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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Steve Almond ’88] In an article for The Boston Globe, journalist and best-selling author Steve Almond ’88 covers the costly American football industry and how taxpayer dollars are abused to help fund it. In both the professional game and at the college level, public monies are being diverted from low-income programs and education initiatives in order to “fund athletic spectacle.”

As the author of Against Football, Almond has worked to expose this pervasive corruption in the NFL organization and college football leagues. The NFL and its franchises still rely on hidden tax breaks and heavy handouts even though the organization is no longer nonprofit, which means taxpayers regularly foot the bill for lavish stadiums and help fund the extravagant lives of team owners. Almond seeks to make this information more widespread:

“Simply put, the football industry in this country treats taxpayers like tackling dummies. And the beauty of the arrangement — for those who profit from the game, anyway — is that hardly anyone notices.”

As public universities invest more money into their football programs, a similar pattern emerges. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been redirected from education and research to build athletic centers and pay exorbitant head coach salaries, even though most of these programs actually end up losing money and often necessitate higher tuition and student fees.

While it may be a favorite American pastime with emotional meaning and value for its spectators, Almond appeals to readers to think about the ultimate cost of the game:

“There’s no doubt that football brings immense joy and meaning to millions of Americans . . .

But those of us who aren’t financially or emotionally invested in the sport need to recognize that football still has a profound impact on our lives. Hundreds of millions of our hard-earned dollars are being diverted from vital social and educational programs to subsidize the beautiful, savage game that has become our national passion.”

Read more…

Image: By Sharona Jacobs

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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[John Hickenlooper ’74]In the months leading up to the presidential election Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper ’74 has released his candid and confessional memoir, The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.

The book––about Hickenlooper’s coming of age, his stint as the owner of a brewpub and his surprising entry into politics––has fueled rumors about a possible vice presidential run alongside Hillary Clinton, though he has not confirmed the claim. But despite overlooking any of his gubernatorial controversies in favor of an uncontested political image, the story is a “genuinely entertaining, quick read about a man who truly earned his success,” as described by The Daily Camera.

Hickenlooper’s outspoken memoir carries readers through from his Quaker roots in Philadelphia to the start of his “pro-business, pro-energy” political career at fifty years old, with many star-studded encounters in between. All the while it relies on a dominant metaphor comparing his beer-making past to his political present:

“The real brewing action, the fermentation, starts when you add the yeast. In politics, that’s the activist, the engaged civic leader, coupled with the people’s voice, which drives the democratic process … But … it takes a political leader … to balance everyone and all of the energy and ideas together to bottle a policy that usually isn’t fancy or flashy, but is palatable, of value, and lasting. That’s the brewer.”

Read more…

Image: c/o Matthew Jonas for The Daily Camera

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[Twitter] follow @hickforco on Twitter ➞

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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Sasha Martin ’02] In a heartening letter written to chef Christopher Kimball as he departs from America’s Test Kitchen, Sasha Martin ’02 reveals the impact his career has had on her upbringing.

Growing up with a mother who refused to let poverty limit the creativity of her dishes, Martin learned at a young age that food could “take us wherever we wanted to go.” And after years of being separated during her adolescence, the two would rely on cooking as a means to reconnect and get to know one another a second time around. Martin credits chef Kimball and his work for America’s Test Kitchen with helping to guide them through this delicate process:

“In the face of our awkward “getting to know each other” phase, your magazine and the recipes inside were a relief. They were built on clarity and predictability. A safe haven … As one of many white flags, Mom gave me a worn copy of one of your magazines, strewn with post-it notes, asterisks and underlining. Together we’d discuss the kitchen tools you demystified in the front pages … Focusing on food was easier than figuring each other out (and, might I add, a way into figuring each other out).”

Eventually the pair traveled so that Martin could meet and speak with Kimball, a moment she describes as leaving an “indelible mark” on her aspirations. Since then she has cooked a recipe from every country in the world for her blog, Global Table Adventure, and published a book on the experience, Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness.

Now, as Christopher Kimball prepares to explore international culinary techniques in the next phase of his career, she imparts back to him some of the wisdom her childhood experiences have taught her:

“Enjoy your new venture. Enjoy that most humbling curiosity – a willingness to admit that sometimes there’s a better way to do things than the way we’ve always done things. And, always, a burning hope for the future.”

Read more…

Image: c/o Global Table Adventure

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Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

Thank you to the following alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends who donated their time and expertise to the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship in 2015/2016. Your involvement has made our programs stronger, and we look forward to continued collaboration!

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Phoebe Boyer ’89
Carl Byers ’93
Sharon Belden Castonguay
Marcus Chung ’98

Advisory Board members and Drive Change

Members of the Patricelli Center Advisory Board have lunch at Snowday, a food truck run by Drive Change, a social enterprise founded by Jordyn Lexton ’08

Peter Frank ’12
Lexy Funk ’91
Lara Galinsky ’96
Amir Alexander Hasson ’98
Lily Herman ’16
Rachel Hines ’82 P’18
Ellen Jewett ’81 P’17
Makaela Kingsley ’98
Anne Lebleu ’00
Bob Miller P’02 P’99
Robert Patricelli ’61 P’90 P’88
Jessica Posner Odede ’09
Muzzy Rosenblatt ’87
Ilene Rosenthal ’74 P’17
Rob Rosenthal
Melinda Weekes Laidlow ’89
Sarah Williams ’88

PEER ADVISORS

The Alls

The PCSE Peer Advisors are part of a large cohort of students that hold leadership positions across Allbritton’s civic engagement programs, affectionately known as the “Alls.”

Ani Acopian ’16
Tiffany Coons ’18
Mia Deng ’17
Alex Garcia ’17
Lily Herman ’16
Sophia Jennings ’16
Claudia Kahindi ’18
Mika Reyes ’18
Yekaterina Sapozhnina ’16
Michael Smith ’18
Joshua Su ’17

SEED GRANT JUDGES
Lara Galinsky ’96
Giulio Gallarotti
Jonathan Gertler ’77
Biz Ghormley ’04
Lily Herman ’16
Anne Lebleu ’00
Jeremy Mindich ’87
Ajay Rajani ’06
Rob Rosenthal
George Suttles ’03
Glendowlyn Thames
Melinda Weekes-Laidlow ’89

PRESENTERS, SPEAKERS, PANELISTS, AND ON-CAMPUS MENTORS
Albert Wenger
Alex Garcia ’17
Allison Wyatt ’02
Alvin Chitena ’19
Andrea Berry ’03

Sharon Greenberger, Tim Freundlich, Melinda Weekes-Laidlow, and Sarah Williams

Sharon Greenberger, Tim Freundlich, Melinda Weekes-Laidlow, and Sarah Williams speak on a panel during the November 2015 Wesleyan Social Impact Summit

Barbara Schaffer Bacon
Bashaun Brown ’18
Ben Binswanger ’83
Bill Jeffway ’82
Cass Walker-Harvey
Claudia Kahindi ’18
Cristhian de Jesus Escobar ’00
Dan Wolf ’79
David Bonbright P’18
David Hessekiel ’82
Dominique Callimanopulos ’81
Douglas Welch ’88/’89
Ellen Jewett ’81 P’17
Emma Gardner ’89
Fritzgi Dessources ’18
George Suttles ’03
Gerald Richards ’90
Gregg Croteau ’93
Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ’16
Hyungsoo Kim ’02
Irma Gonzalez ’78 P’09
Izzi Greenberg ’05
James Boyle
James Woulfe
Jason Rosado ’96
Jessica Angell ’02
Jessica Posner Odede ’09
Jim Steiker ’81
Jodi Wilinsky Hill ’78
Julie Meyer ’79
Kaitlin Halibozek ’10
Kathleen Clyde ’01
Kennedy Odede ’12
Kevin Egolf ’04
Kika Stump ’94
Kirk Adams ’73 P’13
Kwaku Akoi ’14
Lara Galinsky ’96
Laurenellen McCann ’09
Lee Bodner ’91
Lily Herman ’16
Marianne Pantalon
Mark Mullen ’89
Melinda Weekes-Laidlow ’89
Michael Wenger
Muzzy Rosenblatt ’87
Neil Gagliardi ’85
Patrick McDarrah ’88
Patrick Struebi
Paul Harris ’81
Phoebe Boyer ’89
Rebecca Krisel ’10
Rebecca Winkler ’16
Richard Adelstein
Sarah Williams ’88
Scott Donohue ’86
Sharon Greenberger ’88 P’19
Shereem Herdon-Brown ’96
Stephen Friedman ’91
Strauss Zelnick ’79
Susan Danziger
Syed Ali ’13
Thomas Bledsoe ’78 P’18
Tim Dibble ’86
Timothy Freundlich ’90
Valerie Belanger ’02
Vashti Dubois ’83

Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

Part of the mission of Wesleyan is to provide “an education in the liberal arts that is characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism.” Those attributes come to life at the Patricelli Center, where students and alumni find real-world applications for their idealism, hone their skills as entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, and join the legions of trailblazing changemakers who have come of age at Wesleyan.

Established in May 2011 through a gift from the Robert ’61 and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation, and with ongoing support from Propel Capital, Newman’s Own Foundation, and a number of Wesleyan alumni and parents, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship just celebrated its fifth birthday. Demand for services has grown steadily during our first half-decade, and the Center has become a hub of social impact and entrepreneurship activity on campus. It has engaged scores of alumni with the University, with students, and with each other. Wesleyan’s “changemaker mafia” is increasingly connecting and collaborating, supporting each other and amplifying their collective impact worldwide.

NEWS & HIGHLIGHTS

In 2015/2016, the PCSE offered its first ever .25-credit courses, hosted 25 workshops, trainings, and networking events featuring 46 presenters, awarded 27 grants to 48 applicants, provided 259 advising sessions and professional connections to 114 students and alumni, supported the launch of Wesleyan’s Nonprofit Board Residency program, and added 17 alumni volunteers to our growing network.

Forbes named Wesleyan #9 on their list of the Most Entrepreneurial Colleges.

The Wesleyan Social Impact Summit (2015 Shasha Seminar) drew more than 120 people for a first-of-its-kind conference. 

PCSE’s first academic course (.25-credits) Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship was offered in both fall and spring.

The Allbritton Fellows program was launched through the Admission Office this year. Four incoming freshmen were selected as Fellows to receive funding for independent projects and mentorship from Allbritton Directors. Some of these students have become core members of the PCSE community.

The Wesleyan magazine profiled the PCSE, writing “The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is developing a community of innovators both on campus and among alumni who are effecting change around the world.”

The Non-Profit Board Residency Program, hosted out of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, was piloted in 2015/2016 and will run again next year.

In conjunction with University Relations, the PCSE launched two successful fundraising campaigns in 2015-2016. The Propel Capital Challenge has raised $670k in commitments towards a $700k goal, which will ultimately yield $1.4M for the PCSE endowment. The PCSE Indiegogo campaign raised $16,820 — 112% of its goal.

GRANTS

Three $5,000 Seed Grants were awarded to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected project, program, or venture. For the third year in a row, this grant was administered in a competition format, and winners were selected from a strong pool of six finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched live to an audience of more than 100 judges, Trustees, and guests. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities, and potential for social impact. The three 2016 Seed Grant winners are:

  • Kindergarten Kickstart (Stephanie Blumenstock ’16, Meg Narwold ’16, and Natalie May ’18) Kindergarten Kickstart is an innovative research-based, summer pre-K program for children in Middletown, CT who could benefit from extra preschool experience before beginning kindergarten. Through a partnership between university-based research labs, Middletown Public Schools, and local community organizations, Kickstart aims to bridge the research-to-practice gap and improve participants’ school readiness skills through a short-term, high-impact, low-cost preschool program.
  • TRAP House (Bashaun Brown ’18, Will Barr ’18, Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, and Gabe Weinreb ’18) TRAP House is a startup incubator that operates in neighborhoods with high rates of drug activity.  TRAP stands for Transforming, Reinventing, and Prospering.  Recognizing that hustlers are entrepreneurs starved of opportunity, we will help them recognize their talents, identify their passions, and launch micro-ventures in the formal market.  We will provide the financing, technical assistance, and network that our clients need to succeed.
  • Walking Elephants Home (Becca Winkler ’16) The Mahouts Elephant Foundation (MEF) is a non-profit that supports elephants and their Karen mahouts (owners) in Thailand. The goal of Walking Elephants Home is to collaborate with indigenous people and prove that alternative forms of ethical tourism are possible through a business model that allows mahouts who free their elephants to earn a better income through sustainable ecotourism. Returning elephants to their natural habitat not only drastically improves their well-being but also enhances biodiversity and prevents further deforestation.

Past PCSE Seed Grant winners continued growing their enterprises, including the Wesleyan Doula Project, Wishing Wells, and Let’s Be Clear (formerly known as Assk).

Three students received summer internship grants from the PCSE. Like all of our grantees, these students will report on their experiences via ENGAGE blog posts.

  • Leneil Rodrique ’17 will work for the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights this summer, whose mission is to “ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights in our nation’s schools.” Leneil wrote, “As someone who has dedicated their studies to education and civil rights, this opportunity will give me real life experience with how our government agencies operate – understanding its significance, its flaws, and it’s areas of improvement. Working with policy research and analyses will also enhance my engagement with social, cultural and critical theory that will ultimately prepare me for my future endeavors in law school.
  • Rachel Kaly ‘17 has created her own summer project: a pop-up comedy theater, workshop, and performance space called ABSURD. It is specially designed for female-identifying people of color in New York City, a group that is historically underrepresented and excluded from opportunities like this. Rachel was inspired to create this program by her positive experiences as a member of the Wesleyan community “and its encouraging atmosphere.” She says that “students’ activist tendencies are what drew me to Wesleyan, and what continue to propel me into my career and post-graduate plans.”
  • Mariah Guarnaccia ’17 will intern with GLIDE, a San Francisco non-profit whose mission is to “create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.” Mariah thinks she wants to work for a place like GLIDE when she graduates from Wesleyan. “The idea of doing the most you can, where you are, with the community you are surrounded by is so inspirational. GLIDE exemplifies this. They do not do large dramatic acts of charity, but simply strive to help their community lead safe, happy lives.”

Alvin Chitena ’19 received the prestigious Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch his new social enterprise, Zim Code, at five high schools in Zimbabwe this summer. Zim Code provides Zimbabwean youth with free access to resources they need—computers, internet access and instruction—to learn computer programming and how to apply their new skills in their community.

As part of Wesleyan’s response to the refugee crisis, the Patricelli Center was able to secure additional grant funding to support a project run by Fritzgi Dessources ’18 in his home country of Haiti this summer. Fritzgi is learning about the refugee village of Anse-à-Pitres and looking for ways to innovate solutions that will become sustainable economic engines for the community. He plans to partner with local fisherman to purchase and install a solar icemaker, filling a great need in that community.

PCSE Enrichment Grants allowed 17 students to pursue opportunities or attend conferences including the Saha Global Fellowship, the Landmark Forum, and the International Society of Tropical Foresters conference. The Patricelli Center also helped two alumni attend SOCAP,

CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS

Having experienced a decline in non-credit workshop attendance in recent semesters, the Patricelli Center experimented with a new model this year. We offered fewer workshops but added a 6-week, .25-credit Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship course which ran in both fall and spring.

Workshop reviews continued to improve over previous years (average overall rating was 9.2 out of 10 compared to 8.6 in 2013/2014 and 9.1 in 2014/2015), and students’ course evaluations were at or above the average for .25-credit classes (82% favorable for the course compared to the average of 82%, and 96% favorable for the teaching compared to the average of 87%).

Some of this year’s workshops were:

  • Startup Weekend
  • YearUp’s Model: From Poverty to Professional Careers (Scott Donohue ’86)
  • Crowdfunding Bootcamp (Hyungsoo Kim ’02)
  • Successful Leadership: A Crash Course for Wes Students (Strauss Zelnick ’79)
  • Major Trends in the Non-Profit World (Lee Bodner ’91, Julie Meyer ’79)
  • Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns: Wesleyan Social Impact Summit
  • Education & Career “Next Steps” for Entrepreneurs (Shereem Herdon-Brown ’96)
  • Learn to Commit: a free one-day coding bootcamp for women and girls
  • Social Entrepreneurship & Law (Cristhian de Jesus Escobar ’00)
  • “Build With, Not For” (Laurenellen McCann ’09)
  • Fundraising, Communications, and Leadership for Nonprofits (Gerald Richards ’90, Syed Ali ’13, Sharon Greenberger ’88 P’19) 

PCSE COMMUNITY

The Patricelli Center began curating a list of Wesleyan classes that relate to social entrepreneurship. We hope this will further assist students in connecting their curricular and co-curricular social impact work. This year’s list was especially robust, including Nonprofits and Social Change co-taught by Jeff Shames ’77 and Rob Rosenthal, and Design for Social Change taught by Ric Grefe. 

More than 50 constituents have 24/7 ID-card access to the PCSE Board Room. This space is a hub of social innovation on campus, used for idea and venture incubation, service-learning course TA sessions, peer advising, and more.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship continues to rely on these key partnerships:

2016/2017 PREVIEW

Next year, we hope to experiment with offering additional for-credit learning opportunities, including a six-week alumni speaker series entitled “Civic Engagement and Social Impact in the Field.” Under the leadership of incoming PCSE Advisory Board co-chair Ellen Jewett ’81 P’18, we will also begin to look ahead and envision the future of social entrepreneurship at Wesleyan.

 

To learn more or find out how you can support the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, visit www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli or contact mjkingsley@wesleyan.edu.

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

Summer Session classes at #Wesleyan, June 10. 

Reblogged from: Green Street Blog. (Go to the original post…)

Chenoa was a Middlesex Community College intern last semester and we asked her to share some of her experience with us. It has been wonderful watching her grow and learn more about working with kids in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. Here is her first guest blog.

If you’re interested in signing your child up for Discovery AfterSchool classes, our fall semester registration is open and we have many fun classes in art, math, and science. Classes start the week of September 12, 2016. Call us to set up an appointment or fill out the application materials online and send in to us.

A Change in Perspective

Before starting my internship at the Green Street Discovery AfterSchool Program, the only experience I’d had with kids working at Russell Library in the Children’s Section. My attitude towards kids was usually one of standing in the background and observing. I was never the disciplinary type because I didn’t have confidence in my abilities to play that role. I also don’t remember a lot about my childhood. Because of this, I had a really hard time relating to kids. I wasn’t able to remember what it was like in certain grades or when I was even their age. I felt like kids would pick up that and realize I didn’t know what it was like to be in their shoes.

Drumming_Class

For the first week as a new teaching assistant, I stayed on the perimeter of the group to observe. When the kids would act up every now and then, I would say something like, “Guys, are you listening to what the teacher just said?” I had to go out of my comfort zone of normally being an introvert to having to be more assertive. I quickly realized, that this technique of being on the perimeter and trying to be assertive from the outside was not effective. So after watching a few “how to get children to listen to you” videos via YouTube, I realized that a huge reason as to why the kids weren’t listening to me was because I was not on their level – literally.

So, I became a part of the class, participating in activities with the kids. And the kids started listening to me. I used consistency, persistence, and also assertiveness so the kids knew that I deserved the same amount of respect that they gave other authority figures. And they knew I would respect them too.

I became a friendly face, and ear, they could confide in. Every now and then there would be a kid who was normally well behaved but for some reason, didn’t want to participate. I would pull them aside and by simply listening to them talk about what had happened that day helped. I would listen and would ask a few questions to build rapport with the kids. I wanted them to know that they could confide in me and that if they didn’t want to confide in me at the moment, I was ready to listen to them if that changed. Through listening to what some of the kids told me, I started to put the pieces together as to how the kids deal with things in school or how it effected their day.

Once I started participating and listening, my empathy towards these kids grew. I started to understand why kids acted certain ways and also what things I could do to help them feel better and get back on track in class. My impression now is that, while there are some kids who are going to act out due to issues at home or in school, there are a lot of kids who just want someone to talk to where they can be themselves. I went from having a more cautious view of kids, to tearing up on the last day of the program. At the Solstice Performance, I saw each one of the kids I had worked with go on stage and really shine. These kids grew on me. And for once in my life, I finally started to feel, and maybe even remember, what its like to be a kid again.

Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. This year’s winners are Walking Elephants Home, Kindergarten Kickstart, and T.R.A.P. House. Each grantee reports back with blog posts and photos. Here is the first report from the TRAP House team: Bashaun Brown ’18, Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, Gabe Weinreb ’18, and Will Barr ’18.


 

TRAP House team and friends with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin

TRAP House team and friends with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin

With the help of the Patricelli Center, TRAP House has exceeded all expectations, including our own.

The Patricelli Center seed grant helped TRAP House leverage an additional $25,000 in funding from the Newman’s Own Foundation and the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation. Impressed by our momentum and the impact that TRAP House is already making in the community, several individuals were inspired to contribute an additional $2,500.  With this funding, TRAP House has launched its pilot program in the North End of Hartford.

On June 4th, TRAP House hosted a Startup Day where residents of Hartford’s North End pitched us their business ideas.  Throughout the day, these entrepreneurs-in-the-making had the opportunity to work with our mentors one-on-one as they conducted market-research, refined their business plans, and wove their moving personal stories into their business pitches.  TRAP House will continue to work with all who participated in the Startup Day competition, to ensure that we remain a far-

Startup Day flyer

Startup Day flyer

reaching resource to the community. We have selected three TRAP Stars from the day’s competitors to receive startup funding and full-time business incubation.

The first, Vodal Crooks, will use his passion for storytelling and filmmaking to start a videography company. He intends to document weddings and birthdays, in addition to shooting music videos for local musicians. The second, Antoine Blue, will use the job-training he received in prison to launch a commercial cleaning company that employs other ex-offenders from the community.  Finally, Gr8 One will leverage his talent for community-organizing to execute small ventures in North Hartford; stop by the cook-off on Wednesday, June 15 to see his skills at work!

In addition to Seed funding, the Patricelli Center has helped us establish a network of mentors and advisors throughout Connecticut and beyond.  This network has been indispensable to TRAP House as we take our first steps.  Key partners include reSET, a social enterprise-incubator in Hartford that

TRAP House CFO Gabe Weinreb '18 and volunteer Michael Smith '18 on Startup Day

TRAP House CFO Gabe Weinreb ’18 and volunteer Michael Smith ’18 on Startup Day

offers us free office space and legal advice; Our Piece of the Pie, a youth development agency that gave us space and equipment to host our Startup Day; and the Rideshare company, a commuter service administrator that donated a van to TRAP House. The TRAP House met with Luke Bronin, the mayor of Hartford, and participated in a roundtable discussion about mass incarceration with Governor Malloy.  This chain of excitement and support was strengthened in the media. Our work was featured in an article by the Hartford Courant, and our CEO Bashaun Brown ‘18 was interviewed by Stan Simpson on Fox 61 News. People are excited to learn about the #newhustle!

TRAP House COO Irvine Peck's-Agaya '18 teaching a workshop to TRAP Stars and affiliates at reSET in Hartford

TRAP House COO Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18 teaching a workshop to TRAP Stars and affiliates at reSET in Hartford

Over the next five weeks, our TRAP Stars will attend an entrepreneurial boot camp every Saturday where they will learn valuable skills in marketing, financial planning, and legal compliance.  We will continue to draw on our network of mentors and the resources at the Patricelli Center to give our entrepreneurs a competitive advantage.  This way, our entrepreneurs will beat the odds and establish lasting ventures that will combat mass incarceration from the supply side and return economic power to the North End and the amazing people that call it home.

Follow our journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. This year’s winners are Walking Elephants Home, Kindergarten Kickstart, and T.R.A.P. House. Each grantee reports back with blog posts and photos. Here is the first report from Rebecca Winkler ’16, writing with updates from Walking Elephants Home.  


people-IMG_8170-2Time has flown by since the announcement of the 2016 seed grant competition winners. In just under a month I will be boarding a plane with a one-way ticket headed to Thailand to fully roll out our Walking Elephants Home project. Just a couple weeks out of graduation, the words of Bryan Stevenson still ring through my mind and reaffirm the importance of the work we are doing. Stevenson told us at graduation that we had to get proximate to the places we are trying to impact, that problem solving from afar is not the same as problem solving within the community. Stevenson also told us that narratives matter, and solving problems, changing the world even, requires changing narratives. By bringing people out of the traditional model for tourism in Thailand and bringing them to Huay Pakkoot and to the elephants in their natural habitat, I believe we are helping to change the narrative about elephants and mahouts in Thailand. 

One of our guests to the project wrote about her experience saying “During the day we would walk to find the elephants living free in the forest, we would follow them as they foraged and sprayed water from the cool streams nearby. It was an absolute privilege and delight to see them live in such a natural environment.” 

sunti-AQ2I7649She left our project feeling that it was a privilege to be able to hike out through the jungle and see elephants living in their natural environment. This is our goal for all guests to the project and for a larger audience throughout Thailand. In the future we are working to create, people will no longer expect to walk out of their hotel and cross the street to an elephant camp and to ride elephants in the middle of a city. People will realize that elephants are sentient intelligent beings deserving dignity and respect and a life in the forest free from labor for humans. And people will realize that the job of Mahout requires an immense amount of compassion and empathy to be able to interact with and understand the needs of elephants. Although it is in its very early stages, our work is already having an impact on the people who come in contact with it, and we are invigorated to keep working and growing. 

Each guest that comes to the project and affirms to the community that yes indeed people do want to come see elephants in their natural habitat and support community based tourism strengthening our mission and our relationship with Huay Pakkoot. Our immediate goal now is to continue to fine tune the experience we offer and begin expanding so we can sustainably support more elephants and mahouts in the village! 

people-IMG_8295-2Our immediate goals are:

  1. Secure partnerships with ethical tour agencies here in the states and abroad: We are in conversation with a number of groups that are interested listing our project as a part of larger tours they are leading.
  2. Make sure every guest that visits the village has a once in a lifetime experience and leaves full of wonder and joy ready to tell all of their friends about our project.
  3. Secure grant funding to support the immediate return of more elephants as the project grows.
  4. Increase our visibility though our online presence on Facebook, Instagram (@mahoutselephants) , and Website 

We thank the Patricelli Center for Social entrepreneurship and the Seed Grant for helping us grow our project and look forward to updating you with more exciting news in the future! 

Dah Bleu (Thank You in Karen)

Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. This year’s winners are Walking Elephants Home, Kindergarten Kickstart, and T.R.A.P. House. Each grantee reports back with blog posts and photos. Here is the first report from Stephanie Blumenstock ’16, writing with updates from Kindergarten Kickstart. The Kickstart team also includes Meg Narwold ’16, Natalie May ’18, and Professor Anna Shusterman. 


 

centers This past semester has been an eventful one for Kindergarten Kickstart and we can’t wait for this summer. As Kickstart moves into its 5th year of operation, we feel so fortunate to have received a Seed Grant to allow us to move beyond our original community non-profit model and launch Kickstart 2.0, an enterprise with the potential to create a ripple of impact in the field of education beyond Middletown. Here’s a snapshot of what we, along with our faculty advisor Anna Shusterman, have done so far for the 2016 Kickstart program:

  1. Finalized dates and sites: Kickstart will run from July 5 – August 5, with one classroom at Farm Hill School and one at Bielefield School (both elementary schools in Middletown).
  2. Recruited students: With the help of our collaborators from Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Lab and Middletown’s Family Resource Center, we reached out to eligible families in Middletown with children entering kindergarten in the fall, and were met with lots of enthusiasm from parents. We expect that both classrooms will be full, with 15 children in each.
  3. Hired teachers: Stephanie and Natalie will return as Kickstart teachers, and we have 4 amazing new teachers on board, each with experience in developmental psychology and working with children and full of ideas about how to make Kickstart the best it can be. At the end of the semester, the teachers briefly observed both a preschool and kindergarten classroom, in order to get ideas for the Kickstart classroom and get a better idea of the school environment we’ll be preparing our students for. We will also work with two Middletown-based certified teachers (one of whom taught with Kickstart last year!). Each classroom will be staffed by 3 Wesleyan teachers and 1 certified teacher.
  4. Continued relationships with our research collaborators: This summer, we will continue to work with our research collaborators from last year, testing interventions (i.e., fun educational games) that target both executive function and socio-emotional skills.

KKblogpostThe groundwork for this summer has been laid, and the next few weeks will be busy as we finalize the details of Kickstart 2.0. Our overall goals for this summer include:

  1. Piloting our own literacy intervention: Beginning during our training period in late June and continuing throughout the summer, Kickstart teachers will design a new literacy intervention and begin to implement it in our classrooms. This process will include researching pre-existing literacy interventions and deciding which aspects of them we want to incorporate into our own, creating the materials themselves (including picture books, visual aids, board games, etc.), and trying them out during Kickstart to see how our students react to and learn from them. Ideally, we will have a set of finished materials by the end of the summer that can be shared with teachers at other preschool programs (although Kickstart teachers in 2017 and beyond can continue to refine them!).
  2. Increasing Wesleyan student-teachers’ contact with our research collaborators: While last year, most of the communication with our research collaborators was done through our faculty advisor, this summer, Wesleyan student-teachers will be in consistent contact with our collaborators, giving them feedback about how the interventions are working in the classroom and brainstorming suggestions for improvement. Currently, one of the Kickstart teachers is researching a new and improved assessment we can use to evaluate the impact of the socio-emotional intervention on our students.
  3. Standardizing our training and curriculum materials: In Kickstart’s 4 years of existence, we have used (and produced) tons of documents with information on the psychology and education research that guides our program, as well as many lesson plans and general classroom descriptions. By the end of the summer, we’d like to have put together one synthesized training curriculum manual with all of the information someone would need to know about Kickstart prior to working in a Kickstart classroom. This manual can then be sent to other universities where faculty members have expressed interest in starting a program like Kickstart, making it easier for Kickstart to take root in other locations.
  4. Updating our website: As we look to expand Kickstart in the near future, both through scaling our model to other universities and connecting with more research collaborators, revamping our website to make it more informative and visually appealing will be helpful. We are also working with a graphic designer to design a new logo!
  5. Shifting our business model: Thus far, Kickstart has depended on philanthropy (and we are so grateful to all of the funders who have made the program possible thus far!). However, our major long-term goal is to develop a self-sustaining financial model, through our partnerships with outside researchers and through selling our own materials. Thanks to the Seed Grant, we will begin to pivot towards this goal this summer!

Overall, we are in good shape for the launch of Kickstart 2.0, and we are so excited to work with our research collaborators, Middletown partners, and the Patricelli Center this summer!

 

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