Wellspring and the Arch Bridge School Celebrates Ten Graduates in 2016

Students Thankful to Discover True Selves & Bright Futures

This year the Arch Bridge School, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), awarded diplomas to ten students of the graduating class of 2016. Themes of the graduation ceremony on our main campus in Bethlehem were: finding our way, learning who we really are, and looking forward to a bright and healthy future. This was the first graduation to take place at Wellspring’s new Dodds Family Center for Arts and Athletics.

Reflecting the relational quality of our program, several aspects of the ceremony make Arch Bridge School graduations special. As they receive their diplomas, students are not simply given a handshake and sent back to their seats. Rather as each diploma is handed out, a member of the faculty delivers a thoughtful and personalized speech honoring the graduate’s accomplishments and progress. These personal presentations are filled with stories of transformation, tears and laughter. This year, the staff speeches included a few props such as a coveted Student of the Month tee-shirt and a tiara with scepter set. Graduates are also invited to speak at the ceremony if they wish.

“It was really difficult for me to write this speech because every time I tried to describe Wellspring, it sounded like they paid me,” one graduate said in her address. “Like when you see the Girl Scout cookie boxes where the girls are really happy – that’s me at Wellspring. Arch Bridge is by far my favorite high school experience. The staff and students were always kind and funny. Eventually I was oddly happy to wake up and go to school in the mornings. I have never been more thankful for a school.”

Another student said, “Wellspring is truly a magical place…if you take advantage of what it offers, you will transform into your true self. One of the most important things I learned here is that Wellspring will always stay with you, even after you leave.”

Keynote speaker at the ceremony, Liza Amir, a former resident of Wellspring, inspired students by sharing her experience from the heart and speaking about her success and happiness since her time on campus.

“Change might be scary and intimidating, but it is also very exciting,” Liza imparted. “Have the confidence to work towards your goals, and the self-worth to know that you deserve them.”

“Who will you be?” Liza asked. “Where will you be in a year? Ten years? I am talking to you as proof of what is possible…Wellspring saved my life. It has been 18 years since I was a resident at Wellspring. If you had told my 16-year-old self when I was a resident here that I’d be where I am today, I probably would have laughed at you. Today I am an artist, wife, mother, friend, sister and daughter. I have a fulfilling career that I love, a husband who is truly my partner and soul mate, an amazing son, meaningful friendships and a deep authentic relationship with my family. It took a lot of work. It all takes work.”

Liza’s advice for the graduates, and that could apply to everyone: Trust yourself and have faith in yourself. You don’t have to be perfect but be sure to learn from your mistakes. Remain humble and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Several students also shared their talents and sang with emotion in duos and groups – including a beautiful a capella rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

The members of the graduating class of 2016 will be moving on to college, jobs or travelling abroad. Five eighth grade students were also recognized for moving up to high school and many other students were acknowledged for their hard work and progress as they head back to their public schools, prep schools or step-down programs.

Wellspring Joins Connecticut Community Foundation’s Give Local Challenge

On May 3rd and 4th 2016 Wellspring and the Arch Bridge School will join other nonprofits in the Connecticut Community Foundation’s Give Local online giving event. This 36-hour online giving challenge provides community members a platform to invest in and celebrate the work of local nonprofit organizations across Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills.

We are excited to share that their participation in Give Local 2016 will be further amplified through the generous pledge of a $40,000 gift of matching funds provided by members of Wellspring’s board of directors and alum parents.

Donations made between 7 a.m. May 3rd and 7 p.m. May 4th  May 5th will be enhanced with bonus funds provided by the Connecticut Community Foundation and their sponsors. To learn more, or to make your online donation during the campaign, please visit www.wellspring.org/givelocal.


Contests Wellspring is eligible to win through Give Local 2016:


Tuesday, May 3


7:00 am – 10:00 am

$1000 awarded to the organization raising the most money between 7:00 and 10:00 the morning of May 3


9:30 am – 10:30 am

$500 awarded to the organization with the most unique donors between 9:30 and 10:30 the morning of May 3


10:30 am – 11:30 am

$500 awarded to the organization with the most unique donors between 10:30 and 11:30 the morning of May 3


11:30 am – 12:30 pm

$500 awarded to the organization with the most unique donors between 11:30 and 12:30 on May 3


1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

$1,000 awarded to the Bethlehem, Goshen, Litchfield, Morris, Thomaston, or Watertown based organization with the most unique donors between 1:00 and 4:00 the afternoon of May 3


4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

$1,000 awarded to the health organization with the most unique donors between 4:00 and 7:00 the evening of May 3


Most Unique Donors the First Day

$1,000 awarded to the organization with the most unique donors prior to midnight on May 3


Wednesday, May 4


Night Owl

$250 awarded to the first organization to receive a gift after midnight on May 4



$1,000 awarded to the organization that receives a donation closest to sunrise in Waterbury (5:45 am)


Most Unique Donors of Give Local

$2,000 awarded to the organization with the most unique donors during Give Local 2016


Grand Prize for Most Money Raised

$2,000 awarded to the organization that raises the most money during Give Local 2016



MARI Workshop with Michele Murelli

MARI® Mandala Assessment Research Instrument Workshop

A Jungian based art therapy assessment

Saturday May 14, 2016

9:30 am to 4:00 pm

at Promisek, 694 Skyline Ridge Road Bridgewater, CT

$75 (catered lunch included)

Join Michele Murelli, MA, Art Therapist and Certified MARI practitioner for this experiential workshop that provides an overview of this powerful therapeutic tool for evaluating personal problems and gaining insight and a better understanding of self integrating meditation, art making and mandalas.

About MARI: MARI is a non-verbal and non-threatening assessment tool that can be used working with individuals ages 14 and up. This new approach to psychological healing accesses Jung’s four functions of consciousness (sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling) through an intuitive process that serves as a powerful therapeutic tool. Learn more at: http://www.maricreativeresources.com/

About Michele Murelli, MA: Michele works as an art therapist and art teacher at Wellspring in Bethlehem, Connecticut. A certified as a MARI Practitioner, Michele earned her BA in Psychology with a certificate in Art Therapy from Albertus Magnus College and an MA in Art Psychotherapy from Lesley University. Michele is a talented painter and mixed media artist she enjoys spending time in her garden and cooking.

Registration Information:

Please visit http://tinyurl.com/mariworkshoppromisek

or call Caren at 203-947-4214 to register for this workshop

Guests rooms available, please email events@promisek.org to reserve or inquire.


Wellspring Opens New Arts & Athletics Center

Dodds Family Center for Arts & Athletics at Wellspring's Arch Bridge School

Isabella Dodds is greeted by Arch Bridge School Director of Education Ralph Scafariello and Wellspring CEO Dan Murray.

Over 170 members of Wellspring’s community of staff, board members, clients, students, families, and friends (old and new) gathered together to celebrate the opening of the newly completed Dodds Family Center for Arts & Athletics on September 19, 2015. The day’s events centered around a celebration of Arch Bridge School’s 25th Birthday and honoring the school’s founder Susan Scott Schoenbach.

Throughout the day Wellspring employees and leaders expressed their gratitude to the many individuals who helped make our dream of the new building a reality.

Dan Murray, Wellspring’s CEO, shared the following quote, reminding those gathered of the amazing shared accomplishment of opening the Dodds Family Center:

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do whats possible;
and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.
– Saint Francis

The new building provides Wellspring with much needed spaces – a gymnasium/event center for large groups to come together, an exercise room, classrooms for Arch Bridge School’s Lower School (previously housed in temporary trailers), and a conference room for trainings and art exhibits that will serve double duty as a dining room for the Arch Bridge day students.

Over the past few weeks our campus has been buzzing with activity as we move into the classroom wing of the building and explore the new spaces available for recreational activities. Stay tuned for more photos this fall as we settle in, but in the meantime click here to see some photographs of the new building and our event in September.



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