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We’ve all read about child sex slavery and trafficking but we rarely see foundations set up to prevent it. Due to its stigma, it’s not a cause that has historically received attention from the glamorous charity ball set. However, it’s an extremely important cause that affects millions of innocent children worldwide including the United States and Fairfield County. Thankfully, Love146, based in New Haven, is dedicated to the abolition of child trafficking through prevention, research, and aftercare. Please be aware: the story I’ve included below is harrowing and may be difficult for some to read.

Who they are: In 2000, a group of 4 people—Rob Morris, Lamont Hiebert, Desirea Rodgers and Caroline Hahm—traveled to Southeast Asia to research child exploitation. The child sex slave industry they witnessed was so horrifying, they created Love146 with the goal of ending sex slavery and helping to physically and psychologically repair its young victims.

Their name: In early 2007, two of the four founders went undercover with Thailand police into a brothel. “We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification. They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. … These children…raped each night… seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell… Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us, with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl…

Click to read the rest ... "Love146"

Give     Darien     Greenwich     New Canaan     Westport    
Wednesday, July 07, 2010 • Permalink

Pathways, Inc.

175 Milbank Avenue, Greenwich

No doubt you’ve noticed that mentally challenged and handicapped individuals are enjoying a renaissance as the butt of numerous witticisms and escapades in major motion pictures. However – and you all know where I’m going with this – mental illness isn’t very funny. Thankfully, individuals in FC with chronic mental illness are finally getting the attention and support they need to create and lead productive lives.

For years, our society eschewed mental illness, deeming it incurable or, even worse, behavioral. Pathways was created to address this problem, giving hope and a hand by providing homes, medical and health services, and jobs to mentally ill individuals.

Who they are: “Pathways, Inc. was established in 1981 by Greenwich families responding to the needs of relatives and others who were discharged from psychiatric hospitals following long periods of institutionalization and were often homeless or living in substandard dwellings.” - website

What they do: Pathways seeks to “prevent homelessness and repeated hospitalizations by creating housing and support services that enable adults with mental illness to manage their symptoms and live independently and productively in their home community. Today the agency also targets services to adults who have been cared for at home by family, often aging parents concerned about how to ensure good long-term care for their children…

Click to read the rest ... "Pathways, Inc."

Give     Greenwich    
Thursday, June 10, 2010 • Permalink

Malta House

5 Prowitt Street, East Norwalk
(203) 857-0088

I love babies. Specifically, mine. But other babies are cool, too.

Evidently Michael O’Rourke feels the same way. He was horrified to see single pregnant women living on the streets, cast from their homes and estranged from friends, family, and their child’s father. These babies, born homeless, were greatly loved but greatly hindered their mother’s future prospects.  Fairfield County had many programs and charities designed to help many people, but too few assisted expectant mothers. In short, they needed help and they had none.

Who they are: In 1995 O’Rourke contacted Good Counsel of New Jersey, who helped him and several others open Malta House, designed after similar residency programs in New York State. St. Thomas the Apostle in Norwalk donated an empty convent and a dedicated group of volunteers spent the next two years building a home and implementing health and education programs for the young mothers. The home is open to all women of all ages, races, and creeds.

What they do: Malta House offers shelter, food, and care for mothers and their young children.

Click to read the rest ... "Malta House"

Give     Norwalk    
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 • Permalink

Neighbor to Neighbor

Christ Church Annex
248 East Putnam Street

To most of the world, Greenwich, CT is a bastion of power, wealth, and super-sized mega homes. And—admit it—I’m not the only one greatly anticipating “Housewives of Greenwich, CT’: a vespiary of overly-toned bottle-blonds back-stabbing each other with hot pink fingernails they can barely lift due to the weight of their 10 karat J-grade diamond rings and inability to do anything besides guzzle white wine, flaunt mammoplasties beneath a straining D&G blouse, and hawk their slapdash jewelry collections. Mmm… smile But that’s so not what this is about.

Here’s my point: given the riches, it’s all the more shocking that near-poverty exists in this hallowed enclave, leaving many struggling families in Greenwich and surrounding areas to rely on charities such as Neighbor-to-Neighbor. In fact, the economic downturn has increased demand for their services over 50%.

Who they are: Neighbor to Neighbor (N to N) is an inspiring group of committed volunteers who, since 1975, “are dedicated to improving the lives of greater Greenwich by creating caring connections between members of our community. (They) do this by providing for the exchange of simple and basic living essentials in an atmosphere of kindness and respect.” (website)

Click to read the rest ... "Neighbor to Neighbor"

Give     Greenwich     Stamford    
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 • Permalink

Turning Water Into Wine

1053 Boston Post Road, Darien
(203) 656-9463

Turning water into wine (preferably chardonnay) is a beautiful, beautiful concept. But the guys over at Nicholas Roberts are proving the converse, turning wine into potable drinking water in impoverished countries, trumps it. Contaminated water kills hundreds of people each day and contributes to cyclical grinding poverty throughout the world.

Who they are: After learning about the severe hardships befalling billions of people without access to clean drinking water, Nick, Paul and Peter of Nicholas Robert Fine Wines (and Fine Foods) began donating a portion of sales to build wells in Zambia.

What they do: To date, they’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through wine sales (10% of select purchases, $50 per wine club), donations, and events to build sustainable water and sanitation facilities in Makungwa, Zambia’s poorest region. They work with World Vision to build and train area residents in the construction and maintenance of wells and sanitation systems.

What you may not know but should: If you’re interested in throwing a fundraising party, Nicholas Roberts is happy to help provide wine, food, and setup.

Give     New Canaan    
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 • Permalink

Sister City Project

(203) 846-9288

In 1986, a few people in Norwalk decided to befriend Nagarote, an impoverished barrio in Nicaragua. They thought a simple communication between them and the residents of an economically dysfunctional town thousands of miles away would transcend “the violence, politics and propaganda which often characterized ‘official’ relations between the two governments.” They were right.

Who they are: Today, many in Fairfield County contribute to the project, including New England Biolabs Foundation, the Tauck Foundation, and The 22 Haviland Street Gallery.  Ciudad de Nagarote, the government of Nagarote, is an active partner in the project, as is SosteNica, a Nicaraguan micro-lending organization.

What they do: People and businesses do what they can to educate, micro-finance, and help the people in the Nagarote slums become financially, culturally, and socially self-sufficient. For instance, New England Biolabs funded a Youth Project to plant 10,000 trees in the area and train residents to care for them. SosteNica has dramatically reduced their double-digit unemployment. Fairfield County clothing stores have held fashion shows to raise money for scholarships (at $50 a year, many can’t afford school tuition) and clothes. And much more.

What you may not know but should: Individuals have provided Nagarote with everything from eye exams to guitar lessons. If you have a special skill or business you think would help, contact the organization and let them know.

Give     Norwalk    
Thursday, March 11, 2010 • Permalink

Westport Woman’s Club

Westport Woman's Club

44 Imperial Avenue, Westport

Robin’s Note: WWC instigated many things we now take for granted, such as classes for children with learning disabilities and Westport’s first school nurse and visiting nurse program.

Who they are: “Westport Woman’s Club has a successful history of answering calls for ‘help where needed’ and in recognizing areas of need before calls for help go out” – westportwomansclub.com

What they provide: The club offers grants and volunteer time (over 1,000 hours in 2009) to nearly 40 family-focused local charities.

Approximate number of employees: Volunteer organization

Biggest fundraising efforts:
Annual Yankee Doodle Fair
Curio Cottage Gift Shop
Clubhouse rentals for events


Give     Westport    
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 • Permalink


2420 Post Road, Darien
841 Old Post Road, Fairfield
50 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
564 South Avenue, New Canaan
370 West Avenue, Norwalk
909 Washington Boulevard, Stamford
59 Post Road East, Westport
404 Danbury Road, Wilton

Robin’s note: The personnel at the Westport Y are thoughtful, helpful, and committed. I’ve had many positive experiences with them for my own children and Fresh Air Fund children.

Who they are: “The… Y is dedicated to building strong kids, strong families, and strong communities, while promoting healthy lifestyles through camps, swim lessons, gymnastics, sports, and childcare. [They] emphasize caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in [their] programs and services.”—http://www.westportymca.org

What they provide: The Y offers scholarships and financial assistance for families and individuals with needs and/or financial constraints. Further, the Y’s programs are offered to all members of the community regardless of their ability to pay for membership or programs.

Approximate number of employees: Differs

Biggest fundraising efforts:
From Golf Classics to Annual Galas, benefits differ according to location.


Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Westport     Wilton    

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