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'»
Not to be confused with Grilled Cheese Week or Shark Week, all next week there will be activities to celebrate the parks in Hartford. Continue reading 'Parks Week'»
A cheaply-made plastic toy that fails after a few months, or knowledge?
Regardless of your income, you can give the latter to some 550 Hartford schoolchildren.
That’s the number of youth who are served by Everybody Wins! CT, a literacy organization based on Arbor Street. Statewide, they provide reading assistance to approximately 800 students between the ages of 5-18, annually.
The organization explains that “50 percent of the chronically unemployed are not functionally literate– in Hartford 68 percent of adults are illiterate.”
A literate population is a more employable population.
One goal of the organization is to give three new (or like new) books per year to each child who is in the Everybody Wins! Power Lunch program.
While monetary donations are always welcome, Allison Holst-Grubbe — Program Manager at Everybody Wins! CT — says the need for Reading Mentors is great. Continue reading 'The Must-Have Gift this Season'»
Not unusual: people coming into Hartford with big ideas about what residents need and what will “save” us.
The Public Allies — an AmeriCorps program — promise that is not their mission. They insist that they are “not here to re-market Hartford.”
Young adults in the program work with a non-profit four days every week; each Public Allies “community” — Connecticut has ones in Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven — undertakes a service project each year.
This year, the group’s goal is to “strengthen community through figuring out assets and problems,” Al Riccio, one of the Allies on the “Greater Hartford Team”, told participants at the Hartford Public Library Monday evening during the Hartford Unity Community Conversation. In chatting with residents, the Public Allies identified that many residents feel “proud to be from the city,” but believe that there are negative perceptions of it due to the news media. He added that a lack of jobs, housing, and access to resources were other issues identified.
During the first of what Public Allies say will be several community conversations, residents were told that the Allies — several of whom are long-time Hartford residents — would be facilitating discussion, but not participating. Heads nodded as residents commented that these conversations need to be in the neighborhoods, not just Downtown. The library was named a “hub,” a natural place for civic discourse to take place, and there are library branches throughout the city.
Broken into small groups, residents and stakeholders named activities that could “create attention toward positive aspects.” In the brainstorm, two groups named the Walk the Frog tour as an example of an event that has highlighted the positive aspects of a neighborhood Continue reading 'Hartford Unity Community Conversation: “Empower People Already in Hartford”'»
Volunteers from the neighborhood are making the blue box at Park and Babcock into a more inviting space. Continue reading 'Park Library Getting a Friendlier Face…Now'»