Tag Archive for Center for Community Partnerships

Local Youth Learn How to Use Technology for Social Good at “Hackathon”

Thafir Elzofri ’19

Thafir Elzofri ’19, at left, assists Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. participants in Beckham Hall.

On Feb. 24, Wesleyan hosted a “hackathon” for social good in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. The free event introduced more than 50 local children in grades 4 through 8 to technology and showed them how it could be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. About half the children came from Middletown, while others came from as far away as Greenwich, Griswold and West Hartford to participate.

Seven Wesleyan students and two staff members served as volunteer mentors, working with the children to devise computer applications that addressed a range of problems facing local organizations. Five nonprofit social good organizations founded by Wesleyan students through the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship were the beneficiaries of these apps. Using MIT App Inventor, students learned the basics of app design, as well as the ideation and brainstorming process required to build a successful prototype mobile application.

Ahmed Badr ’20 gave a keynote address, in which he discussed Narratio, the platform he created for refugees to tell their stories.

Wesleyan Will Host Youth “Hackathon” for Social Good, Feb. 24

Wesleyan, in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr., is hosting a “hackathon” for social good for students in grades 4 through 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. This free event, to be held in Beckham Hall, will show local youth how technology can be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. The hackathon is open to the public and requires no prior coding experience.

“Participants will be working with Wesleyan student mentors to create technology for social good,” explained Patrice Gans, president and executive director of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. “By the end of the day we hope they will see how technology can have a positive impact on someone’s life.”

Wesleyan Students, Staff Participate in Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project

On Nov. 21, Wesleyan students and staff helped stuff 1,000 boxes with everything families will need for a Thanksgiving dinner celebration.

On Nov. 21, Wesleyan students and staff helped stuff 1,000 boxes with everything families will need for a Thanksgiving dinner celebration.

This fall, Wesleyan students and staff took part in the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project, an annual collaborative effort to provide Thanksgiving meals for families in need. Wesleyan was one of 70 community partners for the project, led by Fellowship Church in Middletown. The university’s involvement in the project was coordinated by Cathy Lechowicz and Diana Martinez, director and assistant director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships.

MCTP 3For this year’s project, the Wesleyan community donated stuffing, gravy, pies and other foodstuffs; students and staff from the Allbritton Center helped register families at Amazing Grace Food Pantry from Oct. 31 to Nov. 18; students and staff, including the men’s crew and women’s lacrosse teams, helped with packing almost 1,000 boxes of food at Fellowship Church on Nov. 21; and staff from Wesleyan’s Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development helped distribute the food to Middletown residents in need on Nov. 22. The women’s lacrosse team also collected more than $600 to contribute to the project.

Students Help Local Residents Prepare for a Thanksgiving Day Feast

Fred Ayres '17 helps stock shelves at Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown on Oct. 4. Ayers is one of several Wesleyan students and alumni who are volunteering at the food pantry this month.

Fred Ayres ’17 helps stock shelves at Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown on Nov. 4. Ayers is one of several Wesleyan students and alumni who are volunteering at the food pantry this month in preparation for Thanksgiving. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

On Nov. 24, dozens of low-income Middletown families will enjoy a Thanksgiving Day feast courtesy of a local food pantry and the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships at Wesleyan.

Fred Ayres helps a patron gather a ration of food at Amazing Grace. The pantry serves an estimated 3,000 individuals, or 1, 075 households each month.

Fred Ayres, at right, helps a patron gather a ration of food at Amazing Grace. The pantry serves an estimated 3,000 individuals, or 1,075 households each month.

From Oct. 31 to Nov. 18, four Wesleyan students, three alumni and JCCP staff are hosting Middletown Community Thanksgiving Basket Project registration at Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown. Families who sign up will receive a baked turkey and traditional fixings on Thanksgiving Day.

In addition, the JCCP is hosting a Stuffing and Gravy Drive (jars or cans) from now until Nov. 18. Boxes are placed in North College, Usdan, Olin, Freeman Athletic Center and Allbritton. Wesleyan volunteers also will assist Middletown Police Department with a turkey drive on Nov. 18 and 19. They also hosted fill-a-bus events at local supermarkets on Nov. 5 and 6.

Volunteer Fred Ayres ’17, a neuroscience and economics double major, has served as an intern for the St. Vincent de Paul Middletown group, which includes Amazing Grace, throughout the fall semester. In addition to directly volunteering with families who shop at the pantry, he has also learned how Amazing Grace stocks their shelves, how they raise funds and collect donations,

Wesleyan, Middletown Community Members Vote at Beckham Hall April 26

For the first time this year, Wesleyan’s Beckham Hall served at Middletown’s District No. 14 polling location for the presidential primary election held on April 26. District No. 14 encompasses most of the Wesleyan campus as well most of downtown Middletown.

According to Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, the District No. 14 polling location was at the Senior Center on Broad Street for many years. When the relocation and construction of a new Senior Center required the polling place to be moved, Middletown’s Registrar of Voters asked if Wesleyan would be willing to serve as the new location. With assistance and input of several offices on campus, Beckham Hall was identified as the best location. It will host a November election every year going forward, and may host one or two additional elections in April and/or in August or September.

Undergraduate and graduate students at Wesleyan have the option to vote via absentee ballot based on their home residence, or can choose to register in Middletown. Wesleyan’s Office of the Registrar maintains information on local voting.

Photos of the polling location in Beckham Hall are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.

Jewett ’81 P’17 Honored with Naming of Center for Community Partnerships

Wesleyan honored Ellen Jewett '81 P'17 with the naming of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships on February 26. Left to right: Ellen Jewett, Wesleyan President, outgoing board chair Joshua Boger and JCCP director Cathy Lechowicz.

From left: Ellen Jewett ’81, P’17; Michael S. Roth ’78; Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09; and Cathy Lechowicz cut the ribbon at the official naming ceremony for the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships.

On Feb. 26, Wesleyan honored Ellen Jewett ’81, P’17, a former trustee and incoming co-chair of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, for her many years of service to the university with the naming of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships (JCCP) during a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside of the center, located on the third floor of the Allbritton Center. The ceremony was part of the university’s Board of Trustees reception.

The event was attended by more than 150 guests, including Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78, outgoing board chairman Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09, and JCCP director Cathy Lechowicz, as well as by current, former and emeriti trustees; faculty, staff, students, alumni and local community members; and Jewett’s family and friends.

Pilot Program Gives Students Insight into Local Nonprofits

Wesleyan Nonprofit Board Residency Program

Members of the Center for Community Partnerships’ new Nonprofit Board Residency Program. From left to right: Joe Samolis (Middlesex Historical Society), Ben Romero ’16, Patrick McKenna (rear, Middlesex Habitat for Humanity), Liza Bayless ’16, Jennifer Roach (Wesleyan Civic Engagement Fellow), Kevin Whilhelm (rear, Middlesex United Way), Sarah Bird (Middlesex Habitat for Humanity), Nancy Fischbach (Community Foundation of Middlesex County), Cynthia Clegg (Community Foundation of Middlesex County), Cathy Lechowicz (Center for Community Partnerships), Diana Martinez (Wesleyan Center for Community Partnerships), Arpita Vora ’16, Makaela Kingsley (Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship), John Bassinger (NEAR, Buttonwood Tree), and Bria Grant ’17. Missing: Aidan Martinez ’17. (Photo by Lu Imbriano ’18)

Arpita Vora ’16 clicks through a website that seeks to raise awareness about the hardships faced by low-income families in North Carolina. Middlesex United Way, the organization at which Vora was placed through the Center for Community Partnerships’ yearlong pilot Nonprofit Board Residency Program, is hoping to create a similar site using data from Connecticut.

Lechowicz Honored with State Community Service Award

Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships, right, displaying her award with William Dyson, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane Ciarleglio, executive director of the Commission.

Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships, right, displaying her award with William Dyson, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane Ciarleglio, executive director of the Commission.

#THISISWHY

Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships, was one of six people honored with a 2015 Community Service Award by the Connecticut Commission on Community Service and the Office of Higher Education. The winners–drawn from college students, campus programs and faculty and staff–were recognized at a ceremony April 14 at the Connecticut State Capitol.

This was the 23rd annual awards ceremony conducted by the Connecticut Commission on Community Service. More than 50 students, faculty and staff attended the ceremony.

“I am humbled by the recognition and grateful to work with an incredible team of people at Allbritton, on campus and in the community,” said Lechowicz. “Wesleyan has been extremely supportive of our community engagement initiatives and I’m looking forward to further developing our programs.”

Center for Community Partnerships Celebrates 10 Years

Wesleyan’s Center for Community Partnerships celebrated its 10th year anniversary on April 8. The CCP, located inside the Allbritton Center, serves the development of both the individual and the community and is guided by principles of mutual respect and shared responsibility. The different offices that combine to constitute the CCP are the Service-Learning Center, the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, the Office of Community Relations, the Green Street Arts Center/PIMMS, and the Center for Prison Education.

Each office within the CCP connects Wesleyan to surrounding communities. The Service-Learning Center integrates experiences outside the classroom with an academic curriculum taught within the classroom to broaden students’ understanding of course content in virtually any discipline through activities that are simultaneously of service to the community. The Office of Community Service and Volunteerism fosters Community building within the University and with the communities of Middletown and Middlesex County, maintaining the spirit of public service at Wesleyan by offering opportunities to participate in volunteer work, providing work-study placements, and supporting student-sponsored social action initiatives. The Office of Community Relations aims to enhance and maintain collaborative initiatives between Wesleyan and the greater Middletown community and beyond while developing and strengthening partnerships within the Wesleyan campus by working closely with the other offices in the CCP as well as other partners on- and off-campus such as the Upward Bound programs. The Green Street Arts Center/PIMMS offers programs for the youth and educators of Middletown and greater Connecticut, offering opportunities for Wesleyan students and working with faculty members on the broader impacts of their research. And the Center for Prison Education offers a high-caliber liberal arts education inside prison walls, advancing Wesleyan’s commitment to civic engagement by offering college courses to incarcerated individuals in order to enrich the lives of those who are systematically denied access to educational opportunities.

Read past stories about the Center for Community Partnerships here.

Photos of the 10th year anniversary are below:

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Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, will serve as Director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life for a three-year term, beginning July 2014. Rosenthal is the founding director of the Center for Service Learning, founding co-director the Center for Community Partnerships, and helped institute the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Several faculty, staff and students attended the celebration.

Several faculty, staff and students attended the celebration.

Lechowicz to Serve as Director of the Center for Community Partnerships

Cathy Lechowicz, who served as the director of the Office of Community Services and Volunteerism for the past eight years, has taken on a new role, director of the Center for Community Partnerships (CCP).

“Cathy’s charge is to support the University’s liberal arts mission by collaborating with departments to engage faculty, staff, and students to weave civic engagement into the fabric of Wesleyan’s academic, community, and student endeavors,” wrote Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for academic affairs, in an all-campus e-mail.

The CCP combines the resources of Service-Learning Center, the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, the Office of Community Relations, and the Green Street Arts Center. Lechowicz will be coordinating work between these units while also aligning these initiatives with various other university-community efforts being mounted at the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and PIMMS.

Kuan Receives Al Award from Middlesex Business Bureau

From left, Middlesex Chamber President Larry McHugh, Middletown Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano, Wesleyan University Executive Director of the Center for Community ChamPartnerships Frank Kuan, and theber’s CBB Chairman Trevor Davis at the inaugural Al Award presentation at the CBB meeting on June 3.

Frank Kuan, executive director of the Center for Community Partnerships, received the  inaugural Al Award from the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Central Business Bureau (CBB) on June 3.

The award is named after Middletown Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano, who has been a member of the CBB for 25 years, and is given to a member of the CBB who provides service above and beyond what is required or expected.  The CBB presents this award to one of its members each year.

Kuan is a graduate of California State University at Fresno and began his career in Middlesex County as a counselor at Middlesex Community College from 1992-98. After this time, he continued his work at Wesleyan University as the first full-time director of community services and later as the director of community relations.

The Center for Community Partnerships is seen as a portal for individuals interested in developing community-university initiatives and includes the Green Street Arts Center, the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, the Office of Community Relations and the Service-Learning Center.

Kuan has been active on the Chamber’s Central Business Bureau for over 12 years, and prior to his involvement, volunteered with the Main Street Middletown, Inc., which was a precursor to the Downtown Business District organization.

He volunteers as a board member for the Friends of Long Hill Estate, Middlesex United Way, and the North End Action Team.  He also is a member of Middletown’s Youth Services Bureau and the Middletown Commission on the Arts.