Streeeetch, and yaaaaawn, it was very hard to wake up this morning, after staying up late to watch the (arguably very boring) Oscars. Yes, the Academy Awards caps off award season, but it doesn’t officially draw to a close until I bestow the MOMMY Awards again.
This is the third year I’m doling out the awards which I created to commemorate my birthday (which I celebrated eight days ago, no worries, I imagine you forgot to send the card before jetting off on the vacation you couldn’t cancel even though there was still school; we’re still cool).
I created the MOMMYs to recognize commitment, dedication and demonstration of care for Wilton’s families and children. In part, I linked the timing to my birthday as a present to myself—it feels just as good to give as it does to get.
As for the giving, I’m the only one who gets to decide to whom a MOMMY is given. I’m the lone judge—there’s no voting, lobbying or balloting. They reflect my current outlook and what I think merits accolade.
So, ladies and gentlemen of the Wilton Patch readership, may I present to you the recipients of this year’s MOMMY Awards:
March for Change—Wilton Organizers and Activists: Our hearts were broken after December 14, 2012. When news started to flow out of Newtown on that dark day, there wasn’t a parent that didn’t want to rush to school to pick up their children, and hug them tight without ever letting go again. In the days that followed, Connecticut mobilized to try and make some sort of change to never let the horror of the awful school shooting happen again.
March for Change grew out of a conversation between friends over coffee at someone’s kitchen table, and quickly an idea solidified—create a network of Connecticut residents who wanted to get involved in pushing for legislative change in the state’s gun laws. The entirely grassroots group recruited volunteers in each town to in turn recruit residents to get involved, with the first goal of staging a rally in Hartford to let legislators know that the majority of CT voters want reasonable changes to current gun laws.
Here in Wilton, Lucy Davies and Harrison DeStefano quickly stepped up to lead the hyperlocal effort—raising awareness, raising funds, organizing informational meetings for the public to discuss the topic with local legislators, and recruiting individuals to participate in profile-raising activities in Wilton and to march in Hartford at the February 14 rally.
Wilton stepped up, sending three busloads of residents in addition to the dozens that traveled by car. Since then, the momentum continues, as hundreds have signed on to be armchair activists no more. We’ve become committed to do whatever it takes to make change, because in the end, many of us are tired of an agenda put forth by gun manufacturers at the expense of thousands killed from gun violence and without regard for the safety of our children. Everyone who stepped up to push for reasonable changes to the gun laws deserves huge recognition—and a MOMMY.
Wilton 411 Facebook Page This ‘closed’ group—current members can invite new members as long as they live in Wilton—has become the indispensible go-to source for referrals and in-the-know info on living in Wilton. Want suggestions for a pediatric urologist? Just post the question and within minutes you’ll have recommendations based on experience. Need a good appliance repair guy? Several members among the 526 members (and counting) will have a name. You name it, somebody’s asked it, or someone has the answer to whatever you want to find out. It’s a promo-free, advertising-free community bulletin board with valid advice and information. Thanks to Andrea Topalian, the local mom who started it, this all-things-Wilton Facebook page is very deserving of a 2013 MOMMY.
Wilton Public Schools Facebook Page When I saw that our school district had added a Facebook page, I have to say I was a bit snarky when I remarked to friends, “Will wonders never cease!” But I have to applaud the tech staff for creating an info conduit in a medium where many parents are getting the bulk of their information. Snow closings, Board of Education meetings—anything that’s posted there is sure to be read by a lot of people in town with kids in school. That’s deserving of a MOMMY. Special mention to the Wilton Emergency Management Facebook page, which also earns kudos for the folks at town hall who maintain it, especially during our more frequent storms.
Hurricane Sandy Volunteers Speaking of frequent storms, we have had enough storms! But even with the power outages and downed trees, Wilton fared relatively unscathed compared to other parts of the tri-state metropolitan area that were devastated.
Once again, Wilton stepped up to help those who were affected. The schools helped organize drives for personal care items and food and clothing donations. Almost every organization helped pitch in. Efforts to help schools basically destroyed in the storms kicked off with “Sandy Children Help,” a one-woman drive for school supplies that Wilton residents generously gave to. And individuals united to collect supplies, food, clothing and sundries in various efforts. Wilton answered the call, and then some, earning everyone the recognition of a MOMMY.
New Restaurants OMG, we officially have a restaurant ‘scene.’ Dare I say, Wilton has a “downtown?” With Green Leaf Organic Café and Bakery and Naked Greens opening up this year, joining young favorites Bianco Rosso, Cactus Rose, Bon Appetit Café, Portofino, and the Coffee Barn, it feels like we’re getting hipper and more of a destination.
The Wilton Chamber is betting on that for our town’s first official “Restaurant Week” (March 11-16) but our current crop of restaurants definitely earns a collective MOMMY from me.
The Man Who Saved Halloween, Twice: Halloween got trashed by a freak storm in 2011. So we were guaranteed of having a hassle-free Halloween in 2012, right? Wrong. For the second year in a row, Mother Nature put the kibosh on the town-wide celebration of the holiday, making kids sad all over town.
But, wait! Riding to the rescue both years was Artie DiRocco, who decided to put the word out and call for a modified candy bonanza. He rallied the troops and got people to show up at the Cider Mill School parking lot and hold a “trunk-or-treat,” for kids to hop from one car to another collecting candy that the parents distributed literally out of the trunks of their cars. A crowd of about 60 in 2011 wasn’t enough, so for the 2012 repeat of the storm that ate Halloween, Artie packed the parking lot with what seemed to be four times as many participants. There isn’t a child in town (or a dentist) who would disagree that the effort is very deserving of a MOMMY.