Middlesex United Way needs help with East Hampton playground build

MIDDLETOWN — As we all start to defrost from this chilly winter, we start to look forward to some upcoming events and announcements for our future. In this week’s column, I want to take a moment to share a bit about what we are looking forward to and what is making us excited.

A new state-of-the-art community playground is going to be built at Seamster Park in East Hampton, and Middlesex United Way is looking for volunteers to help turn this long time dream into a reality.

The new and improved Seamster Park will add between 40 and 50 new structures for children to play on, including a zip line, ropes course, tire swing, pirate ship, monkey bars, rope bridge and rock wall. The park build will take place between Aug. 6 and 11, and will require hundreds of volunteers per day.

We are currently looking to fill the various shifts with your workplace group(s) or individual volunteers. They are from 8 a.m. to noon; 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and 5 to 8:30 p.m. There will only be two shifts Aug. 11, as the third shift will be an unveil to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Volunteer opportunities include various roles that have different skill and commitment levels. The most involved role is the general contractor position. This is an experienced position for an individual available for all six days and each shift. This position will oversee a group of volunteers each shift.

Those who want to get building would be perfect for the hands-on building positions. Needed are 60 to 70 people per shift, and no contractor experience is necessary. Just show up and you will be assisted in the build process. Four to five people per shift are needed to serve as food coordinators.

This volunteer opportunity gives people a chance to help hand out food to everyone during each shift. Volunteers are also needed to to help with child care. These people will help supervise and run programs for the kids of the parents who are volunteering.

Lastly, two people per shift are needed to serve as materials coordinators or equipment donors. They will help with the signing in and out of equipment each shift or loan some personal equipment to be used on the build days that will be returned following the build.

To learn more about this undertaking, or to schedule your group, please contact Jeremy Hall at 860-267-7300 or jhall@easthamptonct.gov.

We are asking individuals to join us at the Middlesex, New Haven, and Hartford County Nonprofit Legislative Breakfast Thursday from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Fox Parish Hall, 10 Elm St., Middletown.

Attendees will have the opportunity to advocate on issues surrounding the nonprofit sector, including funding and legislation. You will also have the opportunity to hear about legislators’ priorities related to the current economic climate in Connecticut and participate in roundtable discussions with your area representatives.

A light breakfast will be provided, and attendees can register by visiting eventbrite.com. The event is being hosted by MARC Community Resources, Gilead Community Services and Kuhn Employment Opportunities.

In other philanthropic news, the Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative is hosting its annual fundraiser Power of the Purse June 20. The Women’s Initiative focuses its time and talents strengthening three different areas affecting the lives of women and children in Middlesex County.

The money raised at the Power of the Purse will allow them to continue making impactful, one-time grants to eligible local organizations that support one or more of these focus areas: childhood development, empowering women and financial stability.

Last year alone, $14,810 was raised through ticket sales, sponsorships and silent and live auctions. The Women’s Initiative is looking for businesses to become a sponsor. You will have the opportunity to promote your business while doing social good. Sponsorship levels range from $100 to $2,500.

You can become a sponsor by visiting middlesexunitedway.org/WI or by contacting Tracy Raicik at tracy.raicik@middlesexunitedway.org.

Last, but not least, if you missed our column last week, you may have missed our announcement of our newest team member, Manny Martinez, who was previously at the Connecticut Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America. He first joined the Boy Scouts of America in 2015 as a district executive, and through a great work ethic and successes, worked his way up to development director before joining the Middlesex United Way team.

Please join us in welcoming Manny by contacting him at manny.martinez@middlesexunitedway.org or 860-346-8695.

Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.