Month: October 2014

Speaker – November 19, 2014
Lisa Wilson Grant will speak about her new book “Norwalk”

1a52f0a‘Norwalk’ includes a wonderful collection of vintage photographs of the area. In this presentation, she’ll talk about the history of the area with special attention given to the parts of Norwalk near or in Darien like Old MacDonald’s Farm, the trolley on Tokeneke Road leading to Rowayton, Roton Point Park, White Bridge, and more.

Located on the shores of Long Island Sound, Norwalk’s close proximity to New York City prompted the building of many summer residences and guest cottages along its coast. In the summer, steamships and trolleys arrived with passengers looking to enjoy the local amusement park, Roton Point. Norwalk’s earliest industries included farming as well as mills powered by its rivers. The area has been famous for its pottery, oystering, and hat manufacturing. Over time, this community has endured disasters; it was burned during the American Revolution, and the flood of 1955 wiped out much of the Wall Street area as well as several bridges on the Norwalk River. Norwalk shares vintage images from the mid-1800s through the 1960s, highlighting memorable sites such as Old MacDonald’s Farm and the Melton Automobile Museum. The revitalization of Norwalk’s downtown areas proves it is possible to respect the past and those that came before through the renewal of historical architecture.

Author Bio: Lisa Wilson Grant is a lifelong Norwalk resident and has been collecting images for many years. In addition to her own images, she has also included many from local historical societies and private collections. She also co-authored Postcard History Series: Roton Point with the Roton Point History Committee.

Arranged by Scott Hutchason

Speaker — November 12, 2015
Sean Pica, Executive Director of Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison

Hudson Link was founded in 1998, at a time where New York state and federal funding for college education in prisons ceased. The abrupt loss of a college program had a devastating effect on prison morale. As a result, inmates at Sing Sing Correctional Facility reached out to religious and academic volunteers for assistance, which received their immediate response.

Believing in the transformative power of education, Hudson Link helps men and women prepare themselves for more constructive and meaningful lives while incarcerated and upon reentering society. We accomplish this by providing the opportunity to experience the positive effects of learning at the college level.

In 12 years, we have granted 200 Associate and Bachelor Degrees. We currently have over 200 men and women enrolled in our programs. More than 50 men and women have been released from prison and most work in the social services field. NOT ONE of our graduates has ever been reincarcerated for a new crime – that is a 0% recidivism rate.

The average recidivism rate in NYS is 60% — within 3 years of release from prison, 60% of the men and women will be reincarcerated for a new crime.

Sean Pica is the Executive Director of Hudson Link, a not-for-profit organization, that provides college education, life skills and re-entry support to incarcerated men and women in five New York State Correctional Facilities to help them make a positive impact on their own lives, their families and communities. His responsibilities include program and operations management, business development, fundraising and implementation of the strategic goals and objectives of Hudson Link.

Prior to joining Hudson Link, Sean was the Director of Club Access, a psychosocial clubhouse for adults with mental health disabilities, and a tenant advocate for the James Weldon Johnson Housing Projects in East Harlem.

Sean also serves as a Senior Fellow with Mercy College’s Center for Social and Criminal Justice, on the Board of Career Gear re-entry services organization and as a facilitator for STRIVE Fatherhood Programs. He earned a Master of Professional Studies degree from the New York Theological Seminary, a Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College and is currently pursuing his MBA at Mercy College.

Speaker – November 5, 2014
Bob Patton, General Patton’s Grandson, will speak about his book ‘ Hell Before Breakfast ‘

Robert-Patton2‘ Hell Before Breakfast ‘ is about the Russian Wars in the late 1800’s. It is a history of America’s first war correspondents.

Patton, 57, was born 12 years after “Old Blood and Guts,” as the general was known, died at 60 on Dec. 21, 1945 following a freak car accident in Germany, a few months after the end of the war.

“I thought ‘Patton’ was a great movie,” he said. “My favorite part was the general’s pampered childhood. He was called Georgie, was dyslexic and was kept at home until the age of 12. He barely graduated from West Point after being held back a year. He had that motor in him that never stopped and was never satisfied. He gave his all to the Army and he had a few days in a hospital bed to savor the victory of World War II before he uttered his last words — ‘I guess I wasn’t good enough’ — and died.”

The grandson grew up under a heavy shadow cast by famous warriors. He came of age during the ’60s anti-war movement and was drawn to poetry and literature rather than the military, the family business for two centuries. Patton was the first male on both sides of his family going back five generations who did not graduate from West Point.

When the proud son told his father he had been accepted for admission to Ivy League Brown University, his father, a career Army officer, asked: “What the hell is Brown?”

At Brown, Patton spent two years in the ROTC program at nearby Providence College. “I realized I didn’t have the family calling,” he said. “My dad was bred to be a master sergeant. He did three tours of duty in Vietnam and would have done four if they let him. He had a certain hardness about him, but he was a patriot who loved his men. War was attractive to him, and by God he couldn’t wait to get back to the action. It’s a very complex phenomenon.”

Arranged by Tom Lom

Book Club Discussion – November 12, 2014
“Look Me In the Eye” by John Elder Robison

booksMarc Thorne will lead our DMA book discussion for November of the chosen selection: “Look Me In the Eye” My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison.

The meeting will be held on at the Darien Library in the Harris Room on the 2nd floor beginning at 12:30 p.m.

“Look Me in the Eye” is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective.”

Media Reviews:
Robison succeeds in his goal of helping those who are struggling to grow up or live with Asperger’s to see how it is not a disease but a way of being that needs no cure except understanding and encouragement from others.” – PW.

“John Robison’s book is an immensely affecting account of a life lived according to his gifts rather than his limitations. His story provides ample evidence for my belief that individuals on the autistic spectrum are just as capable of rich and productive lives as anyone else.” – Daniel Tammet, author of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant.

Copies of the book are available in the Book Club section behind the front desk.

 

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