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Volume 11, Issue 2

Spring 2014

Inside this Issue:

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Alternative Breaks: Appalachia & Boston PeaceJam Gets the Jumpstart Treatment Recognition! Meet the New Exec. Board CO Makes an Impact in Indiana

Youth Programs “Ignite” Community Outreach

Appalachia By: Sarah Couture, 2015, CANR This year, I decided I wanted my spring break to be memorable not just for me, but for others as well. Therefore, I applied to Community Outreach’s Appalachia Alternative Break. I took a slight risk since it was an environmental trip and I don’t have much environmental background. I was drawn to the idea that I had an opportunity to learn something new, while providing my service to others. During the pre-trip meetings I learned about things I’d never even heard of: the dangers of mountaintop removal, the debate on hydraulic fracking, and the single-stream recycling system that UConn provides. It was exciting to continue to learn about different issues the world faces every day. One of my favorite parts about the entire trip was the connections I made with the other 13 students. We spent one week living, learning, and helping the beautiful forests of Tennessee and Kentucky together. These students, who I barely knew at the beginning, truly helped me grow and learn more about myself in one week than I ever expected. Our down time was filled with various fun activities and when it was time to work we always pushed and challenged each other. We all came back wanting to continue to learn about keeping our earth clean and share with others the importance of being aware of the way we treat our land. I know in a few years when I look back at my time here at UConn that week will be one of my favorite memories. Past spring breaks were fun, but this will be the spring break that I will never forget.

Transpo Fun Fact! #1 A total of 26 programs have traveled to 50 CO sites using Community Outreach transpo.

Check out the “Semester in Photos” along the bottom of the newsletter.

Contributing Writers: Kasey Carta Sarah Couture Jimmy Duong Meghan Gagnon Geena Russo

Public Relations Team: Sandy Matosz Jimmy Duong Geena Russo Kori Wallace


Boston By: Geena Russo, 2014, CLAS When you hear the word homeless what do you think of ? We all heard different answers when we asked people on the sidewalk in Boston. Some said it meant being without a home while others said “sad.” The 14 of us; one trip director, one learning partner, and 12 participants took advantage of the good weather the weekend of April 11th to accomplish many service opportunities in Boston. We all came from different levels of understanding or interacting with homelessness and worked together to educate ourselves and others. After a long and rewarding day of service we did some advocacy in the area because it is heavily populated with college students. We wanted to learn how well informed they were. Carrying signs that read “more than 70,000 people are homeless on a given night” we headed in the direction of Northeastern University to find out what people knew. We learned that even though it is right in their backyard there is still a lot they don’t know about homelessness. Earlier that day we split up the group to be

able to give more places the most of our time. Half of us went to Boston rescue mission to serve lunch while the other half helped out at Haley House Café which employs people who were incarcerated and don’t have a home to go back to after they get out of jail. Everyone had the opportunity to volunteer at Hearth Home at two different locations which is a 55 plus home for the elderly who are homeless. We filled a lot of bags of leaves during this service stop. Our last stops on Sunday before we left to come back to UConn were St. Francis house, and St. Ambrose. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at St. Francis house because the chef knew most of the clients that came for lunch and I talked with a volunteer who had been volunteering there since 1999. All in all, the trip was incredible, it was well thought out and put together by our fearless leader, Nicole Hellthaler. As my last service trip of my undergraduate career I really couldn’t have asked for anything better because we got to do so much in such a small amount of time. When we arrived back on campus it seemed like we had been gone longer than a weekend and I was overwhelmingly happy. I think the trip did just as much for me than the people who we served on the trip.

By: Kasey Carta, Associate Site Manager, Jumpstart The University of Connecticut and Jumpstart UConn was fortunate enough to partner with PeaceJam and the guest of honor Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica, this year. PeaceJam is an international education organization whose mission is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody. A range of young people spanning from middle school age to college age students band together to learn more about what they can do to create peace in their communities. Throughout the weekend these PeaceJammers received colloquiums on education, inspiration, and service related to peace. Jumpstart was able to unite with

PeaceJam and offer a meaningful service project for their participants. Jumpstart hosted a materials creation event with 72 volunteers, each donating 2 hours of service. During the event volunteers produced a literacy related game to give to the preschool children we serve at the end of the year. Volunteers received an informational introduction to learn what Jumpstart is, the population we work with, and the impact we make on the communities in which we serve. PeaceJammers then created the Alphabet Letter Matching Boards to give to children when Jumpstart sessions wrap up at the end of the school year. Oscar Arias came to our event to thank the volunteers for the difference they were making for the children who will be receiving these literacy related activities. The PeaceJam volunteers left the event claiming “I would do this again any day!�

CO Senior Dinner 2014

Many participants spent their Spring Weekend volunteering at multiple service opportunities.

Volunteers from Holy Family Shelter held a drive for cereal donations.


Volunteers of the Month



h arc

Zoe Basso 4H Vernon Afterschool



ry rua

Angela Sorenson Putnam BBBS

Margaret Reiss BBBS

Program of the Month

Driver of the Month

Community Outreach would like to recognize the following programs for outstanding service.

Community Outreach would like to recognize the following drivers for outstanding service.



Jhemerson Dias


Brian Sheehan

February Costa Rica Alternative Spring Break April


NY/Hartford LGBTQA Alternative Spring Break

Big Brother Big Sisters Michaela Currey Katherine Harmon Shaelle Etienne Michael Decerbo Jared Furtado James Dinello Rebecca Ferland Brett Decker Pahola Almonte Gabriela Aguila Erin Larkin

Natchaug After School Tutoring Program Brittany Brown Evelyn Ingraham

America Reads Dana Ferro Megan Dawley

4H Vernon Afterschool Tedisha Brooks

Campus Big Buddies Laura Simonson Prachi Shah Jumpstart Kate Gallagher Sophia Symon Jillan Gagnon Eimy Quispe

February Nicole Weichner

Windham High School Tutoring Patrick Adams

Windham Heights After School Tutoring Program Josh Deslouches Erica Misiorski English as a Second Language Jacqueline Baril

Windham High School Tutoring Patrick Adams Collegiate Health Service CorpsBrick Row Thania River Horace W. Porter School Plus Porgram Jeremy Driscoll Holy Family Shelter Emily Opperman

Senior Class of 2014 Alexandra Buda Amanda Lostimolo Anisha Mistry Ashwin Singhaviranon Ayesha Ramnath Beth Lytle Brandi Stenglein Brett Decker Catherine Reid Catrina Shea Christopher Gelino Christopher Azzolino Christopher Faustino Dahiana Guzman Diana Perez Geena Russo Gopal Kodumudi

Haley DiDomizio Hilary Sullivan Jenna Nelson Jill Thompson Jimmy Duong Julianna Lau Karen Ren Kathleen Kennedy Kelsey Rayher Kiely Giusti Kimon Katevatis Krystyna Gancoss Laura Knox Lauren Sohn Madison Marciniak-Haynosch Maeve Shea Margaret Reiss

Mary Mackie Meghan Dematta Michael Nigrelli Michael Mei Michael Chiluisa Michelle Lanouette Nicole Hellthaler Rebecca Spatz Rosemary Avery Samantha Micael Sandy Matosz Sara Sobieski Sarah Montanaro Savannah Garrison Thomas Quinn Umang Gangwar Zoe Basso

Health and Human Services “I feel so privileged to be in a position to shape one of the largest and most impactful groups on campus.” - Sarah Purtill

Public Relations

“I think next year, especially with the 20th Anniversary, is going to be the one to beat!” - Maschal Mohiuddin


Language and Literacy

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Youth Development Education/Children


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a i le y

Pa i

h e lt r y

Alternative Breaks (Education)


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Alternative Breaks

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Alternative Breaks (Fundraising and Devolopment)

M a

Youth Development Education/Adolescents

G hn

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y Kelley


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Special Projects

“This group of people has the ability to enact powerful changes which will make Community Outreach stronger.” - Paige Bailey

Democracy and Political Engagement “I am most excited about being able to guide student leaders through something I am so passionate about.” - Audrey Kelley


As a member of Community Outreach’s executive board I have had the privilege of working with over 100 amazing and dedicated student leaders over the course of this academic year. Their passion for social issues and the ways they went about making a difference in their communities was truly inspiring. I would like to personally thank all of them for their efforts and achievements - it was a joy to see all of the behind the scenes work that went into your programs. However, all of the accomplishments that we have made as Student Coordinators and leaders would never have been possible without our staff and community partners. To staff you have taught us all what it means to be active global citizens and how we can go about enhancing not only our lives through service, but the lives of others as well. For these lessons we are all immensely grateful. And to our community partners - thank you so much for all of the guidance and knowledge that you have given us over the past year. Thank you for putting up with our endless emails and questions. And thank you so much for welcoming us into your communities and being enthusiastic about helping us help you create change. This has been a wonderful year full of change and opportunities in Community Outreach, thank you all for joining us on this journey. From: Meghan Gagnon, Executive Board Chairperson

By: Geena Russo, 2014, CLAS The IMPACT conference took place from February 27th to March 2nd in Indiana. This year, Community Outreach was able to send 10 students and one staff member to the conference. The office was proud to have eight out of those ten students presenting. I was honored to be one of those eight. This conference impacted me because it gave me a confidence boost that I needed. Walking around that conference I felt like a big shot and felt like I deserved to be there. Not only was I able to learn about social activism with social justice, I was able to teach and share my knowledge with others. The conference had several workshop options to choose from; leadership, service, social justice, and administration. We were able to bring back new ice breakers, potential future training ideas, and some personal tips for job searching. On Friday, February 28th Jimmy Duong and I were the only ones to present from our group. As the Public Relations Specialists for the office we presented a workshop titled “How to be Social Media Savvy for

your Service Organization.” The rest of the CO presentations occurred on Saturday, February 29th. Alex Buda, Assistant Trip Director for the Costa Rica Winter Relief Alternative Break presented on sustainability and received good feedback from attendees of her workshop. She found that the “white savior” term was something they hadn’t heard before and they were glad they learned about it. At the same time in two different workshops the Transportation Team, Kyrstyna Gancoss, Kelsey Rayher, and Mike Nigrelli, presented on how they organize our fleet of 16 vehicles. Haley DiDomizio, Alternative Breaks Coordinator, and Angela Sorensen, Big Brothers Big Sisters Site Manager, presented on the transfer of knowledge between the transition of student leaders. With these presentations we were able to provide new knowledge, network, and expand our own knowledge on our presentation topics. All in all it was a great trip because we had an amazing crew, great workshops to attend, and fun road trip stops along the way. Our underclassman on the trip, Paige

UConn invaded Indiana during the IMPACT Conference from Febuary 27th to March 2nd.


Bailey, Angela Sorensen, and Krista Pregony are looking forward to the opportunity of attending IMPACT 2015 in sunny Los Angeles next year.

“The IMPACT Conference is historically the largest annual conference focused on the civic engagement of college students in community service, servicelearning, community-based research, advocacy and other forms of social action.”

Transpo Fun Fact! For the Fall 2013 semester, the total number of driver hours was 3,909. That’s equivalent to having 8+ full time drivers.


CO volunteers watched as participants braved the cold waters for Special Olympics.

Community Outreach (CO) received nearly $7,000 on April 17th at this year’s Ignite Finale Announcement. CO came in 3rd place in Ignite, a competition hosted by the UConn Foundation that motivates student led organizations on campus to fundraise for their cause with an opportunity to earn a up to $27,000 in awards generously supported by UConn Alums David Barton (’61) and Adam Schwartz (’91),have collectively donated $27,000 to this competition. The team that receives the most number of donors from UConn students and young alumni (’03-’13) wins the grand prize of $10,000. . Last year, CO competed to support the Alternative Breaks program. With a total of 351 donors, CO came in first place raising nearly $5,000 and earning $10,000 through the competition, allowing the cost of Alternative Breaks to be significantly lowered for participants. This year CO’s cause was to support CO’s 15 Youth Service programs that serve hundreds of children and teenagers by connecting them with positive role models that engage them in their education. Michael Chiluisa, Carly Zerr, and Jimmy Duong coordinated the Ignite Committee, which was supported by Audrey Kelley, Kate Chmieleski, Ayesha Ramnath, and Krista Pregony. Throughout the competition, the CO Ignite Committee created a Buzzfeed article titled, “5 Reasons to Donate to Community Outreach Youth Based Programs for the Ignite Challenge 2014.” The CO Ignite Committee also made a video that featured Michael, Carly, Audrey, and Kate from the committee. In the video, they shared meaningful memories that they had where they felt they made a difference in a child in one of CO’s youth service programs. Eighteen organizations competed from February 9th to April 6th. In total, 1,656 donors gave $42,291.76 to all 18 organizations combined. Husky Sport came in 1st place with 287 donors, UConn Marching Band (UCMB) Tower Project came in 2nd place with 222 donors, Community Outreach came in 3rd place with 161 donors, and Asian American Cultural Center’s (AsACC) Pan Asian Council came in 4th place with 150 donors. CO was recognized for the “Best Ignite Solicitation For Students” and won a $1,000 award for receiving the most number of student donors and $3,000 for placing 3rd in the competition. CO’s winnings and total

The Community Service Learning Community members danced to success at Hoops of Hope.

Youth Programs “Ignite” Community Outreach By: Jimmy Duong, 2014, CLAS

donations added up to a total of $6,950. Donations will be used to support UConn students volunteering as mentors and tutors supporting children in their academic and personal development through youth service programs located in public schools and community based organizations throughout Connecticut. Thank you to everyone that supported and donated

to CO through the Ignite competition!

Transpo Fun Fact! #3 In 2013, the total mileage driven was 176,133 miles. That’s SEVEN times around the equator!

Lisa Kivell ’13, Lauren Young ’11, and Jill McCann ’13, each participated in service projects during the MLK Day of Service in January.


KFS 3124570

University of Connecticut Office of Community Outreach Department of Student Activities 2110 HILLSIDE ROAD, UNIT 3008 STORRS, CT 06269-3008 PHONE 860.486.1165 FAX 860.486.8821 /UConnOutreach

Stay connected with CO and get ready to celebrate CO’s 20th Anniversary in 2014-2015! Follow us on Twitter @UConnOutreach! Like us on Facebook!

Spring 2014 Newsletter  
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