West Hartford CT Community Notes

Monday, July 28, 2014

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

West Hartford moving company closes after 63 years

WEST HARTFORD— Residents Jeff and Terri Garrison recently announced their retirement and the closing of their West Hartford Moving & Storage Company. Three generations of the Garrison Family have worked diligently to make each move successful. As they retire, the Garrison's extended thanks to their many customers "who put their trust in us and helped us grow into a successful business."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Taskforce named to rebuild Jonathan's Dream II

Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) has convened a taskforce of alumni from its Quest and Third Age Initiative programs to help rebuild Jonathan's Dream II, a Boundless Playground. This fully accessible playground was located at the Mandell Jewish Community Center (JCC) in West Hartford and built to commemorate Jonathan Barzach, the nine-month-old son of Amy and Peter Barzach who died in 1995 of spinal muscular atrophy -- a condition that, had he lived, would have confined him to a wheelchair. The anniversary of Jonathan's 20th birthday is April 1, 2014.

When the original playground was built 17 years ago by more than 1,000 volunteers, it was state-of-the-art construction and one of the first inclusive playgrounds in the country. Due to heavy use and outliving its useful life as a primarily wood playground, Jonathan's Dream was closed and torn dow n in 2013.

In a world where children and adults with disabilities face daily challenges, an all-inclusive playground offers opportunities for individuals of all abilities to play, learn, and celebrate life together. The new Jonathan's Dream will create an environment where kids and adults can play side-by-side regardless of their abilities.

Statistics show that one third of children are overweight or obese in this country. These numbers have grown significantly from the low single digit numbers tracked back when Jonathan's dream was first built in 1996. There are a few factors/variables that have caused this shift. One is the increase of indoor sedentary activities by many children. Technology is becoming the activity (or non-activity) of choice by children today.  In addition, the medical community is seeing a significant increase in childhood Type 2 Diabetes, respiratory problems in children, and orthopedic issues. The "Let's Move" campaign initiated by Mi chelle Obama is one of many initiatives to heighten parents' awareness of the importance of getting kids moving on a daily basis. In addition to the Mandell JCC's core commitment to ensure inclusion, the new playground will also maximize the amount of play equipment where the child must move to interact with the equipment. The proposed playground design, generously donated by Shane's Inspiration, will feature equipment that requires children to be physically engaged in the areas of strength, endurance, flexibility, and of course, will be inclusive.

In collaboration with the JCC, the LGH taskforce, Jonathan's Dream Team, is developing a fundraising and community engagement plan. Jonathan's Dream Team began meeting in November 2013 when six LGH alumni came together to start turning the vision of the new playground into a reality. The taskforce has been working on team development, creating the project plan, and working with members of the JCC.

To receive updates regarding Jonathan’s Dream or to volunteer for the community build, please contact jonathansdream@mandelljcc.org. Contributions to the Jonathan's Dream Fund can be sent c/o the Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117.

The Mandell Jewish Community Center is open to everyone. Visit www.mandelljcc.org, or follow the Mandell JCC on Facebook and Twitter.  

For more information about Leadership Greater Hartford's Jonathan's Dream Team taskforce, contact Andre Santiago at andre.santiag o@leadershipgh.org or 860.206.5067. Leadership Greater Hartford is the most comprehensive nonprofit community leadership training organization in the country. It offers leadership training to individuals ranging from high school age to retirees, with community service projects featured in nearly all of its programs. These projects and the program graduates continue to have lasting impact in the Hartford region. For more information about how to be a participant or sponsor with Leadership Greater Hartford, call Katy Bannister, Senior Director of Business Development at 860.951.6161 (x1800), email info@leadershipgh.org, visit www.leadershipgh.org, or like it on Facebook.

Spring Fashion Week to benefit Town That Cares fund

Fashion Night Out 2013
Spring style is front and center in West Hartford Center during our first annual Spring Fashion Week to run from April 6-13. 
Come see what’s new and trending in clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor and food. Trunks shows, fashion shows, product launches, informal modeling, free consultations, free drawings, cake tastings and more.

Spotlighting what’s hot for spring 2014, West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square are hosting 15 events to showcase new products, collections and services to freshen up your outlook after this long winter.

Grab your girlfriends, your special someone, your officemates, or your favorite relatives and step out to check out Spring Fashion Week 2014. Take in a fashion show, snap a photo at our step and repeat, be inspired to redecorate, or sample at our spring cake demonstration. Great service, great ideas and great fun.

The icing on the Spring cake is that 20 of our businesses have committed to donating a percentage of sales during Spring Fashion Week to West Hartford Town That Cares, a fund that assists low-income residents experiencing a crisis situation hindering their ability to pay for food, utility bills, shelter costs, medical expenses, clothing and other critical needs. The Town That Cares strives to improve the quality of life and self-sufficiency of vulnerable, low-income West Hartford residents through financial assistance, crisis intervention and prevention programs.

West Hartford Center Business Association believes in creating a vibrant business environment. We believe in shopping “small” and supporting local neighborhood merchants. We also believe in giving back to our community.

For a complete listing of our events during Spring Fashion Week, visit our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/WestHartfordCenterandTheSquare

Residential Mortgage Services celebrates grand opening

The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce recently held an Official Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening Ceremony to celebrate Residential Mortgage Services, located on 68 South Main Street.

Mayor Scott Slifka, Deputy Mayor Cantor other officials were in attendance, along with chamber staff, board members and ambassadors.


West Hartford resident volunteers to read to children

West Hartford – The hallways at Dr. Michael D. Fox School were lined with nearly 130 volunteers who collected one of two books by the beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss– Daisy Head Mayzie and What Was I Scared of? in preparation for reading to children on Monday, March 3. 
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, in partnership with Hartford Public Schools, recruited volunteers to participate in the National Education Association's 17th annual Read Across America Day. Caring volunteers have the power and ability to positively impact children’s literacy skills and help them stay on track to a bright future. With the support of generous volunteers and partners, locally, more than 5,000 children were read to in elementary classrooms throughout schools in Hartford.  It was an exciting way to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and make reading fun. 
"The statistics of how many children are not reading on grade-level by the end of third grade are alarming. It's great to be able to make a difference in a small way. The United Way Readers Program, including Read Across America Day, helps children stay on track to graduation so they are able to lead a productive and successful future," said West Hartford resident John F. Byrnes, a United Way Reader at John C. Clark, Jr. Elementary and Middle School in Hartford. 
This event was an opportunity for volunteers to contribute to a community-wide effort to ensure that children read on grade-level by the end of third grade, an indicator of academic achievement and success later on in life. Children who are read to on a regular basis are more motivated to read on their own, and to develop critical thinking and comprehension skills. 
“Read Across America Day reinforces our dedication to join together to benefit the lives of children and close the reading gap. It was so great to see such a wonderful, important event come together with such success! The experience was rewarding and refreshing as we saw dedicated, energized volunteers give up time from their busy schedules to read with our children,” stated Dee Cole, Executive Director, Office of Early Literacy and Parent Engagement, Hartford Public Schools. 
Volunteers were offered the opportunity to purchase a United Way Read.Learn.Succeed. signature bookplate. For a gift of $25 volunteers’ names will appear on a label on the inside cover of a book, and given to a child who lives within our region. Proceeds will support United Way education programs and initiatives. Learn more at unitedwayinc.org/readlearnsucceed
For more information on volunteer opportunities, including reading with children please visit unitedwayinc.org/volunteer.

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