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Upon his retirement in 2013 from Liberty Bank where he worked for 16 years, Calvin Price immersed himself in volunteer work at several nonprofit organizations, including the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), the Boys and Girls Club, the North Madison Congregational Church, and the Partnership for Strong Communities. (Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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“Own your own destiny. Own your own future.”
These may sound like a poet’s words, appropriate for reflection at year’s end and the beginning of a new decade. Rather, they are the words of longtime Madison resident Calvin Price as part of his philosophy in planning and living his life.
Retired since 2013 from his job as vice president of community development and community re-investment officer at Liberty Bank where he worked for about 16 years, he now spends his time with Nora, his wife of 45 years, as well as their daughter, Marissa, her husband, and their three-year-old son.
He also immerses himself in his volunteer work with as much purpose as he did in his job when he was professionally employed.
“I have no idleness. I’ve not looked back because I left full-time employment. Full-time employment was just a profession, a part of the journey. But life is consistent. You have to have a long-term plan. You can’t just be focused on your job,” he says.
He has seen men and women become overly involved with their professions, allowing their work to define them.
“I’ve never looked at myself that way. I’ve always looked at the whole cyclical approach, the process, what makes you whole. What are the pieces that contribute to the wholeness of your life? And I’ve always said, it was family, faith, and community. If you have those three anchors in your life, they don’t change,” he says.
Following these principles, he now volunteers at several organizations, some in the capacity as board officer or member.
Four nonprofit organizations that Calvin serves reflect his values: the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), the Boys and Girls Club, the North Madison Congregational Church, and the Partnership for Strong Communities.
Based in Hartford, CWEALF is one of the oldest women’s rights organizations in the country. At CWEALF, Calvin volunteers his time as the organization’s treasurer.
“I came at a time when they needed financial guidance,” he says. “They needed someone to work on the investment committee. They needed someone to work on their accounting. They needed someone to work on their budget. And I was involved in all of that and also coming up with a new strategic plan over the last 2 ½ years.”
But why would he want to volunteer at a women’s rights organization?
“Probably because I have a daughter and the challenges are so great,” Calvin replies. “I always like to encourage young ladies to stand out and speak [their] voice. Speak and believe in yourself. Enhance your self-esteem regardless of the circumstances. If you’re right, you’re right. Do not allow anyone to deny you of that, deny you of your voice.”
In the same manner, Calvin dedicates his time to help school-aged boys and girls at the Boys and Girls Club.
According to the website of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley in Shelton where Calvin serves, the club aims “to provide, in a safe environment, programs that inspire, educate, guide, and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.”
At the Shelton branch, Calvin served as a past president of the board and was conferred a lifetime member of the board status. Today, he serves as the chair of the Endowment Committee.
“I’ve been affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club for 45 years,” Calvin recalls.
Serving the club was a natural thing for him to do as a way of giving back.
“I’ve always had a passion for the Boys and Girls Club because they [hold] a powerful place in my life when I was coming up in middle school and…high school, that I always remember going there after school. And they always had mentors. They always had individuals working with kids,” he says, adding, “and as a result of that, I felt as though I could always give back. I always had as a memory, that adults spent time with me when I was a little guy and I needed a place to go and I needed something to do, and they were there for me.”
He also remembers mentoring one young boy at the club.
“The boy didn’t swim and he was afraid to swim. He didn’t want to go into the water,” Calvin says. “So, every time I would go over during the summer months, I would encourage him and talk to him. And then one day, I came into the club and he said, ‘Come here. I want to show you something.’ And he dived in.”
Calvin also devotes his time helping the North Madison Congregational Church where he has served in multiple capacities. Among other positions, he has served as assistant treasurer, assistant clerk, deacon, and the chair of several church committees, including the finance, audit, stewardship, and executive committees.
“I’ve been pretty much involved in every aspect of the church with the exception of property and planning,” he says with a laugh.
He and Nora are longtime members of the church. He was even part of the setup committee and the turkey team, roasting a turkey for the church’s harvest dinner event held last November.
He gives credit to members of the church for pulling off an event that served two seatings of 120 guests each and 150 take-out orders.
“It [was] the whole church coming together,” he says. “It really is the whole church and everybody plays a role. Everybody participates. It makes it much easier because to pull off a harvest dinner, you need a lot of hands on deck, and everybody has to do something.”
Being involved in the church, Calvin says, “enriches your life. It allows for you to walk humbly with our Lord and it allows for you to serve. And I personally feel that the more you serve, the more you’re going to receive. And I think that’s why I’m so involved—I’ve always served. I’ve always volunteered. I’ve always been taught, ‘If you have two, give one away.’ You will recover. Be willing to give. Be willing to share. Be willing to participate. Be willing to help your fellow person.”
A fourth organization that Calvin works for is the Partnership for Strong Communities, a statewide nonprofit policy and advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness, increasing affordable housing, and building strong communities in Connecticut.
“I was involved with the partnership when I was in Liberty Bank. They were one of our clients, one of our nonprofit groups that we supported financially. And when I retired in 2013, they were my first call. They wanted me to be on the board,” Calvin says.
Today, he is chair of the organization’s board. He is particularly pleased with the accomplishments of the organization, along with other nonprofits, in eradicating homelessness.
“I’ll say in the last five years, we’ve pretty much eliminated homelessness for all veterans,” he says, adding that “the homelessness in Connecticut is pretty much almost eliminated as a result of all the nonprofit groups coming together, with the partnership being one of them.”
He explains that the needs of residents in a community go beyond housing.
“The partnership also does a lot of anchor communities in the context of you need anchor institutions. If you look at a university like Yale, if you look at a university like Trinity, how do they spread out in the community? What are the partners you need to strengthen the overall community? And you end up with nonprofit groups, you end up with corporations, you end up of hospitals all coming together to improve the quality of life for individuals living in that region. And the partnership did a lot of work in that category,” he notes.
Fruits of Service
Serving others becomes rewarding in unexpected ways, Calvin says.
At one point, when Nora was in the intensive-care unit at a Connecticut hospital, people came to his aid at his most desperate moment.
“She was in intensive care on [a] Saturday morning and her heart rate was getting to a point where it was dangerous. And I had asked the young lady that was on that day when was one of the doctors coming in. And she said, ‘Well, it’s going to be challenging to get a physician to come in on a Saturday,’ because they were all on call. Nobody was in the hospital on weekends. And I recall coming out of that room and calling one of my colleagues, and within 30 minutes, we had three heart doctors there. And I can remember her saying, ‘How were you able to do that?’ I said, ‘That’s for me to know and you to learn.’”
He credits the immediate response he received to the importance he places on building relationships and genuinely caring for others.
“You have to be there and you have to be sincere. You can’t be fake,” Calvin says, adding, “and I think that’s what has defined me in the sense of being real. And I firmly believe that that helps. [It] not only helps you, it helps society, it helps community, it helps other individuals to get to the next level.”
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