Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Walk For Warmth 11/23/2014

The Windham Area Interfaith Ministry hosted Walk for Warmth, marathon to raise poverty awareness. The Center of Community Engagement volunteered to help set up the walk by placing posters around the town of Willimantic about poverty facts. After the mass at St. Josephs, and the walk, The CCE set up a children's activities table with coloring books and making turkey masks. Victoria Nimirowski , the director of WAIM, said that the Walk for Warmth raised $42,000, which she said it was the biggest year in 23 years of the walk.

"We are very grateful to Eastern, and to the Center for Community Engagement for all the help and support they provide for this event.  The students are wonderful to work with, and are always so willing to do whatever is needed". Victoria Nimirowski, Director of Windham Area Interfaith Ministry

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Day of Giving 11/26/2014

Eastern Connecticut State University held it's eighth annual Day of Giving at Hurley Hall dinner. Hurley was filled with hungry people, and volunteers to help with the dinner before the day of Thanks Giving. Transportation was provided by the Center of Community Engagement (CCE).

"This is our eighth Day of Giving. It is a community meal that is a great collaboration between many partners at Eastern," Kimberly Silcox, Director of the Center of Community Engagement

Student volunteers who were traveling far from the holiday were asked to opt out of volunteering this year, so they wont have to drive home in the snow, though students who live locally were welcomed to stay. "This year is a little different because of the weather. We had to move it up and we sent all of the students home last night so they won't have to drive in bad weather," Silcox said. Usually 50-60 students and 300 to 400 community members come to participate each year. Despite the weather, the people who helped stayed strong.

"I think it's a really great cause and I see a lot of people from the community who get to come out here and enjoy it together" Kaitlyn Murphy, Eastern Student

Student musicians play live music each year. This year was student duo, Max Robinson and Eva Alfonso.

There were also fresh pairs of socks available for anybody who wanted them, from Chartwell's Safety Shoe Program.

"We put all of the socks together and we're giving them away to people who want fresh, warm socks," Jason Coombs, Director of Chartwells Dinning Services

Community members who sat down for their Thanksgiving meal said they had a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. "This is my first time," said Leonard Maxwell as he sat with a group of friends. Maxwell said he was thankful for "all of us being together." Andy Eggen said he was thankful for his mom, dad and "living good," while April Waite, who was with her two children as well as a friend, said she was thankful for her family and job. Waite's daughter, Symarie Edwards, said she was thankful for her family and her home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week

From November 16-22nd is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week.
To kick off the event, there will be a documentary shown called, "Storied Streets"; A intimate look into personal stories of Homelessness in America. The showing will be on Sunday 11/16, 7:30 PM, at the Student Center Theater.
On Tuesday and Wednesday (11/18-19), Habitat for Humanity will be hosting a Shack-a-thon, a demonstration on what homelessness feels like. Students can participate by building their own shelters to raise poverty awareness.
Wednesday, 11/19, Rochelle Ripley from Hawking, Inc. will be discussing what life is like on Indian Country today by The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, 6:00 pm at the Student Center Theatre.
Thursday 11/20 is "Make the Movement! Zumba Class". Admission is donating travel size toiletries or new pair(s) of socks to benefit No Freeze Hospitality Center. The Zumba class is at 7:00 PM at the Sports Center Dance Studio.
From Wednesday and Friday 11/19-21 is "Fill the Van! Food Drive" Help is fill an entire Eastern van with food! The van will be at the Student Center Patio each day from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Public Service Panel Tells Students How They Can Give Back After College by Michael Rouleau

 Left to right: Kimberly Sanchez ’09 (Public Allies), Max Goto ’13 (AmeriCorps VISTA), Allyson Iannicelli (Teach for America), Chris Brechlin ’09 (AmeriCorps VISTA), Michael Rouleau ’11 (AmeriCorps NCCC), Olivia Grajeda ’78 (Peace Corps) and Kathryn Fidler (Peace Corps).

Willimantic, Conn. – On Oct. 30, a panel of speakers from various national and international service programs spoke with Eastern Connecticut State University students in the President’s Dining Room. The lunchtime event was organized by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and featured Eastern alumni and current and former participants of Public Allies, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Teach for America and AmeriCorps NCCC. Each of the programs vary in project/service type, qualification and commitment, but all focus on positively impacting the communities in which they serve.
Eastern alumna Kimberly Sanchez ’09, a representative of Public Allies, spoke of how the program engages students and young leaders in work with nonprofit organizations. During her two terms with Public Allies, Sanchez has worked with Connecticut College to develop innovative teaching and learning techniques that foster active citizenship in greater New London communities.
The Peace Corps, a two-year service program that places volunteers in developing countries throughout the world, was represented by Kathryn Fidler and Eastern alumna Olivia Grajeda ’78. From 2002–04, Fidler served as a youth development volunteer in the Philippines and as a nonprofit program director in South Korea. Grajeda spent two years serving in a hospital as a community health organizer in Albania.
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), which focuses on expanding community programs that alleviate issues related to poverty, was represented by Eastern alumni Max Goto ’13 and Christopher Brechlin ’09. Amid his second VISTA term, Goto currently works at Eastern’s CCE as an event and volunteer coordinator. Brechlin, a data specialist, spent his VISTA term managing the measurement initiative of the Nonprofit Alliance of Northeast Connecticut.
Teach for America, a program that assigns participants to education-focused projects within underperforming school districts, was represented by Allyson Iannicelli. During her term, she served in Tulsa, OK, as an early childhood educator from 2012–14.
AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), a hands-on, team-based service program that assigns teams to different projects within a designated area, was represented by Eastern alumnus Michael Rouleau ’11. During his term, Rouleau performed trail work and forest fire mitigation in Arizona; IRS certified tax preparation in Denver, CO; prototype disaster relief shelter construction in Austin, TX; and watershed restoration in southwest Colorado.
While making money is not a primary draw for these programs, many do offer modest salaries or living allowances, as well as assistance with student loans and other financial perks. Their primary draw is the opportunity to give back to communities while enabling participants to travel, grow, develop professional networks and work in a number of job and service areas.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Relay for Life 10/18-19/2014

The Windham Community participated in a rally for cancer awareness called "Relay for Life". "Relay for Life" is an annual event the American Cancer Society holds through  out the United States. The event is about cancer survivors and volunteers rallying for cancer awareness, and that cancer is a treatable and preventable disease.

The Center of Community Engagement had over fifty students from Eastern Connecticut State University to volunteer, and participate in the rally.
The event took place on the baseball field at the Mansfield Sports Complex. The Willimantic Community raised $4,639, while the whole Windham Community raised $65,764.69.

Ellen Gillette, who works at Eastern's IT Department, was a cancer survivor. Gillette has never done a relay before, but her son and daughter had. Eight and a half years ago, Gillette was diagnosed with lymphoma. When she was diagnosed, she had kimo  and surgery, which got rid of her cancer, and her lymphoma has not returned ever since. Gillette is still feeling strong and healthy today. She joined Relay for Life with the staff from ECSU as survivors. She planned to be more involved to fight cancer.

"It takes a village to fight cancer" - Ellen Gillette

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.