Tag Archives: ABC House

Staples Students Are Incredible SLOBS…

…and Westport is a far better place for them.

Yesterday — a fantastically beautiful Sunday, perfect for the beach, chillaxing, unwinding after Saturday’s SATs, or perhaps studying for this week’s AP tests — nearly 150 Staples boys (and their parents) participated in SLOBs Service Sunday.

A small cross-section of the very large SLOBs group.

A small cross-section of the very large SLOBs group.

That’s a major project of Staples SLOBs. The acronym stands for Service League of Boys, and it’s one of the most popular organizations at the high school.

Yesterday’s event — the club’s 5th annual — saw all those 9th, 10th, 11th and even senioritis-stricken 12th graders join with their parents at 9 locations around town.

The Brill family at work.

The Brill family at work.

With a budget of $3,500 (raised from membership and other fundraising activities), SLOBs purchased (and used) supplies for cleaning, greening, building, and repairing. That included 7 tons of gravel, mulch, flowering trees, plants and flowers.

Among the projects:

  • At Linxweiler House — Homes With Hope’s Post Road East residence — SLOBs painted rooms; did a thorough spring cleaning of the grounds, and constructed a new gravel pathway to Crescent Road. Children living at the house now have access to a much safer school bus stop, rather than using the Post Road.
  • At Homes with Hope’s Powell Place, SLOBs created a new patio area, built a new picnic table, and cleaned and planted for spring.
  • At Compo Beach, volunteers cleaned out and painted beach lockers. They definitely needed it.
The Compo lockers get a bit of TLC.

The Compo lockers get a bit of TLC.

  • At ABC House, SLOBs raked and removed weeds, branches and twigs; edged all the flower beds, mowed the lawn, and planted flowering trees.
Getting to work at the ABC House.

Getting to work at the ABC House…

  • SLOBs also cleaned, planted, painted and repaired at Earthplace, Wakeman Town Farm, Project Return and the Westport Historical Society.
...and Wakeman Town Farm.

…and Wakeman Town Farm.

  • In addition, a SLOBs Road Crew with a dozen volunteers and 2 trucks collected over 25 bags of litter along the Sherwood Island Connector, Greens Farms Road, and Long Lots Road.

Hearty congratulations to the 150 SLOBs and their parents yesterday. THANKS for working your butts off to improve the town.

While the rest of us just sat around on butts of our own.

SLOBS at work


A Better Chance Gets A Better House

One of my favorite Westport projects is A Better Chance.  Part of a national organization — but very, very local — it provides educational and leadership opportunities to students of color from economically disadvantaged areas.

They attend Staples, participate in school and civic life, and give back at least as much to us as they get.

The 8 or so ABC scholars live together during the school year, in an inconspicuous brick home on the corner of North Avenue and Cross Highway.  I’ve driven past it every day for a decade.

But until last weekend, I’d never been inside the “ABC House.”

On Saturday the residents, house parents and board of directors threw an open house.  They marked the 10th anniversary of A Better Chance — and an impressive summer renovation of Glendarcy House (the official name).

ABC House on North Avenue.

The kitchen is sweet.  Resident directors’ quarters have been made more flexible.  There’s a new computer room, expanded dining, and more space for everyone.

There’s even a mud room.  They may be ABC scholars — but they’re also active teenagers.

“Before this, none of our kids wanted to invite anyone else over,” a director said.  “Now they can.”

The renovation — envisioned by Westport architects Sharon Ranney and Eric Michaels, and made real by the generous contributions of time, expertise and spirit by over 2 dozen contractors, painters, masons, interior designers, landscapers, plumbers, carpenters and other artisans and businesses throughout Fairfield County — was completed in just 3 1/2 months.

“We have to do this on time, and we have to do it really well,” one builder said.  “This is for kids.”

The “kids” — really, young adults — proudly showed visitors their new digs.

Luis is only a freshman.  But as he gave me a tour, it was clear he’s already part of the ABC Family.

He paused in front of some photos.  He described the graduates — young men he’s never met — and then pointed out the “Glen” and “Darcy” who gave their name to the house where Luis now lives.

The house that’s newly renovated, thanks to so many caring, creative men and women in Westport and beyond.

The Glendarcy ABC House that is now truly a home.

The “Class” Of ’76

Staples’ Class of 1976 celebrates its 35th reunion this summer.

Shake your booty!

But they want to do more than meet old friends, reminisce about when the drinking age was 18, and listen to KC & the Sunshine Band.

They plan to give something back to the town they grew up in.

The idea is to collect a small amount — say, $10 — from each attendee.  And from those who can’t make it back, but want to help.  If half the class donates, they’ll raise $3,000.

Who will they give it to?  They’re taking a poll.

They’ve got 10 very worthy nominees so far.  Most are local organizations:

  • Staples Tuition Grants
  • Homes With Hope
  • Project Return
  • A Better Chance of Westport
  • Near & Far Aid
  • Save the Children
  • Project Choice
  • Westport Humane Society
  • Scholarship America
  • Hole in the Wall Gang

By June 1, they hope to settle on a “Charity of Choice” for the Class of ’76.

That’s the spirit!

Take A Chance On A Better Chance

US Open tickets.  A penthouse at Steamboat.  A chauffeured limo ride to, and backstage tour of, Z-100’s “Morning Show.”

Admit it.  You’ve always wanted at least one of those things.

No?  How about 4 house seats to Blue Man Group — anywhere in the US.  A sunset cocktail cruise on a 50-foot boat on Long Island Sound.  A 3-course meal, cooked personally at your house by chef Pascal Fuchs.

Come on.  You know you want it.

Now you can get it (or them) — perhaps without leaving home.

They’re just some of the dozens of items offered at the ABC House online auction.  It’s a major fundraiser for A Better Chance — one of Westport’s major organizations — and it’s a major way to do good while having a good time.

A party with a live band, plus hors d’oeuvres for 50.  Publishing professionals to read your work and offer editorial comments (no more than 500 pages).  VIP tickets to live TV shows like “Regis and Kelly” and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”

Online bidding is now underway; it ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 25.  The next night, all high bids become the starting bid at ABC’s “Dream Event” annual gala.  To bid, click here.

Shadow chef Matt Storch for a day in his Match restaurant kitchen.  Be coached by jazz/gospel singer Chris Coogan — and record a demo in his studio.  Artwork.  Three 1-hour sessions with college consultant Amy Schafrann.

And the big one:  Hire the Staples boys soccer team for a birthday party, group or individual lessons, or anything else you want.