First Selectman: Plans Underway To Rent Out Irwin House to Nonprofit Organizations

Irwin House, the 1963-built brick structure that sits on a hilltop in a public Weed Street park of the same name, is to be renovated and rented out to a handful of nonprofit organizations seeking new homes, the town’s highest elected official says. Vacant since the municipal offices that had occupied it during the renovation and expansion of Town Hall moved out three years ago, Irwin House would see its first floor used as a “nonprofit center,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. The organizations expected to move in and pay a below-market rent so that the town covers its maintenance and utility costs would include Staying Put in New Canaan, New Canaan Community Foundation, New Canaan Land Trust and New Canaan CARES, Moynihan told reporters during a press briefing held Aug. 23 in his office. 

“The idea would be that they would have the synergy of being not-for-profits together rather than isolated in little offices,” he said. “They’d share conference space, they’d share a lunchroom.

Ellen Brezovsky To Take Over as Executive Director of New Canaan Cares

A licensed clinical social worker who for four years has overseen communications for a world-renowned psychiatric hospital in the town will take the reins next month at one of New Canaan’s foremost human services organizations. Ellen Brezovsky will start June 11 as executive director of New Canaan Cares, according to the nonprofit organization’s incoming Board of Directors chair, Sara Schubert. Brezovsky, most recently director of community relations at Silver Hill Hospital, brings wide knowledge of New Canaan families to the role, as well as qualities of creativity and collaboration, said Schubert, who also led New Canaan Cares’s search committee. “She has been working with 13 different communities, so her personal outreach and connections to programming and new speakers is going to be wonderful for us,” Schubert told NewCanaanite.com. Brezovsky said she was “very excited about the prospect of leading up Cares” and “to do justice” to what longtime director Meg Domino has helped build in some 17 years at the helm.

New Canaan Library, Integrative Mental Health Practice To Present Documentary ‘Angst,’ Panel Discussion

An integrative mental health practice and New Canaan Library are teaming up to present a documentary film and panel discussion next week that address what local experts call some of the most prevalent health-related challenges facing youth in town. “Angst,” a much-discussed documentary designed to raise awareness about anxiety, with an emphasis on youth and families, is to be presented at 5:45 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22 in the Lamb Room at the library. The screening and discussion are sponsored by Stamford-based Riverwalk Group and the library (register here). Elissa Stein, founder of Riverwalk Group, which provides therapy, support and programming to people in all stages of life, said New Canaan forms a major piece of her clientele and that she arranged for the free event since “we are hearing more and more from all pieces of the family—parents who are anxious, children who are anxious, grandparents who are anxious.”

“We have cases where children are coming back from college and they cannot have success at college because they are so riddled with anxiety that they come back home,” Stein, a resident of north Stamford, told NewCanaanite.com on a recent morning during an interview at Zumbach’s.

Meg Domino To Step Down as Executive Director of New Canaan CARES

New Canaan’s foremost expert on youth, parent and community health planning is to step down at the end of this academic year, according to officials at the nonprofit organization she has steered for more than a dozen years. Meg Domino, executive director of New Canaan CARES, who holds a doctorate in public health and is known in the community for her ready participation in a wide range of human services endeavors in New Canaan—including with fellow nonprofits, the school district and town—will continue with regular programming through July 1, according to a press release. She “will serve in an advisory capacity to ensure a smooth transition,” the press release said. Known nationally and even internationally in her field, Domino is a widely influential author and researcher who has worked with New Canaan CARES for 16 years. Her expertise increasingly has been in demand here, for example, as New Canaan youth and families face intense pressures and challenges amid the rise and prevalence of opioids, cyberbullying and social media.

New Canaan Promotes ‘Tech-Free Family Time’ through ’30 Days of Family’

Town and local nonprofit officials are urging New Canaan families this month to unplug their mobile devices and spend more time communicating directly with each other. The Department of Human Services-led “30 Days of Family” initiative this year has taken up “tech-free family time” as its motto. Unplugging forces family members to talk to each other “with their voices and spend quality time making eye contact and practicing listening skills,” according to Jacqueline D’Louhy, the department’s coordinator of youth and family services. “Think about how much teens ‘talk’ to each other electronically,” D’Louhy said. “Sometimes they’ll be sitting in the same room but never utter a word to one another.