Stamford, USA

An amazing learning experience.

The Stamford office decided to dedicate its fundraising efforts to a very peculiar project: the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium and its Pre-schooling STEM programme (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), elected as 2017 Charity of the Year.

The aim of the project is to help children get prepared to primary school, targeting especially those kids coming from the most disadvantaged families of Norwalk.  

When fully equipped and supplied, the STEM laboratories will provide a wide range of extraordinary learning experiences.  They will have several aquaria housing fish, crustaceans, mollusks and reptiles. Students will participate in their care, and will focus attention on a variety of activities, which will spark interest in their characteristics, behavior, and adaptations.  They will use appropriate tools, such as magnifying glasses and rulers, to examine biofacts including shells, leaves, acorns and models of animal bones and teeth.  They will explore the properties of magnets and build structures, animal models and simple two-dimensional robots with movable limbs, using a variety of materials (paper, foam, pipe cleaner, toothpicks). 

In addition to these activities for preschoolers, another unique feature of the project is the provision of Aquarium family memberships to students.  Having access to the Aquarium, beyond the visits undertaken during the school day, will build within the preschoolers, siblings and families a comfort level with the Aquarium, which will, in turn, foster an ease and familiarity when visiting other museums and arts and culture organizations.  In addition, family memberships ensure that there is an easy destination where they can do things together without straining limited financial resources.

The programme is created and offered by Maritime Aquarium, in collaboration with Odyssey Early Learning and Enrichment Programs and Grace Baptist Church.

The Stamford Charity Committee has nine members. In their own words, 'Although there are only several of us on the Committee, the entire Stamford office has the opportunity to be involved in our activities where they can be, based on business needs.'

 

The Stamford Charity Committee’s philanthropic initiatives gravitate around offering Stamford staff the opportunity to give either time – serving Thanksgiving dinner for instance – or money to Domus. Domus is a local charity that helps children and their families attain academic and life success through educational, residential, and community programmes.

Both Stamford staff and Committee members are involved with the Trafigura Work & Learn Center, a joint venture between the Trafigura Foundation, The WorkPlace Inc., and Domus. The Work & Learn Center is a youth employment programme where young people in difficult life situations are paid while they receive vocational training which helps them get and keep jobs.

Committee members regularly pop into the Trafigura Work & Learn Center to talk to Mitch and Mario, who run the Center, to determine their needs and identify how they can assist. They also assisted in the planting of plants and greens at the Trafigura Work & Learn Center’s greenhouse in partnership with the Greenup Group.

Stamford Charity Committee

Left to right: Teresa Gorbachevskiy, Michaela Iafeliece, Ken Jacobi, Laila Ali, Britney Hughes, Michael Wrotniak, Adam Luper, Robert Rosa, Meghan Scott

Fundraising activities organised