Hundreds of Hearts of Hope — palm-sized ceramic hearts, hand painted with personalized messages — painted in Newtown in recent weeks were packaged up and transported to Boston on Tuesday, May 15, on the one-month anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Four Newtown residents joined Hearts of Hope Founder Judy Pederson to hand out the 1,200 hearts in Copley Square.
In 1959, Chicago born playwright Lorraine Hansberry broke new ground in New York with "A Raisin in the Sun," the first play by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. Based in part on her family’s personal experience in trying to buy a house in a white neighborhood, the show ran for over two years, received prestigious awards, and has been revived, made into movies, and used as part of the curriculum in many schools. Playwright Bruce Norris was introduced to the film version in his seventh grade classroom, in an all white Texas school district specifically formed to avoid its students being bused to integrated Houston schools. It dawned on him that he and his classmates were essentially the people of Hansberry's work. Long Wharf Theatre is producing Norris's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Clybourne Park" for just a few more days, and would be worth a trip to New Haven.
A Sandy Hook resident who has seen his wristbands worn across the country, a Long Island runner who was inspired by those who died, a college student who did what she could to inspire others to make a promise, cheerleaders raising spirits and funds, and others who once lived in Newtown, or the area, or were so moved by the events of 12/14 that they were compelled to do something... these stories continue The Newtown Bee's Gestures of Kindness series.
Placing a five-gallon pail on a drop cloth in the woods, bird bander and resident Larry Fischer reached in for the first of five baby screech owls. Crouched around the pail were four young children, who watched as Mr Fischer cradled one bird against him, its talons out, and wrapped and crimped a metal band around its leg. With the bands soon in place on all five babies, he would potentially be able to learn where the birds go, how long they live, and whether they maintain a nest site and mate fidelity.
Dashed onto a canvas in oils is an image of Sabrina Style’s front window, dresses displayed in the pane glass of the Washington Avenue dress shop and boutique. Again with dabs of vibrant oil colors, Main Street and other Newtown and Sandy Hook scenes have come to life thanks to artist and Newtown resident Jim Chillington. Four of the painter’s pieces will be sold or auctioned off during a June 15 Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) fundraiser and wine tasting event to benefit local businesses. The second annual SHOP fundraiser will benefit Newtown Scholarship Association and FAITH Food Pantry, as well as provide SHOP with future event funding.
Sandy Hook Center has a new Christmas tree.Crews began working before 8 am on a rainy and chilly Friday, putting final touches on the ground and then readying a 32-foot Norway Spruce to be moved out of a truck-mounted tree spade, and then into a hole that had been readied for it. By 11 am May 24, the tree was in the ground, with workers putting the final shovels of dirt around its base...
The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Donation Center at 127 South Main Street opened in March, and donation center attendant Mike Thomas said that he is “real happy” with the response the collection center has generated in Newtown. From a first week count of 27 donors, that number has rapidly grown. In the final week in April, Mr Thomas said, 119 people had stopped by to donate everything from clothing and shoes to children’s bicycles, furniture, games, and more.
“We are seeing a lot of repeat customers, and that’s a good thing,” Mr Thomas said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization matching children between the ages of 6 and 15 with a volunteer mentor at least 18 years of age or older. The “Bigs” as they are known, are asked to commit to meeting once a week, twice a month, or once a month with their “Littles” for three to five hours at a time, for a year. The one-on-one mentoring program provides at-risk children with positive role models, and is supported by professionals that offer guidance.