Young Leaders Society organizing Brews for Books

MIDDLETOWN — Middlesex United Way is a local organization that serves our community in many critical ways. We have two affinity groups that help us attract volunteer and financial resources needed to change lives. Both of our groups are actively seeking new members, so I want to take this opportunity to share a little information about them.

If you’re interested in networking with the next generation in Middlesex County, I encourage you to check out the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society. This group hosts networking, volunteer, and leadership development events for people under 40 who want to give back to the community.

These young leaders will be hosting an event July 25 with 30 Mile Brewing Co. in Old Saybrook, appropriately titled Brews for Books. They will be collecting new children’s books for our various partners throughout Middlesex County.

The event will take place at 39 Ragged Rock Road beginning at 5:30. It will be a great opportunity to grow your network. The event is free, but we ask that attendees please bring a new children’s book.

We need your help to ensure students are ready to learn by school entry, and children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Your donation helps to make that possible.

Studies have shown that students who are provided these books have a greater likelihood of reaching short-term and long-term educational milestones.

For reservations, visit or email Amanda Furlong at

Throughout the rest of the year, the Young Leaders Society plans to host additional events, including volunteering at the Seamster Park Build in East Hampton and their ever-popular annual Stuff-a-Cruiser fundraiser. Holiday donations, from gift cards to Game Boys, are collected and distributed to families in need.

Along with the Young Leaders Society, Middlesex United Way also has a group dedicated to women’s needs in our community. The Women’s Initiative celebrates the power of women to bring about positive change in our community through philanthropy and service.

If you would like to get involved, we hope you’ll join us them at a monthly meetings. To find out when the next meeting is, contact Tracy Raicik at or call 860-346-8695.

The Women’s Initiative hosted its annual fundraiser, Power of the Purse, June 21 at the Middletown Elks Lodge. The event attracted 150 attendees, featured 50 silent auction items and 15 flower arrangement centerpieces.

Over $13,000 was raised to help women and children throughout Middlesex County. Thank you to this year’s sponsors: Liberty Bank, Middlesex Hospital, The Connection, Change Inc. — and a huge thank you to all who donated, volunteered and attended!

The women who planned this event also deserve a big shout out: excellent job to Sherri Condon, who chaired the event; Meghann LaFountain, chairwoman of the Women’s Initiative; Christy Billings, Jean D’Aquila, Allison L. Dowe, Georgianne Leone, Audrey Livingston, Dawn Norton, Dawn Parker, Tracy Raicik and Dee Tulinski, all who played a key part in this event’s success.

If you’d like to join the mailing lists for either of these groups so that you’re the first to know about upcoming events, email

We hope to see you soon!

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