Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Art: When the King Comes to Town

Special screening with the director of "Elvis Presley: The Searcher" –– May 24

TownVibe Green Awards 2018

Face Value

Rediscovering local community in the digital age

Ridgefield Out & About - May/June

Tiger's Eye

Tiger's Den Bar & Grill serves popular comfort-foods with an occasional twist

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

May 2018

Leaders: Photographer-naturalist Paula Sharp and Audubon expert Ryan MacLean. Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville, NY, is designated an Important Bird Area with 180 recorded species of...

Cost: Parking fee $6 per vehicle

Where:
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, CT  10570
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Cynthia Ehlinger
Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Join us to celebrate all new exhibitions at The Aldrich!  Opening on May 20: The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects  a meta-group exhibition in five chapters,...

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

Choral group Camerata d’Amici is proud to present its spring concert “Emerald Stream:  Choral Songs of Love and Nature” on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at 4 p.m. at St....

Cost: Adults $25 (at the door), $20 (advance purchase); $10 Youth (18 and under)

Where:
St. Andrew's Lutheran Church
6 Ivy Hill Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Camerata d'Amici
Website »

More information

“Unbelievable!” – USA Today “A Side-Splitting Spectacular! – Chicago Tribune The MAGIC of BILL BLAGG LIVE! comes to The Ridgefield Playhouse!...

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

Members, join the exhibiting artists and guest curators for a festive BBQ dinner immediately following the reception from 5 to 7 pm.  Enjoy down home fare from Ridgefield’s Hoodoo Brown...

Cost: $25 per member

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

Twice a year, international recording artist turned vocal coach Samantha Cole produces the Celebrity Voice Coach Platform Showcase. Every showcase features 20 of Samantha’s students...

Cost: $40

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


Telephone: (203) 438-5795
Website »

More information

MAY 18 THROUGH 20, 2018 IF YOU’RE INTO BIRDS, THIS IS THE MOST FUN YOU’LL HAVE THIS MAY! For three days, birders of all skill levels will engage in a fun and friendly competition to...

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy, directed by Rufus Norris (The Threepenny Opera, London Road), will see Rory Kinnear (Young Marx, Othello) and Anne-Marie Duff (Oil,...

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

Stamford EMS is offering a safety training class for those planning to become summer camp counselors and lifeguards. The skills learned in this course will teach participants to recognize cardiac...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
Stamford EMS
684 Long Ridge Road
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: Stamford EMS
Telephone: 203-252-2193
Contact Name: Jessica Anderson
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play provides a backstory for the...

Cost: $20 admission; $15 for seniors; $10 for kids

Where:
Western CT State University
Visual Performing Arts Center
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Kick off your Memorial Day weekend with family fun under the stars with a FREE showing of the animated movie “Ferdinand” (rated PG) on Friday, May 25th at Jesse Lee Memorial United...

Cost: Free movie, food is for purchase

Where:
Jesse Lee Church
207 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 120-343-85992
Contact Name: Jen Mulhern
Website »

More information

Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play provides a backstory for the...

Cost: $20 admission; $15 for seniors; $10 for kids

Where:
Western CT State University
Visual Performing Arts Center
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ eighth annual Juried Member Show opens Saturday, May 26th, with a reception scheduled for Saturday, June 2nd from 4-6pm (due to the Memorial Day...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play provides a backstory for the...

Cost: $20 admission; $15 for seniors; $10 for kids

Where:
Western CT State University
Visual Performing Arts Center
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Music: Boris Asafiev Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky, after Vasily Vainonen Cast The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps de Ballet In the era of the French Revolution, Jeanne and...

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags