Thomas Merton Center

Safety Marking Inc. is sponsoring the Youth of the Year virtual event on May 24, 2021, one of the many important initiatives at Wakeman Boys & Girls Club of Fairfield. Mark Kelly supports their mission to guide and inspire young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.


“It is a privilege and an honor to be able to help The Wakeman Boys and Girls Youth of the Year Program and support their important initiatives in providing for those in need, particularly throughout the COVID pandemic,” said Mr. Kelly.

Mark Kelly started Safety Marking Inc. in 1973 as a small, family-owned striping business. The Bridgeport based company is now known in the pavement marking industry as a pacesetting leader. Since its inception, business’s development has broadened with more significant contracts and expansions. It now offers eight major types of services in three states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York. Safety Marking Inc. has always prided itself on its involvement in charity work and is now is giving back to the community again by sponsoring The Wakeman Boys and Girls Club.

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating extraordinary achievements of its Club members. The program today has evolved into a comprehensive leadership development program, which includes Youth of the Month and Junior Youth of the Year. Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premiere youth leadership program, honoring extraordinary young people and their achievements in leadership, service, academics, and their dedication to living a healthy lifestyle

Each year, Wakeman selects two exceptional Club members to be the Boy & Girl of the Year from each Clubhouse. These extraordinary members serve as both an exemplary ambassador for Wakeman Boys & Girls Club youth and as a strong voice for the Club’s young people. Donations from supporters and charitable organizations like Safety Marking Inc. help make the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club services possible.

Youth of the Year is a signature effort in Fairfield County designed to foster a new generation of leaders who are fully prepared to lead successfully in today’s diverse, integrated, global, and fast paced society. This premier program prepares young people for the 21st century workplace, with essential leadership skills such as communication, goal setting, scholarship, teamwork, citizenship, and community service.

CEO of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, Sabrina Smeltz explains, “It would not be possible for us to do the work we do in Bridgeport and Fairfield without the tremendous support of Safety Marking. For over 30 years, Mark, a Club Alumnus, has been a champion of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club’s mission—to guide and inspire young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”

A video created and hosted by Bridgeport native John Ratzenberger, coming to us from Pixar Studios in California, follows a typical day in the
life of TMC dealing with the complex issues of COVID while continuing to provide guests food and groceries. If you missed the video, it is available
on our website

Another significant contributor is Mark Kelly of Easton, CT, President of  Safety Marking, Inc. Safety Marking is a major sponsor for the video, and
went above and beyond to help this significant effort.

Special thanks go out to the members of the Celebrity committee, Co-Chairs, Marianne Kahn and Michelle Babyak and members Jack Edwards,
Mark Kelly, Edna Borchetta, Mary Ann O’Connor and Louise Gidez for stewarding this effort start to finish.

We were pleased to have two other “Celebrities” – two of our guests who were spotlighted in the video:
Kenneth Graham, a former guest, now gainfully employed and coming into TMC to volunteer his time in the kitchen preparing meals. “I found
the staff would listen… I feel like I should give back because they were here for me,” states Kenneth.

Yashira Cruz, who with her family of 4, not only utilizes the food panty, but also helps out in the garden. As Yashira stated, “It is
important to have these resources because without them I wouldn’t have… I’m trying not to cry… I don’t have family here, so to me they
are my family and when I need help, they’re there.”

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