Summer Civic LeadersConnecticut College News
Even a pandemic couldn’t stop Connecticut College’s Summer Civic Leaders program from running well this year, as 13 students spent six weeks working to support various local organizations.
Jordy Batista ’24 spent the first half of the summer working with fellow civic leader Annika Brown ’23 to research the effects of zoning laws on wealth gaps, segregation and misconceptions about property. real estate for the Southeastern Connecticut Community Land Trust, which will use the research to inform future grant proposals.
âSince this will be my home for the next three and a half years, I feel like I can start now and work with the community, understand the city and understand where I’m going is really helpful,â he said. said Batista.
Summer Civic Leaders live on campus and receive a stipend of $ 2,000. This year’s leaders are Batista, Brown, Katie Fujimori ’23, Caroline Karakey ’23, Malissa Lindsey ’23, Mehin Mammadzada ’23, Jasity Mena ’24, Franchesca Moore ’24, Kassandra Olmedo ’23, Einstein Perez ’24, Jocelyn Pinero ’24, Ava Spitzer ’24 and Kayla Tavarez ’24.
âIt was important for me to participate in the Summer Civic Leaders program because I know from what I learned about Global Perspectives at Connecticut College that it is so crucial to understand how the issues unfold in your own. community play out before you travel to a completely different country and analyze how things work abroad, âsaid Mammadzada, who worked in the Alliance for Living pantry, where she helped create a space restoration to rekindle the sense of community lost to the pandemic. She also contributed to their Syringe Services Program (SSP) to prevent the spread of HIV in the New London community, working to prevent harm and promote educational resources and mental health treatment.
Funded in part by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, as well as the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy at Connecticut College, the office of the president and the office of the college dean, Summer Civic Leaders aims to develop civic engagement and a partnership supported in New London. The six-week program includes intensive orientation and a weekly seminar on ethical and equity-focused community engagement led by faculty and staff at the Holleran Center, a five-week internship with a community partner site, weekly reflections with members of the Holleran Center team, assignments, readings and formal presentation to community partners and funders, as well as field trips and volunteer work ranging from a day of FRESH work to a New London downtown scavenger hunt.
The program ended with a final presentation from the students on July 1, during which they shared what they had learned during their internships.
Lindsey, Moore and Pinero worked with New London Youth and Recreation Services to provide vocational and leadership training to youth in the community. They also created a video on the impact of a grant from the National Recreation and Park Association to promote access to healthy food for residents of New London, which enabled the recreation department to organize events. and education programs on healthy eating.
Karakey, Perez and Olmedo have assisted the New London Homeless Hospitality Center (NLHCC) in their Unite CT project, under the CARES Act. They acted as translators and helped raise awareness by creating content for organizations, including the New London Library and Mohegan Sun, to share and promote on their social media platforms.
Fujimori, Mena, Spitzer and Tavarez worked with FRESH New London to contribute to community gardens by planting and transforming old greenhouses into fresh gardens.
âOne of my takeaways was the importance of working with the community and not just for the community,â Mena said. âI had to think more about how a person’s social position, like their culture, status and class, can affect or influence someone’s relationship with food. ”
The Summer Civic Leaders also volunteered at the College’s 14th Annual Walk to End Homelessness, a fundraising event for the NLHCC. The event, organized by the Holleran Center and the NLHCC, attracted 110 walkers and raised over $ 20,000. Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron spoke at the event, which also included remarks from New London Mayor Michael E. Passero ’79 M’89 and NLHCC Director Cathy Zall.
– By Amanda Sanders ’22