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Dear BTCC Friends,
The 35th Annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge will take place on Sunday morning, September 25, 2022 at Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, Southport CT. The 5k Road Race and 3k Fitness Walk through scenic Southport Harbor & Historic District and Kids’ Fun Run are always a community favorite. We will also be offering our Virtual 5k Run again this year for those who are not local but wish to participate
In addition to being fun for the whole family, the BTCC has become a major source of support to local non-profit organizations that find it increasingly difficult to compete with the more prominent national charities for significantly needed dollars. Since it’s inception, the BTCC has provided more than $2 million dollars to local charities in Connecticut.
By participating, you help ensure that 23 local charities can continue to deliver important programs that provide educational services, food, housing, safe places, crisis counseling, and after-school tutoring and recreational programs to the most vulnerable populations within our community. We are grateful for your partnership in supporting these non-profits over the past 35 years.
With heartfelt thanks for your continuing support.

Cindi Bigelow & the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge Committee

The 2021 BTCC Charities
1.       Bridge House
Bridge House empowers adults living with persistent mental illness to improve their quality of life.
Bridge House has served thousands of members since its inception in 1986 and they continue to provide a critical safe-haven for adults in the Greater Bridgeport area and Fairfield County who are struggling with mental illness.  The program focuses on employment, education, and housing, ensuring members have access to the resources they need to achieve their goals.
Staff and members work side-by-side to accomplish the tasks that are necessary to keep the organization up and running. Members can utilize their interests, strengths, and talents each day at Bridge House in a safe and positive setting that keeps them on the road to mental health.

2.      Bridgeport Rescue Mission
“Fighting Poverty, Restoring Hope, Sharing God’s Love”
The Bridgeport Rescue Mission provides vital services to men, women, and children facing hunger, homelessness, and addiction, offering help to heal and return to the community whole. The Mission is to fight poverty from the “inside out” by embracing people with the compassion of Christ, offering hope and healing for a changed life. Started in 1993, it is astonishing that in 2021, 640,000 meals were served.

3.       Burroughs Community Center
Burroughs is a center for programs, partners and people that uses its facility resources and relationships to build a stronger community to help individuals overcome barriers to success. Because the health of a community can be measured by the shared understanding of its assets, weaknesses and commitment to building strong relationships, a successful community will celebrate diversity, act inclusively, work intentionally to create opportunities and reduce barriers to individuals achieving success. Through the development of partnerships and by delivering programs and services, Burroughs can address gaps within the community to help our neighbors achieve a better future.

4.       Cardinal Shehan Center
The Cardinal Shehan Center is a non-profit organization located in Bridgeport, CT. Since 1962, the Center has served the recreational, educational, and social needs of moderate and low-income families and young people of lower Fairfield County, particularly inner-city Bridgeport. The mission is to enrich lives through learning. This is accomplished by offering an After School & Saturday Youth Development Program, Summer Day Camp, various basketball leagues, Sign-Up Programs, Physical Education classes to grammar schools, and alternative education programs. The Center commits itself to offering a clean, safe environment where positive, growth-enhancing opportunities are offered regardless of race or religious affiliation.

5.       Caroline House
The Caroline House was founded in 1995 to help immigrant women acquire the knowledge and skills to improve their lives and the lives of their children. An important goal of Caroline House is to break down the barriers of social and physical isolation that have kept low-income immigrant women from building better lives.  Although students come from different countries and backgrounds, they share similar challenges and life circumstances. Women form a supportive community which enriches their learning experience and builds confidence.
The objective for the children’s programs is to foster cognitive, social and emotional development. The children are educated and nurtured, encouraging them to learn and grow and continue toward a future of hope and opportunity.

6.      Center for Family Justice
The Center for Family Justice provides free and confidential trauma-informed services and coordinates care for all victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and child abuse in six Fairfield County towns: Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. The Center provides cutting-edge prevention education and training in our communities to create social change. The goal is to break the cycle of violence by building healthy relationships, empowering communities and mobilizing bystanders to speak out about abuse and violence.

7.      CT Challenge
The CT Challenge bike ride is a main source of funding for the nonprofit organization Mission. Mission is dedicated to helping the 16.9 million cancer survivors in Connecticut and throughout the U.S. rebuild, improve and prolong their lives through exercise, nutrition, mind-body health and community-building support programs. The programs funded by the CT Challenge Ride are about hope, inspiration, community, and triumph.

 8.     Connecticut Food Bank
According to estimates from Feeding America, more than 490,000 Connecticut residents struggle with hunger; more than 131,000 children are food insecure. These are people from all walks of life – children, working parents, seniors, or people living with disabilities. They are our neighbors. Connecticut Food Bank works through a network of food aid partners and programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, residential programs and day programs serving adults and children. Combined, there are 500 food access points across our six-county service area. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank distributed enough food to provide nearly 23.8 million meals to people in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, and Windham counties.

 9.    Bigelow Center for Senior Activities
The Bigelow Center for Senior Activities provides services and programs for older adults that promote well-being, support independence and encourage involvement in community life.

10.   Fairfield YMCA
The Fairfield YMCA is a cornerstone in the Fairfield community. The facility brings personal wellness programs, childcare, aquatics and swim lessons, youth programs and camps and adult sports into the reach of all Fairfield community residents.

11.   Grasmere on Park
The Grasmere on Park Adult Day Program and the Memory Workshop, an Early Memory Loss Program, provide individuals opportunities for socialization and recreation. Creative programming also provides caregivers with respite support so they are able to work, or pursue their own interests, while loved ones who may be experiencing physical and/or memory challenges enjoy participating in their own interests designed to meet their activity needs and choices. The Memory Workshop provides a forum for individuals who do not require medical supervision in the early stages of memory loss to obtain support and participate in programs.

12.  Horizon’s at GFA
Horizons at GFA provides students attending under-resourced Bridgeport schools to develop strong academic, social and emotional skills, habits of mind and the resilience to succeed in school and pursue a meaningful, choice-filled life.

13.   Janus Center for Youth in Crisis
The Janus Center, managed by the Council of Churches, is a faith-based, non-sectarian social services agency dedicated to meeting the needs of people at risk and breaking the cycle of poverty and crisis in the Greater Bridgeport area. The Janus Center is committed to educating children, feeding the hungry, supporting youth in crisis, guiding former offenders and building bridges of understanding between all faiths. Founded in 1945 as The Council for Inter-Church Cooperation, the Charter of The Council states: “The Council shall do jointly what no single communion, congregation or denomination can do alone; namely, to express through fellowship, cooperation and service the essential unity of the Christian Church.”

14.  McGivney Community Center
The McGivney Community Center, founded over 20 years ago, states its mission for youth is to provide stimulating and enriching programs that foster academic success and self-esteem. McGivney's goal is to nurture youth's intellectual, creative, and physical growth in order to promote success and expand their feelings of confidence, integrity and character.

15.   Mercy Learning Center
Since 1987, Mercy Learning Center (MLC) has provided basic literacy and life skills training to women with low income using a holistic approach within a compassionate, supportive environment. All women are welcome without regard for race, religion, color, creed, sexual orientation or national origin. All women who attend MLC have empowering themselves through education to improve their quality of life.

16.   Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County - formerly Music and Art Center for the Humanity
Neighborhood Studios transforms the lives of Bridgeport children through arts education, and empowers them to make a difference in their community. Neighborhood Studios provides an inclusive, warm and welcoming environment that enables students of all abilities and backgrounds, including those with special needs, to reach their fullest potential through the power of the arts. Neighborhood Studios offers high quality art, music, theater, and dance instruction to children of all ages by providing: after-school, Saturday and summer programming; partnerships with schools and nonprofits; performance opportunities; and financial assistance.

17.   Norma F. Pfriem Breast Center
TThe Norma Pfriem Breast Center provides a comprehensive network of services for complete breast health and wellness. The multidisciplinary team of breast cancer specialists provide one-on-one care with dignity, privacy and warmth, in a serene, comfortable and professional setting. A significant part of the mission to support health and wellness in women and men. Wellness services, include Reiki and massage therapy, counseling and education, yoga, support groups and more.

18.   Operation Hope
Operation Hope provides individuals and families the opportunity to experience transformative change. By addressing basic needs for food and shelter, as well as offering long-term solutions to hunger and homelessness, including affordable housing, life skills training and personalized clinical support, Operation Hope helps people reach their potential in an environment where compassion inspires dignity and hope. Operation Hope was formed in 1986 when local residents became aware of individuals in the community who were unable to meet their own basic needs of food and shelter.

19. Pivot Ministries
Founded in 1970, Pivot Ministries is a faith-based residential treatment program for men with substance abuse issues or addiction, located in Bridgeport and Norwalk. The non-profit agency focuses on treating drug and alcohol addiction as a spiritual problem and returning the men to their families.

20.   Sandcastle Playground
Built in 1996 entirely by the creativity, determination and efforts of Cindi Bigelow, her friends, and 2,500 community volunteers, Sandcastle Playground is a large, wooden village playground at Jennings Beach, Fairfield, and continues to be a focal point for children in the Fairfield community.

21.   Wakeman Boys and Girls Club
Wakeman BGC offers programs developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide enriching experiences for kids and teens during out-of-school time. Programs are designed to meet the social, emotional, and developmental needs of local youth of all ages and interests through a focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character & leadership.

22.  YMCA Ralphola Taylor Community Center
The mission of the Ralphola Taylor Community Center YMCA is to build strong kids, strong families and a strong community by offering high quality, diverse, responsive and innovative programs and services. Located in the heart of Bridgeport, the programs aim to improve the quality of life and develop the economic self-sufficiency of low-income children and their parents.
23. YMCA Camp Hi Rock
Every child is different and through the values of the YMCA, Camp Hi-Rock is dedicated to the growth and development of the spirits, minds and bodies of the children served. Each person is seen as a unique individual with his or her own needs, aptitudes, and interests, which can be further developed through the camping experience. Each camper is encouraged to develop his or her sense of personal worth and responsibility as a cooperative member of a group. In addition, campers are pushed to discover, learn, cultivate new skills, develop healthy lifestyles, create meaningful relationships, and become more caring, honest, respectful and responsible people . 
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