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Kids These Days––2015

Four local teens use their time and talent to give back



For Zoe Butchen, 15, community service is a practice that started early. “A huge part of me revolves around the idea of giving back,” she says.

A dancer, Butchen was only ten when she launched Dance Donations to distribute used costumes to studios that can’t afford their own. She has shipped costumes as far as California, but delivering costumes to a local YMCA allowed her to witness participants’ appreciation firsthand. Last year, her charitable work became personal. Her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and she started the Dance, Shake, and Donate campaign. Inspired by Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off” the campaign encourages people to post videos of themselves dancing. She also organized a town-wide dance event on Main Street last year that drew over 1,000 people. “It was exciting to see how many people embraced the cause,” she says.

So far, she has raised nearly $75,000. Butchen’s stage will grow even bigger as she hopes to be invited to the World Parkinson’s Congress next fall. “There’s still a lot more to do,” she says.

Erick Vallalta, 18, moved to Ridgefield from El Salvador not speaking a word of English. He attended the Boys & Girls Club after school. There he perfected his English, made friends, and built his confidence. He credits his hard-working mother and time spent at the club for making him who he is today: “It was like a second home and family for me.” In high school, Vallalta made the transition from B&GC member to volunteer to employee, helping to make a difference for other children. He is also a member of the Keystone Club through which he’s helped with town events such as Breakfast with Santa and the Halloween party. He’s been selected to attend both regional and national Keystone conferences. The gratitude he feels for the B&GC and Ridgefield is reflected in his actions; he’s often at the club even when not scheduled to work. “It’s always been about giving back for everything they’ve given me as a child,” he says. College is on the horizon, too. “I know it’s something I can do,” Vallalta says. “I would be the first in my family to go.”

Erin Desimone, 16, has been dancing with the Enchanted Garden since she was three and says, “Dance is part of my identity.” Her love of dance and passion for helping others has led her to perform in the annual Nuts About the Nutcracker, which raises money for the Molly Ann Tango Foundation, a local organization dedicated to enriching the lives of special-needs children. One year, Desimone advocated to have a wheelchair-bound girl be part of the show and recalls how appreciative her parents were for their daughter to have that opportunity. Desimone is also a member of the Molly Ann Tango junior board, which focuses on community awareness and recipient outreach. Board members spend time with special-needs participants and deliver holiday baskets during the season. “It’s such a personal experience,” she says. Desimone is also working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award by helping the Prospector Theater. Thinking about the future, she knows that dance and helping others with special needs will continue to be part of her life. 

Patrick Francis’ decision in fifth grade to play the euphonium, a tuba-like instrument, has led to a continuing commitment to music. Now a high-school senior, he has added trombone, tuba, French horn, trumpet, and percussion to his repertoire. Francis, 17, plays in nearly every ensemble in RHS, including the pit orchestra. “At first you’re all working separately but once you come together, it’s really amazing,” he says. He also plays in the annual Funk-Raiser to help raise money for the school’s music program. Francis is the vice president of music talent for the Ridgefield Music and Arts Center, a student-led group that organizes events around town to give young musicians a chance to showcase their talents. RMAC musicians perform at the Holiday Stroll and host Music Fest, a day-long festival held in Ballard Park. Additionally, Francis plays in the Westchester County Youth Orchestra and for St. Mary’s, where he helps out with younger kids. He currently gives private lessons—including teaching trombone to the musical director of RHS. He enjoys teaching and plans on majoring in music education.

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October 2017

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Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
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The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Sponsor: Pepsi Rock Series powered by xfinity
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Cost: $260-$345pp

Where:
Manor House Inn
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Sponsor: Manor House Inn
Telephone: 860-542-5690
Contact Name: Kristen Perlman
Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
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Cost: $40.00

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield , CT  06877
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Sponsor: Bart's Tree Service Comedy Series
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Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

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66 Elm Street
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Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: free

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Canfin Gallery
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Jump start the art school application process! Present your portfolio to admissions representatives from leading colleges and universities at The Aldrich. Whether you are ready to apply, or are...

Cost: Free

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The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
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View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Join us for an inspiring and invigorating Girlfriends’ Getaway from October 15-17 at The Manor House Inn.  This exclusive event includes:   Welcome reception with wine and...

Cost: $260-$345pp

Where:
Manor House Inn
69 Maple Avenue
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Sponsor: Manor House Inn
Telephone: 860-542-5690
Contact Name: Kristen Perlman
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Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
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Producer, composer, keyboardist and vocalist, Sérgio Mendes is one of the most internationally successful Brazilian artists of all time. His hit single, “Mas Que Nada,” is the...

Cost: $75.00

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
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Sponsor: Ingersoll Auto of Danbury World Music Series
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Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: free

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Canfin Gallery
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Cost: Free

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WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
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Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
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Cost: $12.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Cohen and Wolf, P.C. Fathom Events Presents & Movies Series
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Cost: $15

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
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Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
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Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

On Thursday, October 19, 2017, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm,  Fairfield County Wedding Concierge will hold their first networking event for the Fairfield County bridal vendor community at Bespoke...

Cost: $10 in advance and $15 at the door

Where:
Bespoke Designs
5A Sconset Square
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield County Wedding Concierge
Telephone: 203-864-5084
Contact Name: Gayle Szuchman

More information

Four-time Grammy Award nominee and multi-platinum selling sax-man Boney James needs no introduction to contemporary jazz fans.  The gifted saxophonist, veteran of...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine and Jazz Series
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WCSU will present the Midtown Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. in the Colonial Corner in the Student Center on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The coffeehouse will feature an...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

Mary Wilson is one of the founding members of the Motown legends, “The Supremes,”  who recorded twelve No.1 hits from 1964 to 1969  including “Where Did Our Love...

Cost: $57.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Pepsi Rock Series powered by xfinity
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Studio Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, Oct. 21   Innovation Day, 1 – 5 p.m. Discover, Dabble, Do-It-Yourself at Wilton Library’s annual Innovation Day! Join us for a festival of making, creating and demonstrating....

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Get into the Halloween spirit while exploring the ways in which unexpected household objects can be transformed into magnificent sculptures and festive decorations! Create a pumpkin using yarn,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

The Fab Four is elevated far above every other Beatles tribute due to their precise attention to detail. With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ songs, The Fab Four will make...

Cost: $55.00

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Pepsi Rock Series powered by xfinity
Website »

More information

As part of its 2017-2018 concert series, Friends of Music will host the Zorá Quartet on Saturday, October 21st. The group of artists were winners of the 2015 Young Concert Artists...

Cost: $35, Children 18 and younger enter free

Where:
Kusel Auditorium at Sleepy Hollow High School
210 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Studio Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
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