Finding Your Social Network

One of the daunting experiences of moving to a new place is finding your peeps. Stamford has many ways to find fellow travelers who can get you involved in the community. Nonprofits, religious fellowships, gyms are waiting with open arms to bring you into the fold. All you have to do is find whatever makes you happy.

Help Wanted 

Looking for a place to give back? In Stamford, we have no shortage of worthy global-to-local causes—from health clinics, the arts, addiction treatment and nature preserves to child development, literacy, homelessness and domestic violence awareness. Plus, we all know volunteering is a great way to meet new, like-minded friends, and with each organization’s busy fundraising efforts, beef up the social calendar. Lend a hand!

Americares delivers medical aid and clinical support to people in need in the United States and 163 other countries. Benefit: Airlift Benefit, October

Avon Theatre is an historic theater that shows independent, documentary and classic films. Benefit: Red Carpet Gala, January; Oscar Night Party

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens connects people to the natural environment through ninety-three acres of gardens, collections, trails, habitats and ecosystems. Benefit: Garden Tour, June 4 and 5; Dinner Gala, September

Boys & Girls Club provides youth development and mentoring services. Benefit: City Chic, March; Corporate 5K, May 24; Champions of Youth Breakfast, November

Building One Community: Center for Immigrant Opportunity (formerly Neighbors Link Stamford) helps immigrant families adjust and succeed. Benefit: Spring Benefit Breakfast, May 24

buildOn seeks to break the cycle of poverty and low expectations of urban youth through service learning programs and by building schools in some of the world’s poorest countries. Benefit: Dinner Gala, November

Childcare Learning Centers offers early childhood education and support services for children six weeks to five years old. Benefit: April

Curtain Call is Stamford’s longest-running and only year-round, nonprofit producing theater company. It welcomes all helping hands either on stage or behind it. Benefit: Dancing with the Stars, May 20

Domestic Violence Crisis Center aids victims of domestic violence. Benefit: Voices of Courage Spring Luncheon, May 11

Ferguson Library’s Friends of the Ferguson Library promotes community support for the library’s programs, including its bookstores. Benefit: A Novel Affair, April

Inspirica works to break the cycle of homelessness. Benefit: Spring Soirée, April

Laurel House offers resources and opportunities to people with mental health challenges. Benefit: Champions for Recovery Dinner Dance, April

Loft Artists Association is a collective of artists with its own gallery that supports arts education in the community. Benefit: Art in the Community, September

Mill River Collaborative supports the vibrant park in the heart of the city, and the restoration of the habitat along the Mill River basin. Benefit: Dinner in the Park, May 4

New Covenant Center focuses on hunger prevention and social services for those in need. Benefit: Celebrity Breakfast, April; Harvest Table, November

Pacific House provides emergency food and shelter to homeless men. Benefit: Dessert and Chocolate Lovers Tasting, March; Gala for Pacific House, May 6

Paint the Town Pink is a monthlong campaign managed by the Stamford Hospital Foundation to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month. It holds fundraisers that support the work of the hospital’s Bennett Cancer Center. Benefit: October

SoundWaters seeks to protect Long Island Sound through education and action. Benefit: Tall Ships Ball, May 5

Stamford Museum & Nature Center is an art, history, nature and agricultural sciences museum for all ages. Benefit: Food and Wine Celebration, June 2

Stamford Hospital is, well, do we need to spell this out? Benefit: Hope in Motion, June 4; Dream Ball, November

Stamford Family YMCA provides youth development and adult healthy-living programs and advocates for social responsibility. Benefit: March

Pray Tell

Stamford is home to a large and varied religious community. There are synagogues from Chabad to Reform; Evangelical, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox churches; and a mosque, always welcoming new members. Some of these are designated historical landmarks, too. But whether you are interested in seeking spiritual connections or not, it’s worth taking a drive to take in the architectural landscape of these houses of worship. Mark these on your GPS.

Some of the old churches in North Stamford date back up to 300 years. To soak up New England religious history, check out the North Stamford Congregational Church; its current structure dates to 1782.

The Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church sits in a brick building at the end of Grove Street. See the large Star of David window in the front? That’s because the building started life as the home of Agudath Sholom, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue that is now located on Strawberry
Hill Avenue.

The First Presbyterian Church is affectionately known as the “Fish Church” because it is, indeed, shaped to look like one. Inside, there are outstanding stained glass windows, containing more than 20,000 pieces of faceted glass.

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and The Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist were designed to look like European cathedrals.

The front of The Chabad of Stamford was created to look like an open book.

St. Mary’s Holy Assumption Church has the traditional onion dome of Russian Orthodox churches.

Feel Great

Speak to any fitness fan and they will tell you they draw motivation not only from their trainers, but from the other people taking a class with them. It’s hard to pin down that intangible but, speaking from experience, we say that sharing common fitness goals—lose weight, get stronger, improve health—also results in new friendships. To that end, here’s a short list of boutique centers that are family-friendly, welcoming to all ages and experience levels, as well as great places to shmooze and break a sweat.

A Core Fusion Barre class at Exhale Spa

1. Carozza Fitness is home to CrossFit Sound Beach, plus also offers group and private training, including a program called “Operation Muffin Top.”

2. Chelsea Piers Connecticut is a large sports and recreation facility in Cove with an on-site athletic club that offers just about every fitness modality.

3. Exhale Spa in Harbor Point offers Core Fusion classes in cardio, HIIT, boot camp, barre, spinning and strength-building.

4. Inspire Fitness in North Stamford provides private and group training. Classes include boot camp, yoga and training for warriors.

5. LifeCycle, Not your everyday spinning option; here you can ride Real Ryder fitness bike, which turn, tilt and lean like real road bikes. Yoga also available.

6. Revolution Training in Harbor Point offers personal training, boxing for fitness and B-yoga (yoga with a boxing twist).

7. The Training Floor Boot Camp, TRX and Kettle Bell classes are among this studio’s options for training.

8. Upper Deck Fitness is a full-service training facility specializing in private and group training in cardio, strength, endurance and mobility; nutrition; therapeutic massage; and youth athletic training.

9. Vertical Addiction, Studio offering pole fitness, aerial hoop, aerial hammock, silks, flexibility and chair dance classes.

Fast Friends

If technology can play matchmaker, why not let it also help you find buddies in your new neighborhood? Here, three apps to help you grow your local friends list:

  1. Mommy Nearest
    Like Tinder, Peanut allows users to search and swipe to connect with like-minded moms. Profiles can be tailored with badges like “neighborhood newbie,” “single mom” and “special needs.” Free for iPhone
  2. Pet Friendly
    If your profile picture features you and your pooch, Meet My Dog is for you. Find fellow fur parents in your area, scope out the best parks and arrange a doggie date. Plus, cute puppy pics! Free for iPhone

  3. Street Smart
    Nextdoor offers neighbors a private platform to share community news, promote events and share recommendations for everything from plumbers to babysitters. Free for iPhone

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