Strengthening Families

CARES strengthens families by raising awareness on current, controversial and challenging issues facing families today. These cutting-edge programs are research-based and vetted by local parents and educators.

Our aim is two-fold; 1) to assist parents and caregivers of preschoolers, through college-age children to identify and resolve common parenting challenges using a variety of large and small group formats, and 2) enhance parental connections with their children, and facilitate productive family interactions.

To request a program topic, click here. For a complete listing of this year’s topics, see below.

© Adrian Dreßler
© Adrian Dreßler
© Adrian Dreßler
© Adrian Dreßler
© Adrian Dreßler
© Adrian Dreßler

“CARES provides speakers that discuss timely and relevant topics

for our New Canaan families. I personally find at least one “take away”

skill or point on parenting in each presentation I attend.”



Financial Fitness for Women

March 3, 10AM NC Library, Lamb Room Speakers: Kerry Connell, Allison Donaldson, Sue Lione, HTG Investment Advisors Inc. Come explore major challenges women face when it comes to building a more financially secure future. Participants will also be given tips for teaching kids financial responsibility.

Middle/High School: Help Your Child Get Organized & Plan Ahead for Success in School with Less Stress

March 10, 9:30AM Saxe Middle School, Auditorium Speakers: Christopher Bogart, PhD This workshop will help parents understand the Executive Function skills that students are developing. What are the appropriate expectations for MS? Get concrete tips to use at home for academic success while reducing everyone’s stress.

Middle/High School: The Pressure to be Perfect & Its Unintended Consequences (NCHS PFA Meeting)

March 11, 9:30AM NCHS, Wagner Room Speakers: Alicia Farrell, PhD In such a competitive world, parents, educators and leaders are unwittingly passing onto their children the pressure to be perfect. In turn, our children are feeling anxious, overwhelmed and stressed. What can we do about it?

Middle School: Puberty: Parents, Let’s Talk!

March 25, 9:30AM Saxe Middle School, Auditorium Speaker: Ellen Brezovsky, LCSW This workshop will help raise your awareness about your child’s changing bodies, emotions and hormones as well as develop strategies for communicating in a consistent positive manner.

LGBTQIA+: Understanding the Terminology of Identity

March 26, 6:30PM NC Library, Lamb Room Want to learn more about gender identity, sexual orientation, and inclusion? Micaela Scully, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in LGBTQ-specific struggles and concerns, offers insights. Bring your questions and an open mind! In partnership with NC Library, Silver Hill Hospital and The Lighthouse, an LGBTQ Teen Program. 

Preschool/Early Elementary: Book Discussion: How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen

March 31, 10AM New Canaan Country School Facilitated by Beth O’Brien, Head of Early Childhood, New Canaan Country School Join other parents to talk about strategies for effective communication with your young children. Discussion will include how to foster the positive connections they will need to become self-reliant big kids! In partnership with NC Country School

Middle School: The Ups, Downs & All Arounds of Middle School Friendship

April 7, 9:30AM Saxe Middle School Speaker: Dr. Lauren Pote, PhD Come learn about the typical friend shifts that happen during the early adolescent years. Parents will hear tips for what they can do to help their tweens/teens ride the wave of change in friendships and the hurts that can come with it.

Elementary: A Modern Approach to Feeding Your Family in 2020

April 29, 9:30AM South School Speaker: Jill Castle, Pediatric DietitianIn this engaging presentation, parents will learn tips on what to feed, how to feed, and ways to bring joy back to feeding your family! Topics will include meal planning, healthy snacks, food balance, good role modeling and languaging around food. Ample time for Q&A.

High School Juniors & Seniors: Know Before You Go

April 29, 7:30PM LiveGirl Speaker: Jessica Feighan An in depth look at the issue of college sexual assault. Teens will learn to identify attitudes, behaviors and customs which lay the ground for sexual violence to flourish. Learn about Affirmative Consent and the policies and laws in place. In partnership With LiveGirl & The Rowan Center

Parents and High School Teens: Mental Health TEDx Speaker

May 19, 6:30PM NC Library, Lamb Room Speaker: Emily Torchiana Emily shatters the mental health stigma by sharing her personal story: being victim to cyberbullying, struggling with mental health and surviving a suicide attempt during her adolescent years. Now a young adult, Emily shares a message of hope and awareness.

Teens/Adults: Send Silence Packing

May 20, 9AM-4PM NC Library Grounds This powerful interactive display of more than 1,000 backpacks opens minds & raises awareness about suicide and mental health. The goal is to end the stigma and connect visitors to resources for support and action. People leave filled with hope and wanting to learn more! No registration necessary. In Partnership with NC Community Foundation & The New Canaan Coalition

Incoming Freshmen & Parents: Transition to High School

May 2020, 7PM Date & Location TBD Discussion with NC CARES high school leadership students. More information coming soon!

2020 Program Topics

  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
  • Birth Order & Development
  • Body Image & Eating Disorders
  • Boundaries & Limit Setting
  • Cliques, Exclusion and Other Mean Behaviors
  • Cyber Safety
  • Dating & Intimacy
  • Decision Making & Leadership
  • Developmental Milestones – physical, social, academic
  • Independence & Responsibility
  • Nutrition & Health,
  • Organizing your Family
  • Overindulgence
  • Parallel Parenting – Working as a Team
  • Personal Safety and Injury Prevention
  • Positive Discipline
  • Pressured Child (social, academic, athletic)
  • Puberty & Development
  • Resilience & Self-Confidence
  • Self-Care
  • Sibling Rivalry
  • Social, Emotional and Physical Changes
  • Social Networking/Monitoring Technology
  • Strengthening your Family Bonds (volunteering, traditions, moments)
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • Transitioning to Kindergarten, Middle School and High School