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Nonprofit Council Shares News, Provides Peek At New Volunteer Hub



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The C.H. Booth Library hosted the Newtown Nonprofit Council’s latest meeting through Zoom on September 20. On the agenda was the “News and Views” discussion as well as a look into the new volunteer website called Get Connected.

With so many new people logging in to for the first time, C.H. Booth Library Director Doug Lord started out by introducing himself and explaining that the Newtown Nonprofit Council is essentially “a group of friends who get together and share news and views of what’s going on.”

Lord shared that the library has received a grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine called Get Healthy Newtown.

He prefaced that while he usually does not come to these meetings asking things from the public, and instead is there to offer support and collaboration, he would appreciate talking to people/groups individually about this public health outreach effort.

“If you have committee meetings, board meetings, internal meeting, external meetings —I would really appreciate being a part of those just in a very small sense, so five–ten minutes on your agendas,” Lord said.

He then opened the floor to others to share their news and views going on in the community.

Patrice Gans of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr was the first to speak and discussed her organization’s upcoming virtual Hack-A-Thon program called Hacking for Endangered Species, on September 25. The event is open to fourth and eighth graders across the United States.

Gans said that she is looking for insight for how to get the word out and get more children to register for the program. Other members in the meeting gave their advice and some even requested she send them the informational flyer so they could help.

Jay Thomas of Families United in Newtown (FUN) shared that they have an event this Saturday called Pancakes & Pajamas at the Newtown Congregational Church for dancing, food, and fun. They will also be hosting an event at Castle Hill Farm on October 28 for people to come in their Halloween costumes.

“I’m a big FUN fan,” Lord said, adding that he is always happy to spread the word.

Donna Monteleone Randle, the American Legion Post 202, let everyone know that they, too, have an event this Saturday, September 25. It is their first children’s Fishing Derby at Great Hollow Lake, in Monroe, from 9 am to noon. Admission is free and there are prizes.

She noted, “We have been very fortunate and blessed to have gotten a donation of rods and reels for kids that do not have fishing equipment … due to the generous donation by Friends of Newtown Country Club.”

Katherine Simpson, the Newtown Lions Club, discussed the recent approval of the playground project’s adaptive equipment for Dickinson Memorial Park. She said they expect to break ground this fall but are still $3,000 short of their goal.

With that in mind, the club is hosting its Treasure Hunt fundraiser at Chintz-N-Prints, 39 South Main Street, also on Saturday, September 25. People can donate their loose change in a zip lock bag. Also, at the same time and place, the Newtown Lions Club is having a tag sale in the parking lot where proceeds go to the playground project.

“Meanwhile, that is not all we are doing,” Simpson said.

She recapped the recent Great Pootatuck Duck Race and expressed her gratitude for all those who came out. She added that they are continuing to sell Mustang tickets for the car raffle for $10. Lastly, on October 2 the community is invited to join the group with cleaning up Orchard Hill Park.

Candice Bohr, Newtown Youth and Family Services (NYFS), informed the Newtown Nonprofit Council that they are currently collaborating with the Knights of Columbus to raise funds for FAITH Food Pantry with a 5K run at Fairfield Hills. The NYFS website indicates it is on September 25.

Bohr mentioned that NYFS also gearing up to have its 36th annual Holiday Festival this December and that Newtown High School students are working on rebuilding its Safety Town Camp buildings.

Nicki Giordano, EverWonder Children’s Museum, spoke about the upcoming Health Spectacular on Saturday, October 30, that will have a variety of activities at the museum with different time slots.

Also, the group’s annual fall fundraiser called Science of Mixology will be at Marygold’s on Main on Saturday, November 6, from 6 to 11 pm.

Melissa Houston, the Newtown Historical Society, announced that she is excited to have the group grow in relevance to the community and will have open houses September through June. The next ones that people can look forward to attending a on October 24 and November 21.

Maureen Decker, Volunteers Open Worlds (VOW), said that she has a passion for nonprofits. She started her business to create a pool of people where they can connect with business who need volunteers.

“I’m eager to get to know more of the nonprofits in Newtown, so that when businesses are looking for opportunities, I can connect them with any needs that [they] may have for volunteers,” Decker said.

Get Connected

Booth Library’s Sarah Patafio started off by explaining that she is the program coordinator for the Newtown Nonprofit Council’s Get Connected project.

Lord explained, “Sarah can show the organization side and also the volunteer side to sort of give you a glimpse of what good things are coming down the pike in terms of your ability to establish a consistent presence on the internet to recruit volunteers as well as change up those volunteer opportunities as you have varying needs.”

Patafio shared her screen and gave a walk-through of the Galaxy Digital Get Connected site thus far.

There were already a few organizations that have been loaded to the website, as well as a few volunteer opportunities.

“On the site, you can include a mission statement, contact information, your logo, some photos, your website and social media, and then your actual volunteer opportunity will be posted directly on the page,” she explained.

Simpson added that it is like a virtual volunteer fair.

The Newtown Nonprofit Council meets on the third Monday of the month at 10 am. The next public meeting is Monday, October 18.

For more information about the group and how to get involved, e-mail C.H. Booth Library Director Doug Lord at dlord@chboothlibrary.org.

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

Sarah Patafio, of the C.H. Booth Library, shared the Newtown Nonprofit Council’s Get Connected project during the Newtown Nonprofit Council’s virtual meeting on Monday, September 20.
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