Creativity Connects Darien: Meet Sarah Woodberry, Executive Director of The Darien Foundation

Creativity Connects Darien

What fuels a vibrant, connected, and creative community? What makes people feel good about living in Darien?

When locals share the creativity that they uncover in the nooks and crannies of their community it brings about connectivity and makes us all feel good. Believe it or not, you discover creativity every day as you walk, shop, work, and play in Darien. 

Creativity connects us. 

Meet Sarah Woodberry, Executive Director of The Darien Foundation.

Any place in town where you go for inspiration and creativity?

While I am originally from Dallas, Texas, I am proud to call Darien my home as of ten years. Tilley Pond Park, for me, is a place of wonder and inspiration during all the seasons. I live nearby, and I visit every day in between meetings or for a quick break from work for The Darien Foundation. People are bird watching, reading on a bench, painting at an easel, walking dogs, taking photos, fishing in the pond, or simply enjoying nature. After school, the kids run free in imaginative and unstructured play—they’ve named the giant snapping turtle Crush. It is lovely in the slanted autumn sun, or on dewy summer mornings, or on bright winter days when people ice skate or play pick up pond hockey. 

Is there a person or organization using creativity to provoke change in Darien?

Person-to-Person continues to find creative and innovative ways to provoke change and to serve an increasing number of people and families—in spite of the challenges related to the pandemic. They’ve had to rework all of their protocols to keep their pantry and services open, shifted to a virtual food drive and toy drive, and, even before Covid, they had launched a mobile food pantry on wheels. The Darien Foundation recently worked with them on two grants—one for the cheery red van which drives around Darien and one for technology. I find it inspiring that P2P engages hundreds of Darien residents to volunteer for their mission. For many of Darien’s youth, P2P is their first experience volunteering and their first experience meeting people who are less fortunate. Person-to-Person’s reach extends well past our community and is known in neighboring towns for all the good that they do.

Is there an organization in town that makes you feel good?

 The Mather Senior Center is such a wonderful and feel-good organization! Beth Paris (the Director) and her team there have been working so hard to keep the senior citizens of this town connected and engaged through these difficult times. We worked with them on the Corbin Cares to-go lunches last spring which the senior center kitchen now provides. On Halloween, Beth and her staff dressed up in costumes, as did many of the seniors picking up meals. They did a socially distant Octoberfest, and they are launching virtual programming. Not only is the organization creatively managed, but there is also an outpouring of warmth on every level — speaking on the phone with Beth is like getting a big virtual hug!

Finish this sentence: When I think of creativity in town, I think of …

Grove Street Plaza, which I walk by on my way to work and visit often. There is always a communal feel there, almost like the town square. People are meeting for coffee, others are working on laptops, and kids are skateboarding. Whether it’s a visiting vendor like Waffle Cabin, or a Darien Summer nights concert, or just the wraparound line for Flour Water Salt, people come together there and connect. You always see someone you know.

How does creativity connect you to Darien?  

Creativity connects me to Darien via my job at The Darien Foundation. I feel very lucky that I get to work with so many amazing people and creative organizations in town through the grants awarded by The Darien Foundation. I’ve been down in the indoor firing range with the Darien Police to see them using innovative, virtual-reality training. I’ve watched the Forest Pond habitat for turtles progress from an idea on a whiteboard to a touchable, kid-friendly exhibit at The Darien Nature Center. I am always wowed when I watch DAF Media in motion working on the livestream. It’s like NASA! The Darien Foundation just awarded a grant to the Darien Arts Center, and I look forward to working with their team to bring an enhanced and energy-saving lighting system to the Weatherstone Studio.

Creativity Connects Darien is made possible by LIFEWTR.

If you have local creativity to share and would like to be featured in this series, feel free to email 

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 

Submitted by Darien, CT

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