Maggie McIntire Margaret McIntire Museum of Darien

Museum of Darien Executive Director to Leave Post in October

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After four years as executive director of the Museum of Darien, Maggie McIntire has announced she will be leaving the job in October. A new director is expected to be named in January and start work early next year, the museum announced. The museum’s former name is the Darien Historical Society. “We are eternally grateful for all of the amazing work that Maggie has done for our organization and the community at large,” said Board President Robert J. Pascal Jr., adding that the non-profit’s board is putting a transition plan in motion and is expected to name a new leader in the coming months. Before taking on the leadership role at the Museum in 2017, McIntire directed adult programs at the Mark Twain Library in Redding and previously worked in communications at The Ferguson Library in Stamford.

Americares warehouse

Americares Sends Relief Supplies to Earthquake-Striken Areas of Haiti

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Americares has medicines and relief supplies on the way to Haiti for survivors of Saturday morning’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake. — an announcement from Americares

A shipment carrying 9 tons of intravenous fluids is headed to earthquake-damaged Les Cayes, and Americares relief workers in Haiti and the United States are preparing additional shipments in the coming days to supply health workers treating the injured with antibiotics, wound care supplies and urgently needed medical supplies. Americares relief workers on the ground in Haiti are assisting the local response, and the health-focused relief organization plans to deploy additional staff in the coming days to support the relief efforts. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 7.2-mangitude earthquake at 8:29 a.m. local time in the southwestern part of the country, 78 miles west of Port-au-Prince—slightly stronger than the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake that devastated the country. Aftershocks as strong as 5.2 continued throughout the day and early reports from the region indicated major destruction in Jeremie and Les Cayes.

Alex Domeyko Darien Nature Center director

Darien Nature Center Names Alex Domeyko New Executive Director

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The Board of Directors of the Darien Nature Center has named Alex Domeyko as the organization’s new executive director. — an announcement from the Darien Nature Center

Domeyko succeeds Leila Wetmore, who oversaw the organization’s strategic planning process in advance of the Darien Nature Center’s 40th anniversary. “Al’s deep commitment to the environment and his experience in nature-based programming will be tremendous assets as we launch our strategic plan,” said Board President Alicia Sable. “He shares our vision and we are confident that he will help the Darien Nature Center build upon its strengths and provide even more programs and resources for nature lovers of all ages,” Sable said. Domeyko has devoted his educational and professional career to the natural sciences, working in environmental research and outreach for more than a decade.

Poster 1 Knights for Aces Norwalk Grassroots Tennis 2021

‘Knights for Aces’ Tennis Tournament for Kids and Teens, Aug 22 in Darien and Norwalk

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Kids and teenagers of any skill level are invited to play in the Knights for Aces tennis tournament, coming Sunday afternoon, Aug. 22. — an announcement from Grassroots Tennis & Education
The competition, from 1 to 6 p.m., features round robin doubles tennis matches, starting on the courts of four clubs in Darien — Middlesex, Tokeneke, Wee Burn and Woodway. Participants are asked to arrive by 12:45 p.m.

After matches are played, the winning doubles team in each division will play in the finals at Grassroots tennis courts in Norwalk. Players and spectators are invited to enjoy pizza and refreshments, and winners will take home trophies and t-shirts. 
Finals and food will be  at the William Rippe Tennis Center at Springwood Park, 11 Ingalls Ave.

Tommy Gogolak STAR YMCA

STAR Gets Grant to Help People With Disabilities Find First Jobs

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STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way received a $20,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation to support local individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) find first jobs through their My First Jobs Program. — an announcement from STAR Inc., Lighting the Way

STAR’s My First Jobs Program provides support to workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities in entering the workforce. Current research indicates that only 15% of people with IDD are employed. However, with the right supports, many people with IDD can build a career alongside their typical peers. STAR is recognized as a leading agency in Connecticut in job placements, coaching, and hours worked competitively by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Charlie Sherman Charles Sherman

How Four Area People with Disabilities Work and Live on Their Own, With Help

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How many of us have dreamed of having our own home? How many want that home located in our home town, where we know people, we know the shopkeepers and the street signs, and where people know our name? — an announcement from STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way

For many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), that’s not only their dream, it’s their reality, thanks to a program from the state Department of Developmental Disabilities called Individualized Home Supports. Here’s how several people in Darien and nearby communities were helped by the program:
Charlie, at Whole Foods in Darien
There is hardly a customer at Whole Foods in Darien who is an unfamiliar face to Charlie, who has worked there for over six years. In a job that makes him beam with pride, he says: “Everybody knows me […] I get to be outside on my own helping and greeting people, not a lot of bosses, and I just do what I gotta do!”

To get to work each day, Charlie walks from his apartment in his hometown of Norwalk to the East Norwalk Metro North station, where he boards the local train to Darien.

Abilis Expands Special Needs Services in Darien With Four Programs This Year, More Expected

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Abilis, a nonprofit that serves people with special needs and their families, will be expanding programs and services in Darien, starting with four programs in the areas of job training, life skills, employment and housing. — an announcement from Abilis

Abilis is now accepting applications for two programs: Abilis LEAP Transitions Program, which helps people acquire life skills, as well as Project SEARCH, a 10-month internship at the Darien YMCA to provide job training. Two other programs are still in the works: Sometime later this year Abilis will open Darien Library Café. Later this summer and early fall, the organization will run the supportive living program for 12 new, large studio apartments on East Lane, as part of the Corbin District project. “Having these four initial Abilis programs, and more to come, in the Darien community, will only strengthen our ability to help more individuals with disabilities or special needs,” said Amy Montimurro, CEO and president of Abilis.

Darien Chamber of Commerce Logo 5-3-16

Kesti Aysseh Becomes New Darien Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

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Kesti Aysseh has been named the new executive director of the Darien Chamber of Commerce, and a new business manager, Reedie Karl, has been named the new business manager, the chamber announced. Most recently, Aysseh was executive development director of The Depot Youth Center. Karl was recently community relations associate for Maplewood Senior Living. Aysseh succeeds Susan Cator, who left the job in December after more than six and a half years. Karl succeeds Masako Sparks as business manager.

Sheffield Island Lighthouse

Your Kid’s Summer Camp Could Visit Sheffield Island Lighthouse

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New this summer, the Norwalk Seaport Association is now welcoming regional organizations that offer summer camps for children to come and visit Sheffield Island and Sheffield Island Lighthouse for an unparalleled maritime excursion. — an announcement from the Norwalk Seaport Association

Preservation of the island and lighthouse as well as offering educational opportunities for children are two of the founding principles that the Norwalk Seaport Association has been founded on. If organizations and summer camps are looking for a new camp activity that will delight and engage kids of all ages, they should consider renting the Norwalk Seaport Association’s vessel the C.J. Toth for an excursion. The Norwalk Seaport Association has developed two options for camp educators to choose from, both offer an educational and rewarding experience at affordable price points. A two-hour harbor cruise is scenic, educational, and fun.

The Norwalk Art Space interior 2021

A New Museum, The Norwalk Art Space, Opens With a Celebration This Weekend

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The Norwalk Art Space, the area’s newest museum, will open its doors to the public with a weekend-long celebration featuring a group exhibition, an outdoor live music festival, and the opening of the Art Space Cafe by celebrated Chef Bill Taibe. — an announcement from The Norwalk Art Space

The museum, just north of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in central Norwalk (off Exit 14), features a gallery, resident artists, classes, a sculpture garden and cafe, and musical performances. Live music will be presented in our sculpture garden by a wide variety of musicians. SEE ALSO: A New Museum, Norwalk Art Space, Opens June 5 With Exhibit Tours, Outdoor Music, Sculpture Garden, Cafe (May 9)
On Opening Weekend
The opening weekend will feature:

A group exhibition by our Resident Artists and Korry Fellows, curated by Artistic Director Duvian Montoya, and Curatorial and Policy Advisor Nicole Sansone Ruiz, PhD. The opening of our Sculpture Garden, curated by sculptural curator Yvonne Shortt.

Patricia Russo

‘Lessons Learned: Tales From the Campaign Trail’ Topic of Darien League of Women Voters Online Talk

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The League of Women Voters of Darien invites the community to its Annual Meeting to be held online on June 2 at 7 p.m.

Patricia Russo , executive director of the Campaign School at Yale will address the topic “Lessons Learned: Tales from the Campaign Trail.” — an announcement from the Darien League of Women Voters

The program will be hosted by the Darien Library and is free and open to the public. You can register here through the Darien Library website. Russo is a nationally respected leader focused on achieving political parity in the United States and the world. For over 30 years she has held numerous leadership positions in the public, private and not for profit organizations centered on gender equality.

Allegra Erickson and Christina Passaretti Thriving Youth Task Force TYTF

Two New Members Named to Community Fund of Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force

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The Thriving Youth Task Force announced Monday that Allegra Erickson and Christina Passaretti will join its executive board for the 2021/22 school year. — an announcement from The Community Fund of Darien
Erickson will assume the role of Executive Board co-chair.  She will succeed Shelly Skoglund, who will complete her term as co-chair this year. Christina Passaretti will serve as vice chair, succeeding Susan Marks, who will also complete her term this year. Erickson brings a wealth of experience to the Thriving Youth Task Force. She has served our community on the PTO executive boards of Hindley Elementary, Middlesex Middle School and Darien High School and was a board member, Youth Asset Team adult advisor, and Community Investment executive board member for The Community Fund of Darien.

CAC volunteer and kid

Six Darien Residents Honored for ‘Outstanding Volunteer Advocacy’ for Children

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Six Darienites who have taken on the task of advocating for vulnerable children have been honored for their services by Child Advocates of Southwest Connecticut, the organization announced. — an announcement from Child Advocates of SW Connecticut

The Darien residents recognized for “outstanding volunteer advocacy” are Amy Harned, Robert Noonan, Megan Pryor, Maureen Roach, Ruthie Strother and Jody Truwit. Child Advocates of SW Connecticut (CAC) is a Fairfield County-based non-profit organization that trains and supervises volunteer advocates for vulnerable children. “CAC is thrilled to honor our incredible volunteers,” said Stacey Sobel, executive director of CAC. “Vulnerable children have suffered disproportionately during the COVID pandemic, and our volunteers have done a tremendous job ensuring needs are being met.”

CAC volunteers are a consistent, caring presence in a child’s life and advocate for the child’s best interests in the community, school and courtroom.

Darien Land Trust 65th Anniversary

Darien Land Trust Invites You to a ‘Trails Challenge’ by Going on Three Walking Trails This Summer

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The Darien Land Trust is inviting the town to come participate in two challenges to mark the trust’s 65th anniversary year — walks in three of the trust’s preserves, now through the end of July and a running event in October. — an announcement from the Darien Land Trust
Trails Challenge
First, the Trails Challenge takes visitors to three of its preserves with walking trails: Olson Woods, (at 31-1 Heather Lane) the Trails at Cherry Lawn (at 120 Brookside Ave.) and Dunlap Woods (near the end of Parklands Drive). (This Web page shows where each of the land trust’s preserves are located, although it doesn’t give addresses of the entrances.)

The Trails Challenge, which started this weekend and runs to July 31, is to visit all three sites. Participants must register through a QR code posted at each property to be entered into a prize drawing. Winners will be announced on our website and social media on Aug.

David Genovese

David Genovese to Talk About Future Transformation of Downtown at DCA Annual Meeting

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The Darien Community Association invites the public to the organization’s Annual Meeting at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 20, to hear David Genovese, founder of Baywater Properties, discuss “The Transformation of Downtown Darien, a Look into the Future. ”

— an announcement from the DCA

This will be a virtual event. Registrants will receive an email with an access link the day before the event. David Genovese and his partner, Penny Glassmeyer, have developed several of
Darien’s now iconic properties, including Grove Street Plaza and 1020 Boston Post
Road, among others. After nearly 16 years of effort acquiring and assembling a total of over seven acres in downtown, and working with Darien’s boards and commissions in achieving zoning approvals, Baywater’s next project, The Corbin District, is about to begin construction.