New Canaan Volunteers Support Carver's CASPER Students

Katherine Somerby

Katherine Somerby

Katherine Somerby recently graduated from The Taft School and is on her way to a volunteer commitment in Costa Rica before heading to college in Scotland. Katherine's aunt, Elizabeth Somerby, also a New Canaan resident, has been a Carver volunteer for more than two years. They are with our K-5 CASPER students in these photos. Carver greatly depends on its more than 500 volunteers a year. New Canaan volunteers and donors abound, from all ages and from many different points of origin.

Elizabeth Somerby

Elizabeth Somerby

Examples include St. Luke’s School students organizing annual events for Carver kids such as the annual Christmas celebration including games, face painting, Santa and gifts for Norwalk youth; and individual volunteers from New Canaan serving Carver in many capacities, from serving on the Board of Directors to volunteering as tutors, participating on various committees and/or one-time initiatives. New Canaan youth have been participants in the Carver Basketball League and our AAU League. Teams from both leagues have gone on to win county and state titles through the years. Perhaps Carver’s most prominent volunteer is Richard Whitcomb, the former long-time headmaster of St. Luke’s School, who has made Carver his priority commitment in retirement and serves on the Carver Board of Directors. 

Junior Youth Development Program students at the Carver Community Center begin a book club

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The first book the Jr. YDP students chose is The Hate U Give. It is a young adult novel by Angie Thomas, that follows a protagonist drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend. Published February 28, 2017 by Balzer + BrayThe Hate U Give opened at number one on The New York Times young adult best-seller list. It is Thomas's debut novel. The book is presently being made into a movie.

The Carver Jr. YDP book club is called BAC (Book Adaptation Club) after books that are made into movies. Shooting began two seeks ago with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Gamesplaying the lead role of Starr, a 16-year-old girl who’s from a low-income neighborhood but attends an elite prep school in the suburbs, only to be torn between two worlds when she witnesses her unarmed friend shot to death by a police officer.

Donors responded generously to an online appeal, and BAC students now have 25 copies of The Hate U Give

The BAC students designed the flyer to promote their club. The new Carver student-run club is a hit at the Carver Community Center, and it's just beginning!

New Canaan Advertiser: New Canaan helps Carver educate Norwalk kids

A recent Connections Party to raise funds for the Carver Foundation of Norwalk drew 75 people. These include, top, from left, Joe Gallagher, Novelette Peterkin, Nick Williams, Shaniya Mesilien, Dick Whitcomb, Whitney Williams and Carla Romeus; bottom, from left, Ayasha Cantey and Nakai Steen. — Contributed photo. New Canaan recently helped educate kids whom are apart of the Carver Foundation of Norwalk, and at the Carver Community Center also in Norwalk.

A recent Connections Party to raise funds for the Carver Foundation of Norwalk drew 75 people. These include, top, from left, Joe Gallagher, Novelette Peterkin, Nick Williams, Shaniya Mesilien, Dick Whitcomb, Whitney Williams and Carla Romeus; bottom, from left, Ayasha Cantey and Nakai Steen. — Contributed photo. New Canaan recently helped educate kids whom are apart of the Carver Foundation of Norwalk, and at the Carver Community Center also in Norwalk.

See the article here

By New Canaan Advertiser on October 5, 2017

A recent fundraiser at the New Canaan home of Nick and Whitney Williams drew 75 guests and raised “significant funds” for the Carver Foundation of Norwalk.

The nonprofit, founded in 1938, provides after-school and summer programs for public school students in Norwalk in the schools and at the Carver Community Center. 

The Sept. 24 Connection Party was to raise funds and build awareness of Carver and its mission, said Director of Philanthropy Joe Gallagher.

“We serve 835 kids in after-school and summer programs,” he said. “We contract a late bus to bring the students home from the Norwalk Public Schools who are in the after school programs, and one of the bus routes stops at Carver for students that go there.”

Carver employs teachers from the city’s public schools and has van transportation for some of its students.

“I feel blessed that I’m associated with this place,” said Richard Whitcomb, a board member and advisor, interviewed by phone from the Carver Center recently.

A former headmaster at St. Luke’s School, he’s served as a board member and advisor for nine years.

“I get up the morning and have a place to go,” Whitcomb said. “When I retired I would do some volunteering. I searched. I do a lot in New Canaan. This is my number one cause. It’s extraordinary what they do. It’s an organization that’s one of the top organizations in Connecticut to do what they do in a state where everything was cut down. We’re still hanging in there. It’s all about helping kids.”

Nick Williams, a Town selectman and former New Canaan Board of Education member said many of the programs, like the tutoring that Carver provides for Norwalk students, are programs that parents in New Canaan can afford to pay for themselves, or are already provided in the New Canaan public schools.

“Since 2005, Carver students graduated from high school on time and nearly all have become first generation college students in their families,” Williams noted.

“Whitney and I went to a fundraiser in Darien and Joe Gallagher was there, and a number of students,” said Williams. “We toured the Carver Center in Norwalk and met a number of students. We spoke to advisors. We looked at a new computer lab which is fabulous. To have a social service organization that’s doing what Carver does so close to New Canaan where we forget how lucky we are. Working with and assisting Carver is an opportunity to spread some of that luck around. This in my mind is a great way to do that.”

 

Hear Carver Alumnae, Gabbie Pierre-Louise, sing tomorrow evening at a City Hall event!

Carver alumnae and Norwalk resident Gabrielle Pierre-Louise (Gabbie, 21 years old) is currently studying to be a dentist at the University of Bridgeport, inspired by years of helping her mother and father and other family members deliver humanitarian relief and dental care in particular to Haiti and other places in need. Gabbie is a gifted vocalist who is using her prodigious talent to support Carver and others in the community. Gabbie will be performing at an event tomorrow evening at City Hall, it's an event called "An Evening at Oyster Town," celebrating businesses of Norwalk. Gabbie will perform 3 songs for an audience to include Mayor Rilling and Senators Bob Duff and Bruce Morris. Don't miss it!

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Carver's History Included in the new Exhibit at the Norwalk Historical Society

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Carver’s story is included in the Norwalk Historical Society’s new exhibit: “Destination Norwalk: African-American Migration from the South, 1940-1970”.

This exhibition is an extension of the “Norwalk: Portrait of Diversity” exhibit.  It highlights the migration of 5 million black Americans from southern states during the “The Second Migration”, from 1940 to 1970, to urban industrial centers of the North, Midwest and West. This mass exodus was spurred on by civil, economic and educational injustices that made up everyday life in the South.  As the racial composition of Norwalk changed, the City’s political priorities, labor relations, community and cultural expression evolved in these decades of major Civil Rights reforms.

The curator, Kathleen Motes Bennewitz, gave our community her great skills and putting this worthy story together. Kathleen has served as Director of Exhibitions & Programs at the Greenwich Historical Society and Fairfield Museum and History Center, and exhibition curator at Norwalk’s Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, where the exhibit, The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants, 1868-1938 , recently won a Leadership in History Award,  AASLH’s highest distinction. She also serves as Westport’s Town Curator and has organized exhibitions for museums across the country, including the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at University of Minnesota and Amon Carter Museum, and worked in education at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Some photos in this exhibit are courtesy of Rev. Dr. Merle Rumble and Rev. Dewitt Stevens, Jr.

The Norwalk Historical Society was incorporated in 1899 with the focus on “the research, preservation, and promotion of interest in the history of Norwalk.”  Through their many educational exhibits, programs and lectures, they highlight Norwalk’s rich history and  diversity in the region. The Norwalk Historical Society Museum was opened on December 5, 2015 in the former Lockwood House, built in 1973. 

Carver is grateful to the leaders at the Norwalk Historical Society: Diane Jellerette, Executive Director; Samantha Kulish, Events/Program Coordinator; and the Board of Directors: Jo-Anne Schultz, President; Khalaf Jerry, Vice-President; Treasurer, Tom Schierloh; Jane Broome; Secretary; and Evelyn Aman, Ed Eckert, Madeleine Eckert, and David Westmoreland.

4th Annual Carver Golf Classic a Wonderful Success!

See all the photos here on Facebook

Our event committee, Rich Baudouin, Allen Church, Bill Gallagher, Michael Gregorich, Carol Howe, Janine & Michael Smith, Oscar Villalonga, Jonathan Whitcomb & Richard Whitcomb, and the Carver Board of Directors, thank our 26 foursomes, our many sponsors and special donors, Shorehaven Golf Club -- and the weather! -- for giving us a perfectly wonderful day of golf and fellowship while raising vital support for Carver kids! More than $100,000 was raised for Carver! The great generosity and good sportsmanship on display at Shorehaven Golf Club honored the hard work the Carver students invest in their academic careers each and every day. Thank you, one and all!

Carver kids attend New York Hall of Science's Maker Faire!

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Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement!

Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

The launch of Maker Faire in the Bay Area in 2006 demonstrated the popularity of making and interest among legions of aspiring makers to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills at the event. 200,000 people annually attend the two flagship Maker Faires in the Bay Area and New York, with an average of 44% of attendees first timers at the Bay Area event, and 61% in New York. A family-friendly event, 50% attend the event with children. In 2017, over 190 independently-produced “Mini Maker Faires” plus over 30 larger-scale Featured Maker Faires will have taken place around the world, including Tokyo, Rome, Shenzhen, Taipei, Seoul, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Detroit, San Diego, Milwaukee, and Kansas City.

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Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But it’s not just for the novel in technical fields; Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It’s a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. Many makers say they have no other place to share what they do. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is often invisible in our communities, taking place in shops, garages and on kitchen tables. It’s typically out of the spotlight of traditional art or science or craft events. Maker Faire makes visible these projects and ideas that we don’t encounter every day.

Maker Faire is brought to you by Maker Media.  Maker Media publishes Make: magazine, produces Maker Faire, and offers DIY electronics, tools, kits, and books through its online and pop-up Maker Shed stores.

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Register Today for Carver's Boys & Girls Basketball!

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Boys & Girls Basketball

December 4, 2017 to March 4, 2018 (includes playoffs)

One practice per week (Monday-Friday)

One game per weekend

George Washington Carver Community Center, 7 Academy Street, Norwalk, CT

K-9th grade - $105; Early Bird - $65 (until October 13th); Registration deadline November 20th

There are a limited number of spots per team. Additional registrants will be placed on a waiting list once the teams are filled. We offer financial assistance and scholarships.

Contact Shannon Bates to register or for more info shannon@carvercenterct.org or 203.838.4305

The Carver Youth Basketball League is dedicated to teaching the fundamental aspects of the game and promoting team play while building self-confidence and life skills that foster good citizenship, responsibility, respect and the pursuit of excellence.

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There are 200 players (5th through 8th grades) organized into 20 teams. Each team is named after a favorite college. Each team has a sponsor whose name is printed on the back of the respective team’s uniform t-shirts.

The league philosophy focuses on participation, sportsmanship and creating an atmosphere for all players to succeed. This is not a traveling or ultra-competitive league. Carver staff, players, volunteer coaches, parents, and skilled referees continually reinforce the attributes of good sportsmanship, hard work, and positive thinking during the season of this in-house Carver league. Those students who excel go on to play competitively in high school and beyond. 

Today is Character Day 2017!

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Today, there are now over 130,000 Character Day events (in universities, K-12 schools, companies, libraries, homes, and more) happening in 119 countries! It will be an amazing day of millions of perspectives and global thinking around one theme: the importance of developing character.

Character Day (4th annual this year) is a global event for people to screen films on the topic of science as it relates to character development. Events are happening in everything from K-12 school districts, to universities including UCBerkeley, Harvard, and MIT, to The U.S Airforce, to companies like Intel, to individual families across the country and world, all engaging in conversation about the importance of developing character (qualities like empathy, curiosity, grit, humility, bravery, social responsibility, and more). Participants review printed materials and resources for discussions linked globally online about their own character, who they are, who they would like to be, and how to develop these character strengths, based on evidence-based research.

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Character Day was created in 2014 by Tiffany Shlain, the co-founder of the non-profit Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change, founder of the Webby Awards, and the co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, to launch a global premier of the short film The Science of Character, which explores the social science and neuroscience behind character development. Shlain and Let it Ripple produced Character Day, and invited schools and organizations around the world to premier the film and discuss its ideas about character development all on the same day via a simultaneous online video conversation. There were over 1500 events in 31 country on March 14, 2014. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs also selected The Science of Character to be part of their American Film Program.

STEAM Education Thrives for Carver Kids After School

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Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) skills are in high demand among today’s workers, and one of the best ways to equip future employees with these skills is to start early. Carver programs help Norwalk students with these skills. After-school is a vital part of the solution for bringing more educational opportunities to kids, particularly for low-income kids and for kids who are in underserved populations. This study from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation found that 70 percent of students who participated in after-school programs such as those offered by Carver experienced positive gains in those subjects.

The study found that 80 percent of students reported a positive gain in their science career knowledge, 78 percent said their interest in science had increased, 72 percent reported an increase in their perseverance and critical thinking skills and 73 percent reported an increase in the personal belief that he or she can do well and succeed at science.

The WeR1 Voice initiative involves every discipline within the STEAM acronym. Presently, WeR1 will be transformed into a song that will be professionally produced and distributed worldwide. Read all about the project at the crowdfunding site The Impact Vine that made this wonderful project possible.

Many area companies, volunteers and donors make STEAM education possible at Carver, and for this we are deeply grateful.

 

 The Charlotte Naomi Horblit Technology Center at the Carver Community Center

 The Charlotte Naomi Horblit Technology Center at the Carver Community Center