I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Lifeline (N2N) investment process since its inception in 2009. Our partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven over the last three years has helped raise awareness and funds to address emergency housing and hunger needs in Greater New Haven.
Published in The New Haven Register on Sunday, February 19, 2012 by Steve Higgins, Special to the Register.
After escaping an abusive relationship, Jackie (not her real name) and her three children ages 13, 9 and 8 ended up in a shelter. Although she qualified for Section 8 financial aid to rent an apartment, she did not have the funds to pay for the security deposit.
I'm always excited to see my city getting kudos in the national press - but yesterday's op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times really made my week (ok, maybe even my month). Mr. Kristof praised New Haven for its groundbreaking collaborative effort in working in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers. He said “New Haven has arguably become ground zero for school reform in America.” And you know what – he’s right.
Here in New Haven we've been fully immersed in the School Change Initiative for the past two years - and the strategies our city has employed have become our "new normal." The effort has three main themes: creating a diverse portfolio schools, employing the very best teachers and administrators in the country, and bringing the community together to support students in their out-of-school lives so that they will be ready to learn when they come to school and equipped to succeed in college and work when they leave high school. These strategies have become embedded in our culture - words that we didn't have in our vocabulary two years ago are now part of the community vernacular - climate surveys, tiering, turnaround schools, Boost!, Promise and TEVAL. We’ve accepted it, we expect it, we complain about it, we live it.
The New Haven Early Childhood Council’s Success By 6 funded WORDS initiative celebrated an evening of reflection last night. Over 25 participating family childcare and center-based infant and toddler teachers shared their experiences, rich conversations and teaching tips, at the always-inspiring CT Children’s Museum.
When I was 21 years old, I realized there is so much more in the world outside the little bubble I lived in. I traveled on an international excursion to Tanzania, Africa to spend a month teaching children living in poverty. I worked with 200 primary school-aged students, 65 of which were HIV positive. The poverty was rampant in the village of Moshi, and necessities were hard to come by. Getting past the language barrier, and the stigma of HIV was a difficult task. My month volunteering was one of the most stressful, frustrating, amazing experiences of my life, to say the least. Of course I traveled halfway across the world hoping to make a huge impact on every child I came in contact with yet I realized if you make one child smile, that in itself is an impact. The work I completed there left a longer lasting impact on myself, and I learned so much about myself; I changed forever.
Women's Initiative members gathered to prepare a homemade meal for about 60 people on Saturday, February 11, 2012. The volunteer event, which took place with one of United Way's partners, The Community Dining Room (CDR), enlisted the culinary skills of volunteers who prepared and served lunch. CDR is located in Branford and serves south-central Connecticut low-income families.
What does it take to end homelessness? Just what Governor Malloy is proposing: invest in supportive housing and increase the supply of affordable housing.
I am one of the many people at the Greater New Haven Regional Alliance to End Homelessness table discussing how we can achieve the region's goals of ending homelessness among chronic individuals and veterans in the next four years, and for all people over the next ten years. There are great efforts underway to better coordinate and utilize our existing resources. Many providers in Greater New Haven are moving quickly to rework how they deliver services to respond to the unparalleled demands they are facing, while they recommit to meeting these tight timeframes to end homelessness.
|On January 26, 2012, United Way was invited to present on the Boost! initiative at the first meeting of the Interagency Council on Ending the Achievement Gap. The Council wanted to learn more about the Boost! model of providing wraparound services for children and youth so that they are more successful in school. The Council, chaired by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and Commissioner Stefan Pryor from the State Department of Education, applauded the work of Boost! and recognized the importance of: using data to make thoughtful decisions about students' needs; connecting the schools and community-based programs so that they are working together to benefit children; and having an entity like United Way to serve as the "glue" to help ensure this coordination and strategic thinking happen.|
United Way's Jennifer Heath, Executive Vice President and Laoise King, Vice President for Education took turns explaining how Boost! works and that it shares the goals of the New Haven School Change Initiative: to close the achievement gap with the state, cut the dropout rate in half, and ensure that every graduating student has the preparation and resources they need to succeed in college.
Watch full video clip of the Boost! presentation!
The Augusta Lewis Troup School hosted a CMT workshop for parents last Thursday evening entitled “You’re the Greatest!!!! Parents’ Night!” The Troup School is one of the five Boost! schools in New Haven, and this night exemplified the parent engagement efforts. The night began with a delicious dinner downstairs in the cafeteria of chicken wings, pasta, and celery. After much chatting, everyone migrated upstairs to the auditorium to hear the presentations. The Principal opened with a grand welcome and introduced the raffle that would occur throughout the evening. They gave raffle tickets to every parent and child in the room that night, and read off a few numbers between each speaker. These prizes brought anticipation and excitement to the room throughout the evening.
A Chamber Business After Hours was the setting for an announcement of a new collaboration between United Way of Greater New Haven and Branford Chamber of Commerce called “Community Connections: Making a Difference in Business & Life”. On Tuesday evening, January 24th, over 100 people packed the The Blackstone Library who hosted the event that was co-sponsored by Comcast Business Class.
On Friday the 13th, students, parents, and families gathered in the auditorium at Wexler-Grant Community School. Wexler is one of 5 Boost! schools, key element of the nationally-recognized New Haven School Change Initiative. For months the students had been practicing and preparing with Lorraine Nusdeu. Our art teacher Melissa Frobel created the backdrop for the event, and music teacher Cheryl Seagraves lent her "pipes" and expert ear to the music for the performers.
Teen parents are always involved in our Nurturing Families Network, a primary prevention program for at-risk, first-time parents. In fact, 49.6% of all families in our program over the last three years have been teens. Since our program began over six years ago, we continue to find that these young, single parents face myriad obstacles to safe and healthy parenting such as unstable living conditions, minimal support from family or friends, lack of resources to cover basic needs and uneducated about how to care for their babies. We also find that many need and WANT our positive support a
As the sexual abuse scandal involving Penn State officials unfolds before our eyes, we are left dealing with the stark reality that sexual abuse victims continue to be vulnerable in a society that promotes secrecy. We at Clifford Beers Clinic (The Clinic) know too well the stories of children sexually abused by people they love and admire and who are role models in the community. Seventy percent (70%) of the children we see at the Clinic have been exposed to some kind of traumatic childhood experience. Twenty five percent (25%) of our population has been sexually abused.
At the Clinic, seven out of ten children reports having experienced at least one traumatic event such as sexual abuse in their lives. The average number of traumas reported is 3. This is striking, given the average age of a child served at Clifford Beers is only 10. When asked about their experiences, the top three most reported traumas are: loss, such as death or abandonment; emotional abuse; and neglect.
Sometimes, a person can beat all odds, overcome adversity and achieve great success in life. Such stories inspire us, but also beg the question why some people thrive while others struggle.
It's the beginning of a new year. A majority of the country is considering how to do more with less. This year an increased number of households will be eligible for free VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and for the ffirst time ever, Connecticut residents will be able to access the newly enacted state EITC. Now is a great time to think about bringing that which is financially in the red into the black, goal setting and opportunities to increase assets.
Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church has been a long-time supporter Wexler-Grant Community School and is an important presence in the community. They provide services to the community through their Social Integration Programs that include their Winter Cafe series.
When I first arrived at Wexler-Grant Community School very early this past Monday morning, I was in a complete haze. Yes, this haze was partially due to lack of sleep, but more importantly it was due to the flood of white t-shirts I saw every which way I looked. Hundreds of individuals were hurrying around the school in LIVE UNITED t-shirts ready to give of their time and talent to volunteer in their community. As a newer member of the United Way team, it was the largest gathering of volunteers I had yet seen.
Yale-New Haven Hospital's United Way Campaign, led by co-chairs Harry Nicholls and Patricia DeWitt, has been a great success! In addition to the raising more donations to support our community this year, employees donated diapers and their time for numerous volunteer projects throughout the Greater New Haven area.
Join us for "Community Connections: Making a Difference in Business & Life!"
Get involved in the community to make a difference through your business and employees! This "Community Connections" event will show you how easy it can be when we work together and LIVE UNITED! Live piano entertainment, great food and great people will help us all connect for a fun filled evening of networking with new and existing friends!