Friday, December 30, 2016

What Does the New Year Mean to You!

A New Year is an opportunity to look back, remember and analyze the 366-page volume of events and memories of 2016.  For good or for bad, depending on your personal perspective, the Book of 2016 is now about to be history.  It cannot be changed.  But, looking back to assess and learn from the past year is healthy. However, keep in mind that 2016 and any one year is but a fraction of our centuries of history. 

Now, I know that most of us may not regard the New Year celebration as a time for profound thought on the passage of time. 

Instead, we want a "happy" New Year rather than one that is overly somber in deep thoughts. So, we embrace a highly spirited, festive way of bringing in the new year. Perhaps the majority of us enjoy a dinner or buffet at home or gather at a favorite food establishment where we are entertained. Many of us observe the huge, cheering countdown of the last seconds of the year by some two million people fully engaged in the descent of a huge ball at Times Square in New York. 

Those who take the daring challenge to spend a cold day and/or evening at Times Square bearing the cacophony of millions of sounds and many private, personal inconveniences deserve our heartfelt thanks for providing the rest of the world a most enjoyable viewing of the 109-year-old tradition that started at Times Square on December 31, 1907 and has continued annually, except for 1942 and 1943, in deference to our troops far from home during World War II.

Through the years, I have tried to put it together to make some sense of
it all.  I remember when we had no television, let alone instant news. There were parties with families and friends. We celebrated with traditional meals, had lively conversations, games for adults and children and at the big moment of midnight, one or two counted down last seconds to the cheers, hugs and kisses of all, as they repeated shouts of "Happy New Year". My wife distinctly recalls that everyone would then go out into the streets of her South Brooklyn neighborhood banging on pots and pans, greeting neighbors and passersby. Personally, I recall that I didn't understand why, on that particular occasion, everyone had to hug everyone else present. Neither did I understand until much later why some people were crying.  

I hope this echoes with you in some way. But now, as a person of advancing years, I think of my relationships within my family, circle of friends, and associates and my personal understanding of God.  I think about what I have done: accomplishments and mistakes, and what I still want to do. For me the new year has become more thoughtful, more relaxed, low-keyed and still rather pleasant. It’s one more opportunity to get it right, to learn something new and to touch someone in a way that makes their life just a bit better.

I wish everyone reading or hearing this message, a happy new year, emphasizing that “happiness”, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a state of well-being and contentment, joy, a pleasurable or satisfying experience; and “happiness”, as referenced in Thesaurus, is synonymous with gladness, aptness, cheerfulness, delight, glee, bliss, and felicity. 

Reaching for all this may sound challenging, but you can start by writing your own New Year Book with 365 blank pages, filling them one day at a time with your hopes and dreams, always being open to seize each day’s opportunities.

Tag: SC columnist , writer and community service advocate, Dick Fortunato, welcomes comments at

Friday, December 23, 2016

Vacant Classrooms Open Doors to New DayCare Center for Infants to 5 years old

Change is stressful; nobody likes change. Yet, progress always comes about as result of change… moving on… adapting to the world around us and changing times.

Successful change comes about by viewing it as an opportunity to move forward based on new ideas and creative options.

There’s an old saw that comes to mind: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", the proverbial phase used to inspire optimism and a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Local case in point:  About a year and a half ago, the Church of St. Dominic in Southington was confronted with a quandary: What to do about the space vacated in the merger of its Catholic elementary school into a new Southington Catholic School, a merger that was part of the establishment of a regional rather than parochial school model.

St. Dominic Pastor, Fr. Ronald May, met with his staff and invited parishioners to form a study group as to how to best utilize classroom space. After considering several options, the thought of a child care center emerged.  Everyone liked it. It was the right move. It was within the mission and vision of the church:  nurturing newborn infants to five-year-olds in their most vital formative years, in a commodious and safe environment.  Conversion of the classrooms in one campus building was completely remodeled as a modern, state of the art, suite of rooms with appropriate furnishings and facilities.  Simultaneously, the staff moved forward taking the multiple necessary steps in establishing its credentials and certifications for a day care center through the required state and town departments and the Archdiocese of Hartford and finally the search for an excellent, accomplished director/head teacher, Michelle Keeley and one teacher.

Allison, 9 months
“The school opened on Monday, October 10th.”, said Sharon Ayotte, Administrative Assistant to the Pastor and project coordinator.  Ayotte said, “We have ten additional children enrolled as of the first of the year and we will have a total of 35 children by mid-January and Michelle (Keeley) is recruiting new teachers smoothly in step with the growth of enrollments.”  Keeley has resided in Southington for the past ten years and has been in the field of child care for twelve years. “Michelle is certified by the State of Connecticut and comes highly recommended to us by her former employers.”, Ayotte said.

Carson. 2-1/2

Parents told us: “St. Dominic Child Care has been a blessing to our family."

"Hard as it is to leave my son every day, I know he’s in good hands with people who truly care about him. They’re actively engaged with each of the children in such a loving yet professional manner."

 “Our grandson began in October. We’ve been so pleased with his experience. Michelle, the director, is knowledgeable and caring and the staff is so responsible to and supportive of the children."

Emily, 12 months
"There's nothing more precious to us than our child We’re happy with our decision to entrust our daughter to St. Dominic Child Care Center.”The Center continues to accept applications for January 1st with hours of operation Monday thru Friday from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. Inquire further at 860-628-4678 or

Teacher, Shelly, showing pictures and reading to Gavin, 1-1/2
and Madeline, 1-1/2

St. Dominic is well on its way to a successful transition while bringing a high priority, vital service to Southington and surrounding communities for parents working here or nearby.

A Child has a way of bringing 

Special Joy to each day!

Teacher Kristina with Luke, four months