Local community resources provided for parents in Meriden 



MERIDEN — Families and students gathered at Platt High School for a community resource fair last week hosted by the school system’s at-risk college and career coordinator, Marissa Cardona.

More than 20 community organizations participated, including New Opportunities, Chrysalis Center, Easter Seals, the state Department of Labor, Meriden Public Library and Middlesex Community College. Each had booths to inform families about their services.

The Tuesday night fair also featured a vaccine clinic, a raffle, a DJ and food from Mr. Taco.

The walls surrounding the booths featured student artwork, which families stopped to admire.

“The outcome was amazing. Over 120 people were in attendance and our community agencies, parents, students, and staff said there was positive energy, much needed especially since many haven’t been able to connect due to COVID,” Cardona said.

Those in attendance followed COVID-19 protocols by wearing masks and keeping their distance.

Lucy Arroyo, 50, has a son that attends Maloney High School. She learned about local resources she was not aware of before the event.

“I came for my son,” Arroyo said. “I wanted to get information and talk about resources for his future. Everyone is trying to work together to keep children out of the streets. There are good programs for kids that want to get involved in the community.”

There was information and tools for parents to stay up-to-date on their child’s academic progress.

“We are helping families sign up. This is a part of the Gear Up grant and we want to make sure communication is good with families,” said Kaara Koplowitz, project coordinator for the Gear Up grant.

Juliana Serbetnick, at-risk student coordinator for grade 9, said she was impressed with the number of people that attended.

“If there’s ever a time our community needs resources, it’s right now,” she said. “We notice students are struggling and we wondered what we could do. If you are not having your basic needs met, you will struggle. Marissa Cardona and the administration at Platt have done a great job.”  

Ball Headz provides mentoring, community service and mindfulness training.   

“Most youths think of community service as a punishment and we show them it is a reward to give back,” president Justin Mitchell said. 

Yania Marmol, 36, recently came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. She attended the event to learn about local community resources. 

“Since I am new here, I need to learn,” Marmol said. “Every organization had something different. I feel better about the resources available to me.” 

jdiaz@record-journal.com203-317-2386Twitter: @jarelizz



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