Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Countdown to Temple Grandin at The Connecticut Forum

Dr. Temple Grandin will talk about "The Glorious Mysterious Brain"
on Friday, February 25, 2011 at The CT Forum.

2010 was a big year for renowned doctor, professor, best-selling author and autism advocate Temple Grandin. She received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Duke University, had her life story adapted into a movie for HBO, and attended the Emmy Awards to see the film win seven Emmys, including Best Made-for-Television Movie, Best Director, Best Lead Actress, and Best Music Composition.

Grandin looks to keep herself just as busy in 2011 as she joins our CT Forum panel on Friday, February 25, 2011 for the Glorious, Mysterious Brain alongside Steven Pinker and another panelist soon to be announced. 
Tickets are first come first served, and can be purchased online at www.ctforum.org.  A limited number of "Ultimate" ticket packages are available to those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Forum panelists, attend the pre-Forum cocktail reception and dinner, get GREAT seats, and much more.  For more information, please call Peter at (860) 509-0909 ext. 25.

Click here to see earlier related blog posts.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Present for the Holidays

We were humbled to receive the following poem from a long time member of our Forum Family, someone who attended our Annual Hartford Children's Holiday Party for the first time this year and was deeply moved by the experience.

This poem is his gift to us - all of us - and a wonderful reminder about the real meaning of the holiday season.  Enjoy!

For reasons best not expressed
This season had found me quite depressed
Until, that is, when I was invited
To an event for which I was not excited.
A group whose work I have adored
(I sit on their advisory board)
For 18 years has held a fete,
A holiday event for children set
In a ballroom, grand and cavernous
Where, erstwhile, men quite ravenous
Had sat dining, whining of things financial
Thinking their work was so substantial.
But now that room with lofty ceiling
Was filled a brim with holiday feeling,
The sound of unfettered joy,
The jingling of a jangling toy,
Tables set with crafts to bring forth glee
For children of all sorts to see.
Volunteers from here and there
Had taken time enough to care
To put aside their own lives’ burdens
Bringing joy unto these young ones
Whose lives, I regret to say,
Are ones that, day to day,
Cause them their laughs to suppress,
To find a way to do with less
Than others of their tender years
For many exist in homes of fear
And those who come are but a few
Of the many others deserving too.

They are a motley bunch
Who have been invited here for lunch,
Tall, short and of varied hew
Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew
All together, laughing, sharing
No one at the other staring
All accepting of each other
Treating each like sister, brother,
Squealing at the man on stilts,
Running round the room full tilt,
Filling up the room with magic,
Unaware their lives are tragic,
Giggling at the silly clown,
As the clock goes running down.
Soon their fun would have to end
And back to their homes we’d have to send
Them having had a moment’s bliss
That otherwise they would have missed
But for the work of volunteer

Who came to share a bit of cheer.
I don’t know if they’ll remember
This day of fun in mid-December.
But I am sure to cherish dearly
That which I approached so wearily
When their laughter, like a dart,
Did vanquish the grayness in my heart.
It’s amazing how a child’s sweet face
Can one’s anchored sorrow quick displace.

And, afterwards, it struck me -
Is it not an irony,
That bringing joy unto a child
And by their smile become beguiled
Into a sense of love for others
Treating each like sisters, brothers
Whether thin, fat, short or tall
Is the meaning of this season
after all?
So to you my colleagues and my friends,
Regardless of what life intends,
I wish much joy and happiness;
Indeed, I wish you childlike bliss.
To find it you need only bend
And to a child your blessings send.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Smiles All Around at CT Forum's 18th Annual Hartford Children's Holiday Party

What a day!

Some very happy children holding special gifts and photos with Santa!

The Hartford Marriott Downtown was the place to be yesterday! 
A fantastic group of people - including 300 Hartford elementary school students, 100 CT YOUTH Forum elves, 33 sponsoring organizations, numerous volunteers and one great big Santa Claus - made th
is our best Children's Holiday party yet!

"Is it really you, Santa Claus?"
This lucky child guessed the correct number of candies in the jar...
and took home the jackpot!
Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf helped make this a day to remember!
"Who's ready to go see Santa Claus?"
Sincere thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers and sponsors, especially Target Stores and the Hartford Marriott Downtown for making this great event possible. 

You can read more about our Annual Hartford Children's Holiday Party here, or call us at (860) 509-0909 if you would like to get involved in the outreach activities of The Connecticut Forum.
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The CT Forum's Annual Hartford Children's Holiday Party: It's All About the Kids

Something magical is happening on Monday, December 13, 2010. 

Imagine... the expressions on the faces of hundreds of children as they enter the Hartford Marriott Downtown for the first time.  

Watch... their eyes widen as they are escorted through the hotel's luxurious lobby to what appears to be the tallest escalator in the world. 

See... smiles expand as they are greeted by Frosty the Snowman, Rudolf, and dozens of real live Elves, green tights and all. 

Feel... their excitement as they enter the Grand Ballroom and find crafts to make and cookies to decorate and games to play and food to eat and presents to open - presents that have been hand-picked just for them. 

Hear... shrieks of laughter as they "high five" a juggler on stilts, see magic tricks performed before their eyes and - wait, did you just hear jingling?- SANTA!

Now in its 18th year, The CT Forum's Annual Hartford Children's Holiday Party may well be one of Hartford's very best kept secrets - an event made possible by hundreds of CT Forum volunteers and sponsors, including national corporations, local businesses, schools, towns, groups and individuals.

But this party is not about them, and that's why you might not have heard about it.

It's all about the kids. 

If you would like to get in on the secret by donating your time and/or resources, please call us! (860) 509-0909

Monday, December 6, 2010

Continuing the Education Conversation: CT Business Leaders Gather at Early Childhood Summit

As promised, The Connecticut Forum presented the first of several education summits last week to continue the conversation about education started at our November Forum, Our Great Education Challenge.

A partnership between The Connecticut Forum and The CBIA Education Foundation, the summit, "Why Business Should Care About Early Childhood Education," focused on the importance of preschool education to our state's economic competitiveness and how the business community can get involved.

Nearly 100 CT business executives and educators were in attendance to hear featured presentations from:
- Elaine Weiss, Project Manager, PEW Center on the States, Partnership for America's Economic Success
- Rob Grunewald, Associate Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
- Rob Dugger, Managing Partner, Hanover Investment Group and advisory board chair of The Partnership for America's Economic Success.

Richard Sugarman, founding president of The Connecticut Forum, was the moderator.
Robert Dugger, managing partner of Hanover Investment Group,
presenting at the summit.
Photo by Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie
After their presentations, the panelists were joined for discussion and a Q&A session by local panelists, including:
- Karen Foley-Schain, Executive Director, Children's Trust Fund
- David Nee, Executive Director, William Graustein Memorial Fund
- Linda Kelly, President, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Linda McMahon with Bryan Flint.
Photo by Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie

We hope that this summit is the first of many to raise awareness and public will for education reform.

You can read further coverage of the event by CT News Junkie and CBIA.