About 140 school and social service professionals and other community leaders were in attendance for the 27th annual "Breakfast on the Bridge" at St. James Episcopal Church on Wednesday morning.
The event is the fall kickoff for a new year of collaboration for the town and the Bridge Family Center, a youth and family service agency in West Hartford, according to Judy Bierly, director of community services.
"We invite people from the schools and town who work with kids and families - it's an upbeat and positive thing," Bierly said. "We all work together. It's lovely."
David Downes, the town's director of continuing and adult education, received the "Build No Fences Award," which is given each year to "an individual who provides support for young people and families and 'who tears down turf issues in town and recognizes that there is enough work here for all of us.'"
Downes has worked in the school district since 1987, serving in various roles such as a guidance counselor and director of summer school, according to Bierly.
The event drew local leaders such as state Sen. Beth Bye and Mayor Scott Slifka, in addition to school principals, administrators and guidance counselors.
Bye applauded the selection of Downes for this year's award.
"David is such a fierce advocate in West Hartford and the state," she said. "He's amazing to work with."
Panera Bread this year donated $1,800 to the Bridge Family Center, and has raised over $68,000 in total for the organization.