Poverty In America

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sometimes numbers just don't cut it with relaying information. Below is a fantastic infographic that highlights poverty statistics in the U.S.A.

Did You Know...?

Monday, July 22, 2013

  • In 2011 The 4 most popular volunteer service activities were
    1. Fundraising or selling items to raise money (26.2%)
    2. Collecting, preparing, distributing or serving food (23.6%)
    3. Engaging in general labor or transportation (20.3%)
    4. Tutoring or teaching (18.2%)
  • More women than men volunteer regardless of education, age, and other demographics
  • Volunteer rates were lowest among 20-24 year olds
  • Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) working mothers volunteered
  • Married people volunteer more than non-married individuals
  • Individuals with children volunteer more than those without kids
  • The average volunteer spent a total of 50 hours volunteering from Sept. 2011-2012
  • In 2011 The top 5 states of volunteering:
    1. Utah 40.9%
    2. Idaho 38.8%
    3. Iowa 38.4%
    4. Minnesota 38.0%
    5. South Dakota 36.8%
  • More volunteers volunteered in 2011 than in any year since 2005

Puentes al Futuro Newsletter: Volume 1, Issue 1

Thursday, July 18, 2013

As adults we know why we love having the Puentes al Futuro Summer Camp here on campus. It gives the kids access to a lot of fun activities (including sports, an indoor swimming pool, and arts and crafts), they can continue working on their academics (English and Math classes occur twice a week each), and they work closely with college-aged counselors who serve as mentors and role models. 

But, do the kids love it? If so, why? To solve these perplexing questions, the camp's English teacher, Jenny, asked the campers to write about why they love camp as a part of the regular newsletter project she is doing with them!

Read below to see what the kids really think. There are some truly heart-warming accounts.

"Poverty, Love, and Money" by Jessica Jackley

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jessica Jackley's Ted Talk, "Poverty, Love, and Money" touches upon a lot of themes that surround many of us who are involved in community engagement, volunteerism, and social justice. Around the CCE, we like to downplay the use of the word "help." It is not with a mentality that we are giving to those less fortunate out of guilt, shame, or feeling more adequate, but with the mindset that we are sharing a skill or gift with our neighbors who are in turn sharing their skills and gifts with us. Rather than a one-way road, we emphasize building symbiotic partnerships with those we work and interact with. 

This mindset is relatively new. Many people, like Jessica, give money or time to help someone because it is what is expected of them. They hear stories about the poor suffering and think only to address this immediate misfortune. 

However, there are two sides to every story. I highly encourage you to watch Jessica's talk, hear about her exploration of the state of poverty, application of love, and power of money. 

If you're unsure how to tackle a social justice you find challenging, how to better understand and empathize with someone you may otherwise look down on because of their financial status, how you fit in to society as a volunteer or advocate, this video is perfect for you! 

Video link: http://bit.ly/14WXXil
Jessica's foundation: http://bit.ly/13rUfsI http://http://

Puentes to the Future Highlights

Thursday, July 11, 2013

For today's post, the CCE staff figured we'd take a break from writing and share a story one of our campers wrote! Prompted by the counselors, this camper wrote about her favorite elective.

The campers and counselors have been doing some pretty fun things here at Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) Summer Camp. Everyday is a new adventure, activity, and conversation. Already two weeks into it, we're seeing the campers grow and develop as they get used to the camp, their classes, and each other. Between classes/tutoring in the morning and recreational or academic enrichment activities in the afternoon, everyone is exhausted by the end of a fun day. We're excited for what the next couple of weeks will bring! 

Above: Two counselors (on the left in blue shirts) site with a group of campers as they eat lunch and prepare for the afternoon activity. Everyone was given a shirt for being a part of Puentes in the summer; counselors received blue shirts and campers were given red

Below: Campers and counselors relive the best gym class by taking out the parachute on a hot summer day in the field in front of Eastern's Student Center. 

Top 4 Websites for Good News

Monday, July 8, 2013

It seems that lately, there really is nothing good reported on by the news. Even the exciting stuff is attached to  a political agenda or met with so much skepticism that there leaves almost no hope in what could be further achieved. 

To combat all of the despair, here are the CCE's top 5 sites for getting exciting and hopeful news:

1. GOOD Is
What It's All About: "GOOD is a global community of, by, and for pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress."
Pros: Also marketed as a social networking site, GOOD IS connects you to ideas, articles, infographics, and people who might be overlooked by mainstream news channels. 


2. Huffington Post: Good News
What It's All About:Blogs, articles, videos, pictures, etc. all on happy, uplifting news in the traditional Huffington Post style we all know and love.
Pros: This site delivers a healthy mix of great ideas and cute pictures to relieve you from the stress of reading the everyday news.


3. Good News Network 
What It's All About: "The mission is to provide a "Daily Done of News to Enthuse." The Good News Network® is a clearinghouse for the gathering and dissemination of positive compelling news stories from around the globe. Daily stories will confirm what we already believe: good news itself is not in short supple; the advertising of it is."
Pros: This site does an amazing job staying on top of the most recent great news that is out there. As a bonus, they are getting a new site!


4. Happy News
What It's All About: "Real news. Compelling stories. Always positive."
Pros: Graphically stimulating, they feature up-to-date news and a variety of sub topics that include Healthy Living and "Happy Products."


Defining What it Means to be a Volunteer

Friday, July 5, 2013

Now a few months shy of my second year of full-time service work, I find myself reflecting on how I define what it means to be a volunteer and what motivates me to do it. When I tell people that I am in my second year of AmeriCorps, they look at my like I have two heads. Why would anyone give up two full years of making money? When these questions first popped into my mind, I thought I'd solved it rather quickly. My answer: I am an able-bodied, educated (more or less) individual and have the time to devote my time and skills, for free, to a cause, organization, or person who needs them. So why not?

I was curious about what the dictionary said and how close my own response was to their definition of a volunteer.

Well, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides this definition for what a "volunteer" is:

volunteer (a noun): a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as

a: one who enters into military service voluntarily

b (1): one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest (2): one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration
Similar to my original thought, Merriam-Webster's definition is based off of an assumption that the only "valuable" motivations are money, legality, and commitment. 

I thought about it some more and I realized that while it's not money, there are a lot of valuable reasons why I volunteer. Sometimes I get a t-shirt or food. Sometimes I come away having learned more than I feel I gave towards a cause or task. Other times I make friends who continue to stay my friends even after we are no longer volunteering together. I've built professional networks through my volunteer work. Even the AmeriCorps website has a page devoted to all of the non-monetary benefits to volunteering, http://www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/benefits-volunteering.

I became curious to learn what motivates others.

Being the researcher I am, and having a lot of friends who are more seasoned volunteers than I, I decided to ask what other people thought. I received some pretty interesting responses.

To paraphrase the responses: "I like volunteering because I can try something new and different;"  "It is just fun and feels good;" "I just am really passionate about this cause and want to help make it a success."

Looking for the motivations of volunteering, I realized something interesting. In their selflessness, volunteers are self-serving. Most volunteers don't want to admit this, but it's true.

But what can this we want our cake and we want to eat it too mentality of volunteers translate into? For those of us who enjoy what we receive from volunteering and want to get money from it too, it means more socially conscientious career-, business-, and political-based decisions. And, ever so slowly, change the world.

To be a volunteer is many things wrapped up into one. It is both an individualized and shared mindset among all who volunteer. It is finding worth in your life and the lives of others'

Volunteering is a part of living. So, I pose this question to you. How have you lived?

-Jacqui, AmeriCorps*VISTA

The 1001st Awesome Thing

Monday, July 1, 2013

There is a blog out there called 1000 Awesome Things (http://bit.ly/19P3lWJ). It's a neat site that offers 1,000 things that are just awesome. Some are simple such as #734: When the free bread they bring you at the restaurant is warm.; some are funny, like #886: High fiving babies; and some are personal, as pointed out in #438: Your almost name.

What is fun about this blog is how easily it points out that we can think of 1,000 things that are awesome in our everyday living. The rules are simple. Count to 1,000 and on each count recall a joyful memory and why it makes you happy.Odds are, by the time you get to the 1000th we are on such a roll that you could probably think of another 1000 without stopping.

Bu apart from being a fun game, there is something more to it. At the height of the blog's popularity, it's author, Neil Pasricha, presented at Ted Talks on the 3 A's of Awesome (http://bit.ly/11Z22iH) in which he reveals the 3 secrets to leading an awesome life (hint: all three secrets begin with "A").

Though the video gives us hope that we can all lead an awesome life, the real power of this blog comes from the fact that we are already leading awesome lives and what we are finding is that the awesome things happening to us are happening to other people who find them similarly just as awesome and to share that is remarkable.

So what does this mean as someone who wants to go out into the world as a Social Worker? Connection. We are connected, we have similar likes and dislikes, similar interests, and our senses are tickled in similar ways. Yes, yes, we are all different. But we are also alike. We sometimes forget this. We forget that what healed us may also heal another, that what lifted us to try our best may help someone else achieve their goals too. Knowing that another person finds wonderful the same things you do, even if it is just one thing, can do a world of good to how you feel. Think about that from the perspective of someone suffering.

I'd like to add my own 1001th awesome thing. #1001: Someone, who I have never met, talked to, or seen their Facebook profile, thinks something is as awesome as I think it is.

So, while we are on our own hunt to make our life more awesome with the three "A's" let's not discount strangers who may think it's awesome too.

8 Things To Look Forward To

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today marks the end of training week for our Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) Camp Counselors. This is the third year that the Center for Community Engagement and Eastern are hosting this camp and we are so excited to have these counselors with us! 

For the past four days, they have attended workshops on: working with middle school students, how to engage English Language Learners (ELL), and how to meet a child where he/she is at in his/her academic development and guide him/her towards an academic milestone. They have spent hours putting together enrichment and elective activities for the kids to play. Many an icebreaker has been played, and there has been much reminiscing about their own childhood camp memories. 

Puentes is unlike your typical camp. Specifically tailored to at-risk ELL youth, the focus is shared between providing academic support with giving a forum for the students to develop their individual identity though exploring their cultural heritage(s). The program also runs after school sessions during the school year which families can elect to enroll their children in. Thus, Puentes allows for the kids to build meaningful relationships with the Puentes staff. The Camp Counselors, all Eastern students, are given the opportunity to volunteer in the after school program during the academic year or re-apply as Camp Counselors during the summer. The kinds of positive change that occurs in the students, whether they participate in either the camp or the after school program is incredible to watch, let alone be a part of.

So, on their last day of training, we asked a few of the Counselors what they were most excited for. Here are their responses:

  •   "As an alumna, I look forward to working with these students every summer. I can't wait to see their smiles!"
  •   "I am looking forward to getting to know the students I'll be mentoring over the summer." -Bryan
  •  "I am looking forward to the kids coming and learning new things."
  •  "I am looking forward to a great and fun experience with the kids."
  •  "I am excited to learn about the different cultural experiences that will happen over the summer."
  •  "I hope to guide the students towards finding a passion that they really love and steer the students away from negative influences."
  •   "Three days instead of two, and almost double the amount of kids that we had least year! Trained counselors ready to pour all their energy into making this camp a great experience for the kids in our community. I can't wait for the first day of camp! It is going to be great. I expect that the kids, counselors, and staff will have an unforgettable experience." -Rosie, Camp Director
  •  "I'm excited to see young people from our community growing academically through our camp while learning and exploring  their own and their friends' cultural identities." -Luis, Assistant Director of the Center for Community Engagement

Be sure to check back for some upcoming posts about what everyone at the camp is up to!  

July Opportunities with the CCE

Monday, June 24, 2013

With June quickly ending, the CCE is gearing up for July!

This last week of June is filled with training the camp counselors for the Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) summer camps which Eastern hosts. The camp is a 4-week long day camp for at-risk, ELL ELL (English Language Learner) youth in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. The kids attend either a math or language arts class in the morning and then participate in arts and crafts and tutoring sessions in the afternoon. All of the counselors are current Eastern students or alumni.
For information on how you can be a counselor for next year, email the Center for Community Engagement at cce@easternct.edu 

Tomorrow, the Connecticut Food Pantry's Mobile Truck is coming back to Willimantic for it's monthly stop. The truck comes filled with fresh produce, organic packaged foods and soups, and more to pass out to those who have limited to no access to healthy groceries in the area. We are currently accepting sign-ups for when it visits in July (July 23, 12:30-2:30pm).

Eastern's Community Education Garden is flourishing! Blueberry bushes, cantelope, and watermelon were all recently planted. Sugar peas, strawberries, and herbs have been harvested and donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen. A dedicated group of students have been tending to the garden, but we can always do with more volunteers. Hours and days are flexible. Let us know if you want to get involved!

For information on these opportunities and how you can sign up as a volunteer, email the Center for Community Engagement at cce@easternct.edu 

Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Puentes al Futuro, Bridges to the Future, is a grant-funded program for at-risk youth living in Greater Windham, Connecticut. The program is sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and is staffed by Eastern student volunteers. Below is an account from one of the Eastern volunteers about her experience: 

Puentes met on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week after the students get out of school, on Eastern’s campus as well as at Windham Middle School. Each time we met there was an opportunity to participate in an activity with the students to help them explore their culture, and then we helped them complete their homework. This past semester, on Thursdays, we studied poetry and worked on creating a Puentes-specific cook book. Talking about recipes and foods that are special to the children gave us another chance to share about ourselves and our families. It truly is amazing the type of connection that you build, even though you only spend a small portion of your week with these students. I love the way that Puentes helps students embrace and truly love their culture. The program helps students build a foundation based on understanding themselves and their heritage in order to promote their success in the future. I remember finding out when one of our Puentes students got into Windham Tech, after having applied only a few weeks earlier. Not only was everyone excited that she had chosen to tell us first, but we were so excited to see her become so thrilled about something directly related to her future. 

Guest Post: Kim, '15

What I Look Forward to When I Volunteer

Monday, June 17, 2013

The first night that I went to Lyon Manor, I expected to have a much different experience than I did.  When I heard the words ‘independent living center’, I expected the residents to need much more assistance.  I did not think that it would be so laid back and I did not realize that the residents would be able to go and come as they please.  I did not expect to terribly lose a game of chess against one resident.  I did not expect to laugh so hard that I cried.  And I certainly did not expect to form a friendship that I hold that close to my heart.
Every Tuesday I look forward to going to Lyon Manor.  I have a friend who lives there named Joanne.  She has a hard exterior and is not usually very happy.  But this past year, she and I have become so close.  Every week I bring a craft for the residents and Eastern students to do together, whenever I ask Joanne to work with me on one, she refuses because of her arthritis.  At Christmas time, I brought supplies so that the residents could make cards for their families.  This was one of the few times that Joanne agreed to do the craft; she made me a card, with a long poem about how much she loves me.  Joanne makes such an impact on my life; I cannot imagine my life without her or any of the other residents at Lyon Manor.
Recently, I went to the Impact conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It is an annual conference about community engagement and social justice.  There I was inspired to find more ways to make our time at Lyon Manor more engaging for the residents as well as the volunteers.  I plan to pair up similar students and residents to create a one-on-one friendship.  We will spend the first part of our time there one-on-one with our friends and the second part as a whole group.  I am hoping that this will make volunteers want to return every week to spend time with their friends!  During the fall 2013, we will be visiting Lyon Manor on Wednesday evenings. If you are interested e-mail: gemmaj@my.easternct.edu

-Guest Post: Jeannine, '15

Eastern's Community Education Garden Grows!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Over the past three months students, faculty, and community members have been growing fruits and vegetables for the local soup kitchen at Eastern’s Community Education Garden. Inside its white picket fence on High Street, one can find waist-high potato plants, a variety of heirloom tomatoes, sugar peas, pole beans, and strawberries. Carrot and corn shoots are beginning to peep up out of the soil. Beets, onions, and garlic are nearing a foot in height.
Recently interns from the Institute of Sustainable Energy planted watermelon. Jalapeno peppers were put in the soil with the help of Windham High School students. Sweet herbs from the Willimantic Farmer’s Market, stevia, and chocolate mint mark off the tea corner. A multifarious band of volunteers from the Eastern community come to help out: biology professors, athletic trainers, resident assistants,  and librarians. This week a Visitor’s Welcome sign is being installed to invite anyone who wishes to come in and have a look around.

Guest post: Bryan, '15

Find more pictures here!

Upcoming June Volunteer Opportunities

Monday, June 10, 2013

Looking for something new to do? Maybe you volunteered this past year and want to continue staying active. Below are some upcoming volunteer opportunities through the Center for Community Engagement!

  • Eastern's Education Garden: We are in the middle of planting watermelon, potatoes, herbs, strawberries, and more! Much of the food will be donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen when it is ready to be picked or harvested. The garden runs solely on Eastern student volunteer support with community members and local school kids helping out periodically. You can come and go as you please and form your own hours!

  • Connecticut Food Bank's Mobile Truck: Every 4th Tuesday of the month, the Mobile Truck comes to 199 Valley Street with fresh produce and healthy food to distribute to those most in need. Volunteers help from 12:30-2:30pm with set-up and distributing the food to clients of the truck. This event is by far one of the most fun and rewarding events to be a part of!

If you're interested in getting involved in either, email Jacqui at decormierj@easternct.edu 

A Good Start to Good Habits: 3 Easy Steps to Volunteering

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking that first step to volunteer can seem daunting. With all of the uncertainty that comes with volunteering uncertainty- volunteer positions generally don't come with a job description- offering to do so requires looking beyond being just a volunteer to seeing that you are participating in something bigger (and better).

Volunteering can look different for everyone. What it boils down to is offering to get involved doing something you are passionate about, have fun, and make connections with others. Bonuses such as job opportunities, professional skill development, and camaraderie are a part of the package too!

If you've never volunteered before, or had a bad first experience and aren't sure if you want to try it again, here are a few quick and easy steps to finding the right volunteer match for you.

1. Find a cause or social justice issue are PASSIONATE about 
If you love environmental sustainability and maintaining a clean earth, you may not mind doing a task your less fond of if it is for the success of an awareness or fundraising event that will support this cause. Perhaps you love just lending a helping hand and being involved in a variety of things just for the fun of it. Whatever lights that fire in your belly to add volunteering to your list of priorities, pursue it!

2. Research organizations and people in your area who are following this same interest and contact them!
This can be the scariest part of all. You are calling or emailing a stranger to say "Hey! I am really interested in what you and/or your organization is doing. How can I get involved as a volunteer?" It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that. But the beauty of volunteering is rarely will someone turn you away. Rejections are few and far between in the volunteering world and most people are incredibly happy to work with you. Odds are, they share the same exact passion!

Note: If a representative of an organization is rude, be wary and look for another opportunity. Volunteering should not be a one-way street but rather should be fun and a benefit to both you and the organization/group you're working with.

3. Be honest and up front with yourself and the volunteer coordinator about what you're good at and what you may want to try
Volunteering requires some self-lessness, but it is also a way for you to just do what you enjoy. Generally we like what we are good at. If you are good at event planning and like it, say so! The organization/group you're with may need extra help there. If you want to try something new such as fundraising, say so! This your chance to learn and explore. Learning how to communicate your needs, interests, and ideas will help you be better at communicating those of the populations you work with!

It may take a couple tries or you may find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you right away. Enjoy, have fun, and be proud of what you're a part of. You can never underestimate the ripple effect of your positive actions.

-Jacqui, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Center for Community Engagement

Food Justice Video

Friday, April 26, 2013

Watch this short film by Eastern Student Dave Wurtzel about Food Justice!

5 Reasons to Volunteer at Windham Hospital

Thursday, April 25, 2013

5.  It’s good for you.
·         It’s a relaxing place that relieves stress. Even though it’s a hospital it’s pretty calm and gives you a chance to talk with people.
4.  Gaining professional experience.
·         I learned what it takes to work in the health field and in my major of social work. I acquired expertise in confidentiality, and time-management, as well as interpersonal skills.  Also, I see many situations that I may have to deal with in my future career.
3.  Learn new things.
·         While volunteering at Windham Hospital I learned new and sometimes random things that I later found to be important and hope to use to in my education and career.
2.  Meet new people!
·         The two women I met while working at the MET Desk were always great company during our shift. I recall one volunteer who always brightened my day; she is 93 years old and was always so adorable and gave me advice about my future.
·         At the outpatient registry it’s always interesting to meet new people. Some patients are even friendly enough to tell you stories about their past or why they are there in the first place.
1. You make a difference!
·         No matter what every person makes a difference and has an impact.

More Than A Dress

Thursday, April 11, 2013

   The day every girl dreams of (second to their wedding) is their prom. They wonder how they will be asked, who they will go with and of course, what they will wear. I truly believe the confidence a girl has will either make or break her night. An outfit a girl feels proud to wear can add to her confidence. The unfortunate truth, though, is that some girls can't afford the dress of their dreams, and some cannot afford a dress at all.

         This is an issue I am extremely passionate about. In high school each Senior was required to choose a mentor and complete a project of their choice. The goal of the project was to do something you have never done before, and for me, organizing a volunteer project was a completely new experience. With the help of my Principle who was my mentor for the project and a fashionista herself, I had girls from the entire school drop dresses off to the front desk in the office and slowly started to create a "Prom Closet".

          Once the closet was nearly full I put reminders on the morning announcements that I would be sitting at the closet during my lunch and after school so girls could come in "just to look" or to find a dress. It was a great feeling to see girls try on that perfect dress that just happened to fit like a glove with no needed alterations. I know my small act of kindness impacted these girlslives and everytime they see those dresses hanging in their closet they will remember the time they danced the night away at prom and had the time of their lives.

        The most rewarding part of this project was when, my mother and I, years later, were eating dinner at a local restaurant when one of my high school teachers approached our table and informed us that she and another teacher kept the closet going after I graduated. It felt great to know I left this legacy at my high school and created a project that girls will continue to benefit from for years on end.

      If you'd like to donate your old dress and you're in the CT area contact http://waimct.org/ to find out how. If you are not in the CT there are dozens of organizations such as http://donatemydress.org and http://fairygodmothers.org among many others.

       And think about how you can create a legacy here at Eastern. If you are passionate about supporting your community, contact the CCE at cce@easternct.edu to see how you can get involved.

Internship Opportunity

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

     The Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC) Program needs a new intern! If you're a graduate student or undergraduate student with the hopes of completing your masters this internship could be right for you!

General Description:   CHSC Program Interns will be given specific roles in relation to meeting a community need within Windham and New London Counties.  Interns will be assigned to assist in the fulfillment of the Collegiate Health Service Corps Program.

1.  Coordinate an advisory committee to review and evaluate curriculum content and service learning projects to ensure best practices and current theories are continually incorporated. Students, agency representatives, and consumer representatives will serve on the advisory committee.
2.     Investigate the health care needs of Eastern Connecticut and create materials to be used in grant submissions
3.     Facilitate and/or supervise the implementation of the core curriculum(s)
4.     Monitor students’ service learning assignments
5.     Expand upon academic and community partnerships to assist in the expansion of the program
6.     Ensure data collection protocols are being met
7.     Create evaluation and tracking best practices
8.     Present and train Eastern AHEC staff on new procedures
9.     Other assignments and responsibilities as assigned by the Program Coordinator

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Knowledge of programs and resources readily available in the community
  • Verbal, writing, and organizational skills
  • Ability to attend community events
  • Ability to work independently
  • Use of common office software, including Microsoft Office

For more information contact:
Eastern Area Health Education Center
322 Main St. Suite 2E-1R

Willimantic, CT 06226

Office Phone: (860) 465-8281

Fax: (860) 760-6230


Sandy Still Matters: Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

         On Wednesday March 13, 2013 students gathered in the Students Center at Eastern Connecticut State University to watch talented local performers and to raise money for Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief. All proceeds from this event went to an Alternative Spring Break trip to New Jersey, where Eastern students aided in disaster relief projects.
          Performances included Hanging Hills, a local band, of which include two members of the Center of Community Engagement Elliot Woolworth and Max Robinson, took the stage first and set the tone for the night. Next Fallin’ Flat graced the stage with their renditions of ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ and ‘Just a Kiss’ among many other popular songs. The Repertory Dance Troupe then performed a lyrical piece, followed by local band Balcony, who rocked the stage with a mixture of original and cover songs.
Overall this was a great event that supported local talent and raised money for a good cause. We look forward to hosting more events like this in the future.
         If you would like to donate to this cause contact the Center for Community Engagement at cce@easternc.edu

Does Advertising Promote Inequality?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

               Everywhere you look advertising is telling us how we should look, dress, and act. Driving down the highway you see billboards, checking your Facebook you see side ads, and watching your favorite sitcom you encounter dozens of commercials. Although the products they are advertising are different, the message behind them seems to be the same.
                After viewing a short film called ‘Killing Us Softly’ in a Social Inequality course here at Eastern Connecticut State University, I became much more aware, and offended, by the fact that women in advertising are used as sexual objects and second class citizens. In the film, Jean Kilbourne shares her passion and analytical view on advertisements specifically those featuring women. Jean’s funny and witty nature captivates the audience so she can truly get her point across. Jean says although most of us think we are immune to advertisings effects, we aren’t. She states “The fact is that much of advertising's power comes from this belief that advertising does not affect us. The most effective kind of propaganda is that which is not recognized as propaganda. Because we think advertising is silly and trivial, we are less on guard, less critical, than we might otherwise be. It's all in fun, it's ridiculous. While we're laughing, sometimes sneering, the commercial does its work.”
Subconsciously these advertisements are telling us that women are unintelligent sexualized objects that are good for pleasing men, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children; ideas that are extremely dated but still shown to us on a daily basis in a way where most people won’t realize or be offended. Think of the last Windex or Swiffer advertisement you saw…who was the main character? My guess is that it was a woman who was cleaning up after her family; correct me if I’m wrong. Then there are the cologne ads which are so sexualized we hardly even know what they are selling. To prove this I Goggled “cologne” and on the first page of results this is what I found…

If I saw this ad in passing I would have absolutely no idea what it was selling. By taking a closer look, yes, technically it does say the cologne is called “Obsession for men” by Calvin Klein, but still how does the photo in this ad correlate to cologne? Maybe if you wear it a gorgeous supermodel will show up naked at your doorstep? This is just one of many examples of how advertising uses and degrades women to nothing more than sexual objects.
                It is important for all women and those who support gender equality to make a change. By consuming these ads we are saying that women are less than men, less than human, and not worthy of the same respect of their opposing gender. For ways to make a difference visit http://www.jeankilbourne.com/ for ideas and organizations that challenge destructive media images.

Volunteer Opportunity!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

MDA Summer Camp in Hebron CT is looking for Counselors! Please inquire with questions, interest or to receive an application call: 203-248-6500 / Fax: 203-248-6540 or email cbilodeau@mdausa.org

Persuasive Panel

On Thursday March 7th, 2013 students filed into the Student Center Theater at Eastern Connecticut State University to listen to the experiences of Post Graduates who joined the Peace Corp, Food Corp, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America. The purpose of this event was to educate students on different full-time service opportunities they can join upon graduating from Eastern in which they will not only bring their skills to meaningful work but will build their resumes. Everyone had their own stories and experiences to share with the audience but one story in particular stood out to me and the majority of the audience. Brianna London served with the Peace Corp abroad. She decided to join the Peace Corp after she graduated college because she wanted to take a break before thinking about going to graduate school but wasn’t ready to enter a full-time office job. After her orientation and training period, Brianna was sent to a remote village in Burkina Faso, Africa where she spent the next two years as the only American in the area. She primarily worked with groups of subsistence farmers and craftspeople to develop new business opportunities. She quickly became a role model for women in the village as she worked with them on confidence building techniques and helped them learn a new trade, soap making.  She worked with them to design a quicker more efficient way to prepare food which saved the villagers time and money. Brianna served in every aspect they needed her; some days she was a nurse, a chef, a financial advisor, or sometimes just a friend. Over the two years she was there Brianna learned the native language and made a huge impact in the economy of the village. As much as the villagers learned from her, she learned as much from them. She had to embrace a culture entirely different than her own and the people of the village tried to help her make that transition as smoothly as possible. Brianna now hopes to return to the village and is studying new ways to help them develop their economy. After the Panel, Brianna was surrounded by students who wanted to know more about her story. The bravery it took to move to another country with no knowledge of the area or language and have that big of an impact is something we can all admire and hope to achieve one day. I, like many of the audience, came to learn how to further our careers, but what we took away from it is that we can all do something as brave as Brianna and have amazing experience as well.

5 Lessons of a Student Volunteer

Thursday, February 28, 2013

         My work here at the CCE began in the summer of 2012 at the Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) Summer Camp.  I have had some experience with middle school students; but 80% of my prior tutoring experience was with elementary age children.  I was open to this new endeavor though, and find it to be one of the best experiences of my college career thus far.  It also led to me to dedicate many of my hours, here at the CCE, in the tutoring program at the Middle School.  I now am a student leader of the Middle School House A/B Tutorial Program, and I enjoy it very much.  The children are always excited to see me, and it puts a smile on my face knowing that the time I have dedicated to this program has impacted their lives. There are also 5 lessons that I have learned through this process.
1.      Patience
Students may not always warm up to you immediately, but with patience and you will eventually be able to form mentor and student relationships.
2.       Dedication
                 Showing that you are dedicated to helping the student’s academics needs, will allow students to feel that they do have people that are willing to support them. Dedication requires setting aside time to put your full attention into the program, and giving your 100% while you’re at the site.

3.      Laugh
As a mentor/tutor you have to keep a professional attitude, but it is ok to laugh once and awhile with the student.  It allows them to feel more welcome.

4.      Show compassion
You never know what background a student may come from (socioeconomic, ethnicity, home environment) so always be sensitive to these issues.

5.      Push for Success
There are students who say “they can’t”, take that out of their vocabulary and show them that with hard work they can achieve academic success.