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New York Life Grant Supporting Resiliency Center Grief Services

Published: March 11, 2018

The Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN) was recently awarded two $15,000 Community Impact Grants from New York Life. The funding will help the community service nonprofit formed in the months after 12/14 to expand several specialized bereavement services.

The center offers trauma-informed therapeutic services focused on long-term individual and community healing for children and adults impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook School.

RCN Executive Director Stephanie Cinque recently told The Newtown Bee that the center’s services may be more necessary five years post 12/14, than ever before.

“There are still a lot of kids and others in town who are still very deeply affected by the tragedy,” she said. “And it’s hard on parents, who may be suffering themselves in a completely different way.”

To date, just over 1,000 individuals from Newtown and beyond have received services directly, or benefited from the resources at RCN, Ms Cinque said.

“We were being called on by other communities for guidance as recently as the Las Vegas shootings and the accidental shooting here in Guilford,” she said, referring to 15-year-old Ethan Song who died January 31 after suffering a gunshot wound at a friend’s home.

Locally, Ms Cinque said a recent Newtown / Sandy Hook Community Foundation survey ranked two of the top three “most effective therapies or interventions” available locally to those affected by the tragedy as being offered by the RCN.

A release from RCN said the latest grants came as a result of “the active engagement of Kristin Scianna and W. Scott Anders representing New York Life’s Southern Connecticut’s General Office.”

The grants are specifically awarded to expand RCN services that are not offered anywhere else in Newtown, the release states. Those services are MNRI (Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration) and Brainspotting.

The agency says neither therapy is offered elsewhere in Connecticut but both have proven to be highly effective in treating individuals who have experienced trauma and are grieving.

New York Life grant funds will also underwrite RCN’s Expressive Therapies (music, art and play) programming.

Saying New York Life’s investment in these unique services “will change many lives for the better,” Ms Cinque, affirmed, “Without the support from New York Life, we wouldn’t be able to expand our services to help our community heal.”

Ms Scianna said she was “proud to work for a company that encourages its agents and employees to devote their time, energy, and talents to support the needs and priorities of their local community.”

A center volunteer, Mr Anders said he, too, was “pleased that New York Life supports my engagement with RCN. They are making a difference in my community and beyond. ”

Talking About Trauma

Coming up, the center is offering the next in its series of free information session from 7 to 8 pm on May 2 with licensed professional counselor and certified school counselor Suzanne Arnone. She will speak on how parents can effectively talk to their children about the Sandy Hook School tragedy and other difficult topics.

The session will help educate and inform parents about what happened on 12/14, and will help guide them on how to introduce conversation about the tragedy to children, and how to answer common questions young people have.

The group is open and parents or caregivers are welcome. Ms Cinque told The Bee that these sessions were generously supported by another grant she sought from Eversource.

“The reception of these sessions has been good so far,” she said. “We’re finding that we are seeing a number of teens who were too young at the time of the tragedy to talk about it, but who are ready now.”

Anyone interested in attending can register by e-mailing Ms Cinque at

The RCN is also completing plans for its 2018 Camp Creativity, which welcomes Newtown and Sandy Hook children entering fourth through eighth grades. In the past, camp sessions have featured art and music sessions and other fun activities.

“In most cases, our camp professionals and volunteers can offer one-on-one support to our campers,” Ms Cinque said.

The center is also exploring working with The Petit Family Foundation developing a spring running program, and is always looking for volunteers and ideas about effective ways to expand camp and center services.

March 23 Gala

For those looking to mingle or dance while supporting the cause, the RCN is promising “an unforgettable evening of community and gratitude” at its 5th Annual Strength in Community-Life is a Journey Gala.

The event is set to begin at 6:30 pm on Friday, March 23, at Brookfield’s Candlewood Inn.

Guests will enjoy dinner, have chances to bid on silent auction prizes, dance to the Clark Eno Orchestra, and hear from motivational speakers Allyson Spellman, and world record athlete Leif Becker.

Last May, Mr Becker came to New York City’s Times Square to break a world record by smashing 12,000 boards in 24 hours. And according to her Facebook bio, Ms Spellman has appeared as a lifestyle reporter on more than 40 network TV stations nationwide.

She was also honored as one of Connecticut’s Local Ladies Making History for her accomplishments and charitable contributions, including helping establish a scholarship for entrepreneurial women to start, fund, or expand their business.

In addition, the event will honor Dr Robert Bazuro, Dr Laura Nowacki, and Diane Buchanan for their support on behalf of the RCN, according to Ms Cinque, and proceeds from the event will help strengthen and expand programming and services offered at the center.

Tickets for the gala are $150 per person, and sponsor tables for ten are available. Interested sponsors can purchase tables or single tickets by e-mailing

The Resiliency Center is located at 153 S Main Street – call 203-364-9750, or visit its website

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