New Canaan residents Brenda McKenna and Mary Beth Fessler are busy preparing for the third annual SoNo Stroll, a benefit for The Human Services Council, June 8, in Historic South Norwalk. The evening begins with a cocktail reception and live/silent auction at Black Bear South Norwalk, followed by dinner at one of the many fine participating SoNo restaurants including Barcelona Wine Bar, Black Bear South Norwalk, Burger Bar & Bistro, The Brewhouse, Chocopologie Cafe, Coromandel Indian Bistro, Donovan's, Jeff's Cuisine, The Ginger Man, Match, O'Neill's Irish Pub, Pasta Nostra, Red Lulu, Strada 18 and Wasabi Chi. Tickets are $125 per person.

The Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers are free-standing medical centers operated by HSC, and licensed by the state as outpatient clinics located within Norwalk's three high schools and Nathan Hale Middle School (mental health only).

"Enrollment is up by almost 100 additional students, so the number of users has increased by 48 percent," Fessler said. The stroll will create awareness and much needed funds to help students in our neighborhoods receive the medical care they need to focus in school and lead productive lives."

McKenna, the HSC board secretary, joined this community outreach organization because of its targeted programs toward children. She became involved in HSC because she wondered how a child could pay attention in school if they were sick. During the 2009-2010 academic year, 56 percent of students enrolled in the Dr. Robert E. Appleby SBHCs (Norwalk-based) had no insurance and 21 percent were on Medicaid.

"In today's economy, that number is increasing, and I wanted to find a solution to this problem in our own backyard," McKenna said. "You can too by joining us on Wednesday, June 8 for a very fun and worthwhile event."

For more than 65 years, The Human Services Council (HSC) has helped people, mostly children and adolescents, in our area. From providing free medical and mental healthcare to students who are injured or sick, to counseling abused children and their families, HSC has been a helping hand to people living and working in New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, Weston, Wilton and other nearby towns.

For additional information on sponsorship opportunities and tickets, call Marissa Lilliedahl Mangone at 203-849-1111; ext. 3023 or email

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