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Annual Report


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Even though we faced a challenging economic environment in 2011, OPP continued to transform the lives of urban youth and to help them become successful adults and productive members of our community. We are truly grateful for the support and encouragement you’ve given us in this important work, and we’d like to share a few of this year’s major highlights with you. In June, our first group of students graduated from Opportunity High School. This unique partnership with Hartford Public Schools gives young people who dropped out of other high schools a second chance to earn their diplomas. There were 40 students in the groundbreaking Class of 2011, and they’re now finding good jobs and furthering their education at colleges and universities. Enrollment at OHS continues to grow, and we’re looking forward to many more successful graduating classes in the future. We also launched a Champions Council this year. The council is made up of an elite group of leaders and executives from across the Greater Hartford region. They will help guide us as we continue to improve our services and expand our funding sources. We expect to add several new members to the Champions Council in the coming year.

Finally, we’ve taken significant steps to strengthen and enhance our organization so we can take advantage of growth opportunities that arise in the future. We named Hector Rivera our new Chief Operating Officer, and welcomed Scott Sugarman, Director of Educational Initiatives, and Sean Seepersad, Ph.D., our first full-time Researcher, to our staff. We already have a great team at OPP, and these dynamic individuals will help us continue to improve and innovate so we can deliver even better results for the growing number of youth we hope to serve in the future. Still, OPP is only part of the story. Successful youth have parents and employers who support and care for them. In the pages that follow, you’ll read about three youth whose lives have been transformed by OPP and meet the people who helped to make that transformation possible. We promise that with your help and support, there will many more success stories in the years to come.

Bob Rath, President and CEO

Mike Connelly, Chair of the Board

Randall Williams Randall Williams’ mom, Minnie, cried when her son graduated from Opportunity High School (OHS) this spring. So did Randall.


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“I made a lot of friends at OHS and I had wonderful relationships with my Youth Development Specialist, teachers and staff,” Randall says. “I felt like I was leaving my family.” Randall was one of 40 students in the first-ever graduating class at OHS, which gives youth who have dropped out of other high schools a second chance to earn a diploma. “Randall didn’t do very well at Hartford High,” his mom admits, “but the folks at OPP and OHS really helped him turn his life around. I think he surprised himself by how well he did in school and the fact that he graduated with honors.” “OHS has a very unique and supportive learning environment,” explains Mike Nelson, one of OPP’s Youth Development Specialists at the school. “Our classes

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are small, our teachers are committed, and each student has a YDS who helps them map out their future. Everyone gets a lot of personal attention here and the tools to succeed. We’re all very proud of what Randall accomplished. It’s been a pleasure working with him and seeing him develop and grow. Although well on his pathway to success, Randall still comes back to visit and we hold him up as a role model for students at OHS today.” This fall, Randall enrolled at Capital Community College, and again OPP was by his side. “Billie Augustin (OPP’s Youth Development Specialist at the college) helped us fill out the paperwork Randall needed to get into school,” Minnie Williams says. “She also helped us get financial aid so Randall can focus on his studies, rather than worrying about getting a job right away. We really appreciate everything she’s done for us.” “We know that college can be a challenge, even for a good student like Randall,” Augustin says. “That’s why we do everything we can to make the transition from high school as smooth as possible. And, since I’m at the college every day, I can keep an eye on Randall. I’m pleased to report that he’s doing very well so far.” This is just the start of Randall Williams’ journey. “I love animals and I want to be a zoologist some day,” he says. “Before I went to OHS, I didn’t think that would be possible. Now, thanks to Mike and Billie and my mom, I don’t believe there are any limits on what I can do.”

l in anl program ∆ l o r n t h e ’s or vocationa u o y % of te’s, Bachelor 9 8 ∆ ia A s s oc Featured with Randall Williams left to right: Mike Nelson, Minnie Williams, and Billie Augustin.

Isiah Vinters Isiah Vinters understands that he’s one of the lucky ones. “I’ve got a great job, I work with people I like, and I have plenty of opportunities to advance if I keep doing the right things. Not everyone can say that in today’s economy.”

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Vinters, who was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal about young people getting their first job, has been working at the Shop Rite supermarket in East Hartford, CT for the past eight months. He was recently promoted to a new position in the Produce Department. “Isiah is a natural for an organization like ours, where customer service is the foundation for our success,” says Jordan Cohen Coe, who, along with her family, owns and operates the Shop Rite in East Hartford and another supermarket in Manchester. “Isiah is efficient, friendly and always has a positive attitude. No-one at the store was surprised when he received an Exceptional Experience© Award (a copyrighted recognition program at Shop Rite) after only eight weeks on the job.” There are other keys to his success as well. “I spent four months at OPP learning the skills I’d need to land a job and be successful once I was hired,” Vinters says. “I was also very fortunate to have Robert Felder open the door for me.”

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Featured with Isiah Vinters left to right: Jordan Cohen Coe and Robert Felder.

“My role is to be an ambassador to the workplace,” explains Felder, who has been an Employment Specialist at OPP since 2009. “Because we have a solid relationship with Jordan, as well as many other employers in the Hartford area, I was able to get Isiah an internship at Shop Rite last summer. They liked his work, and hired him as an associate at the store. Clearly, he’s using his natural abilities, and the skills he learned at OPP, to full advantage.” “My family, and our Human Resources team, has a long history of working with youth in the Hartford area, and I’m proud to carry on that tradition,” says Cohen Coe, who recently joined OPP’s Board of Directors. “There’s no doubt that the requirements of our business will keep changing, but I’m confident OPP will continue to prepare bright young people like Isiah who will be able to meet our needs seamlessly.” “Working at Shop Rite has already been a great experience for me,” Vinters says, “and I really appreciate all the help and support I’ve gotten from Robert and Jordan. But what’s really exciting is that I’m starting to see opportunities for the future that I never even knew existed before. It’s really amazing what you can do when good people believe in you.”

Jay Watkins

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Jay Watkins took a slightly different route to OPP than many other youth: he was referred by his probation officer. “I got into trouble when I was 17,” Watkins admits, “and I ended up in the Corrections System. Marlowe Barnes and OPP gave me a chance to turn my life around, and my mom made sure I didn’t waste the opportunity.”

“OPP is very special, because we can stay close to young people for years and provide a wide range of resources to help them keep their lives on track and become successful,” says Barnes. “Even better, all of us who work here get an amazing feeling of personal satisfaction watching these young people grow up before our eyes.”

“Jay was 17 years old, with no job and no education when he was referred to OPP,” recalls Donna Forrester, Jay’s mom. “The first thing we did was make sure he finished high school. He didn’t graduate until he was 19, because he had to repeat his senior year, but seeing him get his diploma in June was one of the proudest moments of my life.”

“Both of the jobs I have now are in food service, and I’d really like to have my own restaurant some day,” says Watkins. “Marlowe, Billie and my mom make me believe that anything is possible and that I never have to give up on my dreams.”

“We wanted to make sure Jay was prepared to take the next steps when he finished high school, so we enrolled him in OPP’s Career Competency Development Training while he was at Hartford Public High,” explains Marlowe Barnes, a Youth Development Specialist who works with hard-to-engage criminallyinvolved youth. “Jay is definitely a fast learner: he landed two jobs this summer and started college in September.” Finding a job wasn’t easy, Watkins admits. “I decided I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Once I put in an application, I would go back two or three times a week to follow up. Both my mom and Marlowe told me that persistence would pay off, and they were definitely right about that. My days are very busy right now, but I’ve never been happier.”

“I’m truly grateful for everything OPP has done for us,” Forrester says. “Jay is a completely different person than he was three years ago, and I truly believe OPP helped save his life.”

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In September, Watkins began taking a full course load at Capital Community College. “Billie Augustin (the Youth Development Specialist at the college, who also works with Randall Williams) helped us with admissions and financial aid, which was a real blessing,“ Forrester says. “College is a lot tougher for Jay than high school, but he’s a good student, and I know that he’ll continue to do well.” Featured with Jay Watkins left to right: Donna Forrester and Marlowe Barnes.

Financial Statement For the year ended June 30, 2011

Expenses 2010–2011

Funding Sources 2010-2011

Operating Revenues Government


Corporations, Foundations and Individuals $1,442,603 United Way Program Fees Total Revenue

Foundations & Corporations

Waterford Group

Craig & Kimberly Anderson

Lloyd Frazee

American Eagle Federal Credit Union

Webster Bank


Kelly A. Gallagher

Bank of America

Wells Fargo Foundation

Ronald Apter

Paula Gilberto

Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Whittlesey & Hadley PC

Don Ashton

Angela Gomes

Charles Rath In memory of Betty Rath

YWCA Hartford Region

Rob Bartha

Peter & Winifred Grimaldi

Lindsey Robbins

Jeffrey A. Bartholomay

Avery & Monica Rockefeller

Raymond Bazzano

Richard Guglielmetti, Furniture Emporium

Djuana Beamon

William & Joanne Hastings

Joseph Santoro

Jay & Jeanne Benet

Paul & Nancy Hoey

Dean & Barb Benne In memory of Betty Rath

Jerome & Margaret Houle

Jake & Mary Lou Schaeffer In memory of Betty Rath

Marlene & Jim Ibsen

William & Sandra Semevolos

Rob & Lisa Berman

Aaron T. Jainchill

Eugene A. Sheehan, III

Lee & Melody Bernhardt

David C. Johnston

Rebecca Sherlock

Thomas M. Bienemann

Lois M. Kate

ShopRite of Enfield—Miller Family Farms

Kathleen Bolduc

William & Susan Kelly

Frank Simboski

Indrit Brahimi

Howard Knoll

Thomas Sliney

Hartford Public Schools

William A. Brown

Ann Slyh

National Endowment for the Arts

Dan & Kelly Browne

Michael & Jaydene Laros In memory of Betty Rath

United States Department of Labor

Kevin & Marlene Buckman

Frank Leone

Stephen Sonnone

United Way of Central & Northeastern Connecticut

Joseph Campert

Jo-Anne Leventhal

John & Diane Sperger

Daynor M. Carman

Matt & Annette Lilly

Dwight & Margaret Stauffer

Chuck Chamberlain

Stephen & Jennifer Lima

Lisa A. Stewart

Jerrol Charles & Family

Tom Lofredo

Leadership Circle

Wayne & Tracie Chuang

Michael Longo

Kathy Stillson In memory of Betty Rath


Mary & Joseph Cicarello

Brendan & Mimi Lynch

Kurt & Jane Strasser

Claire Burns

Sherry Ann Coelho & Keith Merritt

Dale R. Masslon

Mr. & Mrs. Mark Torello

Mike & Schalleen Connelly

Andy & Ruth Cohen

Joe Mastroianni

Ann Traynor

Jordan Cohen Coe, ShopRite of Manchester/East Hartford— Waverly Markets LLC

Karen McAndrew

Elizabeth Tyler

Marie McFadden

Matt Vendetti

Marcus McGregor

Jose Villaluz

C. Edward & Margaret Connelly

Patrick & Sharon McHale

AJ & Jodi Wasserstein

John & Pauline Cusmano

Nancy M. Mulroy

Iris White

Carnegie Corporation of New York CIGNA


Citizens Bank


Crosskey Architects, LLC Ensworth Charitable Foundation


Fisher Foundation Goodwin College

Operating Expenses

H.A. Vance Foundation

Youth Development Services


Halloran & Sage LLP

Youth Business


Hartford Hospital

Opportunity High School




ING Jackson Lewis LLC John Hunt Scholarship Program at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving


Management and General




Total Supporting Services


Total Expenses

Home Depot


Youth Employment Services

Total Program Services

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

KTI, Inc. Lincoln Financial Foundation Lindberg & Ripple National Youth Employment Coalition Nellie Mae Education Foundation


NewAlliance Foundation People’s United Community Foundation

Government Capital Workforce Partners City of Hartford City of Hartford, Office of Youth Services Connecticut Child & Adult Care Food Program Connecticut Department of Children & Families Connecticut Department of Education Corporation for National & Community Service


Denise deFiebre Matt Frazee Larry & Kate Greenberg

Elizabeth Rath In memory of Betty Rath

Gregg Rosh

Donna Sodipo

Temporarily Restricted Net Assets



Net Assets released from restrictions



Kate Family Foundation In honor of Fritz Kate & Betty Rath

Sovereign Bank

John & Mary Little

Kelly Cusson

Patrick Murray

Arthur & Vivien White

State Farm Companies Foundation

Alden Davis

Mark Murzin

William Wilcox

Sullivan & LeShane Companies

Bob & Marilyn Rath In memory of Betty Rath

Deanna & John Discenza

Robert Naylor

Andy & Julie Willett

TD Charitable Foundation

David & Donna Reis

Gregory & Haddya Nye

The Fund for Greater Hartford

John & Lisa Sundean

Lynn Dolan & Kevin Wojcik In honor of Mary Jane Wrenn

The George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation

Wilson Family Fund

John D. Donnell

Jeremy Paul

Matthew Dwyer

Stephen Peterson

Change in Temporarily Restricted Net Assets


Total Change in Net Assets


Net Assets at the Beginning of the Year


Net Assets at the End of the Year


*Education expenses include AmeriCorps

Youth Business

Management and General

Youth Employment Services


Opportunity High School

Youth Development Services


The Prudential Foundation

Michael J. Parkin

The Technology Group


Luke & Melanie Ebersold

Doreen Petrozza

The Tow Foundation

Tokunbo Akinbajo

E-Tech Systems LLC

Robert Pitocco


Sandra L. Allen

Richard & Wendy Fair

Tarra Pressey

Travelers Foundation

Lourdes Alvarez-Ortiz

John Forren

Joseph Ragusa

Management Bob Rath, President & Chief Executive Officer Hector M. Rivera, Jr., Chief Operating Officer

Champions Council Administrative Office 20–28 Sargeant Street Hartford, Connecticut 06105 860.761.7300

Edward Budd Mickey Herbert Peter Kelly Don Wilson

Board of Directors Mike Connelly, Chair John Little, Treasurer Tokunbo Akinbajo, Secretary; Chair of Governance Committee Daniel Browne, Chair of Development Committee Zeanique L. Barber Rob Berman Wayne Chuang Jordan Cohen Coe Denise deFiebre Matt Frazee Joanne Hastings Brooke Karsten Kate Liburdi Jennifer Lima Board Emeritus Robert Pitocco Larry Greenberg Stephen Sonnone Andy Cohen Jim Walsh Frank Scalise Alvin R. Wilson, Jr.

Design by WondriskaRusso (

Photography by Lanny Nagler (

Annual Report 2010-2011  
Annual Report 2010-2011  

Reporting the impact of Our Piece of the Pie's programs and services on youth participants throughout Fiscal Year 2010-2011.