As part of its mission to be a strong community partner and make a difference in the Wilton community, Bankwell recently donated $10,000 to help the Wilton Youth Council launch the Wilton Warrior Council.

The Wilton Warrior Council is an organization that provides high school students in Wilton with a clear path and the support they need to choose substance-free living and healthy alternatives. The program also provides students with an opportunity to build leadership skills through planning educational forums.

Membership is currently open to Wilton teens who want to build confidence in choosing substance-free activities and meet other like-minded students.

The council was formed this fall when Wilton Youth Council President Vanessa Elias and members of Wilton High School and the town of Wilton joined forces with New Canaan-based substance abuse counselor and prevention specialist Joyce Sixsmith.

When this alliance of community leaders was seeking funding for the Wilton Warrior Council program, Bankwell CEO Chris Gruseke stepped up to the plate, recognizing the importance of the initiative as a longtime supporter of the substance-free Rams Council Foundation of New Canaan that Sixsmith created over the last six years.

Sixsmith has been hired by the Wilton Youth Council as a consultant to the new Wilton Warrior Council and licensed clinical social worker Alexa Lee is serving as the group’s program leader.

The council meets monthly at Wilton High School to discuss and develop projects, student-moderated educational and community forums on substance abuse prevention/healthy decision making for teens, and community service.

The group will host monthly substance-free activities like laser tag, beach nights, a pool party, movie nights, bowling, luncheons and dinners.

There is also an active parent component, where parents can volunteer alongside student members at events and fund-raisers. Interested parents are encouraged to become a part of this exciting movement to support Wilton teens in healthy decision-making.

Those looking to join the council can contact Lee at 203-215-0253 or leea@wiltonps.org