Once Around the City: Carver Gala raises $521K; straight from the arts; stuff for kids

Auction bidders were among the real stars at the Carver Gala on May 30.
Auction bidders were among the real stars at the Carver Gala on May 30.

NORWALK, Conn. – The Carver Foundation’s annual fundraising gala May 30 at the Wee Burn Country Club hauled in more than half a million dollars through gifts, an auction and pledges to Carver’s four summer programs.

Gala co-chairmen Janine Smith and Dick Whitcomb and their volunteers put together an evening that began with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and fellowship on the patio. A live auction and dinner followed, along with dancing to music The Short Bus. The end result: $521,500.

The money, according to a Carver press release, will be used for the organization’s Summer Enrichment Program, available to Norwalk children ages 5 through 13 years old, serving 178 students. In addition to Carver’s traditional summer enrichment program, it is conducting the Freshman Summer Success Academy at Brien McMahon and Norwalk High Schools. Students from the two feeder middle schools spend five weeks engaged in project-based activities with their new ninth-grade English, math, science, technology and history teachers provide. Also, the city of Norwalk just asked Carver to create a summer learning experience for the 200 youth left bereft with the closing of NEON.

To see the Program Journal with essays from 11 Carver students, click here.

Shakespeare fundraiser with a South African flavor

A South African family barbecue called a “Braai,” complete with wine-tasting, has been arranged for June 7 at the the Rowayton Community Center as a fundraiser for Shakespeare on the Sound, which is in rehearsal for the comedy “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” as its 19th annual outdoor production in Rowayton’s Pinkney Park June 12-29.

The traditional cuisine and iconic wines from South Africa are to be presented by Travel Sommelier and Wines of South Africa, featuring New York-based celebrity chef Hugo Uys from Johannesburg, who describes himself as a “culinary astronaut” and is known for a fearless sense of adventure in the kitchen.

Fruit and fruit juices combined with spices like curry, cumin, cardamom, coriander and turmeric go into the marinade for the customary South African-style grilling that Uys is planning to prepare.

The benefit at the center (33 Highland Ave.) runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and is designed as a family outing. Tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to Shakespeare on the Sound

To purchase tickets visit www.travelsommelier.com and to learn more about the play in the park visit www.shakespeareonthesound.org

Get thee to Ryan Park for a Saturday festival

Youth Council for Justice (YC4J) is a youth-led group organizing for social change in Norwalk. According to a council statement, “At YC4J teenagers have a chance to be heard.  YC4J gives us a voice to speak out. YC4J throws light on issues that young people care about – real issues that are close to home. Our goal is to know that our rights won’t get violated, to know that we can trust people in uniform, and to bring peace to our streets and our schools.”

A YC4J Festival to Celebrate Peace will be held from noon to 5 p.m. today (Saturday, June 7) in Ryan Park, 1 Raymond St. There will be games, open mike, a drumming circle, collaborative mural painting, free food, an original skit by YC4J and more. A laptop computer will be raffled.

Monday is the LWV once-a-year day

The League of Women Voters of Norwalk’s annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 9, at Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave. The meeting is open to anyone interested in the League.  The League is a grassroots, non-partisan, political organization of women and men founded in 1920.  The program this year will begin with a tour of the WPA murals at Norwalk City Hall followed by a potluck dinner, and business meeting in the City Hall Community Room.  The business meeting will feature outgoing League of Women Voters of Connecticut co-president, Cheryl Dunson.

All are welcome to attend this event.  For more information, email the League at [email protected] or call 203-394-1710.

Sheffield Summer Arts Series

The Norwalk Seaport Association, the St. Philip Artists’ Guild (SPAG) and the Rowayton Arts Center (RAC) are set to kick off the Sheffield Summer Arts Series for 2014. This event brings together the historic and scenic Sheffield Island Lighthouse and the local creative community.The Sheffield Summer Arts Series will bring SPAG and RAC artists to the island throughout the summer to create pieces of art and make them available to the viewing public through an ongoing exhibit within the lighthouse.

Artists will first converge on the Island on June 14 for a full day of painting, drawing, photography and other activities. June 28 will mark the official opening of the event with an exhibit in the Sheffield Island Lighthouse. Visitors can reach the island through the Sheffield Island ferry, schedule and ticket information to be found at www.seaport.org. There is no charge for admission to the exhibit.

A final exhibit will be held in the Manice Lockwood Mansion, home of SPAG, and at RAC in September. Date and time will be posted when available. For more information, contact the Norwalk Seaport Association at [email protected], SPAG at [email protected] or RAC at [email protected]

Norwalk mural program gets $10K grant

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the city a $10,000 grant to support public engagement in Norwalk’s collection of WPA and other public art. The Arts Commission will use the grant funds to develop a public art digital media plan, create a student docent program similar to the nationally recognized Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum program.

Although Norwalk has one of the largest collections of restored Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals in the country, opportunities for this collection to enhance civic pride have gone largely unrealized. The goal of this project is to increase and improve access and awareness of this collection through innovative strategies that engage new audiences, and to make it more relevant, especially to under-served populations, including young people.

YMCA helps Norwalk kids get into the swim of things

As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, a collaboration between the Norwalk and Wilton YMCA’s will provide scholarships for swim lessons to children from Norwalk, thanks to a $25,000 grant received recently from Y USA. The Y’s will partner with the Carver Center to provide 350 children with swim safety skills. The program will also include water safety and drowning prevention education for parents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts.

To learn more about this and other YMCA water safety programs, contact Mary Ann Genuario at 203-762-8384, ext.282 or [email protected]

Merritt trail feasibility study meeting set for Norwalk

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will conduct a public informational meeting concerning the Merritt Parkway Multi-Use Trail Feasibility Study at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, in the Community Room of Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave.

Subsequent meetings are currently being arranged for other municipalities in the Merritt Parkway corridor. The study is identified as State Project No. 173-410.

The study is considering a trail that would span the entire 37.5 miles of the Merritt Parkway, stretching from the New York State border in the Town of Greenwich to the Sikorsky Bridge and Housatonic River in the Town of Stratford. The trail would primarily be located within the undeveloped highway right-of-way, utilizing the wooded buffer that exists between the road-way and abutting properties.



2 responses to “Once Around the City: Carver Gala raises $521K; straight from the arts; stuff for kids”


    The Carver Gala is a perfect example of what the Oak Hills Park Assoc. should be doing. If they think golf is so valuable and worthwhile, they should get out and raise some money themselves rather than relying on taxpayer dollars.

  2. Unbelievable that the kids in south norwalk Carver will be getting free camp and swim lessons (at the cost to the taxpayer – and before anyone gets their panties in a knot, yes, there is ALSO fundraising money as well).
    So Carver has 385 kids, and $521,500 from this event alone resulting in a cost of $1,355 per kid.
    This doesn’t include any other funds that are available to them but not disclosed and any fees that the parents MAY pay.
    Deposit another $25,000 for swimming lessons (oh where will they find the time?)
    This calculation is also including all kids in Carver (385) but that doesn’t mean all kids will sign up so their camping experiences cost “value” will be even higher. Right now, only 185 kids signed up and EACH kid is being handed to them $2, 818.92 for summer fun (I’m sure the program materials, food, transportation and overhead is absolutely subsidized already so no need to cost include those account payables). Salary is the only other thing that could be covered by some of this money but I doubt that as well.

    NEONs summer camp is also getting handed money ($92,000 of Norwalks taxpaying citizens money) and parents are “expected” to pay into the camp another $30,000 ($300/per kid) for a total of $122,00 for those kids or $1,220/per kid.
    If “NEON” should succeed and get handed to them the other $100,000 for the remaining 100 kids – then the grand total for NEON’s camping experience is $2220,000 or $1,220/per kid.
    Just appalling.
    There should be no reports of ANY kids “hanging out” or getting into trouble if they are being given a free ride to better themselves as well as keeping them occupied and supervised.
    Plus, if these camps include all the science, math and reading lessons as stated – then the city CMT’s for those subgroups should see a spike in results next year.

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