Spring Volunteer Opportunities

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Check out the weekly volunteer opportunities available in the spring.
 Transportation to all of the program times listed.
Paperwork and an orientation is required before starting service.
Email cce@easternct.edu with the the program and day you would like to volunteer!

Semester Wrap Up!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Congratulations to Eastern volunteers and the Center for Community Engagement staff! The CCE hosted a total of 69 (both weekly and one-time) programs this semester, with 353 volunteers who served a total 2,437 hours in our community.

Last Fall, we had a total of 1689 volunteer hours served. That means we served 748 more hours this Fall. WOW! Keep it up!

As William James once said, "Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does." At the CCE, we hope that our volunteers recognize the positive impact they are having on our community. Your hard work and dedication to service has made an impact on the lives of many!

                                from the CCE!

Busy December Weekend

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Who knew that the first weekend in December would be so popular for volunteer activities? This weekend was the Penguin Plunge, Mill Museum Gingerbread holiday, community garden clean-up, and tree planting.

17 Students took the plunge into Coventry Lake. They were "freezin' for a reason", to support Special Olympics CT. Together they raised $1,131.

A Great Opportunity!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(Click Image to Make Larger)

Campus Food Pantries

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What do you think about this!?

Walk for Warmth 2011

For the past 20 years, the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM) non-profit has held the Walk for Warmth to raise money for their energy assistance program to keep families warm in the cold winter months. Walkers could participate individually or as a team. Each person participating was asked to raise a minimum of $20. Preceding the 2 mile walk around Willimantic was a beautiful interfaith service at St. Joseph's Church. RA Danny from Laurel Hall led a team of students at the walk. Additionally, RAs Leon from Burr, Angelica from Crandall, and Courtnie from Occum brought volunteers to help set up for the event, play educational games with kids to raise their awareness about poverty, and help clean up! The event as a whole raised $27,900!

Walkers on Main St.
Examples of the signs throughout the route!

Members of the Laurel Hall team!

To learn more about WAIM, check out their website! http://waimct.org/

Eastern's 5th Annual Day of Giving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

This past Wednesday, November 23rd, we hosted Eastern's 5th Annual Day of Giving! The event was coordinated by People Helping People's Kate Harner and Scott Nolan alongside the CCE AmeriCorps VISTAs, Brit Cava and Kristina Scherber. This annual event is a Thanksgiving meal for those in need living in our community. On weekends starting at the end of October we held food drives at grocery stores to raise non-perishable food items and money for the food bank. This year we:


All our volunteers!
The buffet!
Co-Sponsored by Chartwells!
A family enjoying the meal!

Press Covering the Event:


Find us in the November 25th issue of the Willimantic Chronicle & Channel 3!

A Tour of our Resource Library!

You may not have known but here at the CCE we have a library full of opportunities for YOU to change the world! We have tons of resources available on:
  • PeaceCorps (including tips on how to make the best application & nail the interview!)
  • AmeriCorps Programs (VISTA, NCCC, State & National)
  • Graduate School Programs (tons of brochures on public service related degrees)
  • Volunteering Abroad Information
  • City Year
  • The Student Conservation Association
  • The Institute on Philanthropy & Voluntary Service
  • Oxfam International
  • Human Rights Exchange in Africa
  • Bread for the City
  • Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
And MANY more! So whether you're looking for something to do now, this summer, next year, or for grad school and jobs--stop in! The library has 2 comfy couches and a chair so you can browse the fliers and map out how you'll change the world!

A door to opportunities!
TONS of free resources!

A view of the room!
Enjoy the comfy atmosphere!

Purple Team! & Why It's Awesome

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is Purple Team?
It is an on-going program held at Windham Middle School and Windham High School where Eastern students mentor and serve as role models to school children who are English Language Learners (ELL). The program started last year with about 15 chilren and due to it's success, it has drastically increased to 80 students this year! There are now about 30 mentors from Eastern. Last year, the volunteers helped students plant trees and brought them for a visit at Eastern's campus (the kids loved it!)

One of the best parts of Purple Team is that it aims to be a consistent service for school children. Volunteers from Eastern will start with children in middle school, and return to work with the same child or children the next year as they move up a grade. Our own CCE student worker, Todd Aviles, worked with 8th graders from the Middle School last year. Now, he has moved up with them to the High School. Todd is a coordinator of the program and he says that "the whole idea is to have an ongoing mentorship that continues with each new generation, and right now I am currently trying to get mentors to come and help me at the high school."

Want to get learn more or get involved with Purple Team?
It is a great opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children in Windham. You will be able to help them progress and become equipped for success as they prepare for high school. You do not need to speak Spanish to be a mentor, although it can be beneficial to share a language with the students. We have 3 different shifts that you can volunteer for (Mon-Fri, 7:30am-9:20am, 8:50am-11:25am, or 11:10am-2:25pm). Plus, the CCE provides you with transportation to your shift! If you're interested in getting involved in this program or another mentoring program, please e-mail cce@easternct.edu, come visit the Center for Community Engagement on the 2nd floor of Wood Services, or check out our mentoring opportunities on our website here.

Thanks to Todd Aviles for contributing to this post!

A "Gleaning" Opportunity!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Did you know that there is more than enough food on earth to sufficiently feed every single person? Despite this, there are still millions of people who go hungry every day. At the Center for Community Engagment, one of our missions is to reduce the number of people who are going hungry in our community. One of the ways that we are doing this is through "gleanings."

Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmer's fields that would otherwise be left in the fields to rot or be plowed under after harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.

Gleanings allow us to go to local farms and take the crops that the farmers know they will not sell. Our first gleaning was at Oak Haven Farm right down the road in Scotland, CT. We got to go apple picking and collected over 200 pounds of apples and donated them to our local Salvation Army and Catholic Charities right down the road. It was a great opportunity to save fruit that otherwise would have been wasted! Not to mention, fresh vegetables and fruits are not always readily available to those in poverty.

Special thanks to Oak Haven Farm for letting us come down and pick apples, they even let us pick more than we originally anticipated! And a big thank you to our volunteers, Nicole and Israel!

Interschool Walk for Warmth: Recap!

About 390 children convened at Windham Middle School on Wednesday, October 26th to learn about poverty. The children came from afterschool programs at Windham Middle, Natchaug, Sweeney, North Windham, and Windham Center. The children were able to walk around the track in order to earn tickets to play poverty-related games. Some activities included face painting, bracelet making, paper chain, a guessing game, scavenger hunt and more. Children were also able to receive prizes for doing certain activities. The favorite station seemed to be the popcorn machine, where there was a consistent line of kids waiting to get their popcorn from our two dedicated volunteers at the station!

A total of 53 volunteers from Eastern helped out at the event! Great job volunteers. Take a look at the list of our volunteers below:

Ashley Lovett, Ian McGlynn, Kerri Schuster, Michael Downs, Kaitlin Baldi, Jessica Sammataro, Katherina Poltorak, Latiqua Patterson, Steven Clayton, Laura Bean, Keith Sunthorn, Shannon Shultz, Emily Yu, Stephanie Gionfriddo, Avery Schena, Stephanie Sakelarakis, Jean Chery, Aaron Bernstein, Clif LeSure, Federica Bucca, Yunchu Liu, Bryant Collazo, Despina Messologitis, Emily Jack, Kate Harner, Taylor Scalia, James Boyle, Angelica Hribko, Alyssiah Wiley, Lesly Damour, Rachel Murad, Tom Takacs, Alan Nunez, Stef Burelle, Ben Glick, Samantha Clifford, Bethany Ingraham, Steve Lukaszewski, Ethan Linder, Shannon McCormick, Courtney Gendron, Tasheenah Brown, Megan Sniffin, Brittany Graff, Colleen Gomola, William McLaughlin, Melissa Symolon, Wiley Dawson, Jon Yackel, Max Goto, Brit Cava, Kristina Scherber & Lauren Greeney
Special thanks to Kate Harner, James Boyle, Wiley Dawson, Melissa Symolon and Katee Baldi for their hardwork as Walk for Warmth Committee members!

Plus, Eastern Volunteers made the news again! Click here to check out the article in the Norwich Bulletin on the Interschool Walk for Warmth.

Writers of Social Justice and Positive Change Prize Nominations

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do you know a high school or college student with a passion for writing for social justice
 and positive change?

Complementing the Harriet Beecher Stowe Prize, presented in 2011 to Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof for Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the Student Stowe Prize will be awarded in 2012 to recognize outstanding writing by United States high school and college students that is making a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society.  
More information on the Student Stowe Prize and how to enter can be found here on our website

Public Service Panel Tomorrow!

The CCE is proud to announce our annual Public Service Panel. Please join us this Thursday, November 10th from 3pm-5pm in the Student Center Theatre. The panel is for students interested in public service to find out what opportunities are available to them now or when they graduate. Panelist include representatives from:
  • PeaceCorps
  • Public Allies
  • City Year
  • Student Conservation Association
  • AmeriCorps NCCC
  • AmeriCorps VISTA
  • The Fund for American Studies
  • Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
They will share the process of joining these organizations and their personal experience followed by an open Q&A session from the audience. Resources will be available from each organization for students to take home.

DoSomething.org is hiring

Thursday, November 3, 2011

If you haven't checked out DoSomething.org we recommend you do so!
DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the U.S. that helps young people rock causes they care about.   What is something you care about?

They have some pretty cool job openings.  The most unique job title I have even seen is the The Head of Fun (that’s right, the head of fun!). This person is responsible for maintaining DoSomething.org’s super awesome culture and making sure everyone on staff is happy, productive and always growing and learning

I absolutely love the rules below. Wouldn't you want to work at a place that values YOUNG PEOPLE like yourself?

Rules we live by:
  1. Believe in young people. Young people can lead today. We don’t require old people.
  2. Trust young people. We provide reliable, easy to access information and activation strategies, but young people decide for themselves what to do.
  3. Celebrate young people. We think all measurable contributions from young people are valuable.
  4. Listen to young people. We must always respect their varied abilities and time constraints.
  5. Value young people. Our programs and products are free. We’re not after young people’s money; we want their passion, time, and creativity.

Eastern: Doing a Bloody Good Job!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Earlier this month, Eastern held yet another blood drive and we collected 164 units of blood! Great job to anyone who gave (or tried to give) their blood! You've helped save lives!

Here are the numbers from last year's blood drives:
  • October Drive: 166 Units
  • December Drive: 108 Units
  • February Drive: 132 Units
  • April Drive: 121 Units
  • Total: 527 Units
  • Those units from last year add up to about 10% of Eastern students giving blood, which has earned us a Silver Award from the Red Cross!
Keep it up, donors!

Also, Check out the article about the Red Cross Blood Drive on campus:
Eastern is acquiring a state-wide reputation of being bighearted in service to our community.  One way to do this is to support the American Red Cross blood drives which take place four times during the academic year.  Students, faculty, and staff generously donate the gift of life on a regular basis.  Residence Halls become involved with blood donations in a friendly competition called the Dean’s Cup. The hall with the highest number of donations, along with other requirements, will be eligible to win this coveted trophy for the year.

“When I first donated blood, it was my freshman year at Eastern and I was hoping to overcome a lifelong fear of needles.  Looking back now, I do it out of fairness to others; I would want someone to be willing to donate blood if I needed it and I should be doing the same.  The process is easy-going, the nurses and staff have always been friendly to me.  The pancakes are great!”  Shannon Ellis, 2011 Graduate
Eastern’s first blood drive of the year took place on Monday, October 10th and Tuesday, October 11th generating a total of 164 productive pints.  We could not have had such a successful blood drive without the help of the 29 student volunteers who donated 62 hours of their time to do check-ins and provide refreshments at the canteen.  The aroma of the made-to-order pancakes, given to our donors, permeates the Student Center on the days we host a drive.

Future drives at Eastern are scheduled for:
December 5-6, 2011  10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. BTR
February 6 – 7, 2012  10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. BTR
April 17, 2012   9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. BTR

Appointments can be made online at www.givelife.org sponsor code Eastern, or by contacting Irene Cretella at 860-465-0090, cretellai@easternct.edu.

Looking for an adventure?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Want to help others while working outdoors? Sign up today for the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) to PA, where we will be doing trail maintenance and volunteering in a soup kitchen. There is also ziplining and hiking in our free time! Applications available in Wood 205 or from scherberk@easternct.edu

Camille at 2011 ASB in Virginia

Why Should I Volunteer?

Monday, October 17, 2011

There are benefits to being a volunteer! Check 'em out...

1. Boost your career options!
  • Does your resume need some help? Upgrade your resume by adding some volunteer experience to it.
  • While volunteering, you can learn valuable job skills and gain experience in your field. For example, if you are a Psychology major who wants to do go into counseling, working at a local shelter might be able to provide you with that type of experience.
  • 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without.
  •  94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills .
  •  94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted.

2. Volunteering can be good for your mind and body!
  • Volunteering can give you a sense of pride and identitiy! It can provide a healthy boost to your self-esteem and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.
  • There are volunteer options that can benefit your body? Yeah, check out our trail maintenance opportunities, where you can hike and volunteer at the same time! Also keep your eye out for Town Pride, Town Wide, which often requires lots of yard work and digging!

3. Connect with others!
  • Ever heard of the "college bubble?" Living on campus can be isolating! Service work can connect you with people from local agencies and students from other schools!
  • Diversity is key! Volunteering can connect you with a diverse range of people, such as those who are different ages and people from different financial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Connect with your community. Have you ever thought of everything that your community has provided for you? Food, employment, enjoyment and more. Do you want to give back?

These are just a few of the benefits that volunteering provides! If you are inspired to get involved, contact scherberk@easternct.edu or cavab@easternct.edu to check out our volunteer opportunities!

Sources can be found here and here!

How are Eastern Volunteers Doing?

They are doing outstanding!
The CCE has calculated volunteer hours for the quarterly report and this is what we've gotfor the month of September:
  • 305.5 hours performed by 105 students
  • 26.5 Hours performed by 7 students in service learning courses
  • 84.5 Hours performed by 4 work study students
GREAT JOB! Each volunteer has made a positive impact on our community. Keep it up! We have had even more programs and volunteer opportunities for the month of October, so stay tuned to find out how much we will improve from September to October!
Do you want to lend a helping hand? Contact cavab@easternct.edu or scherberk@easternct.edu to see what volunteer opportunities we've got for you!

Former CCE student worker makes the news!

Jackie Bishop, who was one of our very own student workers here at the Center for Community Engagement, has made the news! Jackie is now a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) at Manchester Community College. While managing the school's farmer's market on weekend, she was approached by a reporter from the Manchester Patch.

Check out the article here! Patch.com Article

Internship Opportunity!- Billings Forge

Monday, October 3, 2011

Billings-Forge is offering internships for next semester!

First, what is Billings-Forge?

Billings Forge Community Works is a non-profit organization in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford that replaces disinvestment with investment, offers education and training, and creates a shared sense of mission that underscores the belief that a good place to live goes beyond simply four walls and a roof – it also requires a strong, vibrant, and authentic community. Specific goals of BFCW include:
  • fighting homelessness by improving housing opportunities for families and individuals in the Frog Hollow community,
  • encouraging economic growth through business and enterprise development in the neighborhood surrounding the Billings Forge complex,
  • the creation of job training, educational advancement, and employment opportunities for Frog Hollow residents,
  • strengthening family health and vitality through education, counsel, and access to services,
  • encouraging self help, civic engagement, and participation in every level of our community, and
  • supporting a climate that values diversity, rewards independence, nourishes creativity, and brings all of us together.
They are offering internships for two different time slots: January 16-March 25 and April 2-May 25. This internship is located at Billings-Forge in Hartford and involves working with children in an afterschool program. These children, in grades 5 through 8, come primarily from the Burns School, which focuses on latino studies and is right around the corner from Billings-Forge. The after school program includes different activities including academics, art and gardening, among other things. As an intern, you would be helping out with the after school program during the week. Billings-Forge is flexible about the internship position and is willing to allow an intern to put their own spin on the opportunity!

If you are interested in this position, please click the links below to learn more about Billings-Forge, and then contact Brit Cava at cavab@easternct.edu !

Billings Forge a Success Story in Urban Redevelopment

Billings Forge Brings Fresh Food to Frog Hollow

Billings Forge Press Release

Garden On The Go Brings Fresh Produce To Food Deserts

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Obesity is undoubtedly a major problem in the U.S, but it's nearly impossible to stop in the nation's food deserts, which lack access to affordable, healthy food. The California Freshworks Fund announced recently that it is giving $200 million to food vendors (everything from grocery stores to food trucks) in the state's food deserts, but Indiana already has a potential solution on the ground in the form of Garden on the Go, a truck filled with local and regional fruits and vegetables that stops throughout the week in an area that lacks easy access to healthful food.

The truck, created through a partnership between Indiana University Health and Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, has been in operation since May. It stops at a dozen places in Marion County, including public housing and senior facilities, and customers can pay for their produce with food stamps. The mobile produce truck has, according to Garden on the Go, been wildly successful--it just hit its 5,000th customer.

Garden on the Go isn't the only mobile produce market cruising the country. New York City's Holton Farms Mobile Farm Truck brings its produce to CSA members throughout the city, and Maine's Mobile Farm Stand brings fresh fruit and vegetables to senior housing sites. So food desert denizens, take note: as of now, the produce truck may be the best obesity-fighting option around.

Eastern on the News!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This past Friday morning, Eastern students, athletes and faculty members gathered professor Charlie Chatterton in his Third Annual Poverty Awareness Marathon at Eastern. The marathon consisted of 22 laps around campus, which were 2.1 miles each. The goal of the marathon was to raise awareness of poverty and collect cans for the Covenant Soup Kitchen. The initial goal of the marathon was to collect 462 cans, which represents the 46.2 million people who currently live in poverty in the United States. That goal was far exceeded with the final number of non-perishable goods being a whopping 710! Thanks to everyone who came out or donated goods.

Check out the Courant's news videos below:

Video #1

Video #2

And you can find pictures from the marathon here !


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Did you know...
  • One pint of blood can save up to three lives
  • Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion
  • 5 million patients in the US need blood every year
  • Less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood
  • Platelets, critical for cancer patients, have a shelf life of only 5 days
  • Adults have about 10 pints of blood in their body and 1 pint is given during a donation
  • Only 7% of people in the US have he universal blood donor type, O negative
  • Donors can give blood every 56 days

To learn more about blood donation, click the red cross logo above.

If you would like to donate blood, the Red Cross is coming to Eastern for a Blood Drive on October 10th and 11th!

You can schedule an appointment online here or sign up on campus. Check back for dates & locations on campus where you can schedule an appointment in the next few weeks.

9/11 Candlelight Commemoration

On Sept. 11 at 9 p.m., more than 250 students and community members joined together in a solemn candlelight commemoration of the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Holding candles in a large circle in front of the Foster Clock Tower, students heard retired Eastern Police Detective Louise Wright share her experiences as a first responder in New York City. Father Larry LaPointe of Campus Ministry and Kyle Droniak from the Campus Activity Board encouraged students to find ways to make a difference in their communities. Brit Cava from the Center for Community Engagement encouraged participants to add their handprint to a large banner that contained the hand prints of Windham schoolchildren as a commitment to supporting youth. Area resident Chris Savitski provided music, and members of the Willimantic Fire Department and Eastern Police Department also attended the ceremony.

How Rich are you Really?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are you richer than you think?

Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world, wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where would you sit on one of those lists? Here's your chance to find out!

Click the picture below.