What began as a little idea — hey, let’s make a video to connect Westporters! — has turned into something big and bold.
And very, very cool.
In just one week, 5 passionate Westporters
Honed their concept
Put out the word
Got submissions, and
Created a video that everyone should watch right now. Or at least, within the next few minutes.
The first video — released this morning — shows a wide array of Westporters. Through photos and videos, they provide messages of hope; offers their services as therapists, piano teachers, lawyers, Pilates instructors and Zoom party planners; give thanks to heroes, and talk about pets. There’s even a much-needed dose of humor.
This is the first of several “WestportConnected” videos. I’m sure it will spread like, um, a virus, and many more folks will join in.
Thank you Marcy Sansolo, Darcy Hicks, Lisa Newman, Jaime Bairaktaris and Melissa Kane.
Now click below. Connect. And smile!
Have a message of good energy, love or support? Want to advertise your business’s creative deal? Send along a submission for next week’s video: email@example.com.
Westporters keep coming up with great ideas to stay connected.
The latest is as simple as its name: WestportConnected.
The goal is to go beyond the usual social media platforms. Organizers Marcy Sansolo, Darcy Hicks, Lisa Newman, Jaime Bairaktaris and Melissa Kane — a who’s who of creative, concerned and well-connected neighbors — invite fellow Westporters to share a message by sending either a photo (of yourself and/or your family and/or pets), or a video (no longer than 10 seconds!).
Want to say hi to everyone? Send a photo! (Photo courtesy of Bob Weingarten)
You can also offer services or support, as a professional or someone willing to help. Just take a photo or video, holding up a poster with what you can do, and your contact info.
Need ideas? Organizers suggest:
Messages of love and support to fellow Westporters
An activity that you or your family is doing to keep sane
Services you can offer for people who can’t leave their homes: lawn work, shopping, outdoor repairs, etc.
Support contacts to get help for depression, spousal abuse, addiction, etc. If you are a professional or sponsor who can offer support, let people know how to reach you
Share lessons via Zoom or other virtual conferencing appointments: music or art lessons, meditation sessions, workout routines, etc.
Are you a therapist who can meet clients online? Let us know!
There aren’t many rules. Just be positive!
Organizers say, “this is an attempt to recover some of the life we’re missing due to quarantine. It’s a reminder for all of us that no one is alone.”
Of course, “06880” is happy to help. Messages will be made into a video — and it will be posted here on Monday (March 30).
Send your photos and videos to WestportConnected@gmail.com. The deadline is 4 p.m. this Friday (March 27).
Connect now. Then get ready to be uplifted on Monday!
Marcy Sansolo is the administrator of What Up Westport. Usually, she and the 3,000-plus members of her Facebook group share comments and photos aboutlife in Westport. There are notices about upcoming events, observations on life at Whole Foods, and quirky photos.
Marcy is an upbeat, glass-half-full woman. What Up Westport mostly steers clear of controversy.
But as Coleytown Middle School 6th and 7th graders prepare to move today to Bedford Middle School, and 8th graders to Staples High, for about a month — while experts explore whether mold or mold remediation has caused dizziness, nausea, itching and headaches — they’ve faced another issue: pushback from some parents at the host schools, concerned about the impact on their own buildings.
Coleytown Middle School
Marcy did not want to post anything that would fan the flames. But she did not want to downplay the situation either. What she wrote deserves the broadest audience possible. So, with her permission, I’m re-posting it here.
S— happens. Kids who are faced with adversity will become more resilient kids and eventually resilient adults.
This is my free advice, and you don’t have to take it.
If you have a student who is in one of the 3 schools, have them look at this as an adventure.
An opportunity to meet new people, to experience a new setting, to be a host, to help thy neighbor.
Children are incredibly accommodating and figure things out quickly.
They will take their cues from you. You stay positive, understanding, friendly and flexible, and so will they.
For those students who require more emotional or physical support, their support team is there for them.
Have faith in your kids and those making the decisions.
Bedford Middle School
Reaction was quick, and largely positive.
“Amen!” one woman wrote. “Kids adjust much more easily than adults. Parents, give your kids the chance to deal with a problem, disappointment, and adversity. Make this a positive and they will be better for it.”
Another noted: “Westport has a history of coming together and making things happen — big and small — from buying the Longshore Club to banning plastic bags in stores. As someone who sells this wonderful town to new residents, I love sharing these stories. This can be one more of them. We control the narrative about how we come together as a community and handle this.”
A third said: “This is one town, these kids are kids, they adjust, they are resilient, they are friends in their swim teams/ basketball/ ballet/theatre, they will be in Staples together, their moms take the same spin classes at the Y. This is ONE town. Let’s just all show love and not scare these kids with our own negativity, because they know better.”
It won’t be easy for the Coleytown students, as they move to a new school (for the 6th graders, their 2nd in a month). It will be hard — but certainly less difficult — for those at Bedford and Staples.
It will be a learning experience for all — staff as well as students. Let’s hope the lessons of welcoming and adaptability are taught everywhere — not just in school.
Marcy Sansolo organized 2 previous relief efforts via her What Up Westport Facebook page. Both were very successful.
But Sunday’s outpouring of love and care — for Puerto Rico’s victims of Hurricane Maria — was, she says, “nothing short of breathtaking.”
The drive at the Westport Library parking lot was arranged in just 3 days. Drop-off times for goods and supplies lasted only 2 hours. But the response of Westporters was heartwarming.
A woman who works at Pottery Barn dropped off items she had purchased. An hour later she returned, with a large box of donations from the store.
Two young children made cards. Older kids helped parents empty their cars.
A note to the children of Puerto Rico.
“I don’t think there’s any bug spray or diapers left at CVS,” Sansolo says. “I’m sure we cleaned them out.”
“The sense of community was inspiring,” Sansolo says. “Members of What Up Westport came from as far as New York. Everyone asked, ‘How can I help?'”
When it was clear that more drivers would be needed to deliver donations to shipping centers, Sansolo ordered a U-Haul. Many people offered to split the cost. That’s in addition to 6 SUVs and minivans, all filled to the brim.
A small portion of the many donations.
The news from Las Vegas yesterday stunned Sansolo. She loves live music, and cannot conceive of what happened at that concert.
But, she says, “then I think about all of the beauty and love I saw on Sunday. My hope in mankind is renewed.”
Sansolo plans more community events on What Up Westport. She welcomes everyone who wants to join.
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