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Once Around the City: Disaster Boot Camp and an ice cream social

James Miller and his antique “High Wheeler” bicycle will be on hand at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum ice cream social.(Photography courtesy of Sarah Grote Photography)
James Miller and his antique “High Wheeler” bicycle will be on hand at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum ice cream social.(Photography courtesy of Sarah Grote Photography)

NORWALK, Conn. – The American Red Cross and VolunteerSquare will offer a Disaster Boot Camp from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at the Norwalk Fire Department, 121 Connecticut Ave. The training will provide information and basic skills needed to become a registered Red Cross volunteer, supporting disaster response here in Connecticut. Volunteers must pre-register for the event at www.redcross.org/ct/volunteer.

From major disasters like Superstorm Sandy or Tropical Storm Irene to residential house fires, the Red Cross responds to more than 500 incidents each year. Red Cross volunteers provide shelter, food, emotional support, health services and more during emergency responses.

“Our workforce is more than 95 percent volunteer. We could not be there for our neighbors without the help of volunteers,” said Mario Bruno, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region CEO.

The orientation and training will provide an introduction to Red Cross disaster response and equip volunteers with basic skills to staff shelters, help and help with mass care tasks like food preparation and distribution. As volunteers become more involved with the organization, there are opportunities to work in different areas and to take on increasing levels of responsibility.

“We have opportunities for every age and ability,” Bruno said. “We hope to build our capacity with local volunteers ready to respond if needed,” Bruno said.

VolunteerSquare Executive Director Rachel Reese said the organization partnered with the Red Cross because disaster readiness and response help to build stronger, more resilient communities.

“We have seen in recent years how important the help of the Red Cross is when disaster strikes, so we want to provide people an opportunity to learn more and to become part of the team that can help here when the Red Cross is needed,” Reese said.

Sweet taste of summer

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will recreate the atmosphere of a bygone era from noon to 5 p.m. June 22 in Mathews Park by bringing back a highlight of summer during the Gilded Age – a Victorian Ice Cream Social. Mary-Pat Cottrell and Lynne Byington will co-chair the event which features a wide range of educational and family-friendly entertainment.

Children will play Victorian lawn games such as croquet and badminton and participate in turn-of-the-century activities such as Maypole dancing. Visitors will learn how ice cream was made in the mid-to-late 19th century and how it became widely popular with the invention of the hand-cranked ice cream machine.

“This will be a fun yet educational way for children to experience history” said Trustee Lynne Byington.

Featured entertainment will include James Miller and his antique “High Wheeler” bicycles, (an 1887 New Mail and an 1898 Liberty Tribune made in Bridgeport); music by The Norwalk Community Chorale and the Usual Suspects Barbershop Quartet; 15-year-old magician Ben Zabin; illusionist, juggler, comedianJason Pipitone; and more. LMMM’s costumed historical interpreters will wander through the crowds as they bring the mansion’s history to life. Palm readers will tell the future as visitors explore the past, Irene and Gisella Surapine will offer face painting to children of all ages, and Victorian interpreters Paul and Hadley Veeder will narrate the “Mouse Mansion” story written by author Judith Rodriguez. A children’s hat contest for 12-year-olds and younger will feature special prizes for the most original creations.

While general admission to the event is free and so are selected programs, the museum will charge for some of the activities and for all food sold during the event. Tickets will be available at LMMM’s booths at the designated locations in Mathews Park.

The museum will be open for mini-tours. Guests will be invited to walk throughout the Museum’s period rooms on the first floor and enjoy the beauty of this Victorian era Mansion for $5.

For more information on the schedule of events, food stands, and prices, email [email protected] or visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

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