In Lieu of Happy Hour, Whitby Faculty & Staff Participates in Social Night of Service

From top left to right) Whitby Faculty and Staff Alexis Ryan, Simone Becker, Beth Ferrer, Diana Ljepoja, Denise Vacca, Samantha Clark, Dimple Pradhan, Amanda Lavoie, Pamela Chapman, Tony Hoang, Jamie McQueen, Blake Glaeser, and John Gutman, Executive Director of New Covenant Center. (From bottom left to right) Whitby Faculty and Staff Gail Griffin, Tim Schwartz, Sarah Mead, Priscilla Jelliffe, Melissa Holmes

From top left to right: Whitby Faculty and Staff Alexis Ryan, Simone Becker, Beth Ferrer, Diana Ljepoja, Denise Vacca, Samantha Clark, Dimple Pradhan, Amanda Lavoie, Pamela Chapman, Tony Hoang, Jamie McQueen, Blake Glaeser, and John Gutman, Executive Director of New Covenant Center. From bottom left to right: Whitby Faculty and Staff Gail Griffin, Tim Schwartz, Sarah Mead, Priscilla Jelliffe, Melissa Holmes.

The traditional Happy Hour many are accustomed to means a night of colleagues communing and connecting in a social setting, mostly local pubs or restaurants.

While Whitby School’s tight knit community fully enjoys these gatherings, the school looked to New Covenant Center to start 2018 on a deeper level with a Social Night of Service.

On Friday, January 19, Whitby School faculty and staff spent their first “happy hour” of the year working together to make a meal at New Covenant Center. Over the course of 2.5 hours, the group was guided by an executive chef in preparing a meal for 125 of our neediest neighbors, just around the corner in Stamford. In addition to the night of service, members of the Whitby community donated $520 to the New Covenant Center.

“At Whitby, connection is key to our close-knit community. While our ages may span many decades, we find our happy hours to be a great opportunity to bridge multi-generational coworkers. And with New Covenant Center, we thought, instead of spending $20+ at a bar or restaurant, why not start the year off right and engage in service and socializing?,” said Beth Ferrer, Whitby’s Community Service Coordinator.

Originally established to engage the 21-35 year old demographic, New Covenant Center’s Social Night of Service now includes area businesses, civic organizations, college alumni clubs and various religious organizations in the Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien communities in which groups prepare and cook 100+ meals that are served the next day to the Café (soup kitchen) guests.

“We create a social environment that includes music, a meal, refreshments and lots of conversation and laughs,” said John Gutman, Executive Director of New Covenant Center.

Groups of all types, from neighborhood friends to school parent groups, are encouraged to partner with New Covenant Center and engage in a social night of service. The evening is a great opportunity for colleagues to come together for those in need, while spending time communing and connecting.

Whitby and New Covenant Center’s was kickstarted in 2016 when a 6th grade student’s project led him to research and visit the New Covenant Center. Since then, Whitby has taken students to Catholic Charities’ Morning Glory Breakfast Program, and runs multiple student field trips to the Dorothy Day center in Danbury.

“We started our partnership with Whitby three years ago in which students did a food drive to support our 3-day-per-week free Food Pantry. Students were also visited by New Covenant’s David Lovegreen, who spoke about our mission, the services we provide and engaged the children in the circumstances in which the homeless and hungry rely on us,” said Mr. Gutman.

Catholic Charities runs 25+ programs throughout Fairfield County, of which New Covenant is one of the largest. Morning Glory, The Thomas Merton Center in
Bridgeport and Senior Nutrition in Stamford are the other three food insecurity
programs.

Founded in 1958, Whitby School is an independent, co-educational day school for students 18 months through Grade 8. Located on Lake Avenue in Greenwich, Whitby serves students throughout Fairfield and Westchester County. Whitby School was the first school in the United States to combine International Baccalaureate and Montessori within its early education program, and is also the longest running Montessori school (through Grade 2) in the United States. Whitby inspires a passion for learning and empowers each child to take responsibility as an open-minded, principled citizen in a global community.