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The Connection hosts Mardi Gras Party to support The Community Service and Scholarship Fund

Beth Little, Stacy O’Connor, Elizabeth Fagan, Virginia Cepeda, Marianne Suffern, Vickie Freeman, Jayne Graepel, and Josette Luciano of the Steering Committee would like to thank everyone for a successful Mardi Gras at The Connection.  

Over 230 friends of The Connection danced the night away at their Mardi Gras Party on Saturday, February 8th while supporting a great cause, The Community Service and Scholarship Fund.

Party goers were greeted at the door by members of The Summit High School’s Jazz Band to start off their night, followed by an energetic performance from the band “To The Max”. The Dance floor was full all night as the band played a variety of favorite hits.

Generous donors participated in an exciting reverse raffle, where the winners at the end of the night won a luxury getaway of their choice worth up to $6,000. Door prizes were awarded to raffle ticket holders throughout the night, with prizes ranging from Devils tickets to catering for 20 from “What a Dish Catering”. The Wine Pull ensured that everyone was a winner, but only one lucky person got to take home the Opus One bottle, worth $250.

Delicious southern-inspired heavy hors d'oeuvres including “Crawfish Etouffee over Dirty Rice” and “Andouille Sausage & The Holy Trinity Bread Pudding Bites” were provided  by “What a Dish” catering. All wine was provided by The Wine List in Summit. Beer for the evening was generously supplied by Peerless Beverage.

“We so thankful for the generous donations we received at our Mardi Gras event”, says Jayne Graepel, Associate Executive Director. “Our ability to reach out to those in the community who need us most is dependent on the continued support of our donors. Without the generosity of our corporate sponsors and friends of The Connection, this event would not have been possible.”

The Connection’s Community Service and Scholarship Fund makes it possible for everyone to participate in enriching programs, regardless of their economic circumstance. Here are just some of the ways The Connection does so much for so many:

  • 235 children are cared for in the safe, nurturing environment of the after school enrichment  programs
  • 250 children and adults with special needs learn skills, gain a sense of belonging in our social and rec programs
  • 80 students from 20 countries acquire language skills, valuable support and self sufficiency in the ESL program
  • 50 seniors enjoy fellowship and exercise in the Senior Swim program
  • 500 women with breast/gynecological cancer gain support, education and wellness services through Pathways     
  • 500 individuals with financial needs receive over $270,000 in scholarship assistance to participate in The Connection’s programs
  • 5,000 children, adults and senior members participate in educational, recreational, fitness and social service programs

By serving newcomers to our country, cancer survivors currently in or post treatment, children and adults with special needs, and physical rehabilitative patients, The Connection meets the needs of many different constituencies often not reached by other agencies.

Dedicated volunteers help non-native speakers improve their conversation skills, increase vocabulary, learn idioms and explore U.S. culture through the ESL Program. The Connection offers small, friendly classes in a supportive environment to help students achieve their goals. With a scholarship, a mom can purchase a year of ESL books enabling her to learn English so she can help her child with homework. 

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Mardi Gras donations will help The Connection to provide healthy dinners prepared by Pathways Cooks for a family whose mom is undergoing chemotherapy. Pathways, a program of The Connection for Women and Families, provides support, education and wellness programs for women with cancer, creating a community in which shared experiences lead to personal growth and healing.

The Special Needs programs at The Connection provide physical, recreational, artistic and emotional growth for its participants.  All classes are age appropriate and individually modified to help the development of the student. Sending a child with special needs to a year of swim lessons while giving respite to her parents is just one of the ways The Scholarship Fund impacts the members of the community.

To learn more about The Connection’s programs and services, visit, stop by 79 Maple Street in Summit, or call 908-273-4242.

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