Log In

Reset Password

June 11 Community Connections Sessions Hope To Clarify 'Alphabet Soup' Of Support



Text Size

Following a successful Community Connections gathering at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel just over a year ago where Newtowners and others affected by 12/14 met with dozens of groups and support agency representatives, organizers are planning another event locally for June 11.

A number of agencies including Newtown Recovery and Resiliency Team, Newtown Prevention Council, and the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc are collaborating on the activity, which will be presented in two sessions to help accommodate as many attendees as possible.

Sessions are scheduled at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm at Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street. The evening session will also feature activities for children who may need to attend along with a parent or parents.

Jennifer D. Barahona, LCSW, executive director of the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, said the goal of the upcoming Connections event is twofold. She said it will help individuals and families in town better understand and qualify the most efficient, effective supports that might be best for them, while introducing them to a special initiative of the Ana Grace Project.

The Ana Grace Project is named in memory of 12/14 victim Ana Márquez-Greene. Her parents and family established the cause to identify the most effective ways to build community and interpersonal connection to prevent violence and promote recovery through research, practical tools, professional development, and public policy, according to the foundation’s website.

Project co-founder Nelba Márquez-Greene said she will be on hand at the event, talking about and distributing a book titled The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook — What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing.

She told The Newtown Bee that the publication is a go-to resource, and can help community members affected by tragedy learn how to promote love, healing, and recovery even as funding for support initiatives, and those outside support systems themselves, begin to disappear.

The Ana Grace Project is planning to bring in the book’s author, Bruce Perry, to Newtown later this year to work with local teachers, district officials, and other community support professionals, before hosting a statewide conference on using love and community to promote recovery at Western Connecticut State University the following day.

Ms Barahona said community members who attend the June 11 Connections event will be able to receive a copy of the book, along with information from experts breaking down the elements of many separate therapies and supports available to community members.

“There are so many programs with this alphabet soup of names and titles, that it can be very confusing to those looking for the best types of assistance for their own family,” Ms Barahona said.

She said a community survey, including important input from 12/14 survivors, indicated a need to identify each type of support available, and how it is intended to help individuals.

“One victim’s family suggested we simply make a list of every support available so community members can target the best therapies for them,” Ms Barahona said.

Today, she said, the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation is continuing to support residents by underwriting services at the same level as when the foundation was initially established in early 2013.

“We want residents to identify the most effective and efficient help,” she said, adding that some may be parked in, or have abandoned, therapies that have not been getting the desired results.

“Ultimately, we want to be able to sustain financial supports for as long as may be possible, so it should help those seeking support to better understand the particular aspects of each service available,” Ms Barahona said.

Light refreshments will be served. To register, and for more information, visit the Recovery and Resiliency Team website and pull down the Events tab, or link directly to information here.

Jennifer D. Barahona, LCSW, executive director of the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc, stands under a promotional banner at 19 Church Hill Road calling Newtowners to a June 11 Community Connections session designed to help individuals and families qualify which types of supports are appropriate to promote their own individual recovery and resiliency post-12/14. Ms Barahona is also holding a copy of the book, The Boy Who Was Raised By A Dog, which will be distributed to interested residents at the event. 
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply