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.

Did You Hear … ?

The owner of Canaan Parish, the Section 8 housing development at Route 123 and Lakeview Avenue, on Tuesday filed in state Superior Court in Norwalk to terminate the lease of a tenant who has not paid rent since Sept. 1. More than $3,000 is owed, court documents show. It’s one of four New Canaan housing actions taken to the court so far in 2017: A landlord also is seeking to evict an Urban Street tenant who failed to pay $1,450 in rent in January, according to a Feb. 7 filing, a Raymond Street landlord on Jan.

Faces of New Canaan: Andrew Blackwell

In “Faces of New Canaan,” we seek to document—through photos and a Q&A—the stories of people here whom we identify strongly with our town. These aren’t people who are prominent because they’re famous or hold elected office (though they might)—yet they help form the fabric of New Canaan in a way that, say, if you go away for a while and then return to town, you know you’re home when you see them. Until this installment, we’ve run the Q&A by speaking directly to the subjects of the interview. That really wasn’t possible with 8-year-old Andrew Blackwell of Locust Avenue. Born with Down syndrome, Andrew at a young age—possibly as the result of a respiratory virus and pneumonia at age 18 months—developed a motor speech disorder that hinders his ability to communicate.

New Canaan Taps Social Media, Selfies to Celebrate and Encourage Family Togetherness

Here’s some data that Kate Boyle and Jacqui D’Louhy had in mind when they thought of ways New Canaan could mark April as Alcohol Awareness Month: Families that have dinner together five to seven times per week are 33 percent less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. Family time lowers the risk of mental health problems, substance abuse and eating disorders, said D’Louhy, youth and family services coordinator at the New Canaan Department of Human Services. Boyle works there as youth and family services specialist. So this month, the pair are launching a campaign that’s designed to document, share and celebrate family togetherness. During “30 Days of Family,” residents are encouraged to snap photos of what they’re doing with loved ones, and then to share them with the community through Boyle (details on how to do that below).