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Pictured at a check presentation ceremony for the Monroe First Foundation's donation to Jockey Hollow Middle School are, from left, Jonathan Stone, Kathi Ducharme, Tracy Forstrom, Karen Cardi and First Selectman Ken Kellogg.

MONROE — Jockey Hollow Middle School students received a $1,000 donation from the Monroe First Foundation, which raised the funds through the First Selectman’s Golf Outing.

Monroe First Selectman Ken Kellogg, with Foundation board members Jonathan Stone and Karen Cardi, recently presented the check to JHMS Librarian Kathi Ducharme and Library Media Specialist Tracy Forstrom.

The donation will be used to support Jockey Hollow’s Independent Research program, where students select a topic of interest and complete an in-depth study.  Books requested often by students this year include topics such as mental health, animal welfare and sports management.

Jewish Festival returns
The Shelton Jewish Festival is coming to the Huntington Green in Shelton this Sunday. The event is free.

Shelton will celebrate its diversity at the second annual Shelton Jewish Festival, a cultural event offering unique recognition of the music, traditions and foods Jewish people enjoy. It will be held on the Huntington Green in Shelton on Sunday, June 25, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

“Our goal with this unique Jewish and cultural festival is to bring the richness of Judaism to the masses, fostering understanding, unity, and appreciation,” said Rabbi Shneur Brook, who co-directs the Chabad Jewish Center of Shelton with his wife Leah Brook.

“Through music, art, cuisine, and captivating performances, we aim to create an unforgettable experience that promotes cultural diversity and inclusivity,” he said.

The festival will feature family entertainment and traditional Jewish foods, including kosher deli and potato knishes, crafts, vendors, inflatables and more. Foam Party Experience, or all children, was added this year and will start at 1 p.m.

Admission, music and kids’ activities are free, but the food will be for sale.

Headlining the first half of the music portion of the festival will be a Jewish Klezmer Band, playing music that will bring an upbeat message of love and joy. The second half will be headlined by a unique Jewish Jazz band: Jazz Rabbi & his Minyan.

“What better way to come together as a community,” Brook said. “This festival is open to all, and there will be something to enjoy for everyone.”

Those wishing to attend the festival may register for their free tickets in advance by visiting: www.SheltonJewishFestival.com. Vendors, crafters, organizations and artists are invited to sign up as well to have a booth at the festival.

Think Pink Monroe

Think Pink Monroe has begun the process of receiving and approving applications and disbursing funds to Monroe residents as they focus on their breast cancer treatment and recovery.

If you or someone you know lives in Monroe and could benefit, see the application for assistance at www.thinkpinkmonroe.com.

United Way merger

Two leading Connecticut-based nonprofit organizations, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and United Way of Western Connecticut, are merging under a new single entity, United Way of Coastal and Western Connecticut.

The strategic partnership brings together the strengths and resources of both organizations to create a united force for positive change and enhanced community impact across Fairfield and Southern Litchfield Counties.

The new organization will serve more than 25 percent of the state’s population across 27 communities, including the cities of Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford, and the towns of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Kent, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Stratford, Trumbull, Warren, Washington, Westport, Wilton and Weston.

“United Way of Coastal and Western Connecticut will remain focused on community-driven initiatives and evidence-based strategies to tackle key issues in the areas of education and childcare, health and food security, financial stability and basic needs, while creating systemic change for families living at or below the ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) threshold,” said Cheryl Bakewell, board chair of United Way of Western Connecticut.

“By joining forces, we will have a stronger, more coordinated approach to addressing the needs of our region, and together we will create a brighter future for residents of Coastal and Western Connecticut,” she said.

Isabel Almeida, current president of United Way of Western Connecticut, will become president and CEO of the new organization.

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