Monthly Archives: January 2013

Making a Difference in Memory of Martin Luther King Jr.

What a great way to remember Martin Luther King Jr.: bringing the community together to make  a difference.

Hands On HarImagetford organized three projects for youth throughout Hartford and the surrounding areas to beautify and spend time at Salvation Army Marshall House, Peter’s Retreat and Burns Elementary School.

Sunday, teachers from Teach for America joined forces with Americorps VISTAS at Burns Elementary School to paint bleachers, accent doors with school colors and paint murals. One mural the kids even created themselves: an eagle colored in with the Latin states’ colors. Image

“With everybody working together to paint the bleachers, the gym soon transformed into a brighter, bigger space. It was really exciting to see the gym transform.  The gym teacher said all the kids were smiling when they saw the change,” shared VISTA member Tracy Choomack.

Monday, HOH welcomed the Rocky Hill Congregational Youth Group to Peter’s Retreat. They played bingo with the residents, cleaned railings, door knobs and vacuumed and served brunch to the residents. The kids seemed to really have Peter's (Rocky Hill Youth Group)a good time joking with the residents and volunteering their day off to put a smile on some faces.

Finally, HOH partnered with Salvation Army Marshall House Monday to host volunteers from UCONN’s medical school. Ten students came eager to brighten up the living space for the residents. The addition of some yellow paint brightens the whole upstairs. They also put together 37 gift bags for residents full of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap and toothpaste.  The med students took the extra step of writing  positive notes to the residents and attached them to the gift bags.

RememberingImage Martin Luther King through service is one of the best ways to honor his memory.

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Thanks to all the volunteer groups, Teach for America, Americorps VISTA’s, Rocky Hill Congregational Youth Group and UCONN students for all your help and remembering Martin Luther King Jr.  in service.  Also, big thanks to Home Depot, Target, Stop N’ Shop, Max Bibo’s on Main and The Cheesecake Factory in West Hartford for your donations. You truly made the day special.

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Sharing the Holiday Spirit! Toy Shoppe 2012

What are the ingredients for a great holiday party? Festive decorations, delicious food, rocking music, and a whole lot of fun. Fortunately, toy room 2all of these things were in ample supply at this year’s Toy Shoppe holiday party.

Each year, the formula is the same: generous students at Avon Old Farms raise thousands of dollars (usually around $10,000) to purchase toys for Hartford families in need. Toys big and small, for a range of ages, are purchased at Target and brought to Hartford to be sorted.  Hundreds of families then join us later in the week for a fun-filled afternoon and evening.

This year, over 400 people joined us for this festive celebration. Families enjoyed a delicious meal of wrappingpasta and salad prepared by our in-house cooks and donated by Salute. Staff and volunteers provided an array of sweet treats for dessert.

While parents were shopping in the toy room, kids had fun in the party room. They danced to music provided by a DJ, got their face painted, made holiday crafts, and got their pictures taken with Santa!

Toy Shoppe week is one of our favorite times of the year. It is truly magical to see kids, parents, volunteers, and staff come together for such an uplifting and jolly event. Thanks to all who made it possible including: Avon Old Farms, Aetna, Salute, Guida’s Dairy, Panera, and Dunkin Donuts!

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