Tag Archive for community service

Odede ’12, Posner ’09 Receive Award to Build School in Kenya

Kennedy Odede

Kennedy Odede '12, pictured inside his home in Kibera, Kenya, received a Projects for Peace award to build a School for Girls in Kenya's largest slum. Jessica Posner '09 is a co-recipient of the award, and will assist Odede during the 10-week project this summer.

Born and raised in Africa’s largest slum, Kennedy Odede ’12 witnessed abuse, rape, domestic violence and general mistreatment of school-aged girls in his community. His own sister, at age 17, gave birth to a baby recently as a result of rape.

Sadly, this is the norm. Without access to education, many of the girls are forced into commercial sex work at early ages. The Kenyan Government views the slum, named Kibera, as an illegal settlement and therefore does not provide any services or government-funded schools.

“Girls in my community lose their hope of ever attaining an education and ever leaving the slum,” Odede explains.

Jessica Posner '09.

Jessica Posner '09.

As 2009 Davis Projects for Peace grant recipients, Odede and his project partner Jessica Posner ’09 hope to make a difference in these girls’ lives by constructing the slum’s first all-girls school called the Kibera School for Girls. Project for Peace awards, worth $10,000, are designed to encourage and support today’s motivated youth to create and tryout their own ideas for building peace.

The school will offer 105 girls in grades K through six a high-quality formal education based on Montessori school teachings, as well as daily nourishment, self-empowerment, and a refuge from the pressures of the slum. By preparing students for higher education and skilled jobs, Posner says the school will keep the girls out of prostitution and offer them a potential path out of the slum.

“Our hope is that after they leave the school, they will be academically qualified for scholarships at prestigious government boarding schools, and can eventually attend college,” Posner says.

Faculty Teach Elementary Students DNA, Natural History

Michael Singer, assistant professor of biology, taught a workshop on "Biodiversity in Connecticut and Beyond" during the Middletown Minds in Motion program March 21 at Snow Elementary School.

Michael Singer, assistant professor of biology, taught a workshop on "Biodiversity in Connecticut and Beyond" during the Middletown Minds in Motion program March 21 at Snow Elementary School. Singer taught participants about natural history and the biologically diverse animals that inhabit Connecticut ecosystems, focusing on insects, reptiles and amphibians.

Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, taught a workshop titled "Who Done It? A DNA Investigation."

Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, taught a workshop titled "Who Done It? A DNA Investigation."

During a “Who Done It? A DNA Investigation,” elementary school aged children sported white lab coats and became “detectives” hoping to solve a crime.

The students learned about DNA structure by isolating DNA from wheat germ and comparing DNA samples from a ‘crime scene’ with the DNA from five suspects. They learn how DNA forensics actually works – just like on the television show “CSI.”

Wesleyan, Community Design Festive Greens

The Center for Community Partnerships hosted a "Green Your Holiday" craft event Dec. 6 for the Wesleyan staff, faculty and students and the local community. Volunteer Shelia Gray Smith, at left, taught participants how to make festive centerpieces using fresh pine greens.

The Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) hosted a "Green Your Holiday" craft event Dec. 6 for the Wesleyan staff, faculty and students and the local community. Volunteer Sheila Graham Smith, at left, taught participants how to make festive centerpieces using fresh pine greens. Elisa Del Valle, assistant director of student activities and leadership development, is pictured at right.

Ethnic Bake Sale Raises $1,200 for Food Pantry

Wesleyan hosted an international bake sale in the Usdan University Center Nov. 20 to benefit the Middlesex United Way.

Wesleyan hosted an Ethnic Bake Sale in the Usdan University Center Nov. 20 to benefit the Amazing Grace Food Pantry. Wesleyan raised $1,200 from the sale. (Photos by Intisar Abioto '09)

Swedish sweet bread, Greek jam cookies, Iranian walnut puffs and Irish soda bread were just a few tasty treats sold recently to benefit a local food pantry.

On Nov. 20, Wesleyan hosted an ethnic bake sale in the Usdan University Center. More than 70 bakers and volunteers contributed to the event, helping to raise almost $1,200 in two and a half hours. All proceeds were given directly to Middletown’s Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

Hundreds of baked goods were for sale.

Hundreds of baked goods were for sale.

“It was so wonderful to see the Wesleyan community come together as one and see what we could do for the community during these tough economic times,” says bake sale organizer Olga Bookas,

Kuan Receives NAACP Award for Community Service

Frank Kuan is the director of

Frank Kuan is the director of community relations.

Frank Kuan, director of community relations, received the Community Service Award from the Middlesex County NAACP on Sept. 26.

The award was presented during the 23rd Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Awards Dinner at Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown. The organization also awarded a business award and education award.

Film Studies Benefit Raises Homelessness Awareness

"Where God Left His Shoes" will be shown at the Center for Film Studies Oct. 25 to raise funds for Middlesex County Homelessness Prevention Fund.

When Frank, Angela, and their two children are evicted from their New York City apartment, they have no choice but to move into a homeless shelter. After a few difficult months, an apartment becomes available in a nearby housing project. There’s only one catch: Frank needs a job in order to qualify or the apartment will get rented to someone else. While the rest of the city prepares for Christmas, Frank and his 10-year-old stepson, Justin, roam the cold streets of New York trying to find a job by day’s end.

While this is the story line for the feature film, “Where God Left His Shoes,” the same scenario resonates in the local community.

Students Create Innovative Structure for Audubon Society

Wesleyan students built a bird-viewing platform for the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, Conn. The architecture project, named SplitFrame, will be celebrated by a reception for the project at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at the sanctuary.

Wesleyan students built a bird-viewing platform for the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, Conn. The architecture project, named SplitFrame, will be celebrated by a reception for the project at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at the sanctuary.

Imagine this architectural challenge: create a site-appropriate structure for a former cranberry bog covered with 3 feet of water; use durable and sustainable materials and construction technologies as extensively as possible; work within a budget and; make it optimal for observing Redwing Blackbirds, Scarlet Tanagers, Hooded Mergansers, and the occasional Great Blue Heron.

Workshop Helps Program Housing Develop Plans of Action

Students living in Wesleyan’s program house, ”Earth House,” want to promote the values of eating fresh, healthy foods in Middletown. They had ideas to create a bulk food education program, an easy nutritional cooking class and help 20 local residents obtain fresh foods in their homes.
 
During a workshop held Sept. 6, the students turned their ideas into a plan of action. Titled “Global Citizenship: Engaging in Local Social Issues with Global Implications,” the day-long event helped Earth House and fellow program houses design realistic programs that could be accomplished during the academic year.

Students Fight Invasive Plants at Local Park

Twenty-one first-year students participated in a Ravine Park community service project Aug. 30 under the guidance of Brian Stewart, associate professor of physics. The students removed several invasive alien species including Japanese barberry, oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose. Pictured above, from left, are Kuan-lin Huang '12, Jonathan Silva '12, Hannah Monk '12 and Katherine Mullins '12.

Twenty-one first-year students participated in a Ravine Park community service project Aug. 30 under the guidance of Brian Stewart, associate professor of physics. The students removed several invasive alien species including Japanese barberry, oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose. Pictured above, from left, are Kuan-lin Huang '12, Jonathan Silva '12, Hannah Monk '12 and Katherine Mullins '12.