21st CCLC Program

Students Make Cards, Signs for Veterans

By Ellen R. Delisio

Veterans moving into new apartments at Shepherd Home in Middletown will be greeted by welcome signs and thank-you notes handcrafted by 21st Century students from Keigwin and Woodrow Wilson Middle Schools and Farm Hill Elementary School.

“Students were very excited to be able to do something kind and help brighten the homes of our veterans,” said Amy Desrosier, Keigwin site coordinator.

Catherine DiTuri, development director of Columbus House, met Natalie Forbes, director of Grant Services for the Middletown Public Schools, at a Middlesex Chamber of Commerce educational event, and discussed volunteer activities for students. That led to 21st Century students contributing their talents. “The signs and photos (of the signs) are beautiful and we can’t wait for residents to receive them,” DiTuri said.

 Shepherd Home has 26 one-bedroom and six studio apartments, all of which have been rented to veterans. The complex has been designed to provide permanent supportive housing to formerly homeless individuals, with a preference for veterans. The building on the Connecticut Valley Hospital campus at one time served as nurses’ quarters and underwent extensive renovations.  The mission of Columbus House is “to serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence,” according to information from the Columbus House website.

 “I think it was nice for the kids to learn about what the home was doing for our vets and others,” said Linda Wall, WWMS site coordinator, about student involvement. “Not many knew about the place. So they were interested in learning about it.”

 The Shepherd Home is scheduled to hold an open house Tuesday, May 21 at 10 am.