The Hartford Community Coalition's first annual block party drew scores of people from all aspects of the community to Lyman Point Park yesterday. The Hartford High School Band and the Party Crashers made music and 30 non-profit and for-profit organizations set up informational booths and demonstrations. The Rotary club grilled free burgers and dogs for everyone.
Coalition board member Barbara Farnsworth, the executive director of Second Growth, an organization the offers substance abuse counseling to young people said a core group of about 15 volunteers started planning the block party in May and "the whole thing came together rather quickly."
Public response to the event was positive as families with young kids and seniors alike strolled the grounds catching up with friends or speaking with their neighbors manning at the information tables.
On the other side of those tables table were representatives of diverse groups ranging in size from the Veterans Administration—which displayed its truck outfitted with a satellite dish— down to the Vermont Worker's Center which had brochures on a single table and the rep Norwich's Sharon Rascusin chatted up the organization's upcoming Working People's Discussion Group being held at the Bugbee Senior Center on June 25.
The array of Hartford's expertise on display at the block party was impressive —solar power, healthcare, composting, cartooning. There's even an organization— Vermont 2-1-1 —that maintains a database of referrals for health, human services and community organizations. (You just dial 211 on your phone.)
Hartford Community Coalition (HCC) is a collaborative group of community members and non-profit organizations help to improve the wellness of individuals and families. It started in the wake of the suicides of three young Hartford residents in 2013.