Community news: New resource executive director in Westport, and more

New executive director at local Positive Directions resource

The local resource in Westport for mental health, and substance abuse since 1971, Positive Directions, The Center for Prevention and Counseling, has hired Vanessa Wilson as its new executive director. Wilson’s new position took effect on Tuesday, July 6.

Wilson was previously a clinician and a manager at the Young Women Christian’s Association Greenwich, Domestic Abuse Services, where she was most recently the manager of operations.

She was responsible for managing a team of professional counselors, and ensured delivery of high quality services to survivors of domestic violence.

Wilson has a graduate degree from Fairfield University and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is trained in models of family therapy, such as structural, strategic, narrative and a solution-focused model.

Positive Directions is a state-licensed provider of comprehensive behavioral healthcare, treatment for addictive behaviors, and prevention leadership with the goal of improving the lives and the mental health of individuals, and families.

The provider is also state-designated local prevention council for Westport, and coordinates local efforts to prevent substance misuse, and address suicide, while working collaboratively with stakeholders in the town through the Westport Prevention Coalition.

Visit https://www.positivedirections.org/vanessa-wilson-ma-lmft for more information about Wilson.

Westport Republican Town Committee endorsed candidates announced

The members of the Westport Republican Town Committee have unanimously endorsed candidates for the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Board of Assessment Appeals in the town.

Aside from Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore — respectively the endorsed candidates for first and second selectman — the RTC endorsed Michael Keller for the Board of Finance; Karen Kleine, Robert Harrington, and Dorie Hordon for the Board of Education; Jack Whittle for the Planning & Zoning Commission, and Joe Sledge for the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Sledge is also the Republican Town Committee’s chairman and a current Board of Assessment Appeals member. Tooker is the current Westport Second Selectwoman. Moore is the current Board of Finance c ice chairwoman. Hordon is the current Board of Education vice chair. Whittle is a former member of the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Westport Police Department having food drive

The Westport Police Department is have a food drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in front of the Super Stop & Shop at 1790 Post Road East in Westport.

All donations will directly support the nonprofit organizations Homes with Hope, the Gillespie Homeless Shelter, and the Gillespie Center’s food pantry.

Donations will also help provide meals to the centers’ residents, those who are at risk of homelessness, and community members in need. Officers of the department, and volunteers will accept nonperishable food items, and cash donations in front of the grocery store, which is hosting the food drive.

Suggested items that people can donate are canned meats, tuna, salmon, spam, pasta, pasta sauces, chili, hot, and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned, and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese, rice, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup, and mayonnaise. If people would like more information about Homes with Hope, go to the nonprofit organization’s website at hwhct.org.

Homes with Hope maintains an IRS 501-c3 status, so all contributions are tax deductible.

MoCA Westport art museum ‘The Art of Jazz’ Fall Benefit set

The art museum, MoCA Westport 2021 Fall Benefit, “The Art of Jazz,” will be an evening celebration of art, music, and giving, that will feature a silent auction, live auction, and live music by Grammy Award-winning jazz tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, at the art museum from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18.

There is also going to be entertainment that will be hosted by the DJ Mo after the auctions. Dave Briggs, of Westport, a former anchor at CNN, NBC Sports, and Fox News, is hosting the live auction.

Proceeds from the event will provide funding to support the art museum’s mission, which is to build a deeper understanding of, and passion for, the arts by presenting arts experiences.

The art museum relies on financial support from the community to fund its events, exhibitions, and outreach. People who are not attending the benefit in person will be able to support the art museum through the silent auction through curated items, and experiences from small businesses that are based in Westport.

Bidding for the silent auction will be open online beginning Saturday, Sept. 4. All people are invited to the event, which will take place rain, or shine. Tickets for the event went on sale for members of the art museum on Wednesday, July 28. Tickets for the event go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Contact the art museum’s director of donor cultivation and sponsorships, Cynthia Dempster, at cynthia@mocawestport.org, or 203-222-7070 for further information about sponsorships for the event.

Also visit the website for the event at https://mocawestport.org/events-calendar/art-of-jazz-annual-benefit/ for more information.