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AUGUST 2019

Westport-Lifestyle.com

The Kids + Pets Issue

KIDS WHO KICK IT UP A NOTCH WHAT HAS 54 LEGS AND 4 WINGS? MEET LOCAL 'DOGFLUENCER:' @SAMSONTHEDOOD GIVING BACK: CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR KIDS TO SUCCEED


CADOUXAIA.COM CADOUXAIA.COM


LIFESTYLE LETTER

AUGUST 2019 PUBLISHER

Marisa MacLean | marisa.maclean@lifestylepubs.com EDITORIAL SUPERVISOR

Robin Moyer Chung | robin.chung@lifestylepubs.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Robin Moyer Chung, Matthew MacLean, Marisa MacLean

Celebrating our cutest residents

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Mindy Briar, John Videler

FOR MANY OF US, AUGUST IS A BITTERSWEET TURNING POINT IN THE CALENDAR YEAR. Summer freedom is drawing to a close and school bells will soon be ringing. While the lazy days of sipping cool beverages poolside may be numbered, this month brings a sense of renewal: new routines, new clothes and new school supplies come to mind. But summer’s not over yet, so let’s have fun and celebrate our cutest residents: our kids and pets! We have some seriously impressive kids and pets in this town. In this issue you’ll get to meet a few of them! Pictured above are  my  favorite local residents: my kids, Luke and Gemma, on a family trip we took to Mohonk Mountain House. My family has been going to this resort since I was a child. It’s a truly special travel destination close to Westport and Weston. In this issue you’ll get to explore it with us! We also highlight locally owned business Bespoke Veterinary Services. Dr Jessica

CORPORATE TEAM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Steven Schowengerdt

Melman is a concierge veterinarian. She usually goes to patient’s homes, but in this

CHIEF SALES OFFICER Matthew Perry

issue we visit her Weston farmhouse filled with her delightful pets - dogs, goats,

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER DeLand Shore

chickens, bunnies and she even has a pet pig!

ART DIRECTOR Sara Minor OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Janeane Thompson

This issue was so much fun to create. We only hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it! Cheers to another wonderful month ahead! I hope to see you around!

EDITORIAL MANAGER Nicolette Martin AD MANAGER Chad Jensen REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Eric Williams WEB APPLICATIONS Michael O’Connell

Marisa MacLean, Publisher

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ON THE COVER Local "dogfluencer" @SamsonTheDood reading his favorite magazine.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MINDY BRIAR 6

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

Westport-Lifestyle.com

Proverbs 3:5-6 Westport Lifestyle™ is published monthly by Lifestyle Publications LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of the Westport areas’ most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Lifestyle Publications’ opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Lifestyle Publications does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Westport Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.


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INSIDE THE ISSUE AUGUST 2019

FEATURES 20 What Has 54 legs and 4 Wings? A Weston Vet's Pets

26 Kids Who Kick it Up a Notch And a Photogenic Dog

34 The Top of the World A Family Visit to Mohonk Mountain House

26 20

40 Horizons GFA Creating Opportunities for Our Kids to Succeed

40

34

DEPARTMENTS 6

Lifestyle Letter

10

Good Times

16

Around Town

20 Locally Owned 34 Travel Destination 40 Giving Back 44 Lifestyle Calendar 46 DIY


the art of organization

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GOOD TIMES 1.

2.

3.

Westport Arts Center 50th Anniversary Gala The Westport Arts Center held its annual fundraising gala in May to celebrate its 50th anniversary. They hosted over 150 guests, including generous sponsors, partners, and patrons, raising nearly $500,000 to support the various experiences at WAC.  As a 501 (c)(3), WAC relies on this event to support their mission of providing a portal to the Arts in Westport. WestportArtsCenter.org

4.

5.

7.

8.

10.

11.

6.

9.

12.

1. Board Co-President Deb Murtaugh and David Murphy. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 2. Event Co-Chair Jim Marpe, Randy and Jill Herbertson. Photo: Marilyn Roos | 3. Andrew and Jill Skipp dancing to the Jay Prince Band. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 4. Erick Vittorino, Otto Dutra and Board Member Gary Cosgrave. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 5. Andy and Karen Greenspan with Board Chairman William D. Felton. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 6. Board Co-President Laura Perese and Dogan Perese. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 7. Board Member Jane Preiser, Executive Director Amanda Innes and Jodi Felton. Photo: Marilyn Roos | 8. Enjoying the 50th Anniversary program. Front row: Jennifer and Eric Bernheim, Lauren Fuchs and Beryl Leifer. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 9. Event honoree, photographer Spencer Platt. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 10. Board Member Joyce Pauker and Michelle Pauker. Photo: Marilyn Roos | 11. Dana and Mike McCreesh. Photo: Jenna Bascom | 12. Elizabeth and Charlotte Strick. Photo: Marilyn Roos 10

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


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GOOD TIMES 1.

2.

3.

10th Annual Push Up Against Cancer The 10th Annual Push Against Cancer (APAC) on Sunday, June 9 at Staples High School in Westport brought over 350 participants together, raising $250,000 for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. APAC has raised over $700,000 in its ten years, sending over 280 kids to camp.

6.

GetInvolved.HoleInTheWallGang.org/

4.

5.

1. Champion George Kitmiridis pushes up 1624 times one hour! | 2. Andy Berman, Foti Koskinas, Jim Marpe, Bridget Moynahan, former camper of the “Hole in the Wall Gang Camp” Christian, Jennifer Tooker. | 3. The Staples High School’s Orphenians sang our National Anthem. | 4. CEO of the “Hole in the Wall Gang Camp” Jimmy Canton, Andy Berman, Sherry Jonas, Bridget Moynahan, and Justin Ferr. | 5. Founder Andrew Berman honored with a General Assembly citation, presented by State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg. | 6. Over 350 participants and supporters came together for one hour of push-ups. Proceeds benefited the “Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.”

1.

2.

3.

4th Annual Westport Dog Festival The 4th Annual Westport Dog Festival was the biggest and best ever with over 3,000 people and 1,000 dogs in attendance! The obstacle course, frisbee catching act, goofy competitions and Police K9 presentation were a few of the attractions that made it a success. The Chamber is pleased to donate over $7,000 from the proceeds to aid local dog-related non-profits.

4.

5.

6.

1. Gina Gambino received the Community Champion Award, presented by Matthew Mandel, Jim Marpe, and Dori Harris. | 2. Fido fetching frisbees. | 3. Jim Marpe and judge John Lanza with a happy dog owner. | 4. Kids and dogs. | 5. Impressive skills at the dog competition. | 6. Just happy to be with the other dogs. 12

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


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Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

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AROUND TOWN

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Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

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WHAT HAS 54 LEGS A ND 4 WINGS? A WESTON VET'S PETS

PERSONALLY, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT A

named Charlotte and a goldfish named Pearl who don’t

CUTE, SNUGGLY ANIMAL THAT MAKES ME WANT

count because no one wants to hug a fish.

TO ABSOLVE EVERY PERSON OF EVERY CAST

There’s no barking, no fighting. All is serenity save

ASPERSION THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF THE

for a series of inelegant and excited grunts from Wilma

WORLD. Multiply that by 14 animals and there’s enough

as I drop animal crackers into her gaping maw. Such

snuggly cuteness to end terrorism, reconcile Brangelina

zoological equilibrium is a testament to Dr. Jess’s skill

and forgive every bartender who makes a lousy margarita.

and facility in the treatment of her patients.

Concierge veterinarian Dr. Jessica Melman (Dr.

Dr. Jess shares her love of fur- and feather-frocked

Jess) of Bespoke Veterinary Services since 2016 has

friends with her father and grandfather, also veterinari-

compiled a personal petting zoo of the most darling

ans, and grew up with animals. She was even the proud

and alarmingly well-behaved animals this side of a

owner of an iguana when she was in high school. “I loved

fairytale. Animals who would eat each other in the

him,” she laments but, despite her mother’s best efforts,

wild are living in bucolic harmony. The only two mam-

“he got really big and unruly while I was at college.” I

mals who fight are, according to Dr. Jess, “my kids.”

paused to marvel at a woman courageous enough to

Jessica lives with her young son and daughter in Weston. Her home is surprisingly clean given the number

proffer a bowl of writhing larvae to a large, snarling reptile. Then I remembered iguanas are vegetarian.

of woodland creatures casually inhabiting her domestic

Her decision to start a bespoke practice began with

space. Family members include three rescue Cavalier

her son. “My son had health issues when he was young,

King Charles Spaniels named Fisher, Captain and Lucy;

I constantly needed to be talking to the pediatrician,”

an orange barn cat named Rebel; a velvety rescue bunny

Dr. Jess explains. “One time she wasn’t available and

named Bubbles, and a potbelly pig that will soon be

I really, really needed her.” So she called a concierge

pushing 100 pounds named Wilma. All in the house. In.

pediatrician who graciously met her and her son at the

The. House. Outside in the barn office are three baby

hospital at 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon. Inspired by

goats named Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose; three baby

this physician, she decided to do the same for animals.

bunnies named Alvin, Simon & Theodora; and two chick-

“I love the experience, meeting them in their house,

ens named Peep and Chirp. Oh, and she has a beta fish

seeing how they live.”

CONTINUED >

ARTICLE ROBIN MOYER CHUNG PHOTOGRAPHY MINDY BRIAR

August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

21


LOCALLY OWNED

(CON TI N U ED)

Animal hug.

“I LOVE THE EXPERIENCE, MEETING THEM IN THEIR HOUSE, SEEING HOW THEY LIVE.” Dr. Jess and Fisher

Now, if I were getting a house call from a vet who owned an ani-

After a long day healing dogs and whatnot, Dr. Jess loves to

mal farm I’d expect a croc-shod woman sporting Lands End chinos

sit in a lawn chair surrounded by her menagerie which, magically

and a no-iron shirt. Something practical, sturdy, and easily cleaned

and enviably, never ventures from the yard. “Sometimes a hawk

in case it’s, like, squirted with animal… stuff. I wouldn’t expect a chic

circles so I have to bring them [the animals] inside. If hawks were

woman who pairs scrubs with designer jeans and glitter-slides. But

smart they’d swoop instead of circle.” Actually, if hawks were

there she is! She admits, “I like Golden Goose sneakers.”

smart they’d give up the attack and move in with her.

22

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


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Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


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KIDS WHO KICK IT UP A NOTCH

AND A PHOTOGENIC DOG

ARTICLE ROBIN MOYER CHUNG PHOTOGRAPHY MINDY BRIAR & JOHN VIDELER

Samson the Dood relaxing with an issue of Westport Lifestyle. Photo by Mindy Briar

SAMSON THE DOOD 5 (PEOPLE YEARS)

26

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


Chad Knight before practice. Photo by John Videler

“ S A M S O N WA S T R A I N E D T O DO THERAPY DOG WORK WITH THE ‘GOOD DOG F O U N D AT I O N ’ I N N Y C . NOW WE’D LIKE TO FIND A N O R G A N I Z AT I O N I N C T ! D O O D L E S M A K E G R E AT THERAPY DOGS BECAUSE OF THEIR TEMPERAMENT & F L U F F I N E S S .”

CHAD KNIGHT, 18 Remember the 2013 Little League World Series? Chad’s team is still together, mostly, and they won the Class LL CIAC state championship this June. He’s the 2019 Gatorade State Player of the Year

He vibrates like an electric toothbrush when he meets

and 31st round pick for the Yankees. For which he’s thankful, but

new people. So you’d never know he’s the chill, pli-

he’ll be too busy attending Duke University to play next year.

able golden doodle who throws Instagram into a tizzy when his mom, Jessica, dolls him up for photo shoots. Since 2014, he’s garnered millions of views and over 250K followers from around the world, making him an international sensation. (Quotes are Jessica’s, because Samson is a dog.) @SamsonTheDood

ABOUT PRACTICES WITH HIS DAD: “We’d go out every day, since kindergarten, and throw 100 catches. The distance got further as I got older.” “When I was 8 I hit one back and it hit him in the face and knocked him down. I was shaking his arm ‘Dad, Dad are you dead?’ Then we went out and bought a pitching machine.”

HIS FIRST POSED PHOTO: “I posted a photo of him on the sofa with a shirt, a

ON MEETING HIS FAVORITE PLAYER,

remote control and a beer. He was definitely a chill dog.”

MARIANA RIVERA:

ABOUT ADOPTING SAMSON’S SON:

He went from playing baseball in Panama with rocks and sticks

“My big takeaway was learning about his life and his hardships. “Samson studded 10 puppies. We chose the doodle for him

to being the first unanimous choice for baseball hall of fame.”

to stud. I could stud Samson out like crazy but I didn’t wanted to do that. We want another puppy and wanted his son.”

HIS NOT-SO-GREAT EXPERIENCE: “I threw up on a mound and that was really embarrassing.”

FUTURE PLANS FOR THE DOOD: “Samson was trained to do therapy dog work with the ‘Good Dog Foundation’ in NYC. Now we’d like to find an organization in CT! Doodles make great therapy dogs because of their temperament & fluffiness.”

IF HE WEREN’T IN BASEBALL HE’D… “Maybe I would have played a little more piano. I haven’t really thought about it. I guess I’m lucky I found baseball.” CONTINUED >

August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

27


KIDS WHO KICK IT UP A NOTCH (CON TI N U ED)

“PBS IS GREAT

JADEN WALDMAN, 9

ABOUT MAKING SURE I DON’T MISS A LOT OF SCHOOL.”

Despite his tender age, Jaden plays Peter in PBS’ PINKALICIOUS & PETERIFFIC. He’s been in the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular for an unprecedented two years in a row and is featured in national commercials. You’ll soon spot him in episodes of upcoming shows on HBO, Amazon Studios, and Showtime, and in the Indie film Give or Take. His favorite food is grilled cheese. OF THE ROCKETTES SHOW: “Their cores are super strong.” “People are so nice! I got to shadow one of [the stage managers] and that was very, very fun. I’m so into the behind-the-scenes, if there’s magic in a show I want to figure it out.” “The first show is always pretty nerve-racking, your feet feel like jello and your heart feels like it’s going to fly away. Once you get to the second show you’re fine, you get the hang of it.” ON BEING HOME-SCHOOLED DURING THE ROCKETTES SHOW: “My mom made it the opposite of a drag. We went to all these crazy museums.” ABOUT RECORDING SHOWS FOR PBS: “PBS is great about making sure I don’t miss a lot of school.”

28

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

Jaden Waldman recording "Pinkalicious and Peterrific."


Clara Holleman in the Blues, Views, & BBQ Festival at the Levitt Pavilion (Photo: Evan Rapp)

CLARA HOLLEMAN, 16

Clara plays piano, cello, guitar, and bass, though she still prefers to crush the keys when performing. Which she’ll be doing a lot of this summer as one of eight musicians selected nationwide for the prestigious Allstar School of Rock [SOR] House Band or with her own two bands, Mr. Pink and Helix. She won a scholarship for the summer program at Berklee School of Music, where she’ll study music theory and play with an all-female rock ensemble. @MrPinkMusic @Helix.Band ON HER INSPIRATION TO PLAY MUSIC: “My parents wanted me to play an instrument. So I chose piano.” ABOUT BEING A FEMALE MUSICIAN: “I’m the only girl in my bands. I’m looking forward to representing the girls in SOR. A lot of the girls drop out.” WHY SHE’S HER BANDS’ SELF-APPOINTED MANAGER: “I like leading and telling everyone what to do.” HER FAVORITE GIG: “At the Little Barn in April because we had the biggest crowd and they [Little Barn] made the most money than ever before. It was standing room only. Even the lunch ladies at school came!”

CONTINUED >

August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

29


KIDS WHO KICK IT UP A NOTCH (CON TI N U ED)

Zac Mathias (handbag courtesy of Hat Attack). Photo by Mindy Briar

ZAC MATHIAS, 16

With the flair and marketing savvy of an entrepreneur twice his age, Zac is building his Classic Chic business that’s nothing short of fabulous. Zac became interested in design at 5. By 11 he was decorating homes professionally and now, as a sophomore, is concurrently decorating three homes top-to-bottom in Westport and Weston. @Zac.Mathias HOW HE LEARNED ABOUT HIS PROFESSION: “Designers opened up to me, told me about the design industry, taught me what they could. I go to all the house tours: Rooms with a View, Near & Far Aid. I had to miss one this week because I had school.” WHAT HE WEARS TO SCHOOL: “Jeans, chic belt, simple sweatshirt. I never

“JEANS, CHIC BELT, SIMPLE SWEATSHIRT. I NEVER DO ANYTHING WITH A HOOD. I PUSH THE SLEEVES UP AND I ALWAYS WEAR BRACELETS.” 30

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

do anything with a hood. I push the sleeves up and I always wear bracelets.” ONE OF HIS DESIGNS TENETS: “I am known to say it like it is, it’s my job to give my honest opinion. But if they’re your grandmother’s dining room chairs and you insist on having them, I figure out how to make it work.” “When you use color for every step it wraps you like a hug.” OF HIS UPCOMING PRODUCT LINES: “They’re off the record which is a bummer because they’re so cool.”


Karalyn’s life is part entertainment, part reality. She’s stage manager for the Staples Players, enabling them to create shows which inform and delight thousands of audience members. She’s also President of Teen Awareness Group (TAG) and is determined to help de-stigmatize addiction and its auxiliary casualties. WHAT A STAGE MANAGER IS: “Quite literally the person who manages the stage, from all of the rehearsal spaces, who’s going to be aware of the times, who’s building and painting, keeping track of the people in the organization including both tech and actors. This position has forced me to grow a lot as a person.”

KARALYN HOOD, 16

WHY SHE DOES IT: “I’m a thinker and a problem solver. I get to be in and around this art form that I love.” WHY SHE BECAME PRESIDENT OF TAG: “My brother was 20 when he overdosed on heroin. He started drinking at 14, then it progressed to other drugs… I joined TAG to learn how to use my voice and my story. Health classes in schools… tell you what certain drugs do and that you should stay away from them, but no one tells you about the emotional trauma of having your life ravaged by addiction.” WHAT SHE HOPES TO ACCOMPLISH WITH TAG: “I don’t think that three years ago I could sit here talking to you about my brother without breaking down. If I can help anybody to know that this is something that happens to a lot of people, then that makes me feel better.”

August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

31


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Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

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T H E A M E R I C A N A C A D E M Y O F D E R M AT O L O G Y • T H E A M E R I C A N S O C I E T Y F O R D E R M AT O L O G I C S U R G E R Y • T H E A M E R I C A N S O C I E T Y F O R L A S E R M E D I C I N E & S U R G E R Y


TRAVEL DESTINATION

The Top of the World

ARTICLE MATTHEW MACLEAN

A FAMILY VISIT TO MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE

OUR DRIVE TO MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE WAS SHORT ENOUGH THAT I ONLY HEARD “ARE WE THERE YET?” ONCE FROM THE BACK SEAT. We were across the Hudson River and through the little college town of New Paltz in a little over an hour.  After Skytop Tower

a few more minutes and a winding climb up wooded slopes we had arrived: our kids’ eyes widened as we pulled up to the resort. “It looks like a castle!” our oldest exclaimed. He wasn’t wrong. Stately stone walls and towers blend perfectly with the wood, warmth and welcome of a luxury mountain lodge. Breathtaking views of the countryside surround the charming front porch, with green hills rolling into the hazy blue distance. The smoky scent from the ornate fireplaces waft throughout the lobby and first floor, and the wood floors creak pleasantly underfoot. There is so much to see and do it was tough to keep the kids close while we checked in.   For our first activity we climbed to Sky Top, a stone tower at the highest point of the mountain. We took the walking trail that leads to the top but there’s a more challenging and rockier path for those looking for more adventure. With two kids under five we had no trouble reaching the tower and were rewarded with magnificent views of the lake, the resort and the surrounding countryside. On the way down we stopped at the lily pond to let the kids spot frogs and goldfish swimming among the floating white flowers. Rocking Chairs on the Lake Porch

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Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


After a short rest in a rocking chair on the back porch of the resort, watching the kids excitedly feed the rainbow trout of Mohonk Lake, we decide to get a closer look at the water. We chose a rowboat over a canoe and I handled the oars while the kids navigated and my wife took pictures. We passed the beach where guests swam in the cool water and rowed by beautiful, angular stone outcrops. About the time our kids were finishing up their horseback ride the weather became threatening. We said goodbye to the horses and reached the indoor pool just before the clouds burst.   The children and I splashed around happily while my wife, claiming that a massage was an absolute necessity, took a trip to the award-winning spa. She blamed the extreme muscle fatigue from our climb up the mountain. I’m glad we worked up our appetites because the food at Mohonk is fantastic. We had the choice of a formal multicourse dinner or the buffet dining room and we happily CONTINUED >

Mohonk Summerhouse View of Shawangunk Mountains

The resort

August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

35


TRAVEL DESTINATION

(CON TI N U ED)

sampled both during our stay. The menu is varied, sophisticated and often relies on fresh, local ingredients. Having young children means we have some picky eaters and the friendly staff made a meal especially for them. It was so good the kids got mad at us for stealing their food. Some diabolical genius put the dessert options right next to the exit, and though we planned on walking out we ended up taking a few treats each before moving on. The resort had plenty to keep us occupied between golf, the lake, the kid’s camp and the hiking trails. By the second day the children were leading us from place to place, chattering excitedly about the next activity. My favorite times were back in our room all together, tired from the day’s activities but laughing and giggling like a bunch of kids at a sleepover. I feel like I’m always working, so I’m thankful when a trip allows for ample time with the family. Like the building, the lake and the mountain itself, the Mohonk experience is unique and timeless.

Grove Lodge: with six guests rooms and a stunning Great Room, it is a perfect fit for guests who desire a more private Mohonk experience. 36

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

When season allows, the Granary at Mohonk opens. It's an outdoor dining experience with stunning views of Lake Mohonk and Sky Top Tower


The beautiful grounds August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

37


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GIVING BACK

Horizons GFA

8th Graders rowing at Saugatuck Rowing Club.

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Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR CHILDREN TO SUCCEED ARTICLE ROBIN MOYER CHUNG


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WE HAVE MANY REASONS TO BE PROUD OF OUR TOWN, ONE OF WHICH IS, AS OF THIS PUBLICATION, NONE OF US HAVE BEEN IMPLICATED IN A COLLEGE

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ADMISSIONS SCAM. I’m only half-joking. Higher education goals are what inform almost every decision we make for our kids after the age of, say, four months in utero. We perceive our children’s college applications as a medal in their Life Olympics. (Whether or not their young lives should revolve around a college application is debatable, but… yeah.) Regardless, the important

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Testament to this belief is Horizons GFA (HGFA), a program re S

that not only helps children in Bridgeport but also offers our

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own kids unique volunteer opportunities. At the odd age when

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takeaway is this: we believe in preparing children for a life-goal beyond high school.

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they’re too old for summer camp but not old enough for paying

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jobs, these volunteers spend purposeful time with HGFA students. Yes, volunteering looks great on a college application, but this goes beyond an expensive student trip to build things in a developing nation. Working with HGFA students is about creating bonds and impacting the lives of children who, though five miles away, live in an entirely different world.

“THE BEAUTY OF THIS PROGRAM” IS PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR KIDS WHO ARE HAVING ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY.

But first, Horizons. Horizons National, in its original form, launched in 1964 in New Canaan. Now there are 59 Horizon programs in 18 states. Their mission is to offer underprivileged children the educational and emotional support necessary to “to succeed in school and pursue a meaningful, choice-filled life.” (HorizonsGFA.org) Started in 2000 at Westport’s Greens Farms Academy, HGFA’s education enrichment program has enabled Bridgeport students living below the poverty line to achieve academic success. Kids may apply if they live in Bridgeport, attend a Bridgeport public school and their family income is beneath poverty level. Entry points are in Pre-K, Kindergarten, or 1st grade and students must commit to the entire program, K-16. Incredibly, 2/3 of the kids selected are academically below average. According to HGFA Director Joe Aleardi, “the beauty of this program” is providing opportunities for kids who are having academic difficulty. “No one is bad [at academics],” Joe insists, “you just have to put in the time and energy.” Sometimes spots in upper grades become available, but rarely due to high retention rates. Yes, it includes (an enviable) college program. The make-up of the participants mirror the population of low income Bridgeport and, of the approximately 150 who apply each year, about 30 are accepted.

CONTINUED >

August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

41


GIVING BACK

(CON TI N U ED)

HGFA stud en to n

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Once selected, K-8 students attend a six week summer school program at GFA

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every year, no absences allowed, and 11 Saturdays while in school. Large “anchor” events include all HGFA families, to inspire camaraderie and connection. So how can Westport/Weston (and other) kids participate? HGFA accepts 30-40 middle and high school volunteers each year. “[Volunteers] help in classrooms, often tasked with working with higher achieving kids,” Joe explains, “this frees up teachers to work with the kids who are struggling.” Volunteers also assist with afternoon recreation including rowing, sailing, swimming, and more. Staples student Harry Almansi states, “The Horizons program gave me an opportunity to help kids. I built a strong bond with the 2nd grade classroom and I am really happy to be back with them in 3rd grade.”

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HGFA students sailing and rowing lessons. Ty Chung, Staples student and volunteer at SRC says, “Some [of the HGFA students] were scared at first, but then they really liked it… watching their reactions [to rowing] made me appreciate

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Longshore Sailing School (LSS) and Saugatuck Rowing Club (SRC)* offer Sailing School. ore gsh

how much we have in Westport.” After 8th grade, HGFA students attend programs at their Bridgeport facilities. During college, HGFA provides check-ins, academic coaching, summer workshops, and more. “We don’t want the student to fear they can’t finish for whatever reason,” Joe states. If they prefer a path other than college, that’s fine, too. The goal, according to Joe, is “For every child to be excited about where they go, that they have a career and choice in life.”

“THE HORIZONS PROGRAM GAVE ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP KIDS. I BUILT A STRONG BOND WITH THE 2ND GRADE CLASSROOM AND I AM REALLY HAPPY TO BE BACK WITH THEM IN 3RD GRADE.”

For our children, being part of an HGFA student’s personal journey is more than just a line item on their college application. It’s an experience that instills compassion and understanding and, hopefully, motivates them to work with underserved people beyond their college years. For HGFA children, the program enables them to define themselves not by their economic status but by their confidence and potential. Emory University and HGFA graduate Jazmin Reyes recalls, “I became a teacher because of educators I had growing up, especially [HGFA Director] Joe and [HGFA teacher] Lisa Moore. Miss Lisa would say ‘No, you are enough. You can do this.’” Of the volunteers, Jazmin recalls, “I remember almost all of my student volunteers, especially… Mr. Brian. We were like, ‘this is our best friend!’ even though we were in 4th grade and he was in high school.” Ultimately, a whopping 90% or more of HGFA students graduate from college, which is incredible given that only 9% of children from the lowest income quartile are expected to obtain a college degree. That statistic gives me goose bumps every time I read it. Kids are amazing. Adults are, too. From now on, when my kids tell me they’re incapable of weeding flower beds I’m going to tell them about what kids at Horizons are accomplishing. They’ll love that. *LRS and SRC provide their own student volunteers. 42

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019


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August 2019 | Westport Lifestyle

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AUGUST

LIFESTYLE CALENDAR

1

August 24 - Mark Nadler presents Cole Porter After Dark

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN Westport Country Playhouse

From Czarist Russia to New York’s Lower East Side to Broadway, Irving Berlin’s uplifting immigrant story epitomizes the American Dream.

MusicTheatreofCT.com

10 DESTINATION WESTPORT: IN GATSBY'S SHOES

3

Westport Historical Society

Imagine it’s the summer of 1920.

AUGUST SATURDAYS AT EARTHPLACE

Westport is a sleepy farm community that lures New York’s most glamorous

Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane

couple, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, to

most

popular

Join their naturalists on Saturdays at

its shores. Join Richard “Deej” Webb

standards including the

Great

1pm for a fun nature class, starting

and Robert Steven Williams as they

American Songbook classics and

August 3. With a different class every

recreate the summer of 1920 and

more, Felder’s one-man show cele-

Saturday of the month, there's always

the sites and characters that influ-

brates Irving Berlin, the composer,

more to learn. Enjoy nature crowns,

enced Fitzgerald’s Great American

and reveals the inspiration for Berlin’s

seed bombs, and more!  No pre-reg-

novel. Register at WestportHistory.org

countless hit songs.

istration required.

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Earthplace.org

2

5

A UNIVERSE OF FOOD

CANDACE BUSHNELL ASKS "IS THERE STILL SEX IN THE CITY?"

Enjoy conversation and light refresh-

Westport Library

books in this new series that cele-

Children ages 5+ are invited to join

Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the

brates Westport authors across a

the Library in making some creative

City presents her new book about dating

variety of genres. Support Westport

space-themed foods!

after fifty in Manhattan. Is There Still Sex

authors Amy Oestreicher and Alexandra

8/2: Fruit Rockets and Spaceships

in the City? is a smart, lively story of love

Bregman when they discuss their

(Strawberries, bananas, pineapple,

and life—marriage and children, divorce

newest endeavors with local book blog-

blueberries, chocolate sauce, pretzels)

and bereavement, as well as the pres-

ger Jennifer Blankfein  and local writing

8/9: Marbled Space Oreos (Oreos,

sures on women to maintain their youth

teacher Jan Bassin. Books will be avail-

melting chocolate, food coloring)

and have it all. Registration suggested.

able for purchase and signing.

Registration required. If a child has

WestportLibrary.org

WestportLibrary.org

9

19

LISA LOEB IN CONCERT

AMERICAN MIRROR: THE LIFE AND ART OF NORMAN ROCKWELL

His songs captured our hearts. Featuring

Berlin’s

Weston Library,

56 Norfield Road, Weston, CT

13 BOOKS & BITES Westport Library

ments while discovering great new

an allergy please let the Library know in advance. Contact: Alessandra Petrino, Petrino@WestonCT.gov

3

Westport Library

71 Wall Street, Norwalk

90's hit maker Lisa Loeb is a 2018

To compliment the Westport Historical

GRAMMY

singer

Society’s exhibit about George Hand

Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509

songwriter, touring musician, and

Wright, discuss American Mirror: The Life

Westport Avenue, Norwalk

philanthropist who started her career

and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah

Join MTC for their much-antici-

with platinum-selling Number 1 hit

Solomon. As the star illustrator of  The

pated summer cabarets!

song “Stay (I Missed You)”. Lisa

Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a

August 3 - Jeff Harnar Sings The 1959

was the first pop musician to have a

century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact

Broadway Songbook

Number 1 single while not signed to a

and fiction in paintings that reflected the

August 10 - Willy Falk: Mostly Love

recording contract. Her Kids' Show is

we-the-people, communitarian ideals of

August 17 -  Natalie Douglas presents

on August 10 at 11 am.

American democracy.

Sammy - The Songs of Sammy Davis Jr.

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WestportLibrary.org

MTC'S HOT SUMMER NIGHTS

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Wall Street Theater,

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

Award-winning


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DIY

Fun for the Whole Family

WITH OUR DIY PLAYDOUGH RECIPE DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN MAKE PLAY DOUGH AT HOME USING A HANDFUL OF BASIC PANTRY INGREDIENTS? Our easy recipe takes less than 30 minutes. It might come together even faster if the whole family pitches in! Let your little ones measure all the ingredients, and the older kids can help stir and cook the dough (with supervision). Everyone can take a turn adding the food coloring at the end. ARTICLE MARISA MACLEAN 46

Westport Lifestyle | August 2019

INGREDIENTS + 2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 cups warm water + 1 cup kosher salt + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon cream of tartar + assorted food coloring INSTRUCTIONS 1. Mix together all the ingredients, except the food coloring, in a large saucepan. 2. Cook over low/medium heat, stirring. Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring (separate into different bowls if making more than one color). 3. Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon. 4. Once the dough is not wet, remove and put onto wax paper or a plate to cool. 5. After cooling (30 minutes) knead play dough for a few seconds. PLAY! 6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge!


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Profile for Lifestyle Publications

Westport , CT August 2019  

August 2019 Issue of Westport Lifestyle

Westport , CT August 2019  

August 2019 Issue of Westport Lifestyle

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