What I did last summer…


Lauren Cyrus

“This summer was an amazing way to relieve myself from my extremely busy first year at Guilford High School. The first three weeks I was getting readjusted to being in Brooklyn again. I met with the owner of the Performing Arts company “Creative Outlet.” We conversed and planned out ways to get them to come up and educate the people of small towns with low diversity on Black culture. They teach their lessons through the arts.

The last week of July I travelled to Labadee, Haiti; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; The Cayman Islands; and Nassau. I learned so much about Haitian people especially, from how they live to what they eat, and how they provide for their family. Most people in these islands rely on their income from when tourists come to shop and take tours. I learned that the people who drive cabs spend most of their income on gas so they bring homeless than $20 a day. I also met many genuinely pleasant people from all over the United States on this trip.

The last weekend of summer I went to Spike Lee’s block party in honor of Michael Jackson. Backstage I was able to meet and speak to

Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington’s son, and many more. It was a great way to end my summer and go into a long year of hard work.”


Sumaiyah Lee

“This summer I got the chance to go to China with the Experiment in International Living program. I traveled around Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Chengde, Shanghai and other smaller cities. Getting to taste their food and immerse myself in their culture was a dream come true! While in Beijing and Shanghai, we spent time visiting famous temples and other Chinese landmarks. In other cities, I had the chance to stay with two different host families, and experience their everyday lives, which was my favorite part of the trip.

This year, I’m looking forward to continuing Dance Team, as co-captain, and Unity Club as co-president. Going into my senior year, I’m excited for the heavily anticipated college process, and cannot wait to see where it takes me. ”


T-Jauni Barham

“Hi my name is T-Jauni Barham and I’m currently a junior at Guilford ABC. This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Pace University Summer Scholars Program in the field of psychology. I took part in 6-hour classes daily, learning about the history of significant psychologists and different mental disorders. Then after class, I had the privilege of touring New York City and all its wonders, such as Chelsea Piers and the Brooklyn Bridge. Overall, this summer was an experience I could never forget. It gave me a true insight into psychology and provided me with new friends and connections all over the country.”


Julia Antwi

“My name is Julia Antwi and I am a junior at Guilford High School. During this past summer I attended a program called “Girls Who Code” in Manhattan, New York. The program lasted for 7 weeks, Monday-Friday, 9 AM-4 PM. Thanks to the long hours in class, I was able to learn new program languages (Scratch, CSS, Java, Python, HTML, Arduino C and Java Script) and interact with different people. During the program we learned a new program language each week and were assigned to groups to work on projects that used the programming language. At the end of the week we shared our projects with the class. This allowed us to socialize with different students, learn new ideas and compromise in order to work as a team. The program also allowed us to visit companies, talk to computer scientists and go on trips. I was able to make many friends and understand more about the different aspects of coding. I would totally recommend this program to everyone because it is very informational—and the food was great! As a result of my summer experience, I decided to take AP Computer Science at Guilford High School. ”

The Guilford ABC Board has created guidelines to assist scholars with identifying and funding summer educational and cultural opportunities. While any and all of these programs are excellent resume builders and enhance college applications, they are optional.

Welcome New Scholars!


Arianna Alvarez

Freshman Arianna Alvarez joins Guilford ABC from Bronx, NY. She describes her middle school as having some caring teachers, especially her 8th grade humanities teacher, but others were less challenging. Very focused on a good high school education, she explored several options among public school and private school programs. Her guidance counselor suggested ABC and Arianna got involved right away. She expects to put a lot into her high school education and believes she will get a lot out of it.

Arianna is interested in math and science, especially astronomy and engineering. She is a member of the Math Team, Women in Science Club and Interact.


Leslie Camarena

Freshman Leslie Camarena, also from the Bronx, was already familiar with the ABC program; her brother graduated from an ABC program in Massachusetts. Leslie also took advantage of middle school programs in Stony Brook, LI and NYC. Even with these experiences, moving to Guilford has presented a lot of firsts. GHS is bigger and better equipped than her previous schools and, having attended several schools, it’s a change to be with classmates who have known each other since grade school. On making the move, Leslie says, “it seems impossible till you do it.”

At GHS, Leslie is focusing on math and science. She is a member of the Interact club. Her career interests lie in the medical field, in particular facial reconstruction.

A Bigger Hole in the Wall



When rental space adjacent to the Hole in Wall became available, manager Patty Sullivan and the ABC board decided to make the bold move to greatly expand the store. Six months after opening the new space that was generously transformed through the pro-bono services of Baldwin & Baldwin Construction, we are pleased to report that it has been a smashing success! Customer response to the wider selection of furniture and a larger men’s department have been outstanding, and overall sales have increased significantly, easily offsetting the increase in rental expense. Patty and her team also purchased a used pick-up truck, which has led to an uptick in donation and consignment of larger, more valuable items. Thanks to the donation of a storage unit by Milano Secure Storage, we now have space to store items as well.

In addition to providing Guilford ABC’s largest revenue source, the Hole in the Wall provides a great service to our local thrifty shoppers and consigners. Our Best of the Shoreline designation last year got the attention of many new customers who are spreading the word about the quality of our offerings. From clothing to household goods to jewelry and more, there is truly something for everyone—and it changes daily. If you haven’t visited lately, stop by and check us out.

Donations can be dropped off when the store is open. To schedule a consignment appointment or speak with staff about a furniture pick-up, please call (203) 453-2088.

ABC Friends & Faces


New Resident Director Lynn Prendergast

Lynn, our new Resident Director, has been a teacher in Madison for 26 years, first in elementary school, then teaching language arts and social studies to 5th-6th graders, and currently teaching computer coding. Lynn moved to Madison in third grade, and has lived in Guilford for the last 12 years. She has an 18 year old daughter, Elizabeth, who is now a freshman at Central Connecticut State University, which made this fall a perfect transition time for Lynn.

The story of how Lynn came to GABC is an interesting one. For two years, she taught at Sal’s Driving School, and two of our scholars took lessons from her. They talked about GABC and got Lynn interested, and Katrina reported back to our departing resident director that Lynn would “be the perfect lady for this job.” The rest is history.

Lynn, and her cat, Sunny, love being at GABC, where she’s quickly observed that every day – and every scholar – is different. She believes that each girl brings something special to the group, and she says one of the best parts is listening to the laughter when they are hanging out together. Lynn sees her role a ‘house mother,’ and believes that she brings a healthy calmness to a house full of energetic teens. She says that she’s amazed by the support and involvement of the board, advisors and volunteers, and she attributes the program’s long-term success to that multifaceted effort. Lynn is ‘honored’ to be at GABC, and we are equally honored to have her!


JEANNE MELE, Assistant Resident Director and Cook

Jeanne has been a welcoming sight at the House for many years, first as a 12-year volunteer (while her husband, John, served on the Board), helping out where necessary, including as a gardener and volunteer driver. Ten years ago, she and John became the Host Family for GABC scholar Tyesha Robinson. Jeanne’s love of cooking has always been strong, and for two years she taught young, recovering addicts in New Haven how to cook; the combination of her passion and her experience made her extraordinarily qualified for her current position as cook; for the last two years, she has taken on the additional responsibility as assistant resident director.

Jeanne shops for and cooks for the scholars four nights a week. She begins each school year by having each scholar fill out a long form of likes, dislikes and allergies, Her categories include ‘like,’ ‘no way,’ and ‘willing to try.’ She notes that some of the scholars haven’t heard of certain foods, and she coaxes them to at least take a taste and give it a try. Each scholar gets to pick the dinner menu for her birthday, and summer birthday girls get a birthday night during the school year as well. Jeanne started a very popular tradition: The first Monday of every month she serves breakfast for dinner, with her beloved breakfasts including eggs, two kinds of bacon, waffles, home-made fries, pancakes, cinnamon raisin toast and sausage. She says this is the most popular dinner of the month! You will find Jeanne at the house from 2:15 – 6:30 pm Monday through Thursday and on Friday afternoons. Board members and volunteers are encouraged to call for an invitation to dinner, an excellent opportunity to get a real feel for what goes on at the House.

Hole in the Wall Expands Space and Offerings

If you haven’t recently stopped in at Hole in the Wall, Guilford’s only non-profit consignment and resale shop, which donates all its profits to Guilford ABC, you’re in for a major and delightful surprise! Thanks go to the generosity of our landlord, Craig Helmrich, and to the wonderful pro-bono work of Baldwin & Baldwin Contractors who, within four weeks, transformed former office space into an open display area now full of a wonderful, ever-changing assortment of quality furniture and home furnishings, books, CDs, and other decorations as well as our entire men’s department, including men’s dressing rooms. This addition has been welcomed by savvy shoppers, who quickly scoop up wonderful values at gentle prices. The selection changes almost daily as donations and consignment items are received – and sold.  Pick up of furniture to be donated or consigned can be arranged through manager, Patty Sullivan at 203-453-2088.

CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page to see the latest and greatest offerings!


Hello, Goodbye

Lisa Brady (l) and Lynn Prendergast (r) at our May 8th end-of-year celebration.

Lisa Brady (l) and Lynn Prendergast (r) at our May 8th end-of-year celebration.


Guilford ABC is thrilled to welcome Lynn Prendergast as our new Resident Director. Beginning this July, Lynn will replace our long term and wonderful RD, Lisa Brady. We are so fortunate that Lynn brings attributes and skills that fit in perfectly with our organization.

An experienced teacher and mentor-teacher, Lynn has worked in the Madison middle and elementary schools since 1992. For many years she served as a team leader and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about child and teen development, problem solving, language arts and computer science. Lynn is also the mother of a daughter beginning college in September.

Lynn was first introduced to ABC when she taught two of our scholars how to drive and they brought her to the Board’s attention. As everyone knows, teaching a teenager how to drive requires a firm, consistent and unflappable demeanor. Combined with her other qualifications, these traits will stand her in excellent stead.


ABC has been truly blessed to have Lisa Brady as our resident director for the past six years. Her gifts to our students have been many and invaluable. She has brought to this critical job a combination of compassion, common sense, humor, consistency and love for the six scholars who come together to live as a family while attending Guilford High School. Lisa has maintained an open door policy which encourages each scholar to develop an individual relationship with her, sharing good times and bad with a true mother figure.

For 12 years, Lisa has been a teacher at the ACES Village School in North Haven, itself a full-time and difficult job. Yet, she returns to the ABC house each day, eager to share in the lives of the scholars, to offer encouragement, solace, and, when necessary, a firm hand and serious goal setting. She, more than anyone on the board, knows many details of each of the scholar’s lives.

Lisa feels grateful for the hard-working ABC board on whom she relies for counsel and individual expertise. She sees the board as an extension of the ABC family – and the board sees her as the key link in our ability to provide a warm yet academically rigorous environment for the scholars. We have been lucky to have such a fine role model in this critical position.

In June Lisa will start a new chapter in her life with her fiancé, Bob Swift. They both acknowledge that Guilford ABC and its scholars will remain an important part of their life together. We wish them much happiness, and look forward to their visits ‘back home’ to see the girls, share a meal, and catch up on all the latest news.


From Our Graduating Seniors…


Jada Allison

“Being a Guilford A Better Chance scholar has been pivotal to my development as a student and individual. I vividly remember driving to Guilford to start my freshman year. I had no idea what I would endure and experience being away from home, and I quickly realized homesickness would be a daily part of my life for the first couple of months. However, as an ABC scholar I found a built-in support system including my GABC sisters, our resident director, Lisa, my host family, the Glassers, and my board advisors. I thank them for being my support and cheerleaders from freshman year to now. This program has broadened my view of life in so many ways. Coming from a big city to a small suburban town was difficult, but I grew to love the quiet nights, walks to the Green, bike rides around town, and trips to Ashley’s. Throughout my years at Guilford High School, I became passionate about clubs such as CARE and Unity and discovered my love for theater arts. Despite the struggles, the rules and the image we have to uphold as an ABC student, this program has taught me to be independent, adaptable and appreciative.
    ABC exposed me to the world outside of my comfort zone - from living in Guilford to having the opportunity to travel throughout the country and study abroad. With the help of GABC supporters, I raised money to travel to South Africa with the Experiment in International Living after my junior year. This month-long journey included visiting Cape Town and Robben Island, staying with a host family in Kwanokuthula and spending a few days at The African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg. In addition, I participated in three national ABC college tours which allowed me venture into new states, connect with scholars from across the country and visit over 50 colleges. I am pleased to say I will be furthering my education at Wellesley College in the Class of 2022.
    We’ve all heard the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” — and it certainly does. I give a special thanks to my family, ABC and Guilford for being a part of that village which has helped mold me into the young woman I am becoming.”

Dorcas Saka

“Going through high school as a Guilford ABC scholar is not a chance given to most. It’s an opportunity that has opened me up in many different ways. Coming to Guilford freshman year, I instantly felt support from board members, advisors, the girls, and Lisa, the resident director. It has been an uplifting and eye-opening experience as I watched the older girls, whom I admired, working hard, discovering their passions, and getting into college. While the small town of Guilford was a difficult adjustment after New York, I grew to appreciate the quietness, ability to see the stars, and the Guilford spirit. Guilford quickly became home; the girls became sisters; Lisa became another mom; and my host family, the Goldbergs, and my board advisors became a part of my new family.
    Though being a Guilford ABC scholar was not always the easiest, I am grateful for the opportunities that the town of Guilford and its residents have provided me: joining the tennis team, going skiing for the first time, trying new foods (thanks to our cook, Jean), and travelling to Peru and India. It’s bittersweet to think that soon Guilford will no longer be ‘home’. However, the people I have met, the times of laughter and joy, the times of exhaustion and crying, the late nights, baking, and movie nights and so many more memories are things that I will never forget. I’m beyond proud to be a Guilford ABC scholar and amazed at how quickly these four years have gone.
    This summer I will continue my travel adventures as I study Arabic in Jordan for six weeks through National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). Upon my return, I will be attending Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. I am both excited and nervous about this new chapter of my life. Guilford ABC has provided me with immense opportunities and has helped me flourish in many ways. During my past four years, I have learned a lot, laughed a lot, built a lot, and gained so many new relationships that I cherish. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for every unforgettable memory, every bond, every ride, every trip, and most importantly for all the new sisters that I have gained. I look forward to whatever the future may hold.” t


9th Annual MJ Petretto Golf Classic


Today is the last day to sign up for the 9th Annual M.J. Petretto Foundation Golf Classic, from which a portion of the proceeds benefit Guilford ABC. Singles and duos welcome as well as foursomes at the Clinton Country Club. $220/per person includes lunch, golf, happy hour with cash bar, dinner, prizes and awards. Proceeds benefit local non-profits including Guilford ABC. For more information or to sign up to play on behalf of Guilford ABC, email contact@mjpfoundation.org.

Click here for more about the event.



Please take three minutes to help Guilford ABC during the 36 hours of 2018 The Great Give!


  • On May 1-May 2, starting at 8AM on May 1, go to the Guilford ABC page on The Great Give website (click here).
  • Our donation site will come up with a “Donate” button. Make a donation to us and/or to any of the great participating nonprofit organizations in greater New Haven.
  • You will have 36 hours to make your donation. All giving will end at 7:59PM on May 2.

You also can go online anytime and make a donation in advance.

Guilford ABC is an exceptional organization! We hope you’ll take this opportunity to help us keep this program moving forward, lessening the educational divide for promising young scholars of color.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Thank you for supporting the Guilford ABC Mo Pleasure Concert!

Thank you for supporting the Guilford ABC-Mo Pleasure Concert! Grateful to all the volunteers who helped make this event such a success. Mo shared a great night and amazing musical journey.... a wonderful career with renowned artists from around the world!Morris Pleasur, we congratulate you on being the first inductee to GHS Hall of Fame for Arts and Sciences-well deserved! Proud to call Guilford home. Photo by Judy Barbosa, Guilford resident and friend of Mo. (Watch for more photos, coming soon!) #guilfordabc #onevoice #mopleasure