MARCH 2023 news & updates
March 2nd, 2023
While we continue to explore the best ways to make our materials more linguistically inclusive, we are using Google Translate to provide a Spanish version of our newsletter.
Some of our Backbone Team enjoyed a delicious field trip to Rebel Daughter Cookies on Isaacs Street. The cookies were incredible, and the business gives back to local organizations in our community. Thanks for choosing Norwalk ACTS in 2022 and supporting our mission, Rebel Daughter Cookies!
Racial diversity, living affordability, migration in and out of the state, public education, educational attainment, job industries, Fortune 500 companies, political parties, greenhouse emissions, and leading causes of death have all shifted in Connecticut over the last decade or so, some more than others. These ten charts tell part of Connecticut’s story." -José Luis Martínez
Centering equity is key to the purpose and mission of any collective impact work, no matter the issue area or focus. It is very difficult to move population or systems change without redressing disparities that exist in almost every community. Part of the challenge is that there is not one path to achieve equity, and advancing equity is an ongoing practice built on very personal, relational, and structural work. Though it is a continuing journey without a definitive finish line, structured processes, goals, and metrics can support individuals and collectives to advance the work intentionally and strategically.

The Racial Equity Toolkit, developed by Dominique Samari and Paul Schmitz, is designed to support backbone staff and partners to operationalize racial equity throughout their collective impact work. Through a mix of personal reflection exercises, conversations, and activities, this toolkit will help teams explore how centering racial equity can advance their strategies, build understanding, strengthen relationships, and support in reaching their collective goals.
CT Baby Bonds will set aside funds for each baby born in Connecticut whose birth was covered by HUSKY. The Office of the Treasurer will hold, manage, and invest those funds. Lawmakers must prioritize including funding for CT Baby Bonds in this year’s budget so that Connecticut can begin investing on behalf of our children, especially babies born into intergenerational poverty. Learn more at the CT Baby Bonds website and read the Op-Eds below!
Our Early Childhood Advocates and MJ Chironna, Manager of Community Engagement, recently created 40 ASQ/Sparkler Kits to hand out at Early Childhood Events!
The NPS Family Center has seen a 31% increase in early kindergarten registrations compared to this time last year!
Calling all parents of children 0-5! Do you know that SPARKLER is a FREE mobile app for Connecticut families, helping parents support children’s development from birth through 5? Check in on your child’s development and get a library of 1000+ play activities just right for your child’s age!
We are two months away from celebrating Mental Health Month in May. Please save the date for the NorWALK for Mental Health on 5/6/23 - more details will follow. Look for more information about community workshops that month soon!

If your organization wants a table at the NorWALK event and/or they would like to contribute to a community workshop during mental health month, please email our Director of Equity and Collaboration, Denique Weidema-Lewis, at
Norwalk Hospital is opening a new outpatient behavioral health center at 14 Westport Avenue. The center will provide adolescent intensive outpatient, intensive outpatient, and dual diagnosis intensive outpatient treatments. All insurance companies will be accepted at the center.
Suicide Prevention Training

Cohort 2: March 7, 9, 14, 2023 from 11:00 AM–12:30 PM CT
Cohort 3: April 11, 13, 18, 2023 from 9:00 AM–10:30 AM CT
(Accepted applicants will only take part in one of these cohorts)
SafeSide Youth Services unites clinical, school, and community staff with a common language and framework. This program, based in the latest research, will equip you with a common ‘map’ of best practices in recovery-oriented suicide prevention. Although roles and responsibilities are different, everyone gains an understanding of the four core tasks of suicide prevention: Connect – Assess – Respond – Extend
Training cohorts work together through 4 hours of video-guided learning in 90-minute segments. All participants take away tactics, tips, and wording they can use immediately...then continue learning and skill development through optional monthly video calls and new updates and refreshers added throughout the year. E-mail Sarah McMinn to get more information!
The Norwalk Out of School Time Program Locator is a resource for families to find programs that meet the needs of their children. It has had over 4,500 views since its redesign in 2022. We aim to connect all Norwalk young people to year-round, meaningful out-of-school experiences. 

With summer program registration right around the corner, we are reaching out to ensure your program is added to the portal with the right information. In March, we will begin a city-wide marketing campaign for Norwalk families who are seeking summer out of school time programs with both City of Norwalk and Norwalk Public Schools communications.
  • If your organization has programming for this Summer, please add your program by emailing
  • If your organization has entered Fall/Winter/Spring or year-round program information - please double-check your entries on the Program Locator to ensure all information is accurate and current. Need to make changes? Please reply to with any changes that need to be made.
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is conducting a first-of-its-kind national study, the Power of Us to answer important questions about the people that work and volunteer with children and youth across the U.S. 

Connecticut is currently underrepresented in the data and AIR wants to make sure the experiences of youth workers & volunteers in CT are included. Would you be willing to share the 15-20-minute survey with OST staff, volunteers, and partners? Honorariums are currently being offered for organizations to complete the 15-20 minute survey; the survey must be completed before March 31st.