Community News: CERT training, a learning center celebrates 10 years

The Monroe Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) can be seen at a number of events in town, including the annual Night at the Park.

MONROE, CT — Those who want to help their neighbors can join emergency services in their community. Monroe’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is offering a free 20-hour basic training program for aspiring members.

Locally, CERT has helped in many situations — most recently, at a drive-thru flu shot clinic at the Monroe Senior Center.

CERT volunteers are trained in a variety of emergency skills, such as disaster psychology, first aid, CPR and AED, fire safety, traffic control, hazardous materials awareness, emergency shelters, light search and rescue, disaster scenarios and terrorism.

The training sessions, which are for those age 18 and older, will be conducted via Zoom. Two separate courses will be offered in October and November, with one on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and the other on Saturdays and Sundays.

Monroe’s Department of Emergency Management worked with other CERT programs in Fairfield County to develop this virtual training program. It is sponsored by Monroe Emergency Management and the Monroe Police Department.

This chart shows the dates and topics to be covered. Click on it to enlarge. After the virtual part of the training, local participants will meet with Monroe trainers and work out a schedule for several elements of training that needs to be done in person and hands-on.

For information or to register, contact David York, Monroe CERT coordinator, by email at [email protected] or call him at 203-650-8474.

Learning center turns 10

Raj Honnaya, a Monroe resident of 21 years, opened the Kumon Math & Reading Center of Trumbull at 2 Corporate Drive in 2010, because of the way the program benefited her own daughter. This fall, she will celebrate the learning center’s 10 year anniversary.

“COVID-19 couldn’t damper our spirits, and we have decided to celebrate our anniversary by extending free registration to all Monroe and Trumbull families through the end of 2020,” Honnaya said.

She formulated a plan to safely deliver instruction to her students during the lockdown.

“We were running full speed with less than half the staff,” Honnaya said. “My staff and customers are simply incredible! Their resilience is a testament to their character!”

Now reopened for in-person instruction, the center has incorporated changes to be compliant with new health and safety regulations. This includes wearing masks at all times, rearranged space for social distancing, and sneeze guards.

“It took a couple of weeks for them to get used to the new routine, but I think it’s been healthy for the kids mentally to be able to come back in and feel like life is normal again,” Honnaya said.

Honnaya grew up in India and immigrated to the United States in 1995. She earned Master’s degrees in both physics-electronics and education. Prior to Kumon, she taught, held technical and management roles at startups and managed IT-security providers.

Honnaya, who has a passion for learning, incorporates her love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into the Kumon tutoring program, which is offered to children ages 3 to 15, with supplemental, remedial, or enrichment math and reading instruction.

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