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Nonprofit Council Chats Up Volunteer Fair, Livable Communities Event



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Newtown Nonprofit Council (NNC) had its first evening meeting on March 21. The hybrid meeting was offered in person at C.H. Booth Library and via Zoom.

In attendance was Katherine Simpson of Newtown Congregational Church, Steve Bennett of Newtown Lions Club and Newtown Congregational Church, Jim Loring of Cullens Youth Association, Julie Brunelle of Friends of Edmond Town Hall, John Boccuzzi Sr of Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS), Tripp Killin of the Jeniam Foundation, Niki Giordano of EverWonder Children’s Museum, and Sattie Persaud of World Heritage Cultural Center.

Moderating the event was C.H. Booth Library Reference Librarian Lily Mac Hugh.

After everyone introduced themselves and the night’s agenda was handed out, Simpson asked what each person finds is their greatest concern as a nonprofit.

Many people echoed each other about the challenge of trying to get people aware of events and build community interest.

Simpson agreed and said while churches have a “unique position” in town as a nonprofit, “It’s always a challenge to reach people.”

She explained that these concerns are similar to what people felt even four years ago before the Galaxy Digital volunteer hub “Get Connected, Newtown!” was created.

The platform allows nonprofits to publish information about their organizations, events, and register volunteers. It is paid for by The Jeniam Foundation.

According to Simpson, the hope was that by creating “Get Connected, Newtown!” it would be a “perpetual volunteer fair.” It would also serve as a town calendar to prevent organizations from scheduling conflicting activities and help groups to collaborate on events together.

“That was the dream,” she said.

Mac Hugh noted that as of earlier that day there was a new nonprofit added to the site, leading them to have roughly 34 active groups.

Simpson said she would like to have two volunteers from the NNC help her create a physical volunteer fair in town as a way to market “Get Connected, Newtown!” to a wider audience.

The council members brainstormed possible ideas for a location and that it could take place in the fall.

Livable Communities

Boccuzzi led a discussion on the Livable Communities project he is spearheading.

According to AARP, “A livable community is one that is safe and secure. It offers choices in where to live and how to get around. And it equitably serves residents of all ages, ability levels, incomes, races, ethnicities, and other backgrounds. Livable communities: enhance personal independence; allow residents to remain in their homes and communities as they age; and provide opportunities for residents of all ages, ability levels, and backgrounds to engage fully in civic, economic, and social life.”

Boccuzzi said the Town of Newtown has an overall Livable Index Score of 54 out of 100. The score is based on seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity.

“There is a lot of room for growth,” Boccuzzi said.

The Livable Communities project identifies goals for the town to accomplish, how to make it happen, as well as a time line for it all. He is looking to have the NNC’s support for a public forum later this year that will focus on educating the public about the initiative.

“I want to try to organize this event in August to bring all the nonprofits together,” Boccuzzi said.

He added that it will be an opportunity for groups to make connections, grow partnerships, and overall be a “positive step forward” for the council.

Before the meeting concluded, Brunelle mentioned that Edmond Town Hall will have three upcoming events she wanted to promote.

Its Tuesday Evening Sound Bath Series will take place April 4 and May 2, from 7 to 8:30 pm, in the Alexandria Room with practitioner Julia Gerace of Soundbath & Beyond.

“It’s a wonderful way to relax,” Brunelle said.

Edmond Town Hall also has The Argyle Sax Quartet returning on Sunday, May 7, from 2 to 4 pm, in the Alexandria Room.

Details for those events are included among all of the listings within The Newtown Bee Community Calendar, in print (page A2 every week) and online.


Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

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