Snapshot: Cynthia Dunn
Occupation: I am a Community Sponsorship Associate for the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, Conn. My role is to coach community groups across Connecticut in preparation for resettling refugee families in their own communities. It is the best job I have ever had!
Family: I am married and have three children (ages 19, 21, and 25).
Pets: We have a very cute, very stubborn 5-year-old bulldog named Pumpkin that is a celebrity in our neighborhood.
How long have you lived in Newtown? We moved to Newtown in 1993.
What do you like to do in your free time? In my free time I enjoy oil painting with a group of friends from SCAN (Society of Creative Arts of Newtown). We paint once a week together at the Newtown Meeting House and we often paint plein air when the weather cooperates. It is a great group of very supportive and fun people. I also love to hike and walk with my friends to stay active and stay in touch.
What organizations are you part of in Newtown? I co-lead a Newtown-based local nonprofit organization called the Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement (IPRR). We have volunteers from seven different Newtown faith communities and many volunteers that are unaffiliated with a faith community. IPRR has been resettling refugee families since 2016.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My husband has been the greatest influence in my life. His kindness, love and devotion to family and work ethic have given me a very full life. He is also super supportive of all of my endeavors.
Who is your favorite musical artist? The Beatles have always been my favorite since I was a little kid.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? Live within your means.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I am really proud to have helped build our local refugee resettlement organization.
What is a meal/recipe your family has passed down to you? We make homemade manicotti every Christmas. The recipe was passed down by my mother’s family. It involves making a delicate crepe and filling it with “pot cheese” and topping with homemade “gravy” (tomato sauce).
What is a tradition your family does that is important to you? Every Thanksgiving Day, our close friends host a Turkey Bowl. We gather with several families and play touch football, no matter what the weather brings. We eat donuts, drink hot cocoa, warm up by an outdoor fire, and pray that none of the “older” adults get hurt.
What is the best part about Newtown? The generosity and kindness of the residents. In the past few years, I have put out requests for furniture, bicycles, toys, school supplies, and monetary donations for refugee families in need. The response has always been beyond my expectations. Newtown residents always answer the call in a big way.