Publication: In Your Northwest Corner

In Your Northwest Corner Vol. 17

February 15, 2024

Originally Published June 29, 2021

Children celebrate raising money for their new playgrounds.

Building Safe Places to Play

In 2020 Project Playground of the New Hartford PTO, a group of parent volunteers took on the challenge of providing two playgrounds for children of all abilities in New Hartford, including relocating and replacing outdated play equipment at New Hartford and Bakerville Elementary schools.

The project, which was delayed because of Covid-19 considerations, will provide a play structure for the more than 200 local students and children within the greater community.

"We are striving to create social interaction for children with all abilities by providing playgrounds designed to meet each child's individual needs," said Jessica Chicoski of Project Playground.

A recent grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Marion Wm. & Alice Edwards Fund helped Project Playground get closer to their goals.

"Thank you for supporting Project Playground!," said Jessica Chicoski.

Meeting Growing Mental Health Needs

Greenwoods Counseling Referrals provides assessments and referrals to mental health professionals in Litchfield County and serves as the Trauma Recovery Network, convening trained clinicians to respond to crisis emergencies with psychotherapy that enables local community members to heal from emotional distress.

In 2019-2020 Greenwoods connected more than 800 local community members to health care professionals and offered financial assistance when needed.

"The dramatically increasing need for mental health care is distressing given the shortage of mental health providers," said John Simoncelli of Greenwoods Counseling Referrals.

Recent grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund and the Northwest CT Community Foundation Edward W. Diskavich Fund supported expanded counseling services and increased access to telehealth to meet growing mental healthcare needs.

"Greenwoods deeply appreciates the support of the Community Foundation," said John Simoncelli.

Supporting Community for All

LARC supports 200 individuals with disabilities throughout Northwest Connecticut with services, including residential group homes, in-home assistance, transportation, day programs, employment, social opportunities, group outings, and the Special Olympics.

"LARC envisions a world where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, are included and supported in the community in ways that make it possible for them to achieve their full potential," said Mary Ellen Kunz of LARC.

Recent Grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Seth Tracy Memorial Fund supported LARC's creation of an autism resource program.

Grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Robert Venn Carr, Jr. Fund and the Northwest CT Community Foundation Northwest Connecticut Philanthropy Fund supported the purchase of an online group training system enabling staff to receive training required by the CT Department of Developmental Services in a convenient online format.

Grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Nolin Selby Fund and the Northwest CT Community Foundation Jeffrey and Susan Lalonde Community Betterment Fund provided flexible support for operations and programming.