The Bee’s Knees – Good People Doing Good Things

This page is dedicated to good people doing good things that we think are “The Bees Knees.” If you would like to nominate a special volunteer or charity to be featured please send their information to with the subject “The Bees Knees.”

Bethel Women’s Club Organize a Community Drive to Help Veterans This Holiday Season

NOV 11, 2012

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Bethel Women’s Club Organize a Community Drive to Help Veterans This Holiday Season

Bethel Women’s Club members pictured above in Nov. 2010 at their annual Stuff-a-Van event.                                                    Photo credit: Bethel Women’s Club

From the Bethel Women’s Club–

The Bethel Women’s Club (a member of the GFWC) is once again sponsoring a Community Drive to collect Christmas presents for our brave men and women in long-term care who fought for our freedom. The items must be new, with original tags and packaging and unwrapped. A complete list of all needed items can be found at all the Donation Centers (see the list below).
This year we are also supporting the Vet House and the Home for Heroes. Both are located in Danbury and are home to local veterans with specific requests, so we are gratefully accepting monetary donations to fulfill their needs. Checks may be made payable to the Bethel Women’s Club and sent c/o Geier, 15 Andrews Street, Bethel, CT 06801.

You may also bring your items or cash donations to a special Stuff-a-Van event at the Bethel United Methodist Church (Greenwood Avenue) on November 17 during their Pasta Dinner starting at 5:30 P.M.

Bethel Chamber (Mon-Fri 10am – 3pm) (Greenwood Ave.)
American Pride (Greenwood Ave.)
English Apothecary (Greenwood Ave.)
Wells Fargo Bank (Greenwood Ave.)
First Congregational Church (Main Street)
True Value Hardware (Dolan Plaza)
St. Mary Church (Rt. 302)
Stony Hill Wine & Spirits (Big Y Plaza)
Snap Fitness (Big Y Plaza)
UK Gourmet (Rt. 6, Newtown)

American Red Cross to Honor DAWS Volunteer

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American Red Cross to Honor DAWS Volunteer

The following was sent in from DAWS–


Chosen for Saving More Than 1000 Dogs by Transporting Them From Kill Shelters to DAWS
Bethel, CT  February 27, 2012 – Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS) volunteer Robert “Bob” Yost has been named a 2012 American Red Cross Hero of Western Connecticut for his work in animal rescue.
Bob has been a dedicated DAWS volunteer for many years. For the past five years he has given his time as a dog transporter, driving dogs from kill shelters in other parts of the country to DAWS so they can find their loving forever-homes. Since Bob became a Dog Transporter in 2006, he has personally saved the lives of more than a thousand dogs.  When he travels out of state to a surrendering shelter, his traveling companion is his own dog, Dutch.
People may be surprised to find that this animal-loving softie is actually a retired Marine who belongs to the American Legion Post in Carmel, NY.  A retired Putnam County school teacher, Bob is currently active in the Connecticut Animal Response Team (CART), Bethel Community Emergency Response Team, and volunteers at Masonicare Hospice in Newtown.
“Bob is a shining example of what our volunteers and staff do every day. His service to our animals, his unfailing energy, and the spirit of cooperation he brings to every effort have won him the respect of our animal rescue community” said DAWS President Cheryl Rykowski.
A special Red Cross Heroes Breakfast honoring Bob and award winners in nine other categories will be held on March 8 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury Connecticut. Tickets to the event are $35 and can be obtained from the American Red Cross of Western Connecticut. For tickets and information, contact Nicole Arsenault at (203) 702-1282 or email her
About Danbury Animal Welfare Society
Danbury Animal Welfare Society, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our community and beyond.
We promote responsible pet guardianship and the humane treatment of animals, and work toward ending animal overpopulation through education and a variety of programs. We take pride in the work we do – working to keep homeless pets safe, happy and sheltered.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

Bethel Plans for 2012 Relay For Life

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Bethel Plans for 2012 Relay For Life

The following was sent from Rob Gerowe, Community Executive Development, New England Division, American Cancer Society, Inc.–  

Last year’s Relay For Life was amazing, and with your help, even more 
people will be talking about this year’s event! We are moving 
Bethel Relay For Life back to Bethel High’s Track on June 9, 2012 
under the lights!

Our kickoff will be held at the Bethel Municipal Center, Multi-Purpose
Room, 1 School St., Bethel, CT 06801 on February 7, 2012.

Remember to bring a new team captain with you to the kickoff. Friends,
 family and co-workers are welcome! The more Relayers we have, the more 
lives are saved!

If you’ve already registered online for this
 year’s Relay For Life, you can even post your Fundraising Page
link on your Facebook account to help you fundraise, recruit team
captains and team members!

Quick recap:

*  Who: You!

*  What: Bethel Relay For Life KICKOFF

*  When: February 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM

*  Where: Bethel Municipal Ctr., 1 School St., Bethel, CT

*  Why: To learn more about Relay For Life, register your team, and 
find out what our new theme for 2012 is.

We’ll see you 

Click here for fundraising ideas.

Click here for Relay details


Did You Know?

 More than 11 million Americans who have a history of cancer will
 celebrate another birthday this year, thanks to the lifesaving efforts 
of the American Cancer Society. Find out more about how we’re saving 
lives and creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays at 
the American Cancer Society website.
 or the Relay For Life website.

#     #     #

Rob Gerowe

Community Executive Development

New England Division

American Cancer Society, Inc.

DAWS Saves 900 Pet Lives in 2011 & Gears Up For 2012 With Ball

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DAWS Saves 900 Pet Lives in 2011 & Gears Up For 2012 With Ball

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.”  ~Gilda Radner

During 2011 the Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS), which operates out of a facility on Grassy Plain Road in Bethel, saved the lives and provided medical care to over 900 animals in need, according to their Facebook page.

“We’d like to thank you for all your support this past year. Please join us on our Facebook page and share photos of your pet and your wishes and resolutions for 2012.”

To start off 2012 on the right foot, or paw, DAWS is gearing up for their for their biggest fundraisers of the year. On Saturday, March 10, 2012, DAWS will hold its fifth annual Making a Difference Ball. The event is attended by more than 350 people and supported by hundreds more through sponsorships, ads, financial and in-kind donations.

The theme this year’s ball is “One Step Closer,”  which, according to DAWS website, recognizes “all of the ways people help animals get closer to their forever homes, including one aspect of our program that doesn’t always get a lot of attention: foster care.” Because  DAWS can only care for a limited number of adult animals at the shelter,  foster families are extremely important in enabling more animals to be rescued and eventually adopted.

The Making a Difference Ball includes silent and live auctions, food, drinks and entertainment by Connecticut’s premier event band, Higher & Higher. The reservation deadline is March 1, 2012.  DAWSis requesting a suggested donation of  $150 per person or a “Leader of the Pack” package isavailable for table hosts for $1200 for  a table of 10.

Please contact DAWS at for more information and to make your reservation. For more information about DAWS or the Making a Difference ball or to purchase tickets online  please visit their website by clicking here.

Goodwill Helps Get the Homeless Get Off the Streets

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Goodwill Helps Get the Homeless Get Off the Streets

The following is  press release sent from Dorothy H. Viets, Director of Community Relations Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut, Inc.

Deacon Michael Oles of Saint Mary’s Church in Bethel and Joe Simons, co-administrators of Off the Streets, an award-winning volunteer organization in Bethel dedicated to helping homeless people find an affordable place to live, recently went to the Danbury Goodwill Store to pick up two mattress and box spring sets to give to people moving out of shelters. Goodwill of Western and Northern CT has offered to donate up to 50 brand new mattress sets per year for this purpose.

Though this was the beginning of an official partnership between the two non-profit organizations to help homeless people in the Danbury area, they have actually already worked together on the same case.  In 2008, a woman named Louise living in a Danbury homeless shelter was referred to Goodwill for help with finding employment and to Deacon Oles for help with finding a place to live.

Louise started receiving employment services from Goodwill in 2008 and was placed as a material handler at the Goodwill Store in July of 2009. Once she was employed, Deacon Oles worked with her to help her save enough money to get an apartment. Goodwill and Catholic Charities worked together to get her evaluated so she could qualify for a rent subsidy from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). Louise remains gainfully employed full-time at the Danbury Goodwill store where she merchandises the jewelry cases, stocks product on the floor and assists customers. She lives in her own apartment and is completely off the streets.Both Goodwill and Off the Streets still render support services to Louise.

Because Goodwill’s mission is to help people become self-sufficient, this partnership is a good match. Off the Streets will refer individuals to the Goodwill Career Center in Brookfield for employment counseling and assistance in finding a job. Goodwill will further help by supplying mattress sets so that once individuals find a place to live, they will have a comfortable place to sleep.

“Most of the people we help only have the clothes on their back,” says Deacon Oles.  “Off the Streets often uses donations to give an individual a security deposit and furniture to help set up an apartment and is very grateful to Goodwill for the mattress donations.”

Goodwill and Off the Streets hope that by combining their efforts they can shorten the length of time people are homeless. Last year, Goodwill served over 12,000 people with support and a hand up.                   Since its inception two years ago, Off the Streets has assisted 200 people and has helped over ninety homeless people in the Danbury area find a place to live.


Bethel’s “Off The Streets” Program Wins Award

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Bethel’s “Off The Streets” Program Wins Award

Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from The Danbury Housing Partnership. Bethel resident and St. Mary’s Deacon Mike Oles is the founder of “Off the Streets,” a non-profit organization whose mission is to help the homeless get off the streets by providing financial support , housing and counseling. For more information about “Off the Streets” program, please click here.–

Danbury Housing Partnership’s

Annual Breakfast and Award Presentation

Danbury Housing Partnership’s Community Breakfast will be held on October 20, 2011 from 7:30 to 9:00 am at the Amber Room located on Stacey Road in Danbury.

In this new age – where people who never dreamed of facing housing problems are confronted with the fear of losing their livelihood and shelter – it is the private, public and non-profit sectors who have pooled resources to address the needs of our residents.

The breakfast is the premier event dedicated to raising financial support for enhancing the lives of individuals and families of our region by increasing the public awareness of supportive housing and encouraging the creation of affordable housing opportunities in the Housatonic Valley.  Our region has demonstrated proven success in family stabilization, decreasing homelessness among our veterans, increased productivity of our workforce, and providing a more efficient service delivery model to those persons and families in need.

However, in these difficult economic times housing has emerged as a crucial determinant of our region’s social and economic health.  The provision of a range of housing options is essential to maintaining the diverse workforce necessary to support a strong local economy.

Last year more than 300 people attended the breakfast. A highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Danbury Housing Partnership Awards honoring individuals, groups and businesses for their work in providing housing opportunities and supportive services for area residents.

The keynote speaker this year will be nationally recognized, Laurie Harkness, Ph.D.Department of Veterans Affairs, West Haven Connecticut. Dr Laurie Harkness, will speak about her results and efforts regarding our housing of veterans on a local, state and national level, through her cutting edge approach.

Mayor Mark Boughton will present the awards for Community Partnership, Supportive Services, and Business Partnership to Off the Streets, Annie Orr and Western Connecticut State University (see below for award details).

The breakfast will also promote the 5th Annual Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event that brings more than 60 social service agencies to one location in an effort to streamline access to services for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness. The event is scheduled for December 9, 2011 from 9-3 at the WestConn Midtown Campus.


Community Partnership Award

Presented to Off the Streets for their determination to diminish the homeless population by establishing relationships through mutual trust and respect. Off the Streets achieves this through their presence as volunteers at shelters and soup kitchens. Founder Deacon Michael Oles was asked to speak about homelessness to a group of middle school children; Deacon Mike brought the people who know it best, the homeless. The students were so moved they sent money and Deacon Mike began investigating housing possibilities. In September 2009, Deacon Mike recruited a number of volunteers and “Off the Streets” was formed as a non-profit organization. Since then they have expanded to assist with furniture and items needed to complete the home as well as mentoring. To date Off the Streets has found homes for 80+ people.

Supportive Services Award

Presented to Annie Orr for her years of dedication helping those less fortunate. During World War II she pursued a degree from Columbia Presbyterian School of Nursing and worked summers at Pfizer Pharmaceutical making penicillin. Upon graduation, she worked as a nurse in obstetrics, neurology and pediatrics at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. In 1960 she left Queens to move to Danbury, CT where she volunteered as an American Red Cross nurse for the bloodmobile and disaster services program. Since the Dorothy Day Hospitality House opened in Danbury 1982 Annie has given thousands of hours of her time to help out in it’s soup kitchen and shelter. In 2003, the First Congregational Church opened an Overflow Homeless Shelter in its basement.  Annie Orr opens the doors, sets out supplies offers a hot drink and snacks to the guests as they arrive.

Business Partnership Award

Presented to Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) for opening their doors to the Project Homeless Connect. They have provided a central location with easy access for those in need. Not only have they provided a physical location for the event but they also recruit a multitude of student volunteers to support the 200 or so guests.  Their support has allowed a comfortable location for a wide range of Social Service agencies to directly connect with those area residents within a short period of time

THE DANBURY HOUSING PARTNERSHIP is a group of local experts on housing and social issues charged by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton with the task of creating housing opportunities for families, veterans, seniors and persons with special needs.  The Partnership also oversees implementation of Danbury’s Ten Year Plan To End Homelessness.  The Partnership is chaired by Mark J. Nolan, Partner of Nolan Enterprises.  M. Carolyn Sistrunk, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Danbury serves as vice-chair.

PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT (PHC) Danbury Project Homeless Connect is organized by the Greater Danbury Continuum of Care in collaboration with WestConn and the Danbury Housing Partnership.  The event brings together more than sixty area housing agencies and service providers along with community volunteers to provide an array of assistance to persons who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.  Danbury joins with communities throughout the country implementing Project Homeless Connect events as part of a nationwide effort to address homelessness coordinated by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

#  #  #

If you would like to contribute to Off the Streets, please send donations to:

Off the Streets
PO Box 591
Bethel CT  06801

OTS is a 501(c)(3) organization per the IRS.   All donations are tax deductible.

Mobsters & Molls Wanted To Help Fight Cancer



The following is a press release from Relay For Life of Bethel/Danbury/Redding–

A murder mystery dinner fundraiser will be held to raise money for the American Cancer Society on Sunday, November 9, 2011. The event will be held at Anthony’s Lake House (10 Christopher Columbus Ave. Danbury, CT) from 5-9 PM.

The theme of the dinner is a 1020′s speakeasy. The Juice Joint, a swanky speakeasy run by Rosie Marie, has been nothing but jumping. To celebrate its success, Rosie is planning a party to remember at the exclusive nightspot. With murder on the menu, there are a medley of individuals to make the night most memorable: the major mobsters and their molls, the swanky singer with her hopes of Hollywood, the cigarette girl with a temper that sizzles, the crooked police chief with nothing to lose, the Mayor who might be capable of murder and many more.

Tickets are $40/person, which includes the price of dinner and entertainment. Those who volunteer to play one of the characters only pay $30/person. Buffet dinner & cash bar.

To play a character, attendees must RSVP by Oct. 14. There are at least 6 men, 7 women and two gender neutral roles to fill – first come, first serve. There are no scripts to memorize. An outline of your character’s personality, background and costume suggestions will be sent on October 16 in order to prepare, and upon entering the party, each character will receive more details about their role in the actual murder. Everything else depends on how you want to portray your character.

Everyone else must RSVP by October 24. The dinner is for ages 21+ up only.

All payments MUST be received by October 24. Please contact Allison at 203-885-3464 or for payment options.

Prizes will be given for those who solve the mystery, best costumes – character and audience member, best performance and wealthiest performer (bribes are the name of the game). There will be a raffle table and smaller fundraisers at the event.

Regional Hospice Bethel Chapter Selling Tickets For Autumn Breakfast


Regional Hospice Bethel Chapter Selling Tickets For Autumn Breakfast

The Bethel Chapter of Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut is currently selling tickets for their 23rd Annual Autumn Breakfast which will take place on Friday, October 7 at 7:45 a.m. at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Ext., Danbury, CT.

Tables of 8 are for available sale for $135. To reserve a table please call Mary Legnard at (203) 792-0233. Sponsors are needed to donate raffle items for gift baskets. Businesses who are interested in donating for the raffle may call Brenda Cleary at (203) 792-0122.

About Regional Hospice–

Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut  was founded in 1983, and is a community-based, not-for-profit agency providing Hospice and Palliative Home Care throughout Western Connecticut. The agency is State licensed and certified by Medicare as both a Home Health and Hospice Program.

Our Caring Continuum – Cares at Home, Hospice, Healing Hearts – offers the right care at the right time to help those with life-limiting illness or who are coping with the loss of a loved one. Today’s patients and families continue to benefit from years of experience coordinating pain and symptom management, spiritual care, emotional support, social work, and bereavement services.

We believe that through skilled and supportive care, people can approach a life-limiting illness with comfort and dignity and have the support they need if they are coping with the loss of a loved one.

DAWS Needs Donations


DAWS pet shelter lost power Sunday and had to cancel Sunday’s Open House.  The dogs are now in foster care and there is a volunteer staying at the shelter with the cats.  All of their adoptable pets are doing well, but because they missed the open house it will delay being placed with permanent homes. DAWS is encouraging people to look at DAWS’ Cat Gallery and Dog Gallery and come to the shelter to meet the adoptable pets when they reopen.

DAWS is asking pet lovers to consider making a donation to help them recover from the storm. They are also asking people to consider holding a drive to collect supplies from their Wish List to help defray operational expenses.

For more information check out their website.

Become a Volunteer Group Facilitator For Healing Hearts


Become a Volunteer Group Facilitator For Healing Hearts

The following is a press release from The Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children & Families, an award-winning program of Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT, Inc. offering support groups, workshops, and educational events to help children, teens and adults cope after the loss of a loved one.

For Immediate Release: August 8, 2011

Become a Volunteer Group Facilitator For Healing Hearts

You can help grieving children and adults find support, compassion and acceptance after the death of their parent or sibling. Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT, Inc. seeks volunteers to assist with grief support offered by The Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children & Families.

Volunteer group facilitators will complete a professionally led training that is required of all volunteers. After completing the 20 hour training, volunteers work in teams to create a safe environment for children, teens and parents/caregivers to discuss their grief issues. On-going supervision, instruction and support from the Program Manager (as well as other program staff) help volunteer facilitators develop their capacity to be a helpful presence to the bereaved.

Healing Hearts Group facilitators are asked to make a one-year commitment for either Tuesday or Thursday. Groups meet bi-weekly September-June and once a month in July and August. Regular attendance is essential to maintain continuity with the children and families. Volunteer facilitators participate from 5:15 to 8:30 p.m., including meetings with program staff members before and after the support groups for preparation and debriefing.

Volunteers must be 21 years or older and agree to a criminal background check and fingerprinting prior to assuming their volunteer role. Participation in the volunteer training and continuing education is required. Volunteers facilitators must be able to work as a team member, maintain an atmosphere of respect and non-judgement, respect confidentiality, and be dependably present to participants, other volunteers and staff of the program. Individuals from varied backgrounds and career experiences are welcome to apply—compassionate, caring and empathetic listeners are welcome.

Anyone interested in exploring the possibility of becoming a Healing Hearts volunteer facilitator may contact Joanna DeNicola, LCSW, Healing Hearts program manager at (203) 792-4422 or

#    #    #

The Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children & Families is an award-winning program of Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT, Inc. offering support groups, workshops, and educational events to help children, teens and adults cope after the loss of a loved one.

Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT, Inc. offers real hope for those facing advanced illness through patient-focused care, education, resources and advocacy. We help patients and families discover what end-of-life care can be—what can be gained, what can be realized and what can be recaptured. For more information, visit


For More Information:

Joanna DeNicola

Healing Hearts Program Manager

Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT

(203) 792-4422

BUMC Sends Off 50 With Blessings


BUMC Sends Off 50 With Blessings ~ By Wendy Mitchell

In case you were driving by 141 Greenwood Ave. this morning and were wondering what all that cheering was for, it was the Bethel United Methodist Church sending off church members on a local missions trip.

The Rev. Vicky Fleming, along with a large group of parents and well wishers, sent off 50 volunteers Saturday morning with blessings and prayers. The group set off on their 600-mile journey to Appalachia, West Virginia for the Appalachia Service Project, a charitable organization that helps the needy rebuild and repair homes.

The church rented 7 Chevy Suburbans that were each sponsored by a church member and/or local business. Each vehicle costs approximately $1,000 to rent for the week.  The group will stay at an ASP center during the week as they work on homes. The caravan of the 7 Suburbans along with 2 cargo vans left the church Saturday morning at approximately 9:00 a.m. as family members clapped, hugged, cheered and wiped away tears for those they will miss during the week.

The group will return next Saturday with heartwarming stories about their journey, both physical and spiritual.

For more information about the Bethel United Methodist Church click here.

For more information about the Appalachia Service Project click here.

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