Thursday, March 20, 2008

2 honored at summit

City Wide Youth Coalition seeks to keep kids busy during summer
By Eliza Hallabeck
Special to the Register
— The Courtland Seymour Wilson Branch Library basement swarmed with guests Wednesday, because summer is fast approaching and so are opportunities for Greater New Haven youths to get involved.
Manuel Rivera, executive director of the City Wide Youth Coalition, said more than 200 people were invited to the library for breakfast and workshops for the fifth annual Summer Summit.
“This is to let everyone know what the youth can do in the summer,” he said.
Two individuals were given awards during the welcoming portion of the event. Rivera said the City Wide Youth Coalition wanted to honor Dr. Robert Windom and Sarah J.H. Fabish for their efforts for the community.
Windom, a New Haven resident, has been working at the Hill Health Center since 1979, and has been a volunteer physician for local camps for the past 15 years. Windom said he is able to volunteer his time because the Hill Health Center supports his efforts. He said not every physician has such an opportunity.
“They called and said I’d be receiving an award, but I didn’t really put it together until now,” said Windom. The real reward, he said, is if at the end of the summer there are no major injuries at the 12 camps he oversees.
Part of his job with the camps is to oversee the nurses’ logs from the camps every week.
Fabish, a Milford resident, is the director of grants and scholarship for The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. She has developed a number of initiatives and collaborations such as the Out of School Time Collaboration of CT Community Foundations. According to City Wide Youth Coalition, she also was primarily responsible for the development of an initiative funded by Wallace Funds to create a community of learners focused on supporting interactive learning opportunities for parents. She also provides program support to the foundation’s Women and Girls Fund, according to the coalition.
Fabish said she was pleased to be honored with Windom, because she holds him in high esteem. She said she first felt a more definitive drive to help youth when she started teaching.
“I was frustrated because I wanted to help the students in a more particular way,” said Fabish.
She said the amazing part about helping youth is that she gets to see them as they get older. She is able to be a listener for teenagers and provide help through their trying years, she said.Fabish said she has three teenage girls and wants them to know they should be independent.
“Young people are our future,” said Fabish.
Library Branch Manager Melissa Canham-Clyne said she was glad to hold the summit at the library because the library serves two purposes for youths: a place for recreation and for self-initiated education. She said summer is the perfect time for self-motivated learning for young people.
For more information, call Manny Rivera at (203) 786-5970 ext. 322.
Eliza Hallabeck is a Register Intern.

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