This picture was taken in South Glastonbury. It could have, should have been taken in Hartford.
Imagine if you could pick apples or pears without having to schlep the entire family to South Glastonbury.
For some Hartford residents, this is already possible. Everyone else, you’ll have your chance soon.
The West End Community Orchard, as its name suggests, begins in that neighborhood but does not have to end there said Tiffany Glanville, one of the volunteers behind this project. Erin Sheehan, another West End resident, is the other half of the team.
In its infancy, the West End Community Orchard is asking residents of any neighborhoods who would like to participate to register fruit and nut trees already on their properties. Partnering with KNOX, the trees will be rated for health and then indexed so that the organization has an idea of who is growing what where. Those locations will not be publicized, so nobody needs to worry about premeditated raids on their trees.
Glanville was inspired when she saw just how many apples from her own yard went to waste last year — approximately two-thirds of them. She knew about City Fruit, a non-profit from Seattle and thought it possible to “do a harvest” of excess fruits here. The produce could be given to area food pantries, she said. Continue reading 'Tracking and Expanding Hartford’s Orchard'»
Morgan Wienberg was unfazed by the cheers coming from the bar on the other side of Wood-n-Tap each time the Red Sox moved one base closer to the championship; without so much as a pause, she continued telling the Torah on Tap group about the work she has done in Haiti to reunite children with their parents.
Wienberg, originally from Whitehorse, moved to Haiti almost immediately after graduating from high school; while spending five months living in a for-profit orphanage, she began to notice the children there were being exploited and abused. When people would donate shoes, she said, there would be a big show about it, but after the donors left, the children would again be in their bare feet and the shoes would be sold for the personal gain of the orphanage’s owner. Continue reading 'Championing Human Rights'»
When volunteers spent a few days last year cleaning in and outside of the Burns School in the Frog Hollow neighborhood, some experienced something like culture shock upon seeing that Hartford’s schools do not receive equal maintenance. Despite those efforts, more work is needed.
On April 27th the community is invited to help with various projects at the school from 8am-1pm.
Children have requested that their bathrooms be more kid-friendly, so adding stencils to the walls will be one of these projects. The cafeteria needs painting. One wall of it will be covered in special chalkboard paint. Bulletin boards will also need refreshing. Outside, there is work to do in the garden, along with routine removal of litter and overgrown vegetation.
There’s no need to rsvp — just show up. Burns is on the block between Russ, Putnam, Mortson, and Park Terrace.
If you can’t wait that long to get your hands dirty, there are other community building (and cleaning) events planned. Continue reading 'Hands-on Community Building'»
Frog Hollow residents began shoveling a path the width of a van down the middle of a one-way side street on Sunday morning. What started with a lone shoveler quickly snowballed into a community effort. Continue reading 'When the Plows Don’t Show'»
Residents will have a number of centers to choose from if they are seeking free assistance with tax preparation. These include the Hartford Public Library, HART, Mi Casa Community Center, Upper Albany Neighborhood Collective, Urban League of Greater Hartford, Village for Families and Children at Clark Elementary School, Village for Families and Children at Burr Elementary School, YWCA Hartford Region, and at Community Renewal Team (CRT) sites in Hartford.
Out of town options include at the Town of Enfield, Manchester Community College, and CRT sites in East Hartford, Manchester, and Middletown.
To make an appointment with EITC/VITA volunteers, call 2-1-1, then hit ’3′.
January is National Mentoring Month, which makes it a suitable time for the Connecticut Mentoring Partnership along with the Hartford Department of Families, Children, Youth & Recreation; the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; and the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division to launch the Hartford Juvenile Mentoring Collaborative. Continue reading 'Launch of Hartford Juvenile Mentoring Collaborative Scheduled'»
The house cleaning that happened at the Burns School last spring was more than metaphorical. Besides the change in leadership, there have been renewed efforts to get the community involved. There was a major cleanup of the school — inside and out — in March.
In recent weeks, the Summer of Solutions program went to work on a corner of the school grounds, among its other projects in Hartford. The youth cleared weeds and rubbish; installed and painted raised beds; planted vegetables in those raised beds; and placed brightly-colored benches near the new garden space. Previously, this area was an overgrown and underutilized space.
On Thursday, the community was invited to welcome Dr. Monica Brase, the new principal at the school. She is replacing Mr. Sullivan, who served for a few months in the capacity as interim principal. The event also served as an opportunity for voter registration and new student registration.
Today, Knox Parks and Billings Forge led another beautification effort. After tackling more debris, volunteers planted several trees along the property. The school happens to be across the street from Pope Park North, which has received funding for the restoration with an expected completion date of 2013.
Books about urban development and growing community are often written in jargon, making the content inaccessible to the general public.
That choice in language says for whom the knowledge is intended. It says who is expected to do anything with it.
Better Together is different.
Emphasized in almost every chapter is the need for the people, for the residents, to be involved. Echoing this, it is written in plain language.
But it’s not an instruction manual. Showcased are places where community already exist, ways that empowerment of individuals has provoked social change, and where setbacks have occurred. A recurring theme is the empowerment of people who may be viewed and view themselves as powerless, such as youth, blue collar workers, and the very poor.
Published in 2003 during a time when many were struck with alienation following the militaristic response to 9/11, Better Together maintains its relevance. Continue reading 'Book Review: Better Together: Restoring the American community'»