GREENWICH — Even a pandemic couldn’t keep the Greenwich Youth Conservation Program from successfully completing its 42nd summer of “Teens Working for a Greener Greenwich.”

Every summer since 1978, GYCP has brought together a diverse group of 14- and 15-year-olds from neighborhoods throughout Greenwich to experience a first job as they enhance town parks and beaches. The public-private “learn and earn” program is organized by the Greenwich Departments of Human Services and Parks and Recreation.

“It gives young teens a summer job — complete with supervisors, co-workers and skills training — while they beautify the town,” GYCP said in a statement.

“The teens did a great job with safety protocols and social distancing” required because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Christina Nappi, GYCP’s program director. Participants were divided into small groups and wore masks to ensure their safety.

“Even under the circumstances, the teens came up with creative ways to interact and have fun,” Nappi added. The teens worked in Binney Park, Bruce Park, Byram Beach Park, Cos Cob Park and Pemberwick Park.

After conservation projects were completed in the afternoons, local organizations including Family Centers, the Greenwich Police Department School Resource Officer program, Kids in Crisis and the YWCA provided job and life skills training via a virtual speaker series.

Support from local sponsors and donors made it possible for each teen to receive a modest but meaningful stipend.

“We’re especially grateful to our loyal sponsors and donors for continuing to support GYCP during this challenging time,” said Kimberly Terrenoire, chair of Friends of GYCP. “Their ongoing commitment to our town’s young people is inspiring.”

“GYCP is extremely important to the community and for the kids,” said Darrin Wigglesworth of the Town Parks and Trees Division. “I am grateful that we all worked together to deliver a well-rounded program and help our youths see that we can adapt to the current crisis.”

As one participant said, “I was so happy to be able to participate in GYCP this summer. Since the pandemic, I have spent too many hours indoors, and it was nice to be outside in the fresh air working with other teens to help Greenwich.”

Greenwich student graduates from Wentworth

Brian Kelly of Greenwich has graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. Kelly also made the Dean's List for the summer 2020 semester

The university held a special virtual salute to its summer graduates on Aug. 16.

Local student inducted into Order of the Gown

William Jamie Hitel of Riverside has been inducted into the Order of the Gown at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. The ceremony was held on Sept. 4.

The Order of the Gown is an academic honor society and a unique student government body among U.S. colleges and universities. Since 1875 the Order of the Gown has remained the body responsible for maintaining the spirit, traditions, and ideals of the University of the South. The wearing of the gown is both a sign of academic achievement and a promise to continue the ideals and traditions of the university.

ZAC Foundation adds three to board of directors

The ZAC Foundation, a Greenwich-based nonprofit dedicated to improving water safety, announced the appointment of three new directors to its board.

They are Miriam Lynch, CEO of Diversity in Aquatics; Danielle Veira, communications and engagement director at A Better Chicago; and Michael Golden, a strategist and social innovator.

“We are pleased to welcome Miriam, Danielle and Michael to our board, and look forward to having their invaluable perspectives and leadership,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. “Each of them will serve a key role as we continue our work to prepare children and their families for a lifetime of water safety.”

Lynch collaborates with several aquatic organizations to raise awareness, create community partnerships, and develop solutions to reduce the “drowning gap.” As the CEO of Diversity in Aquatics, Lynch works to educate, promote, and support swimming, water safety, and healthy aquatic activities in traditionally underrepresented populations.

“I am excited to join the Board of The ZAC Foundation, which is committed to creating equitable opportunities in aquatics by increasing access to swim lessons and water safety education for children and families in communities that have been impacted by historical and social barriers,” she said.

Veira is the director of communications and engagement at A Better Chicago, a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund fighting poverty by investing in opportunities for Black and Latinx low-income youth. She leads the organization’s strategic communications, digital marketing, and thought leadership efforts.

“I have been inspired and impressed by the Foundation’s work for years and lucky enough to see the impact ZAC Camps make firsthand,” she said. “Children who look like me face a variety of disparities, whether it’s access to health care, quality education or water safety training. As a child of the Caribbean and a lover of swimming myself, I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work alongside my fellow board members to further the foundation’s outstanding work to eradicate systemic inequities related to water safety and drowning prevention.”

President of Golden Mean Strategies in Chicago, Golden has dedicated the bulk of his career to launching social enterprises that create opportunity in underserved communities. In 2006, he co-founded One Million Degrees, a scholarship support program that has empowered more than 1,800 low-income community college students to succeed in school, work and life.

“I loved Zachary, and the entire Cohn family is like my own family. I am tremendously proud and in awe of what they have built in Zach’s name: a huge-hearted water safety organization that works to save lives in every corner of this country. It will be a genuine thrill to contribute to their mission as a new member of the Board of Directors,” said Golden.

The ZAC Foundation has provided water safety programming to more than 20,000 children in at-risk communities nationwide and is spearheading the development of drowning prevention plans in U.S. communities in the hopes of reducing the national drowning rate.

It was established in 2008 by Karen and Brian Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool.

To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, visit TheZACFoundation.org.