Darien native Charles Dean has enrolled at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., for the fall semester. Dean's selected major is finance.

A grant for STAR

STAR Inc., Lighting the Way was recently awarded a grant for $38,500 from the Community Fund of Darien to support STAR’s Rubino Family Center’s Birth to Three Program for babies and young children. The program provides comprehensive services for infants and toddlers who have intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism, and in-home early intervention services. STAR’s Birth to Three Program is recognized statewide as exemplary in achieving positive results, with more children entering school developmentally on track in terms of literacy and social, emotional and intellectual skills.

STAR serves nearly 600 individuals from birth through their senior years in Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, Westport and Weston, providing a full range of services including early intervention and birth to three, school to work transition, job training and placement, onsite and community day programs, independent residential options including group homes, shared living apartments and condominiums, senior and recreational programs, transportation throughout Mid-Fairfield County and in-home supports for independent living.

The Community Fund of Darien has helped those in need for over 65 years. Its grants to local nonprofits are targeted toward the most critical needs in Darien, Stamford and Norwalk. As funders of 26 local nonprofits, they work throughout the year to ensure that critical services such as food, shelter, mental health, and abuse services are accessible and affordable.

At the library

Marijuana: the Law and Social Policy: The Maddox Law Firm will host a presentation at the Darien Library Community Room on Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. The free event is open to adults and high school students.

New Canaan resident Matthew Maddox, an accomplished Fairfield County trial attorney, will explain state and federal marijuana laws, including laws that pertain to medical marijuana in Connecticut. Discussion will include marijuana’s longstanding medical history and recent experience in Colorado and Washington related to distribution regulations, as well as tax revenue. It will also touch upon some of the chemical and neurological impacts of marijuana.

To register, email maddoxteam@maddoxlaw.com.

Holocaust survivor speaks

Judith Altmann, a Holocaust survivor and longtime Stamford resident, will share her story and insights into her experiences at 1 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Masonic Club of Darien, 354 Post Road. The event will be preceded by a light brunch. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m.

Altmann was born in what was then Jasina, Czechoslovakia, which came under the control of Hungary in 1939 and subsequently Nazi rule. During Passover in 1944, she and her family were arrested, sent to a ghetto, and then a succession of Nazi camps, ultimately ending up in Bergen-Belsen. She was liberated by the British Army in 1945 and allowed to go to Sweden, where she stayed until coming to the United States in 1948. Altmann is the recipient of the 2013 Daniel R. Ginsberg Humanitarian award and a vice president of the Holocaust Child Survivors of Connecticut.

For information, call 917-881-4403.

Socializing

at St. John’s

St. John Church in Darien will kick off “The Alpha Experience” with “A Taste of Alpha” on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Pierre Room at 1986 Boston Post Road.

This year’s speaker will be Nicky Gumbel, a pioneer of the Alpha Course. He studied law at Cambridge and theology at Oxford, practiced as a lawyer and is senior pastor of Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London. He is the author of many best-selling books about the Christian faith including, “Questions of Life, which sold more than one million copies.

Each week, Alpha guests socialize with a meal, enjoy a video presentation and engage in stimulating, small group discussion that offers a chance to get to know others, contribute their opinions and ask questions. People usually stay in the same small groups for the duration of the course so they can get to know each other, continue discussions and deepen friendships. The emphasis is upon exploration and discovery in a relaxed and informal environment. The Alpha course is an effective tool for awakening faith in people who are on the fringe of parish life, faithful Catholics and those outside the faith.

For information, contact Jean Benitez at 655-5122 or jbenitez0731@gmail.com.

At the DCA

The Darien Community Association is at 274 Middlesex Road.

Duplicate bridge is back: Games take place weekly on Mondays, starting next week, at 12:30 p.m. and are $12 per game. For duplicate bridge, one of the partners must be a DCA member. The DCA’s duplicate bridge games are led by Director Bill Wood, a Gold Life master and a recipient of numerous awards.

Games are on a drop-in basis, so reservations are not required. For details, visit dariendca.org, or contact the DCA at 203-655-9050 or info@dariendca.org.

Learn and play mah jongg: Popular instructor and longtime Darien resident Donna Holt is at the DCA to teach three different classes to learn and play mah jongg based on ability.

A four-week session for beginners will start on Sept. 20. Class fees are $85 or $75 for DCA members. Payment is required by noon on Friday..

In Beyond the Basics: Strategies for Improving Play, attendees will develop improved passing, defensive play, offensive moves, and a greater understanding of the game. The class is offered on four Wednesdays, starting on Sept. 21. Class fees covering the four dates are $85 or $75 for DCA members. Payment is required by noon on Sept. 19.

There will also be a four-weeklong guided play of mah jongg. This class will offer lots of playing time and the chance to meet other players, with instructor Donna Holt on hand to oversee play. She will be available to help with all aspects of the game, from choosing your hand, to guiding the group through any rules or etiquette questions that arise. The class starts Sept. 21 and payment of $75 or $65 for DCA members is required by noon on Sept. 19.

Afternoon Tea: Catch up with friends after the summer by enjoying a popular British-style afternoon tea in the historic home of the DCA on Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. David’s Soundview Catering, the DCA’s new afternoon tea caterer, will offer sweet and savory scones with clotted cream, tea sandwiches, cake bites and a variety of miniature pastries and tarts.

There are two seatings available: one at 11:30 a.m. and the other at 1:30 p.m. Fees are $30 for DCA members; $35 for the public. Prepayment is required by noon on Sept. 19 and may be made online at dariendca.org or by contacting the DCA at info@dariendca.org or 203-655-9050 ext. 10.

Lobster for Ladders

The Town of Darien Firefighters' Foundation is hosting its fifth biennial Lobster for Ladders event on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 6-10 p.m. at Weed Beach. Proceeds benefit all three volunteer fire departments: Darien Fire Department, Noroton Fire Department and Norton Heights Fire Department.

The schedule kicks off at 6 p.m. with cocktails and the Color Guard at 6:55 p.m.

Following the Color Guard ceremony, the night will be filled with music by Tangled Vine and delicious food. As in the past, lobster is on the menu with lobster rolls, and, new this year, there will be a grilled cheese station, slider station, raw bar and desserts.

Winners of the silent auction with one-of-a-kind offerings will be announced at 9 p.m.

Event sponsors include Bankwell, Baywater Properties, Greenwich Tent Company, Ring’s End, Carta, McAlister & Moore LLC, Darien Sport Shop, Darien Times, Nicholas Roberts, East Coast Irrigation, Pumpkin Ridge and Half Full Brewery. Event Donors are photographer Freddie Orawsky, Two Roads Brewing Co. and The Gardeners Center and Florist.

Purchase tickets at darienfirefighters.org. Tickets are $200 per person, $400 per couple, or $2,000 for a table of 10. Tickets will be picked up at the event.

Annual Darien Road Race

The 37th annual Darien Road Race is scheduled for Sept. 11 at Pear Tree Point Beach and includes a 10K and 1.5-mile loop. The race will feature “The Finish Line” tent with music, games, food trucks, sponsor booths, a silent auction and an awards ceremony.

The Darien Road Race supports The Community Fund of Darien. The race has raised almost $1 million in the past and all money raised will benefit local nonprofits and community initiatives in Stamford, Norwalk and Darien. Community Fund grants target youth success, self-sufficiency, basic needs and Darien programs.

The race is made possible by local business sponsors and volunteers. The title sponsor for the 2016 Darien Road Race is the Darien Sport Shop. Gold sponsors are UBS, Eagle Point Credit, Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group and Vineyard Vines. In addition, 2016 sponsors include Baywayter Properties, Christine Hamilton-Hall MD, Corbo’s Deli, CST 50, Darien Rowayton Bank, Farrell Construction, Fox Hill Builders, Halstead Property, Heights Pizza, Hutchinson Tree, Kumon, Methodist Family Center, Northwestern Mutual, Palmer’s Market, Pear Tree Point School, Perpetual Insights, Professional Physical Therapy, Pure Barre, Southfield Center, Stamford Hospital, TD Bank, and Thomas Costello Landscaping. The Goose, Fleet Feet Stamford, Crystal Rock, The Darien Boat Club, Runner’s Roost, and The Darien Times also donated to the annual race.

Registration for the Darien Road Race. The registration fee is $45 ($50 on race day) and $15 for all children 12 and under. The first 400 registered runners will receive an official 2016 Darien Road Race performance t-shirt on race day. Runners can pre-register and pick up their t-shirts and numbers on Sept. 9 and Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Runner’s Roost, 25 Old Kings Highway North.

Parking at Pear Tree Beach is limited. Access to the beach and road will be closed at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 or when the lot is full. Runners are advised to look for off-site parking or car pool.

For more information or to register for the Darien Road Race, go to darienroadrace.org or call 203-655-8775.

Annual Maritime golf classic

Birdies and eagles will connect schoolchildren with sharks and sea turtles during The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s 6th annual Maritime Golf Classic on Monday, Sept. 12.

Foursomes and individual golfers can register now for the event at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien. Proceeds support The Maritime Aquarium’s efforts to connect cash-strapped schools that need subsidies for Aquarium programs and for busing.

The Maritime Golf Classic includes carts, a barbecue lunch, refreshments, post-play hors d’oeuvres and dinner, a silent auction and other prizes. Registration/bag drop begins at 10:30 a.m. and lunch opens at 11 a.m., with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start.

Opportunities range from $10,000 as naming sponsor with two foursomes and two hole sponsorships to $1,000 as an individual player or $1,000 as a hole sponsor.

Sign up or get more details at 203-852-0700, ext. 2277.