NCHS Freshman Donates Tutoring Earnings to ABC House

[Editor’s Note: New Canaan High School freshman “Jai” Anenya Ansh this week handed off the following note with a $200 check to ABC House of New Canaan. It is republished here with the family’s permission.]

Dear ABC Group of New Canaan,

I would like to make a small donation of 200 dollars to the ABC Group of New Canaan. I raised this money by tutoring at a Math Club. I coach stuents in grades 3-5 for national level math contests like AMC, Mathcounts etc. on Saturday afternoons.

New Canaan Nonprofits Participating in ‘Giving Day’

On Thursday, some 18 New Canaan nonprofit organizations will participate in a 24-hour fundraising blitz known as Giving Day. Hosted by the Fairfield County Community Foundation under the slogan “Give Where You Live” and with a goal of raising $1 million on a single day, Giving Day invites donors to give at least $10 to as many charities as they can. The organization that has the most individual donations will win an extra $25,000, while the organization that raises the most money will get another $20,000 (more information on prizes is available here). We asked participating local nonprofits to send us a single sentence communicating to readers why they’re a great candidate for a donation on this day. Here are the New Canaan nonprofits, according to the Giving Day website, with their responses (those agencies that have not yet responded can email me directly at and I will update this story):

A Better Chance of New Canaan: “The mission of the ABC of New Canaan is to offer capable minority youth the opportunity to learn in a superior educational program while also preparing them to assume positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.”
Carriage Barn Arts Center/New Canaan Society for the Arts: “Please support the New Canaan Society for the Arts/Carriage Barn Arts Center on this Fairfield County Giving Day and help us fulfill our goal of providing exceptional art exhibitions, accessible children’s art education, and cultural programs.”
Filling in the Blanks: “Your support will allow FILLING IN THE BLANKS to provide over 300 hungry children with meals on the weekend.”
Future 5: “Now with over 100 active members, Future 5 is helping motivated, low income high school students stay on track and connect to their full potential.”
Hungry Kidzz: “We provide weekend bags of food during the summer, a 4th of July ‘Freedom (barbecue) Box’ and 1000s of holiday stockings in December.”

VIDEO: Honoring a Friend, ABC House Co-Director Undergoes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (8 Times)

John Walsh ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at ABC House
In May 2010, John Walsh, co-resident director of the ABC House of New Canaan, lost a dear friend to ALS. On Thursday, with the eight student residents of the home standing behind him, and his wife and fellow co-resident director Laura standing near, the New Canaan resident honored the memory of his friend while encouraging locals to donate to a New York City-based nonprofit organization. The Project ALS website says the organization targets the most promising ALS research and that its strategy is “to raise significant funds and direct the majority of the funds raised to the collaborative efforts of world leading scientists.”

See Walsh’s video above.

Kiwanis Club of New Canaan Awards $16,000 to 25 Local Organizations

Six years ago, the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan—a nonprofit organization whose mission is “serving the children of the world”—doled out $1,800 to seven local recipient groups in line with its cause, with monies coming from established, though limited, events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. On Friday—thanks mostly to the more recent, very popular Zerbini Family Circus, which Kiwanis presents in conjunction with the New Canaan YMCA—Kiwanis was able to give nearly $16,000 to 25 organizations. According to 6-year Kiwanian David Hoyle, an attorney in town who helped host a gathering at the Y to mark the handing out of those funds, the circus “has really changed what we’re able to do.”

“We work really well with them and they do stuff that we can’t do and vice versa,” Hoyle said. “[YMCA Marketing Director] Kristina Barrett and [Kiwanian] Kathy Holland just do yeoman’s work.”
Local organizations receiving allocations include ABC House, CERT, Future 5, New Canaan Historical Society, Pesticide-Free New Canaan and Summer Theatre of New Canaan.

New Canaan ABC Founders Gather with Current Students, Directors

New Canaan High School senior Chris Andrews calls his four years here in town, as a student-resident in the A Better Chance or “ABC” program, “a blessing.” Andrews said shortly before a special dinner in the Locust Avenue home Wednesday that he’s not only met many people he wouldn’t have met otherwise, but also developed interests he may not have discovered—for example, his plan to study computer science at Penn State University in the fall was born from his experience under town resident and ABC host Michael Donnelly. “My host dad is an IT guy in a firm and he really helped me along the way, finding what I want to be,” Andrews said from the living room at ABC House, surrounded by fellow ABC student-residents as well as figures who were at New Canaan High School as students, administrators and faculty members in 1973, the year the program was founded. The group gathered for an informal “Founders Day Dinner”—attendees included not just the student-residents at ABC now but also co-resident directors John and Laura Walsh, Board of Directors President Mike Curran, 1971-75 New Canaan High School Principal Alan Haas, former NCHS Guidance Counselor Robert Jeffries, NCHS Class of ‘73 Maryann (Ruggiero) Gabriel, Class of ’75 Jennifer James, Class of ’73 Janice Benson, ABC House cook (and current Selectman) Beth Jones, ABC board members Amy Burger and Candace Curran, and ABC House tutor Tony Adams.

Here’s a slideshow with seven of the eight current ABC House of New Canaan students. Just hover with your mouse over their photos for personal information and quotes from each student.