecca Russo and her former 5th grade teacher, Peter von Euler.

Perrin Delorey Funeral Service, Baseball Memorial Set

Westport is saying goodbye to Perrin Delorey, the 10-year-old Greens Farms Elementary School student who died this week in an automobile accident.

The Delorey family will receive friends at St. Luke Church on Monday (June 18, 4 to 8 p.m.).

Friends are also invited to Perrin’s mass of Christian burial on Tuesday (June 19, 10 a.m., St. Luke Church). Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Perrin’s honor to Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils or National Down Syndrome Society.

In addition, Westport Little League Baseball has announced plans for a tribute tomorrow (Saturday, June 16, 1:30 p.m. at Kowalsky Field).

Perrin’s baseball and hockey teammates, and his Boy Scout troop, will participate.

Perrin loved baseball — particularly the Boston Red Sox. Less than an hour before the automobile accident, he had visited the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

His parents and grandparents have been very active Little League supporters. “We grieve with them,” says Westport Little League Baseball and Softball president Jeffrey Brill.

Perrin Delorey at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, with Ted Williams.

New Daycare Coming To Saugatuck

Lost amid last night’s Planning & Zoning Commission approvals of 9 housing units at 500 Main Street, and a Post Road East dispensary, was one other item.

The board unanimously passed a special permit and site plan for a Goddard School daycare center and outdoor playground at 20 Saugatuck Avenue.

That’s the former location of AAA, a quick-mart and gym, among other tenants. It’s since been upgraded, but has stood vacant for a while.

This morning — after the vote — a few neighbors voiced concern about traffic and noise.

Of course, a previous plan for the site — ultimately withdrawn — was a Tesla service center.

20 Saugatuck Avenue is currently vacant.

Making The “Case” For Saugatuck El

Last night, Staples Tuition Grants handed out $304,000 in scholarships to 113 high school seniors, and graduates already in college.

The event marked 75 years of STG financial help. It’s always uplifting and warm — a celebration of promise, purpose and community.

As usual, the Staples library was packed with recipients, donors, and proud family members and teachers.

But this time, there were younger faces.

The first-ever Saugatuck Elementary School Community Award was given. It’s a project of the school’s Caring Council — 4th and 5th graders who volunteer for philanthropic causes — and they were there to see “their” honoree.

They and their classmates walked a combined 2,501 miles this year, in a fundraising effort. They mapped their miles “across the USA,” with “stops” at universities attended by their teachers.

Caring Council members who attended last night’s ceremony were thrilled to meet awardee Case Videler. An SES graduate himself — now headed to the University of Delaware — he embodies the Caring Council mission.

Case Videler, and members of the Saugatuck Elementary School Caring Council.

Saugatuck El and Staples Tuition Grants share even more ties than Case, though.

This year’s 13th annual walk-a-thon kicked off with a speech by DARE officer Ned Batlin — a former STG recipient.

And a powerful video celebrating the organization’s 75th anniversary was created by Westport’s own Doug Tirola — a former SES parent.

It was a night that the 113 scholarship recipients will always remember.

And one that some future grads — members of Staples High’s classes of 2025 and 2026 — won’t forget either.

(For more on Staples Tuition Grants, click here.)

Remembering Perrin Delorey

Jeffrey Brill — president of Westport Baseball and Softball — sent this very sad statement tonight:

As many of you in the Little League community learned today, Perrin Delorey, a 10-year-old Westport Little League player, passed away tragically following a car accident on Sunday afternoon after visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Perrin passed with his Little League glove beside him. I will always remember him, as he appears in this photo after receiving a game ball this Spring season on May 5.

Perrin Delorey

On behalf of Westport Little League, we offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Delorey family and friends.

I am sending this note not only as the President of Westport Little League Baseball and Softball, but also as a coach of his AA team, the Cubs. I have gotten to know Perrin very well over the years while coaching him in baseball, basketball and soccer.

Wearing #5 on the Cubs this season, Perrin embodied the ethos and spirit of Little League. He exuded the team player concept and was committed to working hard to help his team.

Awarding him a game ball earlier in the season, and seeing his face in the moment, was a highlight of the coaches’ and players’ season. He was the most improved player on the team this season, and a joy to coach. My co-coaches and his prior coaches all echo this sentiment. He will deeply missed by his teammates, coaches and friends.

This news hits the Westport Little League community especially hard in these circumstances. Perrin’s first cousin, Phillip Sullivan, plays on the AA Brewers team and his grandfather, Bill Ryan, is a longtime friend and supporter of Westport Little League. Please join me in supporting the Delorey, Ryan and Sullivan families during this incredibly difficult time.

RWestport Little League intends to honor Perrin in a number of ways that we will be announcing and we will share different ways you can honor his memory.

When Perrin’s mother mentioned to me that Perrin would miss the Cubs playoff game this past Saturday, I promised her that Perrin would play another game with the Cubs after Saturday — no matter what happened this past Saturday on the field as a function of the double elimination nature of the playoffs — and reassured her that he should not miss out on a trip with his family and a visit to Cooperstown.

While the latter was certainly true about spending precious time with his family, I could not have been more wrong about the former, as events off the baseball field dictated the tragic course of events.

If we can take anything away from this senseless tragedy, it is that life can be transient and fragile, and one should relish every moment with one’s loved ones on the field and off the field.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Perrin’s family and friends.

Kidville Closes: Collateral Medical Marijuana Dispensary Damage

Kidville is a chain of activity centers for newborns through 6-year-olds. There are classes in music and dance, gym, art, enrichment and more; birthday parties, and an indoor play space.

The Westport location is 1572 Post Road East — just past ASF.

At least, it will be until June 30. Today, the “Westport Kidville Team” sent out this notice:

As many of you may have heard, Kidville Westport has recently been brought into the current debate and public hearing discussions surrounding a medical marijuana dispensary’s application to open on Post Road East near our Westport location. [The site is the former DXL men’s store — and before that, Blockbuster — across and down the street.]

Members of the community contacted the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood in an effort to classify Kidville Westport as a “school,” which would prevent the dispensary from opening. This resulted in a visit from the state inspector.

Unfortunately, the COEC informed us that Kidville Westport does not meet the requirements to continue running our current early childhood curriculum.

We immediately endeavored to do whatever we could to meet those requirements, which would require us to be classified as a “Group Childcare Home” and restructure our space. Unfortunately, we have learned from our landlord that our location is not eligible to be classified as “Group Childcare Home.”

Therefore, with a heavy heart we inform you that due to the current limitations of the space and pressure from the State of Connecticut, we have no choice but to close the Kidville Westport location effective June 30.

Thank you for being such a warm and embracing community — you have made Kidville a truly special place for all of us. From first steps taken, new friendships made in classes, birthday celebrations, rockin’ out in Rockin’ Railroad, and artistic creations proudly brought home, it has been a great honor to share in these moments.

Effective Friday, June 15, all memberships will be cancelled, and any camp payments and birthday party deposits will be refunded in full with no further billing charges processed. Should you have any questions, please contact us at mayor.westport@mykidville.com and a member of the team will be happy to assist you.

We will miss you all.

(Hat tip: Anne Bernier)

Westporters Push Against Cancer

The Levitt Pavilion was packed yesterday — with push-up people.

The view from the Levitt Pavilion stage.

Hundreds of men, women and kids — from super-jacked to usually sedentary — did as many push-ups as they could in an hour.

First Selectman Jim Marpe banged out his. So did Chief of Police Foti Koskinas. And Paul Newman’s grandson.

Chief of Police Foti Koskinas and Push Against Cancer founder Andy Berman.

Which was fitting, because all the money raised goes to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the fantastic getaway for boys and girls with cancer and other serious diseases. It was founded, of course, by Westport’s own Paul Newman.

The 9th annual Push Against Cancer raised well over $120,000 — a record. That makes nearly $500,000 since the event began.

Congrats to founder and mastermind Andy Berman. To the many police and firefighters who helped make it happen.

And, of course, to everyone who participated — and feels very, very sore today.

(Hat tip: photographers Sabine Foreman, Andrew Kindt, Adam Vengrow)