In Connecticut’s northwest hills, summer blooms alongside the white-and-pink blossoms of its state flower, the mountain laurel. Cyclists in The Village Ride may just catch its faint fragrance as they churn along the country roads that slice through Litchfield County.
The three custom course routes vary by length to accommodate riders of any age and ability. No matter their route, cyclists wind past scenic towns and natural wonders such as lakes, rivers, and state forests. Elevation changes, which lie in wait at most every hill, offer an added heart-friendly challenge. The 25K route nears 700 feet, and the 100K route peaks at about 1,700 feet. After crossing the finish line at Ski Sundown, participants grab a catered lunch (available 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.) or some brews from event sponsor Thomas Hooker Brewing Company while soaking in live entertainment.
Ride proceeds benefit The Village for Families & Children, a child-safety and family-resource organization. In 1809, The Village began its mission “to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children.” Now, more than 200 years later and helping some 7,000 children each year, the organization maintains that goal through foster services, academic and socialization care, parental-skills programs, and family-crisis prevention and management services.
North Central Regional Mental Health Board strives to ensure that citizens take part in monitoring the state’s mental-health services. The organization works directly with people who have mental-health or substance-abuse issues through a variety of programs and advocates on their behalf through legislative and fundraising events. One of the many services available, the Day in the Life project, observed the lives of people who receive behavioral-health services through the state to determine how best to help them in the future. In addition, the annual Celebrating Recovery dinner invites individuals in recovery to share their stories as a way of reaffirming that recovery is always possible.
Working to empower individuals with disabilities to live life to the fullest, Futures, Inc. provides social-skills training, tutoring, independent-living training, and other support services to students and adults with disabilities. At the Futures School—Connecticut’s first community-based special-education school to be approved by the Department of Education—students aged 14–21 receive customized, one-on-one special education in their home communities. These education services include real-world work experience, transportation services, sessions with a full-time counselor, and typically lead to a high-school diploma from Futures School.
Each of the five participating Connecticut Landmarks offers a glimpse inside the domestic lifestyles of the state's early settlers, patriots, and prominent citizens. Grab a three-cornered hat and a nerf musket before storming the grounds of any one of the landmarks with a compatriot, or choose the individual membership for admittance to each house as many times as desired throughout the year. Members also receive a free subscription to the Landmark News newsletter, invitations to special events, a 10% discount on all museum shops, and a discount subscription to Connecticut Explored, a magazine that chronicles Connecticut's history.
Hartford Symphony Orchestra's St. Patrick's Day Celebration regales ears with classic Celtic tunes commemorating the feast of Ireland's patron saint. Visiting from his usual perch at the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gerald Steichen leads an army of instruments as it elevates the shimmering tenor of veteran singer Robert White, who has been nourishing auditory synapses since his radio debut in 1948. White fills listeners with Irish pride until they burst with clover leaves by belting out such distinctly Hibernian tunes as "Danny Boy," a slow, anthemic composition that resonates in the hearts of Irish emigrants. Renowned Irish fiddler Jeanne Freeman also fuels high-octane jigs with skills gleaned from County Donegal native P.V. O'Donnell.
During a job interview with a recent college graduate in 2010, business professional Scott Sokolowski decided to ask an easy question: “Why aren’t you wearing a suit today?” When the candidate replied honestly, saying simply, “I can’t afford one,” Sokolowski was inspired to help. He established Save-A-Suit, a nonprofit organization dedicated to one simple goal: helping young talent acquire appropriate, professional business attire for job interviews. Though these efforts are typically geared toward recent male and female college graduates who are often in their early 20s, Save-A-Suit also works with veterans of all ages to help them arrive at interviews dressed professionally.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.