Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Emancipation of the South Norwalk Community Center / #socialentrepreneurship #postivedisruption





updated 1/31/16



I worked the weekend and weathered the storm with #theCowboy.  He did a most excellent job in rocking it to the beat to Queens 'We Will Rock You' and Bruno Mars's 'Uptown Funk.' He also put his shoulder into Johnny Cash's 'I walk the line.' A personal favorite of his. After the storm we were completely snowed in under two feet of snow and we had run out of oatmeal and bananas. There was no way out. There was no orang juice left. Thankfully though Martin, a man of the community, put his shoulder to the electric plow and bull dozed our walkway and area around the stagecoach which #theCowboy rides on. The snow shot out forty feet in the air, and my student, who is on the autism spectrum was simply loving it. We were able to make it to the train station to continue on in our adventure.


#ShoulderToThePlow

The #Waitress from SoNo who serves the best ‘Atol de Helote' in town told me a story. She told me how she waited in line at the South Norwalk Community Center to get help with her electricity bill. It is a help that is offered through that center. Well, she waited in line and when it was her turn she was told they could not accept her paper work and that they were closed. 

#theSecretaryFromSoNo broke down in front of me. No one in the family has citizenship. Her sister has severe physical handicaps keeping her restrained to a specialized wheel chair. Her health are coverage ends in days. No more therapy. She is not a citizen. But she is the one you meet when you walk into the South Norwalk Community Center. Her name is Clara. She is a wonderful person. The family is under great stress.

#WillietheYankee didn’t take long to tell me how the implosion of the South Norwalk Community Center unraveled over the last twenty years. He is the nephew of the man who ran it for thirty years before the current management team took over in the mid 1990’s. Mishandling of funds, lack of passion, racial favoritism that polarizes membership, limited programs.

#theWaitress, a gracious woman who has her own family, told me how the center is known by the recently arrived immigrants as a place were immigration authorities pick up and arrest routinely. She wanted to initially join a center in her neighborhood that had a fitness program, but was put off in her first impression. She didn’t feel welcomed.


With others I would like to establish a better educational and fitness program for youth and families by revitalizing  the center from the ground up. There should be yoga and music and art, chess, archery and soccer. There should be ballet and gymnastics. There should be skateboarding with The Scalzi Skateboarding Co. that is firing on all pistons to teach using action learning activities that develop such things as executive function skills, emotional intelligence and what are known as soft skills, like grit, empathy, teamwork, humility, and integrity.

There should be an executive functions skills coaching program and a yoga program, music and art, chess, archery and soccer. There should be dancing, ballet and gymnastics. There should be a skateboarding program for all kids, including those on the autism spectrum, or with any special need. We need ideas from the ground up. I am currently seeking all kinds of coaches who would like to be a center in the cloud ready to deploy for good work and good pay once the South Norwalk Community Center management team is displaced from its elected position. No more racial favoritism and yes to more empathy and community action.

Let’s have an adventure where we make it better. We have the power to cut red tape when we collectively put our shoulder to the plow for each other. 



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