Students Receive Innovation Fund Grants from the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships

Musical Mentor Henry Hodder ‘20 works with two of his guitar students at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown.

Musical mentor Henry Hodder ’20 works with two of his guitar students at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown. Hodder’s group, Cardinal Kids, is one of nine student ventures to receive grants from the JCPP Student Innovation Fund.

This spring, nine student ventures received grants from the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships (JCCP) Student Innovation Fund. These student efforts are representative of the JCCP’s commitment to cocreate mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.

The Student Innovation Fund provides up to $750 for spring or summer projects that prioritize:

  • Collaboration between student groups, faculty/staff, and/or community partners.
  • Investigation of the impact of our civic engagement efforts.
  • Sharing of ideas and learnings in civic engagement on campus and beyond.

The recipients are:

Jessica Brandon ’20 and Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19
Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness (ASHA)

Due to the structural forms of racism that economically oppress people of color, volunteer opportunities are inherently restrictive. ASHA’s innovation seeks to investigate this barrier to the involvement of students of color in volunteer opportunities, as it is essential to the project of cultural competency for an educational organization to include members that represent the identities of many different students. The Student Innovation Fund will support their effort to make ASHA an inclusive and equitable organization.

Anthony Price ’20
Be The Change Venture

There are not many funding opportunities for young people, both high school students, and college undergrads, to help bring their ideas to life. In collaboration with the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Student Innovation Fund will help Be The Change Venture expand its Annual Pitch Competition, which supports high school and undergraduate students in their efforts to make a difference in their communities.


Noah Kahan ’19
Beyond Bus Cuts

Beyond Bus Cuts – a senior thesis project – examines Middletown Area Transit as a stigmatized social infrastructure and depicts the history of Middletown Area Transit together to not only disrupt this evident stigma, but to provide a historical context for its very existence. The Student Innovation Fund will support the maintenance of a primary written history of Middletown Area Transit and will also help with displaying these documents and clippings and ensure they are properly archived and displayed for future audiences. Learn more about Noah’s Connect Middletown project here.


In 2018, the Cardinal Community Classic raised $3,088 for the Middlesex Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center.

In 2018, the Cardinal Community Classic raised $3,088 for the Middlesex Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center.

Jordan Bonner ’19; JR Bascom ’18, GLSP; Lina Marzouk ’19; Jordan Sears ’18; Ernesto Vargas; Kevin McDonald ’20; Eli Blair-May ’20; Chelsea Cantos ’20; Remi French ’20; Henry Martellier ’19; and Jordan James ’21
Cardinal Community Classic

A collective of Wesleyan University students, Wesleyan alumni, Middletown residents, and local businesses are organizing and sponsoring the 2nd annual Cardinal Community Classic (CCC). The Cardinal Community Classic is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament hosted at Wesleyan University on April 28, 2019. The Student Innovation Fund will help this collective achieve their primary goal, which is to raise money for the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center to support individuals affected by breast cancer in our local community, while also building sustainable relationships between the Wesleyan campus and Middletown communities.

Zach Farnsworth ’21 and Julie Mulvihill, visiting assistant professor of dance
Moving Conversations/Making Community

This project is providing a space at Russell Library for people in the Middletown and Wesleyan communities to tackle the challenges of communication. With the help of the Student Innovation Fund, the project facilitates conversations about different themes that are important to the group’s participants; making movement, sound, drawings, or other art about it; and will have a final performance sharing at the end to show what they have done.


Lizzie Phan ’19, Kriti Narayanan ’20, and Erica Clark Gould ’21
New Horizons Embroidery Workshops

In partnership with New Horizons, the Student Innovation Fund will support the implementation of several workshops teaching and guiding women from Middletown and Wesleyan to embroider pieces that are meaningful to them. By creating a space that is open and welcoming to all women from a spectrum of different experiences, they will provide a safe environment that promotes women supporting other women.


George Perez ’20, Jessica Russell ’20, Jenny Chelmow ’19, and Katie Murray ’19
Cardinal Kids

With the Student Innovation Fund, Cardinal Kids is addressing three gaps this spring. They are increasing Wesleyan student involvement with the Wesleyan RJ Julia bookstore, providing affordable, high-quality literacy programming for Middletown youths, and creating more opportunities for Wesleyan students interested in education.


Leslie Maldonado ’19 and Ray Peters ’18
Retrain to Regain

Through research-informed interventions, Retrain to Regain (RTR) counters the effects of toxic stress on the human body in the hope of creating a world where youth who are most disadvantaged have better health expectancies and social outcomes. RTR is an educational program that teaches youth ages 14–21 from marginalized backgrounds how to combat the effects of toxic stress while at the same time encouraging personal growth and development. The Student Innovation Fund will support the implementation of these workshops with McNair Scholars and Upward Bound students.


Ricardo Vega ’21, Melisa Olgun ’20, Kaila Scott ’19, Sadie Robb ’21, Leila Etemad ’21,  Max Sanborn ’22, Yasmeen Alshabasy ’20, and Margarita Fuentes ’21
Wesleyan Book Buds

Wesleyan Book Buds organizes book drives both on campus and in the Middletown community to help bridge the reading accessibility and achievement gaps by collecting children’s books to donate to low-income children at elementary schools, child centers, religious centers, and other educational organizations. The Student Innovation Fund will help this group as they expand and run larger-scale community book drives.

The award recipients join approximately 400 Wesleyan students who engaged in programs sponsored by the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships in 2018–19. Students have worked on behalf of educational programs and programs addressing hunger and homelessness, among others.

For more information, email, visit the Engage Blog, or the Allbritton Center website.