Tag Archives: Eileen Ward

Unsung Heroes #141

As “home schooling” parents all across the country have found out these past few weeks, teachers are heroes. Suddenly, everyone who hasn’t been inside a classroom for years realizes how many moving parts make up just one class. And how many classes make up just one day.

But it’s one thing to teach English or physics to teenagers, or even reading or math to elementary schoolers.

What about kids who are much younger — who need constant, immediate attention that childcare providers have offered so amazingly for so long?

Alert — and hugely grateful — “06880” reader Keri Stedman admires Eileen Ward. For 39 years, she’s served as director of  the Children’s Community Development Center, on Hilllspoint Road.

“There’s no one I’d rather see at the helm during this crisis,” Keri says.

Eileen Ward

Though the school has closed, Eileen encourages teachers of all age levels to find ways to stay connected. There are emails, texts, Facebook groups, livestreams and Zoom calls (“yes, even for my 2-year-old’s class!”).

The music teacher has weekly online sessions. The art teacher shares creative ideas for the kids. The phys. ed. coach posts workouts.

“It was all put together so quickly,” Keri says. “And it has been so incredibly impressive and useful.”

“As a mom juggling homeschool for 1st and 2nd graders, plus my toddler, CCDC’s support has been invaluable. Eileen and her staff truly are my heroes.”

In fact, just minutes before writing this, one of the teachers FaceTimed Keri to make sure she was doing okay (and to see how all her children were doing).

Noelle, talking to Keri’s 2-year-old.

“Noelle talked to my 2-year-old as the little one ran all over the house with the phone,” Keri reports. “She offered to read to my elementary school girls, and engage them in any way she could.

“She even offered to put together work packets for them. Then she sent me art ideas for outside projects, like puff paint for the driveway.

“We are so lucky to have this center in Westport, and Eileen’s leadership. She truly leads by example. She has kept everyone connected to CCDC steady, calm and positive.”

In fact, Keri says, “I believe Eileen is at the school today, working.”

Thanks, Eileen — and your entire staff — for your care, concern and compassion for all your kids (and their families). Keri is right: You are our Unsung Heroes!

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

COVID-19 Roundup: Daffodils; Pink Moon; Earthplace; Easter Egg Tree; Augmented Reality; More

Thanks to the wonderful, multi-talented Miggs Burroughs for the new “06880” logo above. It will grace every Roundup from here until there’s no more COVID news to report. Fingers crossed …

Speaking of masks, here’s what the well-dressed blogger should wear. Apparently I can now look like this even at the bank.


Eileen Ward — director of the Children’s Community Development Center — writes:

“A long long time ago, as children would say (but really only last fall), we planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs in the beds along Hillspoint Road, and our entrance in back.

“Our volunteers — along with hundreds of other people Westporters — decided to ‘paint the town yellow’ in memory of people we love, and to brighten our passings all over town.

“Now, in the most bittersweet of ways, they are blooming en masse. As I come and go, to and from an empty CCDC, I remember the families and children who helped make this beautiful scene possible — and I hope and hope some more.”

The project was conceived by Debra Kandrak. Other daffodil gardens can be seen by the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown, the Sherwood Island Connector, Beachside Avenue, and Project Return.

Daffodils around town.


Rindy Higgins writes: “Calling all Westporters to go outside tonight at 8 p.m. and howl at the pink moon! If the Italians can sing from their balconies to connect during social distancing, we can howl to the moon as a way to reconnect with the human pack.

“Even if it’s cloudy, there’s still the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020 in the sky. So let’s connect to nature and each other by howling tonight at 8!”


Lisa Power provides this update on the Norwalk Hospital meal train:

The goal is to get daily meals to every unit at Norwalk Hospital (20 people each), delivered by a restaurant. It’s a win-win: feeding hard-working medical personnel, while supporting local businesses.

Many restaurants are even providing discounts for donors. Click here for a list of participating restaurants (scroll down to “General Instructions,” and to donate. Restaurants interested in being listed should email lapower2014@gmail.com.


A special shout out to Food for the Front Line who have been amazing and feeding all units at Norwalk Hosptial on Mondays. I’m hoping this Meal Train will help fill the gap on those other days.

Earthplace now has its own YouTube channel. Features include animal videos, activities to do at home, and story time. Click here to see.


The coronavirus is taking a toll even on Stew Leonard’s. Departments are shutting early — the butchers now leave at 5 p.m. weekdays — and the entire store will be closed this Easter. That’s a first in the store’s history.


Easter services may be canceled, but one tradition lives on: Jalna Jaeger’s Easter Egg tree!

For the 13th year, the 1971 Staples High School graduate has decorated a large tree on her 3 East Avenue property in Norwalk (just down the hill from Stew Leonard’s) with hundreds of eggs.

Kids (of all ages) enjoy it. “We all need something cheerful these days,” Jalna says. She provides it!


Here’s a novel way to amuse yourself (and others), during the pandemic.

Westporter Steven Kranz is a founder of Strax Networks. The new company just launched “StraxAR.” It’s “augmented reality” — and all you need is a smartphone.

Take a video. Then digitally “stick it” to any item: a logo, a painting, a stop sign…

Take a look at this video:

Strax is offering any “06880” reader the chance to submit a video (45 seconds or less). It could be a special recipe, a do-it-yourself project, even a singing dog. They’ll “stick it” to the target of your choice. Your content will be available worldwide, to anyone who “Straxes” that target.

Send your video to support@straxnetworks.com. Their crew will turn it into an augmented reality experience. And — completing the circle — “06880” will feature some submissions here. (The Strax app is available through the App Store and Google Play.)

PS: If you’d like, your augmented reality experience can lead to the home page of a charity of your choice.


And finally, this one might be a springtime cliché. But — as Jalna says above — “we all need something cheerful these days.” We can always count on the Beatles for that.

 

Mitch & Lisa 4Ever

For decades, an odd-shaped building on Hillspoint Road has been home to early childhood programs.

It’s called the Parent Child Center. But back in the day, it was Hillspoint Elementary School.

The kids were bigger than the ones there now. They could write cursive.

And — because Hillspoint went all the way to 6th grade — there were some budding romances.

Which is why one day — back in the 1960s or ’70s — Mitch F. and Lisa R. grabbed a pencil, snuck into an art room closet, and scrawled their love on a metal plate.

It’s stood there — untouched and unnoticed — all these years.

Until — the other day — Children’s Community Development Center director Eileen Ward found it.

“06880” readers are intrepid. You’ve got long memories.

So, Eileen and I want to know:

  • Who were Mitch F. and Lisa R.?
  • And did their love really endure 4ever?