Tag Archives: Project Return

The Rich History Of Westport’s Poorhouse

Did every old structure in Westport start somewhere else?

Saugatuck Congregational Church, the Birchwood Country Club clubhouse and Bedford Hall at the Westport Woman’s Club are 3 examples.

This coming Monday (May 1, 3 p.m.), Project Return takes the spotlight.

The North Compo Road home — a converted 8-bed farmhouse that since 1983 has housed scores of girls and young women from Westport and surrounding towns — will receive a historic significance plaque.

Project Return, on North Compo Road.

Turns out the building — sitting handsomely but unobtrusively between Little League fields and the Town Farm tennis courts — has quite a history.

It started out in what is now Playhouse Square, nearly 200 years ago.

In 1901 it became the town “poor house.”

More than a century later, it still serves folks in need.

Bob Weingarten — WHS house history chair — says the structure was built in 1824. A decade after that, it became part of the Kemper tannery. In 1930, that land became the Westport Country Playhouse.

In 1864, Charles Kemper Sr. moved it to property he bought from Samuel Gorham on North Compo.

The town of Westport purchased it in 1901, for use as an almshouse. At that point, by renting space in individual homes, we were spending more money on indigents than surrounding towns. Buying the entire farm, including the house of 13 rooms, for $2,750 could save us at least $1,000 a year.

“Town Poor House,” circled on a 1911 map.

In 1927, a man named Alfred Violet — the same person who gave his name to the road off Myrtle Avenue? — found sanitary conditions there “absolutely unbelievable.” Chimneys were crumbling; windows furnished “practically no protection at all against the weather … and the grounds have been used for the past years as a garbage dump.” Approximately 15 children lived there.

It’s uncertain how long the “town farm” operated as a poorhouse. The site was considered for a town garage. From 1975-83 it was rented to James Drought, a noted writer.

After he died, the house deteriorated. Kate McGraw — assistant superintendent of special education for the Westport school system — had the idea to use it as a residence for girls whose parents could not keep them at home.

Renovation $100,000. Many local organizations and individuals contributed funds, labor, materials and furniture.

1st Selectman Bill Seiden championed Project Return. 2nd Selectman Barbara Butler — later named town human services director — helped negotiate a $1-a-year lease.

That contract is still in effect. Project Return pays for all interior and exterior maintenance, and utilities. The town pays for tuition of each girl, while parents pay residential costs.

The safe, nurturing home has helped over 160 girls rebuild their lives. Project Return has evolved with the times — most recently last year, when the state stopped funding group homes for youth. Homes With Hope merged with the organization, ensuring a seamless transition.

Monday’s plaque presentation will include representatives of the town of Westport, Project Return and Homes With Hope, plus Kate McGraw’s daughter Sarah and 2 of James Drought’s children, Hank and Sarah.

It will be a fitting tribute to an important town structure — one that, like so many others, has ended up in a very different place than it began.


Project Return Joins Homes With Hope Family

For 33 years, Project Return has helped teenage girls and young women in crisis rebuild their lives.

For 33 years too, Homes With Hope has provided emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, food and services to homeless men, women and children.

Starting today, 2 of Westport’s most important organizations merge.

Just 2 months ago, Project Return — the converted 8-bed farmhouse on North Compo Road that since 1983 has housed hundreds of females from Westport and surrounding towns — learned that on June 30, it would lose all state money.

The Department of Children and Families — which provided 80% of the group’s funding —  has been hit hard by budget cuts. In addition, DCF has shifted its policy, from group homes to foster care.

Project Return, on North Compo Road.

Project Return, on North Compo Road.

At the same time, Project Return was moving its focus to a slightly older group: 18-25-year-old women. It’s an under-served population that is projected to rise, says Kim Lake, board member and chair of the organization’s Strategic Action Committee.

“Partnering with Homes With Hope is by far our best option,” Lake says. “They’re excellent at what they do — and they’re part of our community.”

Homes With Hope president and CEO Jeff Wieser is thrilled with the new collaboration.

“Project Return will be a separate, fully functioning program under our umbrella,” he says.

“They’ll continue their wonderful work: nurturing, coaching, helping young women get back to their families or begin independent lives.”

Homes With HopeWieser adds, “Project Return is very tied in to our mission, of supporting those without homes, or at risking of losing theirs, achieve more self-sufficient lives.

“But we did not have the facilities to focus on that population, right here in our own community.”

1983 was a watershed: The year 2 fantastic organizations were founded.

2016 will go down in both groups’ histories — now shared — too.

Thank You, Barbara Butler!

A star-studded cast filled the Senior Center this afternoon, to honor Barbara Butler. Town and state officials, longtime volunteers, and the heads of the library and Y — among many others — paid tribute to the head of Westport’s Human Services Department.

But calling Butler — who retires tomorrow, after 27 years of service to the town — a department leader is like calling the Beatles “a band.”

Barbara Butler (right) shares memories with RTM moderator Eileen Flug.

Barbara Butler (right) shares memories with RTM moderator Eileen Flug.

In nearly 30 3 decades here, Butler has overseen every age group from teenagers (Youth Commission, Toquet Hall, Staples High School outreach) to seniors (Senior Center, Baron’s South elderly housing task force).

She’s been involved with tax relief, casework, career coaching and emergency preparedness. She’s helped homeowners pay for oil, and provided suits and dresses for needy Staples grads.

Butler helped found Project Return and the A Better Chance of Westport program.

She’s been a member of the TEAM Westport diversity group, and served with Positive Youth Development and the United Way. She’s a past president of the League of Women Voters.

Next month, the RTM votes on the formation of a new Commission on People with Disabilities. Butler spent her final weeks on the job helping launch that project.

In her spare time, she runs. And rows.

Guests at today's party signed a card for Barbara Butler. That's her in the center, rowing.

Guests at today’s party signed a card for Barbara Butler. That’s her in the center, rowing.

The Senior Center was packed today with her bosses (past and present), colleagues, friends, family and fans.

But if organizers invited everyone Barbara Butler helped over the past 27 years, they would have needed Yankee Stadium.

And still turned folks away.

Susie Basler Steps Down; Leaves Project Return Legacy

The year was 1980. Susie Basler had a great life in Evanston, Illinois: good friends, a supportive community, a food co-op she loved. She did not want to move to Westport, Connecticut.

But her husband’s job beckoned. The Baslers pulled up stakes. And the course of Susie’s entire life changed.

Kate McGraw was a new neighbor. As Westport’s assistant superintendent for special education, she knew plenty of girls in crisis. McGraw wanted to launch a group home.

She enlisted human services worker Barbara Butler. And — because newcomer Basler had a master’s degree in social work, had studied residential facilities and worked in the juvenile justice system — McGraw asked her to help too.

Basler was on the founding board of what became Project Return. With tremendous energy and enthusiasm — but no site or money — the group forged ahead.

Butler convinced First Selectman Bill Seiden to give the dilapidated Town Farm house on North Compo Road — slated for demolition — to the organization, for $1 a year.

Project Return today.

Project Return today.

The building — between Little League fields and tennis courts — was infested with racoons, squirrels and mice. But with plenty of hard work — and the help of grants writer Barbara Heatley, architect Ed Campbell and carpenter Ed Canning — the dream became a reality.

Project Return welcomed its 1st girls 30 years ago this month. The part-time director — who had 3 young children, and lived in Stamford — left 3 months later.

Basler stepped in, temporarily.

She never left.

Until now.

Basler — now 73 years old — has announced her retirement as executive director. She’ll be honored on Saturday, April 2 (7 p.m) at Project Return’s annual Birdhouse Auction and Gala, at the Fairfield Theatre Company Warehouse.

Susie Basler

Susie Basler

When Basler took over, 2 girls had already run away. Two staff members were ready to quit.

“I realized my entire life had prepared me for that moment,” Basler says.

She instituted core principles that were revolutionary at the time. She made sure that social workers — “our best staff” — spent most of their time not in meetings, but with the girls.

“Kids are hungry for feedback,” Basler says.

Basler has “enormous respect” for each girl who has come to Project Return. They cope with so much.

“The human spirit is resilient,” Basler says. “There is such a push for growth. Many times, I am in awe.”

Of the many things she is proud of, Project Return’s organizational model — circular, not hierarchical — tops the list.

“Our direct care staff is a team,” Basler explains. “We make decisions via consensus. We’ve created, I think, a wonderful, respectful, supportive environment and culture.”

Westport has noticed. Local support — both financial and volunteer — for the group home is “a beautiful story,” Basler says.

Project Return logo

Basler’s work is not easy. Girls arrive at Project Return from abusive or neglectful homes. They’ve been let down by their families.

“A group home is not a girl’s first choice,” Basler notes. “They’ve angry. They don’t want to open up. They’re afraid of being hurt again.”

It’s hard, she says, for even the most committed staffer to “love girls who exhibit unlovable behaviors.” In a group setting, that’s especially tough.

But — thanks in large part to Basler’s leadership — it works. “I’ve always treated the staff the way I want them to treat the girls,” she says simply.

She has done much more at Project Return, of course. She created HEAL (Heal, Empathy, Altruism, Love) — an after-school community service project for at-risk girls. She organized an annual educational conference for mental health professionals. She established an aftercare program to ensure the girls’ continued emotional and financial support.

That last initiative is particularly dear to Basler’s heart. Former residents call aftercare coordinator Renee Gold at all hours — including 3 a.m. — with questions ranging from “How long do you cook an apple pie?” to “How can I handle my boyfriend?”

Susie Basler, executive director of Project Return since its inception.

Susie Basler, executive director of Project Return since its inception.

Basler and Gold are in touch with nearly 100 former Project Return residents. This summer, they attended the wedding of one.

Another Project Return graduate just had a baby.

“Growing up, she watched her father throw knives at her mother,” Basler says. “She’s in her early 30s now, and never thought she’d have children. When she got pregnant, she was so worried about being a parent. But she fell in love with her child when she saw the ultrasound.”

Basler is justly proud of that woman — and many others. Some have even gotten their own social work degrees.

“Project Return has changed my life,” she says emphatically. “I’ve learned so much: patience. That crises will pass, and we should celebrate good moments. That all of us are constantly growing.”

Basler has also learned “the importance of saying goodbye.”

As she says goodbye — after 30 years in charge — she will face the challenge of “how to be an elder in a community.” She hopes to share her wisdom, so that parents can understand their children better.

At 73, she has her own children — and 3 grandchildren. She is a child herself, with a 97-year-old mother. She plans to spend time with all of them.

But she’ll still have time for one activity. Susie Basler says, “I’ll remain Project Return’s biggest cheerleader.”

(For information on Project Return’s April 2 Birdhouse Auction and Gala — where Basler will be honored — click here.)

Give The Gift Of…

Sure, you could have blown off your family, friends and football, and spent Thanksgiving at a mall.

Or you could have blown off work and the kids, and spent yesterday shopping online, during the made-up holiday called “Cyber Monday.”

But it’s so much better to shop locally. So here — as Christmas creeps up on us, and Chanukah looms even closer (it starts Sunday!) — “06880” presents our 1st-ever Holiday Shopping Guide.

If you’re looking for something that says (or screams) “Westport,” consider:

The Beautiful Pond.” This just-released book celebrates — in stunning watercolor and text — the historic, versatile and beautiful Sherwood Mill Pond.
A labor of love from Judith Katz and Robin Tauck — with all proceeds benefiting Sound Waters’ academic enrichment programs — it’s available at Barnes & Noble, Earthplace, and online here.

Beautiful Pond cover

A restaurant gift card is always welcome. One of my favorite spots is Kibberia. Located on the Norwalk line, this unpretentious spot serves spectacular Middle Eastern food. Owner Nick Iskandar is one of the truly good guys, and deserves all the support we can give him.


A bit pricier — and like Kibberia, not always on everyone’s radar — is Positano. This summer the Scarpati family relocated from Old Mill Beach to the site of the old Dressing Room, next to the Westport Country Playhouse. It’s a beautiful space, with the same regional Italian cuisine and family atmosphere diners have loved for years. Mangia!


From Positano, stroll a few feet to the Playhouse. Gift certificates are available there too, for events from the 2016 season to the Family Festivities series and Script in Hand play readings. Too often, Westporters overlook this cultural (and very cool) gem.

Playhouse logo

Speaking of food, the Farmers Market (winter version) is open Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Gilberties’ Herb Gardens on Sylvan Lane. You may not always think of artisanal breads and cheeses, meats, baked goods, seasonal vegetables and hydroponically grown salad greens as holiday gifts, but there’s also organic maple syrup, interesting teas, dog biscuits and the like. Hey, I’m just trying to offer some only-in-Westport choices…

Westport farmers market logo

The chainification strangling Main Street is thankfully absent from Saugatuck. That neighborhood is still home to unique shops. The funkiest, friendliest and most fun of all may be Indulge by Mersene. From her digs on Railroad Place directly across from the train station, Mersene (like Cher and Adele, she needs only one name) sells a melange of gifts. Local artisans’ works, gourmet foods, decorative pillows, jewelry, home decor — it’s all there. The owner is as much an attraction as her goods — and that’s saying something.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

A couple of steps from Indulge by Mersene is Suited.co. This men’s store — offering custom-tailored suits, blazers and shirts — is a cut apart from traditional clothing shops. The fabrics and selections are both classic and hip. Suited.co is a little fish in a big sartorial pond, but definitely worth checking out.


If you’re one of those who look for worthy causes at the holidays — and I sure hope you do — you don’t have to look far. Some of my favorites in Westport are A Better ChanceAl’s Angels, Homes With Hope, Project Return and Staples Tuition Grants. Many others — including those just beyond our borders, like Mercy Learning Center and the Adam J. Lewis Preschool — do amazing work (and have amazing needs).

ABC logo

You can add your own special organization to the list. I’m sure you’ve got other gift ideas too. I’ve only scratched the surface. Click “Comments” below, to share your favorites with the very giving, very generous “06880” community.

WHS 06880 towels

Bonus idea: Why not give “06880” itself? You’ll find items like these at the Westport Historical Society.

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


Eliza’s Story

Eliza had a tough life. Last summer she voluntarily signed on with Connecticut’s Department of Children and Youth Services. When foster care did not work out, she came to Project Return.

Since arriving at the North Compo Road home, where teenage girls and young women in crisis find a place to heal and grow, Eliza has thrived. She’s been sober for 6 months. Her relationship with her mother is vastly better.

Most importantly, she feels good about herself.

Project Return, on North Compo Road. It's a place where girls and young women transform their lives.

Project Return, on North Compo Road, where girls and young women transform their lives.

A part-time student at Staples and in Orange, Eliza starts full-time at Staples this week. Her truancy issues are gone. She’ll graduate sooner than she ever thought possible.

Eliza says, “I’ve grown into myself.” At Project Return she is surrounded by loving professionals, and other girls who support her. She feels “profound comfort. I’m safe, and in control of my emotions.”

Eliza’s passion for art has been stoked too. Drawing often in notebooks — usually with a fine-point quill, sometimes using watercolors, in an artist’s nook she created in the Project Return basement — Eliza creates wonderful works that come from her heart.

Eliza (left) relaxes with her sketch notebook in the Project Return living room with Christine Manenke (transitional living coordinator) and Susie Basler (executive director).

Eliza (left) relaxes with her sketch notebook in the Project Return living room with Christine Manenke (transitional living coordinator) and Susie Basler (executive director).

This Saturday (April 5, 7 p.m., Rolling Hills Country  Club, Wilton), one of Eliza’s drawings will be auctioned off. It’s part of Project Return’s 19th annual Birdhouse Gala, featuring silent and live auctions of original birdhouses designed and built by local artists, bird-themed paintings, ceramics, furniture and jewelry, plus “migration vacations” and “nesting packages.”

Plus cocktails, dinner, and dancing to the DNR rock band. It’s a fantastic event, for an even better cause.

“This house has given me so much,” Eliza says, sitting in the comfortable living room as the smell of cooking wafts from the kitchen.

Eliza's contribution to the Birdhouse Auction Gala.

Eliza’s contribution to the Birdhouse Auction Gala.

“It’s helped me meet the person I always thought I was, but never thought I could become. I’m so grateful for the amazing therapists, wonderful tutors — all the incredible people who are here.”

Eliza is doing her part to give back. The piece she donated for the auction shows 7 birds — there are 7 beds at Project Return — with a quote from Maya Angelou, describing home as a safe haven.

Right now, it sits by the cash register at Eileen Fisher.

On Saturday, it can be yours.

Eliza would be grateful. So would the hundreds of girls who have passed through Project Return since its founding in 1985. And the hundreds more it will help over many years to come.

(For ticket information to the Birdhouse Auction Gala, click here. To bid on online items before April 5, click here.) 

Birdhouses from previous auctions. (Photos courtesy of Westport Magazine)

Birdhouses from previous auctions. (Photos courtesy of Westport Magazine)

Staples Students: A Bunch of SLOBS

Today was Service Sunday for SLOBS — or, to spell it out, Staples Service League of Boys.

Over 150 club members and their parents worked on community service projects at 8 locations around Westport (and 1 yesterday). They:

  • Painted equipment at  Compo  Beach Skate Park
  • Moved and spread 22 tons of sand and 15 tons of gravel at Earthplace
  • Performed a variety of tasks at Wakeman Town Farm
  • Did spring cleaning at the Westport Historical Society barn and grounds
  • Painted, landscaped, planted and did heavy-duty cleaning at the ABC House, Project Return, Gillespie Center, Bacharach Houses and Saugatuck Apartments.

Kids these days…

Some of the many SLOBS in action.

Some of the many SLOBS in action.

PS: Big props to Westport Pizzeria, Elvira’s, Angelina’s and Planet Pizza for keeping everyone hydrated and well fed.

Naomi Kydes Returns To Project Return

In 1993 , 15-year-old Naomi ran away from her Stamford home.

For a year, she lived with friends. One day — needing her passport and Social Security card to get a job — she “broke into” her home. Her parents had her arrested.

She became a ward of the state. In 1994 — after a stint in the Greenwich youth shelter — Naomi ended up at Project Return.

“It was a huge adjustment,” she says of the former farmhouse nestled between Little League fields and tennis courts on North Compo Road. It serves as a group home for girls who are victims of abuse or neglect.

Project Return, on North Compo Road.

Project Return, on North Compo Road.

“I’ve always been independent. I could take care of myself. I had a huge problem trusting adults,” Naomi recalls.

All of a sudden Naomi had to share a room. Do chores. Become part of a family.

All while she was still “angry at the world.”

Fortunately, she’d landed at the right place. Slowly, Naomi began to trust a few staff members.

Renee Gold was “a solid rock,” Naomi says. “As annoying as I thought she was then, she was always honest — in the nicest way possible.” Years later, Renee was invited to Naomi’s wedding. She was there the days Naomi’s daughter and son were born.

The Project Return staff, in a recent photo.

The Project Return staff, in a recent photo.

Tessa Gilmore-Barnes was “the first person who made me talk about my childhood, and why I ran away,” Naomi says. “She always made me feel safe. When I was anxious, she calmed me down.”

Theresa Roth spent weeks with Naomi, scouring New York to find just the right fabric for her prom dress.

“It’s tough being a teenager,” Naomi notes. “It’s especially tough if you feel you can’t trust anyone.” At Project Return, adults asked how her day was when she stormed through door. If she woke up from a nightmare, they made her tea.

“I hated it,” Naomi says of her 2 years in a group home. “But I realize now they were doing everything in their power to work with us independently. At the same time, they were teaching us how to share a house, and be a family.”

Susie Basler, executive director of Project Return since its inception.

Susie Basler, executive director of Project Return since its inception.

At Project Return, Naomi learned how to cook dinner, then share a meal with others. She did laundry, cleaned up, went to Staples High School.

“I was functioning as a normal person,” she says. “The staff brought you back to the basics. It could be something small, like learning how to complete a school project. But whatever it was, they helped you.”

Project Return is warm and welcoming. There are bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen the girls are free to wander into.

But at 18 — when she had to choose whether to remain under Department of Children and Families supervision — Naomi decided to leave.

She earned her GED. A friend of a lawyer got her an internship at a fashion house. She worked her way up in the textile world. Today — now known as Naomi Kydes — she has a very good job selling fabric to clothing companies.

She is also in her 3rd year as a board member of Project Return.

“It’s so interesting to see the other side of the people who want to make a difference,” says the 1st-ever former resident to sit on the board.

Naomi Kydes

Naomi Kydes

She brings a different perspective than other members — for the most part, therapists and long-time Westport residents.

For example, every Christmas the board buys the same gift for each resident. This year, they considered Ray-Bans.

“Most of these girls come from a place where they have nothing. I thought it would be great if we could give them gift cards. Buying a lot of clothes for themselves at Marshall’s would mean more to them than sunglasses.”

Like many of the girls, Naomi arrived at Project Return with “one little bag of clothing. All of a sudden, you’re in Westport. That’s a very different reality. I hope I’m able to bring that sense to the board.”

Naomi has enormous respect for her fellow members. “They totally understand the importance of treatment and healing. Lots of boards just focus on the business side of things.”

Naomi calls Project Return “a model for what a group home should be. It’s an environment filled with caring and love.”

It is not, she emphasizes, “a place for girls to just live for a while.”

No, Naomi says. Project Return is “a home.”

Tomorrow night's "Birdhouse Stroll" begins 3 weeks of activities, leading up to Project Return's Birdhouse Auction fundraiser. See details below.

Tomorrow night’s “Birdhouse Stroll” begins 3 weeks of activities, leading up to Project Return’s Birdhouse Auction fundraiser. See details below.

(Tomorrow — Thursday, March 21 — from 6-8 p.m., Project Return sponsors its annual “Birdhouse Stroll.” Westporters are invited downtown to enjoy 130 birdhouses, specially designed for the organization’s 18th annual Birdhouse Auction. There is a welcoming reception at 6 p.m. at West Elm on Main Street, and a dessert reception at Urban Outfitters.

(Stores will display these works of art for 3 weeks. The Birdhouse Auction fundraiser is set for Saturday, April 6, 7-11 p.m. at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, with food and music. Click here for information on the Birdhouse Stroll and Auction, or call 203-291-6402. Click here for a video on Project Return.)

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!