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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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November 2017

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Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
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Cost: Free to attend

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varies
, CT


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Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

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The year 2017 marks the 47th Anniversary of perennial classic-rock favorite, America.  Founding members, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell (along with former band mate Dan Peek) met in high...

Cost: $90

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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Website »

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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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Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Sodexo will host a Thanksgiving Dinner from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Marketplace on the university's Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Students can use a meal...

Cost: $9.75

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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 »

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Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies at WCSU will host "Sahaja Yoga Meditation" Tuesday, Nov 14 at 7 p.m. in Room 103 of Warner Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in...

Cost: Free

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

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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 »

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Sodexo will host an Italian Elite Pop-Up Dinner (with upcharge) from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Center Restaurant on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Students can...

Cost: $19.75

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

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The Olate Dogs are the winning participants from Season 7 of America’s Got Talent, scooping up the $1,000,000 prize and headlining The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Led by Richard Olate and his son...

Cost: $30

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


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

A panel discussion featuring artists whose work is currently on exhibit in the Gallery will be moderated by Associate Professor of Illustration Jack Tom at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15,...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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

Show More...
Show Less...

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday, November 16th the Housatonic Museum of Art will present a fascinating lecture entitled “Pirates: Fact & Fiction” with historian, John R. Wright.    The...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: Housatonic Museum of Art
Telephone: 203-332-5052
Contact Name: Robbin Zella
Website »

More information

2nd Show Added SNL comedian Jim Breuer’s life-long love of heavy metal music and the desire to start his own band comes together in a hilarious and satisfying show that mixes comedy and...

Cost: $37.50

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


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

WCSU will present the Midtown Coffeehouse Thursday, Nov. 16 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...

Cost: Free

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

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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

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Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The WCSU Childcare Center will host an event to raise funds for the center on Friday, Nov. 17. At 6:30 p.m., guests will enjoy tapas and a cash bar in Room 241 of the Visual and Performing Arts...

Cost: $40

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertainers and continues to win over audiences with his off-the-wall humor! Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All...

Cost: $55

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


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill presents a concert in tune with the changing seasons, performed by 12 pro singers with Ellen Dickinson, conductor, David H. Connell, piano, and Carolyn Engle, cello....

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
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

Show More...
Show Less...

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this dynamic workshop, exploring found objects, assemblage, and three-dimensional craft. Look to the giant wreath titled Conn Con by Anissa Mack as inspiration, and use twine,...

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

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

WCSU will host a 5 p.m. planetarium show Saturday, Nov. 18, followed by telescope viewing of the sky from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's Westside...

Cost: Free

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

More information

   Get in the holiday spirit and join us for the 3rd Annual Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest being held on Saturday, 11/18/2017, 6:30 – 10:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza. Taps &...

Cost: Online price: $65.00 Door price: $75.00

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

The Office of Alumni Relations invites you to attend the “Evita” Cocktail Reception & Production on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cocktail Reception starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Drawing Room of...

Cost: $30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

After three past sold-out performances, Darlene Love returns with her band and the DL Singers to celebrate the Holiday season once again!  As one of the biggest voices of the 60s, Darlene Love...

Cost: $60

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


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Legendary reggae artist Yellowman will perform at 8 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and opening...

Cost: $20

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

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
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

Show More...
Show Less...
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