I’ve been heartened with the community interest to-date in next week’s candelight vigil. In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, local residents, community leaders, faith groups, and individuals and families facing addiction and living in recovery are coming together on August 31st at 7:00 pm at the Pop-Up Park. I hope anyone interested will join us.
I’m writing not just as a town resident, but as President & CEO of the New Canaan Community Foundation. For 40 years, we’ve been the local charitable partner for people who want to connect and give locally, on a wide variety of issues that our residents care about. For the last 10 months since I’ve joined the foundation, I’ve met parents, students, civic leaders, and nonprofit organizations, and asked with an open mind what local issues they care about. What pulls at their heartstrings, or drives their passions to make town and our surrounding community a better place? What issues are going unaddressed or under-resourced? Or, what have we tried, but we’ve hit stumbling blocks and need extra or renewed effort?
The language has been different, depending upon who is answering those questions, but I’ve heard common threads: Stress management. Supporting our kids. Family relationships. Substance abuse. Prevention. Wellness.
What has slowly emerged for me is a call for the Community Foundation to be present with these issues. To continue seeking advice—from diverse perspectives in the community—on how we work together to define the issue, put our arms around it, and strive to collectively make our town a better place for everyone. We’re pleased to co-host next week’s vigil, because it’s an important step in that direction. I hope you’ll join us, and thereafter I hope you’ll consider how you can continue to be part of our collective efforts to help all our residents better thrive.