Chamber Teams Celebrate Success

Rose Buckens holds a check alongside Free Literacy for Litchfield County Team One members Shaun Calhoun, Marysa Dailey, Nan Merbaum and Lucien Francillette.

TORRINGTON — The Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce held a special graduation ceremony at the Torrington Lodge of Elks on Wednesday, June 19. The annual Leadership Northwest program has a mission to “develop resourceful, motivated business leaders who are committed to making Northwest Connecticut a better place to live and work.”

Four teams were formed from Chamber members with two main goals: Free Literacy for Litchfield County, which aimed to fundraise, purchase and install Little Free Libraries in all Torrington schools, and Wellness in the Park, which focused on a fair in Coe Park with community organizations and guest speakers involved in mental health.

Rose Buckens and Jo Ann Jaacks, official partners with Little Free Library, met with Team One to offer advice and support, and Maria Coutant-Skinner, executive director of the McCall Center for Behavioral Health in Torrington, was the contact for the Wellness in the Park event.

Both organizations were invited to be guest speakers at the “graduation” dinner, and both were happily surprised to receive a check for their organization that represented funds left over from event fundraising.

A check in the amount of $600 was gifted to Little Free Library and $4,000 was given to the McCall Center.

Cindy Donaldson, co-chair of the Advisory Council and mentor to Team One, expressed regret that she was leaving Connecticut.

“This is an amazing program,” she said. “I’m going to miss being involved. It’s been such a huge part of my life for the past decade or so.”

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