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NOVEMBER news & updates

NOVEMBER 14th, 2023


The Center for Youth Leadership (at Brien McMahon High School) promotes justice and social change through student activism.

Follow their work on Instagram at @gocylnow.

CEO Corner

Jennifer D. Barahona, LCSW

If you’re like me, you are in disbelief that Thanksgiving is eight days away! This fall, like the summer, has been incredibly busy. It’s also been one of tremendous pain and suffering around the world. I know that I am feeling the weight of all of it. A few weeks ago, we hosted a terrific roundtable discussion on early childhood literacy with Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye and Rep. Dominique Johnson. As I said during that luncheon, what gives me hope and inspires me to keep going despite the heartache is this community of incredible people working together daily to improve things for children and families in Norwalk. Our Norwalk ACTS ecosystem truly feels like a family, and I’m grateful for your continued efforts.

We look forward to being together at our quarterly convening on December 13th. Please mark your calendars for the important conversation we will have on the new ALICE data presented by the United Way of Western & Coastal Fairfield County. Until then, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday.




Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and the Greater Norwalk Hispanic Chamber of Commerce invite nonprofits to a free ten-workshop capacity-building program. In the 2023 series, nonprofits will learn essential tools and strategies to help their organization attain and maintain well-being and sustain personal and organizational growth.

WORKSHOP # 10: Serving immigrants. A focused BIPOC training with a special focus on the immigrant experience.

Friday November 17, 2023 | 12:30-2:30 pm

This workshop is appropriate for all staff levels, including junior staff, mid-management, and anyone new to the non-profit industry.

As a service provider, you know that understanding the needs and contributions of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community is critical to helping those you serve. Yet, in most Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) trainings, the immigrant population and their unique needs and contributions are hardly addressed. In this interactive workshop, you will learn:

  • Immigrant trends in our area.
  • DEI and the immigrant experience. Barriers for and contributions of this community.
  • Cultural competency and working with immigrants.
  • Reasons why it is a good idea to support this sector.


Dalio Education recently released the study “Connecticut’s Unspoken Crisis” about Connecticut’s at-risk and disconnected young people.

The research reveals that in 2022, 1 in 5 of Connecticut’s young people were either at-risk or disconnected. These are 119,000 young people who have either dropped out of school or are in danger of dropping out of school, and who are, for those aged 18 to 26, unemployed and in many cases, unemployable.

We are continuing to discuss the findings and recommendations with our partners in Norwalk.



Thank you to everyone who joined us for our virtual Youth Town Hall Board of Education Candidate Forum. The eight present candidates were cycled through twice alphabetically, answering one individualized question in each round with a two-minute time limit. It was the perfect opportunity for our youth to speak directly with future school board leaders!

In October, Norwalk ACTS staff attended a powerful author event hosted by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF) at the Wall Street Theater. Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted and Poverty, by America, made a compelling case for our policy choices that permit so many of our citizens to live in poverty. If you missed it, you can watch more about his work here.


Delighted to have organized a convening for our Early Childhood Initiative, where we engaged in fruitful discussions about our collaborative efforts with partners in Norwalk, focusing on early childhood literacy and child development.

A sincere thank you to Commissioner Beth Bye of the CT Office of Early Childhood and State Representative Dominique Johnson for their invaluable contributions to this insightful conversation. The commitment of our politicians, early childhood educators, providers, and community advocates reflects a collective dedication to impactful work, making a significant difference in the state.

The next Early Childhood Family Meet Up is scheduled for December 14th at 9 a.m. at the NPS Family Center. Parents of infants and children up to six are welcome to join the group and learn more about Early Childhood Education in Norwalk. Children are also welcome to attend. In December, Family and Children's Agency (FCA) will present information. 

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?



Norwalk ACTS was thrilled to partner with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Business Collaborative for Education Equity in releasing “Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: Equitable Education and Career Pathways for Opportunity Youth in Fairfield County.” The study outlines concrete steps to placing Opportunity Youth job seekers into livable-wage career tracks, providing upward progression and enabling further training and industry credentialing.

FCCF held an event that included the findings from the white paper and a panel discussion. Our Deputy Director Jesse Buccolo spoke on the panel about the challenges and opportunities facing Opportunity Youth in attaining livable wage employment alongside our partners Social Venture Partners CT, City of Norwalk, The Carver, Norwalk Community College, and Norwalk Public Schools. You can learn more about the findings and watch the 3-part video panel discussion here.

Norwalk ACTS | [www.norwalkacts.org]
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