Tag Archives: Make-a-Wish Foundation

Westport Makes A Wish Come True

Hundreds of Westporters of all ages headed to the Westport Weston Family YMCA this afternoon.

Wearing masks, holding cards and signs, they made a very ill 6-year-old boy’s wish come true.

He had asked the Make-a-Wish Foundation if he could swim with his family, have a pizza party, and pet a bearded dragon.

The Y went one step further. They encouraged a crowd to come cheer the youngster on.

It quickly became a community event. Retirees, families with their own little kids, the Fire and Police Departments — all welcomed him with applause.

And showered him with love.

(Photo/Marshall Kiev)

(Photo/Marshall Kiev)

Bearded dragon sign.

(Photo/Jonathan Rosenoer)

(Screen shot/Hannah Goldstein Spencer)

(Photo/Jonathan Rosenoer)

 

Roundup: Make A Wish, Mixed Messages …

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The Make-A-Wish Foundation has asked the Westport Weston Family YMCA to help with an emergency request this afternoon.

And the Y has asked everyone to help.

The wish — from a 6-year-old boy — is to swim with his family at the Y, have a pizza party, and pet a bearded dragon.

The Y hopes that members of the community will join staff and members to line the Y driveway entrance, to welcome the youngster at 3:10 p.m. today (Sunday, march 28. Let’s make it an unforgettable day for him and the family.

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Meanwhile, Stop & Shop seems to be sending some mixed messages:

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And finally … for all who celebrate Palm Sunday today:

Youth Groups’ Hoops

A bunch of Catholics and Jews walked onto a basketball court.

No, it’s not the start of a joke.

It’s what happened last night, at the Westport YMCA.

Full Court for Kindness — an “interfaith basketball tournament” — pitted Staples students (and a few middle schoolers) from Assumption Church, the Conservative Synagogue, St. Luke Church and Temple Israel in a round-robin format. Players came from their respective youth groups.

Play ball!

Play ball!

The event honored Chris Lanni, a Staples High School freshman (and St. Luke’s youth group member) who died last year. A moment of silence was held before the first whistle. All proceeds went to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The victorious team came from the Conservative Synagogue (with the help of a couple of Israeli Emissaries ringers).

Really though, everyone there was a winner.

(Hat tip: Andres Marmelo)

“1-Room Schoolhouse” In A Westport Driveway

It’s an incongruous sight: Sitting in the driveway of a wooden, wizened 1720s house is a multi-colored, futuristic-looking structure. A sign calls it “The Think 3-D Lab.”

Folks passing 178 Cross Highway, near the Fairfield line, have wondered what’s up. The answer is: something very, very cool.

The “lab” — actually a 100-square-foot, easily disassembled building — is the brainchild of Mark Yurkiw. It’s in front of the saltbox home (which still bears a musket ball hole in the front door, thanks to Redcoats who marauded past on their way to Danbury in 1777).

The

The “Think 3-D Lab” sits in front of Mark Yurkiw’s 1720s-era house. (Photo/copyright Amy Dolego/ Winton Studios)

Mark spent an intriguing career in New York. A physicist by training and artist by avocation, he’s designed magazine covers and TV commercials; worked on films and special effects, and created “storytelling sculptures” for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits. (His “Homeless Statue of Liberty” for New York Cares helped bring in a million used coats.)

Mark’s son met James Potter, an architecture student at Norwalk Community College. When James heard that Mark was working on a project for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, he said he wanted to be involved.

The project was for a 10-year-old boy in upstate Connecticut. He wanted a place to play Legos and Minecraft games.

Mark’s mission was to “meld the physical and digital worlds. I wanted to educate this boy about his future.”

So Mark, James and NCC engineering student Andrew Myers spent the past 2 months designing and building “the 1-room schoolhouse of the 21st century.”

James Potter and Mark Yurkiw inside the

James Potter and Mark Yurkiw inside the “1-room schoolhouse.”

That “1-room schoolhouse” includes LED lighting; a bed for “dreaming” about creativity; a solar-powered fan; a 3Doodler pen for writing in space; a wireless “Internet of Things” kit; magnetic walls; movable tables — and, of course, plenty of space to experiment with Legos. Most of the materials were donated.

What Mark calls “the world’s first off-the-grid 3-D printer” — it runs on solar panels — is being manufactured now. It will be installed soon, donated by Tiko 3D.

Mark’s idea, meanwhile, has morphed from educating one boy about his future, to inspiring an entire generation of children.

He hopes that community college students will build dozens — hundreds! — of these “3-D labs.” They can design their own, or buy them pre-built and set them up, in libraries, schools, pediatric hospitals and backyards.

The money the students earn can help fund their 4-year college degrees. At the same time, they’ll reach and teach even younger kids.

“I’m inspired by 20-year-olds who inspire 10-year-olds,” Mark says.

Another view of the interior. Check out all the Lego materials under the desk -- and the bunk bed for

Another view of the interior. Check out the Lego materials under the desk — and the bunk bed for “creative dreaming.” (Photo/copyright Amy Dolego Winton)

And that “3D Lab” sitting in his Cross Highway driveway? Mark says it will be disassembled next Thursday, then trucked upstate as a surprise gift for the 10-year-old Make-a-Wish boy.

“His jaw will drop,” Mark says.

Then he turns back to work. A creative tinkerer’s work is never done.

(Mark is looking for sponsors to get his idea — as part of a non-profit foundation — off the ground. To help — or for more information — email mark.think3D@gmail.com.)