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OCTOBER news & updates

October 11th, 2023



Norwalk ACTS has been partnering with the Norwalk League of Women Voters on our civic engagement work. The LWV is an invaluable resource to our community.

With local elections less than a month away, now is the time to visit https://www.vote411.org/ to learn more to find information about candidates running for office, upcoming debates and candidate forums, polling locations, and more. Voting is the hallmark of our democracy! 

CEO Corner

Jennifer D. Barahona, LCSW

Happy fall! Last month members of our backbone team, two of our community early childhood community advocates, and four members from Norwalk Public Schools convened in San Francisco for the annual StriveTogether conference. It was a wonderful three days of learning and connecting. We were so proud of our early childhood community advocates, under MJ’s terrific leadership, for their presentation on Norwalk’s developmental screening work. We were also thrilled to have our new Director of Initiatives, Shaaron Sinvilcin, with us! Please read more about Shaaron in our updates below. 

We have many exciting community events coming up between now and the holidays. Please make sure to read below and mark your calendars. We want to highlight the youth-led Board of Education candidate forum happening in partnership with the Center for Youth Leadership on October 18th. This is the only BOE candidate forum planned in Norwalk. Please help spread the word about the importance of being an informed voter and sign up to attend the virtual forum here.



Welcome to Shaaron Sinvilcin!

We couldn’t be happier to have Shaaron as part of our backbone team! Shaaron is a Norwalk resident with school-aged children. His knowledge, experience, and expertise in social-emotional health and restorative justice will greatly benefit our SEH & OST work. Shaaron is on a listening and learning tour, so if you’d like to schedule time with him, please reach out to [email protected]. 

Shaaron Sinvilcin joined Norwalk ACTS as the Director of Initiatives. He will oversee the Early Childhood, Social Emotional Health, and College and Workforce Development Initiatives. 

Prior to Norwalk ACTS, Shaaron led RYASAP's Social Emotional Learning “SEL” Community Schools Program in partnership with the Bridgeport Public Schools for the last three years in Bridgeport, CT. Through his work with RYASAP, Shaaron worked with Student Support Advocates, Restorative Practices Facilitators, Prevention Corps Members, Public Allies, and Bridgeport Public School Officials to help youth with social emotional needs, mental health, drug awareness, social media guidance, school attendance, leadership skills and habits which has helped them build successful and positive lives in the community. Shaaron and his RYASAP staff helped students and staff in the Bridgeport Public Schools learn effective restorative interventions and ways to regulate their emotions and communicate effectively within the school community. Before working at RYASAP, Shaaron worked in education as a school counselor and dean of students for 17 years. 

Shaaron obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from American International College, a Master of Science Degree in School Counseling from Mercy College, and an additional Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport. Shaaron has a passion for working in the human services field and helping young people reach their goals in life. 

In addition to his regular job, Shaaron coaches youth basketball for Non-Profit AAU Programs in Connecticut. Educating, coaching, and teaching is what Shaaron is all about!

Shaaron resides in Norwalk, CT, with his beautiful family, Kadine Sinvilcin (wife), and his four songs, Keon, Santana, Carter and Mason. During Shaaron’s free time, he enjoys traveling with his family and exercising at local gymnasiums, tracks, and basketball courts.  

Congratulations to Norwalk ACTS Senior Data Analyst Ray Leslie on his recent marriage!


New ALICE data says that 42% of households (14,940) in Norwalk struggle to afford basic needs. CT minimum wage is $15, but a livable wage based on the cost of living in Fairfield County begins at $18 and increases depending on needs and household size (United Way 2021).

2023 Norwalk Town Profile

Click here to see the latest profile provided by AdvanceCT and CT Data Collaborative.

Adverse Childhood Experiences - Youth Perspective data report is now available from CT Data Collaborative.  The Youth Report consists of data reported by Connecticut high school students through the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS), known in Connecticut as the CT School Health Survey (CSHS). In 2021, the YRBS-CSHS included 15 ACE indicators that measured child abuse, child neglect, household challenges such as exposure to domestic violence, growing up with a parent with substance use or mental health problems, and parent incarceration. The YRBS also measures school and community violence experiences, bullying, and teen dating violence.


"We are looking for a research associate with expertise in partnering with residents, nonprofits, and public agencies throughout Connecticut to impact society positively. The ideal candidate will enjoy using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to describe community assets and social and economic issues experienced by racial, ethnic, LGBTQ+, and gender minorities, immigrants, formerly incarcerated persons, and urban and rural populations, and helping to communicate that information to diverse statewide and local audiences."

Learn More


National Hispanic Heritage Month is annually celebrated from September 15 to October 15 in the United States to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

Did you know that Norwalk has a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce doing amazing work in our community? Learn more at the link!


The next Early Childhood Family Meet Up is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, October 12th, 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. This month, the Norwalk Public Library will present information. 

The first Early Childhood Education Fall Festival is planned for Thursday, October 19 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Norwalk Town Green. Families with young children are invited to attend and enjoy Fall art activities, apple cider donuts, and more family fun.


We are delighted to announce our partnership with the League of Women Voters in Norwalk and the Center for Youth Leadership at Brien McMahon High School to host the 2023 Board of Education Candidate Forum. We would like to thank all parties and participants for taking the time to engage in this youth-led forum. It will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 18th, 2023 from 7 pm-8:30 pm. Live translation captions will be available.  

Please register at https://bit.ly/YouthBOEForum.

The League of Women Voters in Norwalk will host two forums this month.

1) Common Council At-Large Forum on October 19, 2023, from 7-9 PM, at the Norwalk City Hall Community Room.

2)The Mayoral Forum is scheduled for Thursday, October 26, at 7 PM in the Social Hall at Congregation Beth-El at 109 East Ave. This will be followed by the In-District Forums at 8 PM. 


In July and August 2023, Early Childhood Community Advocates engaged and connected with parents/caregivers of young children (birth to age 5). Over four weeks, they interviewed 122 Norwalk families either in-person or by phone to gather insights on their needs for and ability to access childcare, as well as what they would like early care and education to look like. The experiences from the voices of families who are often not included, in neighborhoods with low access to formal and informal opportunities of support for young children, and who may not speak English were gathered. The CT Early Childhood Funders Collaborative sponsored this project to inform the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Childcare. 

On September 20, 2023, at the Strive Together annual convening in San Francisco, two of the Early Childhood Community Advocates, Jennifer Murray-Mayhew and Karina Mendez, and MJ Chironna led the workshop, “Building Early Childhood Connections: Parent by Parent.” They shared how Norwalk ACTS lifts up the lived experience of parents with consistent and persistent engagement and shared strategies to create community, build early childhood connections, develop supportive relationships between parents, and increase knowledge about early childhood development.

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?


With the new school year well underway, please remind families you may encounter of our out-of-school time resource portal!


Norwalk ACTS | [www.norwalkacts.org]
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