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Kennedy Center's Work With Disabled Draws Monroe Couple To Volunteer

Monroe couple, Michele Macauda and husband Richard Burke, the gala's co-chairs, dance at the Kennedy Center’s 52nd Annual Four Seasons Ball at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.
Monroe couple, Michele Macauda and husband Richard Burke, the gala's co-chairs, dance at the Kennedy Center’s 52nd Annual Four Seasons Ball at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton. Photo Credit: Stuart Walls/Woodstock Studio

MONROE, Conn. — An organization in Trumbull that helps people with disabilities lead productive and fulfilling lives drew the attention of Monroe resident Michele Macauda more than 15 or 20 years ago.

“My cousin, who since passed away, received services at the Kennedy Center,” she told Daily Voice. “She had an intellectual disability. She was able to go to work every day. They found her vocational services and provided transportation, and social activities. This helped her become independent and a productive member of society.”

Macauda picked the center when she was a CEO at AT&T in Connecticut to receive the staff's "Day of Caring" help one year, she said.

"I picked it because of my cousin and I knew the work they do. We worked at a group home in Stratford,” Macauda said.

So when Macauda and her husband Richard Burke, were asked to co-chair the recent Kennedy Center Four Season's Ball, they agreed without hesitation.

"We attended the gala. I was on the board at St. Raphael's Hospital and Fairfield U. We attend a lot of galas. But this is the first time I had to organize one," she told Daily Voice.

“It was a lot of work but we had a lot of help. The development committee had the venue picked and the music. We put together a committee right away to work on the ball. We started work in the summer. It sold out quickly, with 220 guests.”

The effort was all worth it, Macauda said.

"It has a fabulous net of $106,000. I feel great about that. And the evening's goal was to, at least, raise $30,000 for one of the homes that need a new roof and new bathroom. Anything over and above that was extra."

The Kennedy Center Inc. has been providing services to individuals with disabilities for over 60 years, including those with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, Alzheimer's and dementia, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, learning disabilities, medically fragile, mental health, physical disabilities, and the visually impaired/blind.

It serves residents of Newtown, Stratford, Milford, Southbury, Woodbridge, Trumbull, Bridgeport, Fairfield and Monroe.

For more information on the Kennedy Center, click here .

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