news & updates
September 8th, 2022
Welcome, to our new Coordinator of Workforce Development, Rhea Henry! Please read Rhea's bio below in our College and Workforce Readiness section and give her a warm welcome at next week's convening.
This is a wonderful resource for families to help children feel connected to school.
READING: "What is School For?" eight opinion essays focused on Education in America from the New York Times.

For subscribers, please visit: What is School For? For PDF versions, please click the button below.
LISTENING: "Inside the Adolescent Mental Health Crisis," The Daily Podcast
Our September Convening will be focused on our Social Justice and Equity Cornerstone in addition to the release of the strategic plan. We will be highlighting examples of equity work being done within the Norwalk ACTS network (via panel discussion) ahead of delving into deeper tabletop discussions on centering equity as individuals and organizations. Please join us and consider bringing someone new who might be interested in learning more about our Social Justice and Equity Cornerstone!
Racial Equity and Social Justice in Prevention:
Mental Health Strategies to Support Safe Environments for Students of Color

Join SERC this September for a professional learning series for school-based mental health professionals and community agencies focusing on positive youth development. As part of SERC's prevention efforts in schools, this series looks at building protective factors through social-emotional learning and mental health strategies to help support students of color. Register here!

Session 2 - Student-first SEL: Developing a Culturally Responsive Approach
Wednesday, September 14, 2022 

Session 3 - SEL and Mental Health: Using Social Emotional Skills to Deepen Resilience
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 
Student Loan Debt Relief

On August 24th, President Biden announced a Student Debt Relief Plan that will provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 in debt relief to non-Pell Grant recipients. 

To be eligible for student loan debt relief, your annual federal income must have been below $125,000 (individual or married, filing separately) or $250,000 (married, filing jointly or head of household) in 2021 or 2020. 

The application for the relief will be available in early October and for more information you can find that here.
Election 2022 Debates

Connecticut Public, in collaboration with the League of Women Voters, are holding weekly debates between the candidates in advance of the midterm November 2022 elections, including debates for the statewide offices of Governor and Secretary of the State, as well as U.S. Senate and Connecticut’s five U.S. Congressional districts. 

They hold the debates every Thursday from 8 p.m. 9/15 - 10/27, and Tuesdays, 9/27, 10/4, and 10/25. To receive a downloadable copy of their watch party toolkit, check out this link!
The Out of School Time Program Locator had over 3,650 site visits from Norwalk Families! We are starting to refresh the Program Locator with Fall and school-year-based programs! What does this mean for your organization and program?

  • Completed Summer programs will begin to be “hidden” from the search list until spring registration time
  • If your organization has already entered your Fall and year-round program information - please double-check your entries on the Program Locator to ensure all information is accurate and up to date. Need to make changes? Please reply to with any changes that need to be made
  • If your organization has new programming for this Fall or upcoming school year, please add your program by completing this quick survey.
Free Fall Classes Are At the Norwalk Arts Space - Register Now! All art classes are taught by NAS Resident Artists; the Fall session runs from September 26, 2022 - December 9, 2022, 3:45 - 5:45 pm. For specific information on offerings, go to:
CDC Strategy Guide: School Connectedness - Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth
Research has shown that young people who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in many risk behaviors, including early sexual initiation, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, and violence and gang involvement. This guide includes six strategies that teachers, administrators, other school staff, and parents can implement to increase the extent to which students feel connected to the school.
Norwalk ACTS has opened their application for our second year, Youth Community Advocates! If you are a youth or student passionate about connecting with people, creating opportunities to enhance youth voice, and increasing community knowledge about specific topics such as overall well-being, social-emotional wellness, social justice, policy and advocacy, and College Workforce readiness, please apply here or reach out to Anamilena Moreno,, for more 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? Check in on your child’s development and get a library of 1000+ play activities just right for your child’s age!
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is dedicated to helping children and families in Connecticut thrive. We created the For Families, By Families — Keep It Real Initiative video series to give parents a voice and to help families learn from one another.

Get honest, unfiltered perspectives from other Connecticut parents about key topics — everyday challenges, parenting during COVID-19, and confronting racial injustice.

Do you know a parent who would like to make a video? Contact Barbara Vita at
September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Recovery Month.

Fairfield County’s Regional Behavioral Health Action Organization, The Hub, has compiled regional upcoming events highlighting suicide prevention and in recognition of recovery month. The calendar can be accessed here.
Welcome, Rhea Henry!
Rhea Henry functions as the Workforce Development Coordinator for Norwalk ACTS. Rhea joined Norwalk ACTS in September 2022, and her responsibilities include facilitating and supporting community stakeholders in creating a centralized workforce development infrastructure.
Rhea is passionate about social justice and has worked in many policy areas focusing on economic mobility, gender equity, racial justice, and criminal justice reform. Before joining Norwalk ACTS, Rhea served as a Community Development Specialist at the National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. NCAT is dedicated to assisting communities in creating workforce training programs and youth development programs. In this role, she was responsible for fostering high levels of engagement and collaboration among community residents, employers, education institutions, and community-based organizations.
Rhea is a first-generation Jamaican-American and is an active member of the Bridgeport community. Rhea holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Religious Studies from the University of South Florida.
This is an exciting new program from The Odyssey FEC of South Norwalk and the Maritime Odyssey Preschool! Interested adults can get their Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) in 12 weeks! Apply today.
Synchrony and The Synchrony Foundation are proud to partner with General Assembly to offer a fully funded training opportunity for Stamford and surrounding Connecticut area residents who are interested in pursuing a career in software engineering.  Learn more here.

GIVE WHILE YOU SHOP: Are you an Amazon shopper? Set Norwalk ACTS as your selected charity on Amazon Smile, and a portion of every purchase will be donated to transform how a community works. Get started here.