STAMFORD, Conn. -- Volunteers from Stamford’s Backyard Humanitarian will assist in the construction of a playground for the Where Angels Play Foundation on Friday, May 2, at Stamford’s West Beach.
The project will be one of 26 being built in areas that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and each one will honor the lives lost from Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Stamford playground will honor Jesse Lewis.
Backyard Humanitarian, founded by Angela Malizia in 2010, is a grassroots, all volunteer organization. Malizia, a Stamford native, is always "tuned in" to ways to help the city.
“Sometimes it’s something I hear or read, other times people contact me or one of our Backyard Humanitarians who have all become shining lights in our community,” said Malizia. When she heard about this project, she asked to team up with the foundation.
As a Disaster Responder for the American Red Cross, Malizia was on the team that set up the Stamford Hurricane shelter for Sandy, which BH supported. A couple of months later she was called upon to help in Newtown for the Sandy Hook tragedy.
She recalls one evening standing with a pastor by a Christmas tree surrounded by luminaries that were set up for each child. A man came to them and thanked them for their support and comfort. He introduced himself as Jesse Lewis’ father. She spoke with him and learned more about Jesse. “It was heartbreaking. I’m thankful for the chance to be a part of celebrating Jesse’s life,” Malizia said.
Paula Egan, Colleen Sharkey and Bebe Decrescenzo are BH team leaders for this event. Egan has worked to fundraise for the Where Angels Play Foundation and has set up a BH team page where people can donate directly to the them. The page can be found online.
Sharkey is working with the city and has organized a beach cleanup as well as landscaping for the flagpole flower bed. People can help by either volunteering or by donating. Malizia’s niece, Sara Malizia, who is in first grade, started a collection with family friends. “She is a great example of how kids can make a big difference, “ Malizia said.
The activities for this event start Friday, May 2. There may be a need on Saturday, but that will not be confirmed until the end of the day on the Friday. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Sunday, May 4 at 11 a.m.
“One moment or one coin matters because when there is love offered with it, the value it brings to all of us is immeasurable. So many have been affected by these tragedies. I hope this project can bring some healing,” Malizia said.
Robyn Blosio Bova is a Stamford native and a Realtor for Higgins Group.