Thursday, October 16, 2014

CLiCK October 4 2014

The Center of Community Engagement helped out at a fundraiser hosted by CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Co-operative Kitchen, inc). CLiCK is a non-profit community kitchen/garden that serves healthy and sustainable foods through out the community. There was an art auction and wine tasting to help sustain increase community wellness, and small businesses produce products they can create.

Connecticut Congressman, Joe Courtney, was there to help promote CLiCK because he fought for the kitchen, and the agriculture industry. Courtney said that CLiCK was rewarded by the federal government $98,000 for its success in agriculture. "It was a difficult project, but people got together." said Courtney.

State Representative Susan Johnson was also there. She said that agriculture is very important, because if it is not supported, then there will be three days of fresh food left if disasters such as hurricanes cut off transportation.

The mayor of Willimantic, Ernie Eldridge, was at CLiCK, as an auctioneer for the art show. His friend, Kenny Morgan, had his art displayed at the show. Morgan was know for his art based on his youth in the circus. His son, Adam Morgan (who was helping with the wine), said that he had a stroke, and now does his art on the computer. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

National Public Lands Day 9/27/2014

Eleven Eastern Students have volunteered for National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is the largest single day volunteer effort across the nation. The Eastern Students worked with CFPA (Connecticut Forest and Park Association) and AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club).

The volunteers worked on a broken bridge in the Narragansett Trail. The Narragansett Trail is part of

the Blue Blaze Trail System that runs through Camp Yawgoog. The Blue Blaze Trail is maintained by the CFPA. The volunteers took out the fifteen in a half bridge, and carried eight foot pieces of lumber three quarters of a mile to the bridge site. The bridge site had to be cleared, and the wood had to be measured.

After the bridge was completed, Bob Andrews of CFPA, took the volunteers to a hike. Andrews showed the Eastern Students where they had previously built a lean-to four to five years ago. After the hike, the students went to Button Wood Farms for ice cream.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Poverty Awareness Marathon 9/19/2014

September was the month for poverty awareness. Dr. Charlie Chatterton, a professor of Health and Physical Education, dedicated to raising awareness of issues surrounding poverty by running marathons. He held the 6th annual Poverty Awareness Marathon at Eastern, for which he organizes a route that loops around the campus, which invites students, staff, and faculty to participate in. On the day of the event, signs with the latest statistics about poverty were posted along the route and around campus. Early on in the morning, Dr.Chatterton was joined by runners and supporters in a small opening ceremony during which all reflect on the importance of bringing awareness to this issue. Dr. Chatterton was accompanied by  runners as he runs the Marathon. Participants were encouraged to run or walk the entire 26.5 miles or join in or leave as their schedule allows. Runners were asked to register by donating a nonperishable food item which were collected at the starting point. All donations were then given to a local food pantry. 

Individuals participated by:
•           Donating nonperishable food. A food drive will be held, with a goal of 462 items, to support the local Covenant Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. This number represents the 46.2 million people in the U.S. whose income falls below the poverty level.
•           Volunteering to read to children. Participants and campus community members will be invited to volunteer and read to children at the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) on campus. This will be to represent the 16.1 million children experiencing poverty in the U.S.
•           Donating a children’s book. Children’s books will be collected, to be donated to local children’s programs.
•           Making a cash donation. All proceeds will go to the Covenant Soup Kitchen. 
"This was the 6th Annual Eastern Poverty Awareness Marathon, and number 57 as part of my Take Strides to Brake the Cycle of Poverty Marathon initiative. It took five hours and twenty-Eight minutes, but we had stops along the way to visit the Child Development Center to run with the kids and at exchange point every 1.2 miles." -Dr. Charlie Chatterton, ECSU professor of Health and Physical Education 

 667 miles were completed, 561 cans of food were donated, and $200 were raised.
"The Swim Team runs in the marathon every year. It is a good caused to raise awareness because no one is aware of the poverty line. Even students who go to Eastern are in poverty." -Abby Arisco, Senior of ECSU, and Swim Team Member


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Student Activities & Community Service Fair 9/8/2014

On Monday, September 8th, The Center of Community Engagement was part of the Student Activities & Community Service Fair. The Fair, was to promote clubs across the campus, in order to gain new members. Four-hundred and three students signed up at the CCE table.  

"It was nice to see people joining CCE. and getting involved in the community."
 - Lily Egan

There was another table that was with the CCE. Program coordinator, Alyson Iannicelli, started a new program in the CCE called, Jumpstart. Jumpstart is an Americorps program serving low-income preschools working on language, and literacy development. Jumpstart had over ninety students signed up at the Student Activities Fair.

"With Jumpstart as a new program, I was excited to see all of the students interested in joining the community, but also impressed about how they are commited in finding a service program."
 - Alyson Iannicelli

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Warrior Welcome Day of Service

On August 27, 2014, Student Leaders from the Center of Community Engagement, Student Orientation Counsel (SOC), and freshmen participated in the Warrior Welcome Day of Service. The goal for this program is to get new students involve in the community as early as possible to give appreciation and understanding of the relationship between the university and the town of Willimantic. During orientation, students filled out interest cards and many of them checked community service.

The first event of the day, was cleaning up Eastern Connecticut's Railroad Museum, led by student leader, Lily Egan. Two freshman and one SOC member attended the event. At first, the freshmen did not know what was going on. They helped clean up the Railroad Museum, and had a great time.

"Its not about how many showed up, it is about the dedication that two people showed up and the fact that they became friends in the process" -Lily Egan

The next event was the Covenant Soup Kitchen, lead by student leaders, Jalpa Patel, and Melanie Morales. Eight freshmen and a SOC members volunteered. "Some volunteered at soup kitchens before, and others wanted to get to know the community" Patel said. "The volunteers enjoyed it, and want to do it again at some point".

At the end of the afternoon, Student Leader, Valerie Lewis, lead WAIM (Windham Area Interfaith Ministry). Nine freshmen and one SOC volunteered. At WAIM, people can donate clothes, and the community can buy. WAIM is ran by volunteers and has four staff members. The freshmen enjoyed it, and it opened their eyes about different social classes of Windham. The coordinator, Evelyn Solla, told about the history of the town, and how it has gone down economically.

On the day of the event, 97 freshmen volunteered, and served a total of 137 hours. The event was successful, with the volunteers having fun, and would like to help out the Willimantic Community in the future.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

AmeriCorps Mayor’s Day of Recognition for National Service

On April 1, 2014 Mayors in Connecticut, along with other mayors around the United States came together to recognize the impact that National Service Programs have had on their communities. Every year more than 5 million diverse individuals come together to help meet the needs of local communities by participating in various service opportunities through the Coporation for National and Community Service's programs. These programs consist of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps which work to serve six crucial project areas within communities;  disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.
Local Mayor of Windham Ernie Eldridge kicked off the Mayor's Day gardening service project at Natchaug Elementary School with the reading of an official town proclamation. This event was sponsored by GROW Windham and united participants from Eastern Connecticut State University, The Windham Area Hour Exchange, Eastern Area Health Education Center, Windham Public Schools and several other organizations in town with service corps members. Participation was also open to the public free of charge. Mayors around Connecticut from Bridgeport to Windham participated in this day of recognition to thank those who have brightened their communities and to encourage others to join and do the same.
On a more national scale, this years Mayor's Day turned out to be a major success. Participation from more than 1,760 mayors in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico came together and represented 1/3 of all Americans. The success of the second annual Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service more than doubled from the previous years Mayors volunteer list. You can view the full list of the 2014 Mayor's Day participants here
“We are thrilled by the extraordinary turnout of mayors from across the country for this bipartisan nationwide recognition of the impact of national service. It is a testament to the dedication and effectiveness of all those who serve in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps that mayors representing more than one-third of Americans are joining in this effort.  I commend Mayor Coleman, Mayor Smith, and other mayors across the country for participating in this recognition effort and for working with us to improve lives and strengthen communities through national service."
- Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alternative Spring Break: Generous Gardens Project

This past Spring Break proved to be an educational and influential adventure for the eight Eastern students who participated in the Alternative Spring Break: Generous Gardens Project in Greenville, South Carolina. The Generous Gardens Project is a nonprofit organization that grows, harvests, and delivers fresh food, as a healthy alternative to canned and boxed food, to people who are in need. They also educate individuals on how to create and maintain fresh produce gardens in a sustainable way. South Carolina is ranked ninth in the highest population of hungry people in the United States. Hunger is a very real and significant issue in our world today and the Generous Garden Project works to end the struggle of hunger in the healthiest way possible. "It is a known fact that if people get fresh fruits and veggies in their diet, they think more clearly, have more energy and live more fruitful lives. We are here to fight hunger one garden at a time."

The students drove 11 hours down to Trinity Church in Travelers Rest, South Carolina where they resided for the week. Everyday from 8am until about 3:30pm the volunteers worked hard planting seeds, making compostable flower pots, making garden beds and laying down leaves, feeding chickens and gather their eggs, sifting through compost, making labels for plants, and harvesting lettuce. Students learned the ins and outs of gardening and volunteering at a community based garden. The volunteers were able to incorporate the fresh produce from the gardens into their daily meals, which was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the trip for most of the volunteers. This spring break, however, was not all work and no play, one day was spent exploring the city of Greenville, hiking through Paris Mountain and dining at a local Hibachi. 

Student Leader Lily Egan commented on her experience at the Generous Gardens Project: "I would never have imagined doing anything else during this spring break. It was truly an honor to be able to work with such open-minded and hard working people. On thing I learned through working at the Generous Gardens Project was that in order to grow you must learn, and in order to learn you must be willing to grow, just like in college and just like a plant."