Cardinal Shehan Center art room to be upgraded

BRIDGEPORT—The Cardinal Shehan Center was a-buzz on an early September morning as volunteers in light blue t-shirts got started on an exciting project.

The Cardinal Shehan Center Art Room was recently selected as one of the 100 impact projects that are the cornerstone of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns initiative.

After 100 years of serving communities across America, Lowe’s is completing 100 impact projects to celebrate the company’s centennial and support worthy initiatives nationwide. The 100 projects span 36 states and will help thousands of families from coast to coast, each of them with a unique story to tell.

The Cardinal Shehan Center was one of over 2,200 applicants and the only one chosen in the state of Connecticut.

The art room was chosen as an area to upgrade so children and families can creatively share their stories. The renovations include additional storage for supplies, wall repairs, painting, ceiling replacement, installation of new windows, new sink and brighter decorations.

Lowe’s volunteers were greeted by Shehan Center Executive Director Lorraine Gibbons and Director of Development Sarah Motti.

“We are so grateful to be one of the applicants selected,” said Gibbons, who spoke of her excitement upon finding out the center had been chosen. “This project will have a big impact on the community,” she said.

Gibbons explained that the updated room will provide a state-of-the-art space for children to learn how to express themselves creatively, which is especially necessary as we emerge from the pandemic.

“It’s going to make a world of difference,” Gibbons said. “When they walk in the doors of the Shehan Center and come to the lower level and see the beautiful space, they’re going to be so excited.”

The current art space had open shelving and only a small sink for cleaning up. After this two-day project, the art space will include spacious double-sinks and locked cabinets for storing supplies safely.

The new room will also sport a new wall, new window, ceiling tiles and lights.

Steven John Stopkoski, the store manager at Lowe’s in Milford, said making the children happy is what the project is all about.

“Just to be able to give back to the kids is what really matters to us,” he said. “It’s going to inspire them and show them that there are people in the community who want to see them prosper and grow.”

Shehan Center staff provided snacks, coffee and music as volunteers got to work building new shelving units and clearing out supplies currently being stored in the art room.

The project is expected to be ready on Monday, September 13 for the children’s after-school programs. 

About the Cardinal Shehan Center

The Cardinal Shehan Center is a non-profit organization located in Bridgeport, Conn. Since 1962, the Center has served the recreational, educational and social needs of moderate and low-income families and young people of lower Fairfield County, particularly inner-city Bridgeport. Its mission is enriching lives through learning. This is accomplished by offering an After School & Saturday Youth Development Program, Summer Day Camp, various basketball leagues, Sign-Up Programs, Physical Education classes to grammar schools, and alternative education programs. The Center commits itself to offering a clean, safe environment where positive, growth-enhancing opportunities are offered regardless of race or religious affiliation.

By Elizabeth Clyons