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SOAR WELCOMES A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Lauren Brown comes to SOAR after being in the classroom for over 15 years. Most recently Lauren was the third grade teacher at Indian Mountain School. Prior to that she taught grades one through four in the San Francisco Bay area and first grade at Rippowam Cisqua School in Mt. Kisco, New York. Lauren received her B.A. in Social Sciences with a minor in Justice and Law Administration from Western Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in elementary education from Sacred Heart University.   

 

As a parent of a Salisbury Central student, Lauren has first hand experience witnessing the benefits of what SOAR has to offer. From a Zoom movement class to an in-person book making workshop, Lauren’s daughter has thoroughly enjoyed being part of these enrichment programs. SOAR is an integral part of the community and she looks forward to bringing new workshops to the students at Salisbury Central, supporting educators, and taking SOAR to the next level. 

 

During her free time Lauren enjoys traveling the world, eating a home cooked meal, outdoor adventures, and spending time with family and friends. Lauren lives in Lakeville with her family, 2 dogs, and a cat.

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AMERICAN MURAL PROJECT AT SCS

The SOAR/SCS mural is up and it is truly amazing! It is a true testament to community and the value of being part of such a wonderfully collaborative process. The mural was expertly installed by twenty2 Wallpaper & Textiles over the April vacation and the SCS kids were thrilled to see it when they got back to school. They are enjoying admiring it and pointing out their contributions to friends and teachers. I know it makes me smile every time I walk through that hallway!

 

SOAR remains grateful to all of the people who helped make this mural happen. It took a community of people from AMP, twenty2 Wallpaper and Textiles, Salisbury Central, the Ian Mactaggart Trust and SOAR and lots of patience and persistence as we waited out the pandemic. And finally, a deep sense of gratitude to Zenas Block and his wonderful SOAR idea that has enriched the lives of the students at Salisbury Central School for over 20 years now. 

 

SOAR is excited to share the mural with the SCS community on Wednesday, June 8th as part of the SCS Annual Art Show. The mural will be available for viewing from 4:30-7:00pm. We hope you will stop by to take it all in! Until then, please enjoy these photos of the mural process over time.

Here is a link to a YouTube video about how the children's drawings will get turned into wallpaper put together by the project lead and visiting artist from AMP:

https://youtu.be/PJCyJKnkWFI

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THANK YOU LINDA SLOANE FOR FIVE GREAT YEARS

We are extremely thankful for the five years Linda has shared with us as Executive Director. During this time she worked tirelessly to expand SOAR’s programs at SCS, foster community engagement and donor relationships, and promote a kind and thoughtful Board culture. Linda also worked above and beyond to steer SOAR through the last two years of the pandemic, offering online classes and securing grants to make up for lost fundraising opportunities. Her positive energy, attention to detail, and commitment to the SOAR mission will be greatly missed. We will feel her contributions for years to come with deep, lasting appreciation.

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TRIBUTE TO KEITH MARKS

After serving as Chair of the SOAR Board for many years and many years before that as a SOAR Board member, Keith Marks recently stepped down as our Board chair at the end of his term. We want to publicly thank him for serving in this capacity for so long. His commitment to SOAR has been unswerving and his desire to meet the needs of the students and families we serve has always been top of mind for him. He has long been an advocate for keeping SOAR affordable and making sure that money concerns never keep any student from participating in our afterschool workshops. He has always been supportive of new ideas for programming and ways to engage students. Quality always took precedence over financial concerns for him. Keith will remain on the Board for one final year as he finishes out his third term as a SOAR Board member. He will long be remembered for all he has given to SOAR and we suspect, that even when he leaves the Board next June, he will remain a confirmed SOAR fan for many years to come. Thank you, Keith!

MEET SOAR'S NEW BOARD CHAIR

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Many of you already know Keavy Bedell, SOAR’s new Board chair as of July 1 st . She is the mother of twin boys who will be entering the 6 th grade at Salisbury Central this year and she and her boys have been long time supporters of SOAR since their early years at SCS. She joined the SOAR Board in 2019 and quickly got involved. When it came time to find a replacement for Keith, she was the logical choice for this position given her longstanding interest and support for SOAR, her deep ties to the community and her outstanding leadership skills. Please join us in welcoming Keavy into this role. Already she is making her mark with her inclusive, friendly and positive approach to the job. Welcome, Keavy!

EXCITING GRANT NEWS!

SOAR is honored and pleased to have received yet another grant from the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation in Torrington to help support programming this fall. The Foundation was a lifeline for so many non-profits during the pandemic and made a profound difference for all of us who were awarded much-needed funds. They awarded us two other grants during the 2020-2021 school year. Their support was key to our successfully making it through that challenging and uncertain year. It is once again our pleasure to acknowledge this year’s Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation grant made possible by the Khurshed Bhumgara Fund, a fund of the Foundation and The Echo Valley Foundation Fund, a donor- advised fund established at the Foundation. The Echo Valley Foundation Fund was the sole funder of the grant we received to support remote programming last winter and spring so we remain especially grateful to this fund for their longstanding support of SOAR.