November 2023 News from Hall

November 2023 News from Hall

It’s been another busy month at Hall Neighborhood House! We celebrated our partnership with Southwest Community Health Center and the accessible care it brings our neighbors, and our students are continuing to develop their STEM skills in our state-of-the-art Alan Wallack STEM Learning Center.

As we enter the sprint toward the end of the year—with its multitudes of holidays, celebrations, and commitments—I want to pause for a moment to express my gratitude for you. Thank you for being part of our community, for supporting our mission, and for continuously stepping up to help us make life better for our neighbors.

We appreciate you!

With gratitude,

Bob Dzurenda
Executive Director

 

Welcoming Southwest Community Health Center to Hall

We are thrilled to partner with Southwest Community Health Center (SWCHC) to provide comprehensive health care to all of our families at Hall Neighborhood House! We loved getting to celebrate this partnership on November 9 with a special Grand Welcoming event.

Learn more about our partnership with SWCHC and the health services we provide our neighbors in our latest Leadership Profile—featuring Dianne Lillicraf, our Health Services Manager!

Keeping our Community Healthy

At our recent vaccine clinic we provided flu shots to our community! This service is convenient for neighbors of all ages, but it’s an especially important service for our seniors who appreciate the accessibility of care. They know they can get care they trust at Hall.

 

Supporting STEM Education in Bridgeport Public Schools

The Harding High School Robotics Club is up and running!

Four students in the new club—Eythan, Sezar, Christopher, and Maria—unwrapped a FarmBot Genesis, an open-source robotic farming system that is capable of autonomous planting, watering, weeding, and soil sensing. The robot uses Artificial Intelligence to lay out and plant a crop, monitor growth, and provide feedback on crop health and growth.

Over the coming months, students from Warren Harding High School will be working on building the FarmBot mechanical systems and designing the planting bed. In addition, students from Bullard-Havens Technical High School will help build the planting bed in their wood shop, and students focused on IT will help with coding, software development, and internet connectivity.

We are so excited about enhancing STEM education in Bridgeport Public Schools!

Honoring Ruby Bridges

We celebrated Ruby Bridges Walks to School Day on November 14 by taking a walk around the Hall building to commemorate Ruby Bridges’ courage and the progress we have made towards equality!

We are so thankful to have brave leaders like Ruby Bridges, and we hope to inspire our children to change the world just like she did over 60 years ago.

Behind the Scenes at SHU

The middle schoolers in our after-school program got to take a special trip to Sacred Heart University to watch a theater rehearsal! It was so cool to see talented actors in action—and our students loved getting a behind-the-scenes look at a real production!

 

 

November 2023 News from Hall

September 2023 News from Hall

This fall, we launched a new initiative that will impact thousands of youth across Bridgeport. In partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and in memory of Alan Wallack, we’re expanding STEM education to students in our community through The Alan Wallack STEM Learning Centers. This innovative partnership between public and private institutions will change the way STEM is taught throughout the country.

We value lifelong learning here at Hall and believe that STEM skills are some of the most important building blocks for learning. We’re proud to instill this knowledge in our community. Keep reading to learn more about The Alan Wallack STEM Learning Centers and our big, bold plans for the future! 

Your steadfast support has laid the groundwork for this expansion. Thank you for being part of our community and investing in education at Hall!

With gratitude,
Bob Dzurenda 
Executive Director

The Alan Wallack STEM Learning Center

In partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, we are thrilled to unveil The Alan Wallack STEM Learning Center at Hall Neighborhood House—the first of its kind in our community, and our first step toward putting a similar STEM Center in every public school in Bridgeport. Ultimately, we hope to honor Alan’s legacy by impacting over 18,000 students in over 30 Bridgeport Public Schools. 

We are also grateful to Alan’s close friends John and Connie DeMattia. They have been instrumental in bringing The Alan Wallack STEM Learning Centers to life.

The Ribbon Cutting

We had so much fun at our ribbon cutting! Missed the event? Watch it here! ➡

Alan’s Legacy

Alan Wallack created a legacy for students of all ages in our community, and we are thrilled to honor his memory through The Alan Wallack STEM Learning Center at Hall Neighborhood House.

Born and raised in Bridgeport, Alan dedicated his entire 54-year career to the youth of Bridgeport, serving as Athletic Director of the city for 37 years before overseeing the construction of schools and ball fields as Construction Coordinator for 17 years.

The week before his untimely passing on March 24, 2023, he was nominated to become a board member at Hall Neighborhood House. His friendship, compassion, wit, charm, and service to the youth of Bridgeport are sorely missed, but we are inspired by his example to continue creating facilities and opportunities for students throughout our community. Our hope is that these STEM Centers will serve students for another 54 years and beyond.

Meet the STEM Team

David and Lynn are the dynamic duo behind our innovative STEM programming! Read their leadership profile to meet them and learn more about the future of our STEM program.

Take a Tour!

We invite you to stop by Hall Neighborhood House for a tour to see STEM in action! Call 203-345-2045 to schedule a tour. We’re excited to show you our cool technology and exciting experiments!

 

 

November 2023 News from Hall

June 2023 News from Hall

Last month, we celebrated several events and milestones as a community—from our Celebrity Breakfast to Father’s Day to our Early Learning Dance Recital. These moments of togetherness remind me why we do the work we do. 

Here at Hall, we provide resources and programs that make life better, provide a space for community connection, and ensure our neighbors have opportunities to learn and grow. Your support helps make that possible. Thank you for all you do.

With gratitude,

Bob Dzurenda
Executive Director

Celebrating Father’s Day

We celebrated Father’s Day in our senior center and youth classrooms this year! We had so much fun honoring the incredible men—fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers—who help raise the kids in our community. 

Celebrity Breakfast

We are so grateful to everyone who attended our annual Celebrity Breakfast! It was such a special morning of connection, laughter, and camaraderie—all in support of the comprehensive services we provide to our community. 

Click here to check out all the photos from the event! 

Please also join us in extending a special thank you to Terry O’Connor, Anthony Latina, and Jay Young for their exciting and illuminating conversation!

Midnight Basketball

The Bridgeport Chief of Police ran Midnight Basketball at Hall Neighborhood House during the month of June! From 6 – 12 p.m., our gym was open for kids ages 14 – 24 to play basketball with local police officers. We also had snacks and opportunities to try our music studio, with help from our friends at Hip Hop 1001. 

We’re excited to report a strong turnout for these community-building events!

Meet Ms. Felicia!

This month, we interviewed Ms. Felicia, our amazing Classroom Coordinator, about her experiences here at Hall Neighborhood House! During her 20+ years working with children here at Hall, Ms. Felicia has built lasting relationships with so many families. Read the profile to learn more about how she makes a difference through her work in our community. 

Headstart Pilot

Our year-long Headstart Pilot just concluded, with families and the Headstart team reporting very positive results. We are proud to provide this best-in-class service to our families and support our teachers with professional development resources. 

As part of the program, we received equipment to test children’s hearing and vision in our classrooms. Volunteers from the University of Bridgeport Nursing program have been helping with testing, and so far, they have identified over 20 children in need of additional testing or services to address vision or hearing deficits.

Gilbert the Party Pig

We had a fun visit from Gilbert the Party Pig! He showed off some cool tricks, impressing youth of all ages.

Early Learning Recital

Members of our Early Learning Dance Program wrapped up the year with a recital! We are so proud of the performance they put on and thankful to our teachers for their hard work in bringing it to life.

Summer Camp

Summer camp is starting soon! Students in our summer program will have opportunities to keep learning, enjoy safe and exciting activities with friends, and explore Bridgeport through field trips. We are so excited for the summer of fun they are going to have!

Thank you for being part of our story. You are helping make life better. We wish you a fun and special summer! 

Meet Ms. Felicia, Classroom Coordinator!

Here at Hall, we are so proud of our amazing team! They work together every day to carry out our mission and serve our neighbors. To celebrate them, we’re starting a Leadership Profile series here in our monthly newsletter and on the Hall Neighborhood House blog so you can meet them and learn more about how they got involved with Hall. 

Felicia Anthony, Hall Neighborhood House Classroom Coordinator

Felicia Anthony knows Hall Neighborhood House inside and out. Currently a Classroom Coordinator, Ms. Felicia has been working in our childcare program since 1998. 

She started as a teaching assistant while working toward her teaching degree. Then, she began teaching in her own classroom. This year, she started her new role as Classroom Coordinator, working with our Early Learning Director, Hector Burgos, to support all of the classrooms at Hall Neighborhood House—assisting with everything from lesson plan creation to classroom coverage. 

Even in her new role, she loves being able to return to the classroom often. “At the end of the day, I still consider myself a teacher,” she shared. “I go to the classroom every day, to make sure that the children and teachers know that I’m still there for them.”

Working in early childhood education is a calling Ms. Felicia discovered at Hall Neighborhood House when her cousin, who worked with us, suggested she apply. On her first day, as she was feeding a pair of twin girls (who she remembers as some of her favorites, even after all these years) … they threw up on her! “Most people wouldn’t have come back,” she said, “but I loved those little girls.” She went home to change her clothes and didn’t miss a beat after that. 

“I love what I do. I would never trade it for the world,” she said. 

Ms. Felicia emphasizes passion and patience as the key elements of her job serving kids and families here in Bridgeport. “You have to have a big commitment working with kids,” she said. “It’s important to me that the kids always know that Ms. Felicia is always here for them, no matter what they’re going through.”

Ms. Felicia also stresses the importance of building relationships with parents and caregivers, in addition to the relationships she has with her students. “My door is always open for parents,” she stated. “I have a heart for parents, especially single moms because I was a single mother—so I can relate to them. If they’re going through something, I know what they’re going through.”

Many things have changed during Felicia’s time at Hall, but one thing that hasn’t is that “Hall really is community.” Community and diversity are the two words that immediately come to mind when asked about Hall Neighborhood House. She loves working at a place that serves everyone on the East Side, of all different backgrounds and nationalities. And we are so proud that families have the warm, welcoming presence of Ms. Felicia—and the whole early childhood team—as part of their time at Hall.

When she’s not at work, Ms. Felicia sings in her church choir and spends time with her mom, daughters, and grandkids. “I love to sing,” she shared. 

And, if you’re visiting Bridgeport, Ms. Felicia says don’t miss Beardsley Park. It has green spaces and a zoo that Hall Neighborhood House youth still visit today!

Evron Trim Helps Hall Neighborhood House Fulfill Its Mission Through Financial Responsibility

Evron Trim Helps Hall Neighborhood House Fulfill Its Mission Through Financial Responsibility

Here at Hall, we are so proud of our amazing team! They work together every day to carry out our mission and serve our neighbors. To celebrate them, we’re starting a profiles series here in our monthly newsletter and on the Hall Neighborhood House blog so you can meet them and learn more about how they got involved with Hall. You’ll also hear about their heart for our mission, their favorite things to do when they aren’t serving families on the East Side of Bridgeport, and their recommendations of great spots in our community. 

Evron Trim
Director, Assurance, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP
Hall Neighborhood House Board of Directors

When Evron Trim first visited Hall Neighborhood House in 2020 as a prospective Board Member, he felt he had discovered a hidden gem. “During the tour,” he shared, “I just automatically fell in love the more I learned.”

Today, Evron is a Board of Directors member and deeply committed to our mission. He works as an Assurance Director in PWC’s National office in New Jersey, and his audit and accounting background is an asset to our Board’s leadership capacity. 

EvronEvron grew up in Milford, Connecticut, near Hall. Still, he only discovered the organization a few years ago when a partner at PWC introduced him to Bob Dzurenda, our Executive Director. Bob’s passion when talking about Hall was contagious, and Evron was immediately excited to learn more and see the facility in person. “I was so shocked that it was literally in my backyard, and I had no idea,” he said. 

He was impressed by the quantity and quality of services, spanning from services for infants to senior citizens with accredited educational programs and medical services. He was also moved by our 130+ year history in Bridgeport. One woman he met during his tour had three generations of her family involved with Hall. “That’s just a testament to the services and just how great the people are—people love Hall,” Evron said.

Evron brings unique skills and perspectives to Hall in his role on the Board. He was born in Trinidad, and his family moved to the United States when he was just two and a half years old. His mother worked in the medical field, his father was a mechanic, and (as the oldest) he was the first of his siblings to attend college. “It was just me, kind of paving my way,” Evron said. “While my parents to this day are my biggest supporters and continuously challenge me to be the best version of myself,  I didn’t know some of the things that you grow up learning or hearing about if your parents or other family members work in certain fields. So with the experiences I’ve been fortunate to have throughout my own professional career, I welcome any  opportunities I have to share my story, especially with the youth, and present them with options and potential career paths they might not otherwise have considered as an option when thinking about their own future”

That passion for sharing his experiences and offering perspectives extends throughout Evron’s life. He’s a member of PWC’s inclusion networks and doesn’t miss an opportunity to speak to our students about college and career opportunities.  

Additionally, Evron noted that his work experience as an auditor meshed seamlessly with his role on the Board.  “As an auditor, the underlying objective is building trust in society. With that mindset and knowing the intentions of the Board here at Hall, we all share in achieving that objective.” Hall prides itself in providing financial information that can be trusted because we have a huge responsibility in making sure that the funding and grants that we receive are accounted for accurately so that we can pass along those benefits to those we serve. “Being the Head of the Audit Committee is very important to me. It provides me an opportunity to share my experiences from out in the workplace and provide insights and best practices of processes and procedures that should be in place in order to ensure our financial operations run as effectively and efficiently as possible and that we are being as transparent as possible to our stakeholders”.

Together with the rest of the Board, Evron is committed to Hall’s growth in impact and providing the best services for those in need. “What we’re trying to do is really expand our reach,” he said. “The more we build awareness and get funding, the more we can open the doors, enhance our services, and adapt to the needs of the community.”

When asked to describe Hall in one word, Evron smiled and immediately said positive. “Everything, that Hall currently offers as well as our visions for future services and projects —are all focused with the primary objective of having a positive impact on the community,” he shared. “I urge everyone to schedule a visit to see it and feel the positive energy for themselves. You experience that positivity as soon as you walk into the doors.”