Have You Heard? … Christmas Season Doings and Givings

p2p holiday store 14
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Here’s the low down on what’s up around town:

Pre-K students at Methodist Family Center Preschool recently enjoyed a visit from Elizabeth Merow, Community Outreach Manager at The Connecticut Humane Society, and several of her furry friends.

CT Humane Society Methodist Family Preschool 12-17-17

Elizabeth Merow (from the Connecticut Humane Society) and Pre-K students at Methodist with the items they collected to donate to a local animal shelter.

Through games and interactive exercises, the children learned about the preferred foods and habitats of different animals, and how each like to be touched and cared for.

To thank Ms. Merow for spending time with them, the class presented her with items to be donated to pets at a local animal shelter. “This was such a special event for our students, from start to finish.

They worked so hard to collect items from the Humane Society’s Wish List, and then were rewarded with such an engaging and educational experience. We are so grateful to Beth for visiting us,” said Laurie Anderson, MFCP Director.


Eric Holder Police officer Paul Johnson 12-18-17

Eric Holder was sworn in as a probationary police officer. Afterward he was congratulated by Police Commission Chairman Paul Johnson.

The Darien Police Department has welcomed its newest member after Paul Johnson, chairman of the Police Commission and Chief Ray Osborne swore in Eric Holder as a probationary police officer.

Holder was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and graduated from Loughlin High School in 1996.  He earned vachelor’s degrees from Lincoln University and the Empire State College.

Prior to joining the Darien Police Department, Holder had been employed as a Bridgeport Police Officer since 2012, serving as a field training officer. Holder began his training with the Darien Police Department on Nov. 30.


Person to Person 12-0-17


The TD Charitable Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant for the Person-to-Person Emergency Assistance Program.

TD Bank, through the TD Charitable Foundation, carries a legacy of supporting not-for-profit institutions and their important work throughout the region. In the award letter, Connecticut Market President Michael J LaBella wrote, “We believe that organizations such as yours play a significant role in sustaining vibrant and thriving communities.”


Tori Barnett, Jay Bennett and Emily Kroenlein have joined the Darien Library Board of Trustees.

Darien Library Board of Trustees 12-18-17

Newest members of the Darien Library Board of Trustees


Tori Barnett is the wife of Andrew Barnett and mom to Turner, Charlie and Sutton. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and previously worked for The Heritage Foundation.

Prior to moving to Darien, Tori worked for ABC News, 20/20 and did consulting work for various authors, speakers and writers. Previously, Tori served as the co-chair of the Darien Library annual fundraiser as well as the board chair for Noroton Presbyterian Nursery School. She is currently the teaching director for Community Bible Study, New Canaan/Darien.

Jay Bennett and his wife Mary have lived in Darien for 30 years where they raised their four children: Eliza, Courtney, Jack and Ellie. Jay is a Managing Director and Partner for Greenwich Associates. He leads the firm’s equity practices, works with clients’ senior equity management teams across the US, Canada, UK and Hong Kong.

Before joining Greenwich Associates in 1985, Jay was a strategy consultant for Mars & Co and an Assistant Vice President for Manufacturers Hanover. Jay received his BA magna cum laude in political economics from Princeton and his MBA from Harvard.

Emily Kroenlein lives in Darien with her husband Rob Schlein and three daughters, Elizabeth, Beatrice and Eleanor. Previously, she worked at Sullivan & Cromwell in mergers and acquisitions in their New York, Paris and London offices before switching to a corporate path at Diageo PLC in London.

Since returning home, she has been an active volunteer at Ox Ridge school, through Girl Scouts and with DAEG, including having served as Enrichment Coordinator for the elementary schools in the district. Emily graduated from Princeton (summa/Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School (cum laude).


Darien Senior Center Darien Human Services Department

The Darien Senior Program Knitting and Crochet Group donated dozens of winter hats, scarves, and mittens to the Darien Human Services Department for residents in need of a bit of warmth this winter.



The 23rd Annual P2P Holiday Toy Store attracted a slew of volunteers giving gifts and time to help clients of Person-to-Person have a merrier Christmas. You can see joy in these pictures, over and over again:

(all these photos are from Person-to-Person on Twitter)

By Saturday, Dec. 16, it was all over. P2P thanked all who helped — the committee, the donors, the volunteer elves and the staff.

Darien Toy Box hosted a toy drive for customers to purchase and donate toys and games. Barrett Bookstore donated 300 books to the 23rd Annual P2P Holiday Toy Store. Bookstore shoppers who donated several dozen more.


Nicholas deSpoelberch of Darien gave a very moving talk last year at a Town Hall forum on the opioid epidemic. He spoke recently at a forum sponsored by Forbes magazine:

“I’m here today because a lot of people helped me to get better,” he said. “I wanted to express the pain and the hopelessness one feels in this addiction, but that there’s hope, too, and there’s a lot of resources out there.”

He now works with teenagers who are addicted to heroin. “It’s a disaster,” he said. “We need as much help as we can get.”

Forbe’s short article, mostly on his presentation included this 8 1/2-minute video:

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