AMERICORPS CONNECTICUT PROGRAMS
The Connecticut Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network AmeriCorps program engages middle and high school students in the Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC) and college students in the Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC), which lead students in service learning projects that address pressing community health issues. The AmeriCorps members aim to improve academic engagement of economically disadvantaged students through participation in the YHSC and CHSC service learning programs, as well as through health workshops. The four regional centers of the Connecticut AHEC Network host full-time AmeriCorps members impacting communities across the entire state of Connecticut. The program increases AmeriCorps members' educational and professional status by providing a vast amount of experience working with schools, non-profits, health care agencies, and other community partners.
The Governor’s Prevention Partnership (The Partnership) equips, empowers, and connects organizations, communities and families to prevent substance abuse, underage drinking and violence among youth and promotes positive outcomes for all young people in Connecticut. The Partnership’s EdCorpsCT will recruit 10 AmeriCorps members who will mentor and support 90 chronically tardy, absent, and behaviorally-referred third-eighth grade students at the Wish School in Hartford, CT in improving their school attendance and engagement. Chronic absenteeism, or missing more at least 10% of the school year, whether excused or unexcused, is a leading cause of low achievement and a powerful predictor of which students will eventually drop out of school. EdCorpsCT members will each be matched with nine students, and will work with school faculty and staff to support those students through daily engagement, home outreach, and referrals to wrap-around services as required. Mentoring serves as a powerful evidence-based strategy to reduce chronic absenteeism and promote positive youth outcomes.
Healthy food is an essential building block for a full and productive life, but children across our nation face chronic barriers to eating it. Inequities in our country and shortcomings in our food systems have resulted in far too many children having insufficient opportunities to learn about, access, and enjoy healthy food, with one in three children in the United States overweight or obese (CDC, 2014).
FoodCorps recognizes the need to address obesity and diet-related disease where we can have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable children: schools. Schools are where children spend a third of their day and often eat half their daily calories. FoodCorps AmeriCorps members serve alongside educators and local leaders to support community-driven initiatives to connect kids to healthy food in schools, focusing on three areas of service: hands-on lessons (students grow, cook, and taste new foods, which builds their skills and changes food preferences); healthy school meals (the cafeteria experience steers students towards the healthiest options and gets them excited to try new healthy foods); and a school-wide culture of health (as a whole, the school community and environment—from hallways to classrooms to cafeteria to grounds—celebrates healthy food).
Twenty FoodCorps AmeriCorps members will serve in some of the highest-need school districts in Connecticut. In order to carry out their terms of service, members acquire training in experiential nutrition and gardening education, classroom and volunteer management, community engagement, and safe food preparation. We are continually measuring the impact of our work — from children's eating patterns to our ability to transform schools into oases of health — to ensure we are making a difference.
Jumpstart is active in 14 states across the nation and in the District of Columbia, bringing together Corps members and preschool children in low-income neighborhoods to help these children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be successful in school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late. This school year, 225 college students from four university partners will serve 552preschool children in Connecticut. Jumpstart Connecticut will recruit AmeriCorps members to provide in-classroom literacy programming to low-income children in public school Pre-K and community-based early education programs in Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Storrs, Vernon and Willimantic.
he NESS SEA (STEM Education Ambassadors) AmeriCorps Program serves students of the New London Public School System. The community is challenged with serious social issues including poverty, illiteracy, homelessness, mental/physical illness, and a lack of access to resources. The NESS SEA AmeriCorps Program aims to improve academic engagement and positively impact students’ personal growth in the areas of life skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, and stewardship. Through STEM-based adventure education, classroom sessions complement field experiences including sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and exploring local tide pool, marsh, and beach areas. The NESS SEA Program takes students out of their comfort zones to increase self-confidence, life skills, and stewardship, as well as out of the traditional classroom to make learning relevant and exciting. AmeriCorps members are trained and certified in lifeguarding, safe powerboating, sailing and kayaking. In addition, members receive training in positive youth development, classroom management, and US Sailing REACH curricula among others.
The Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP) will have 30 AmeriCorps members who will coordinate activities related to prescription drug and opioid abuse prevention and intervention in the southwestern corner of Connecticut. Prevention Corpsmembers will deliver trainings to individuals community health and service providers in SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment), deliver trainings to the community at large in using Narcan to prevent deaths from opioid overdose, work with pharmacies to distribute information on safe prescription medication storage and disposal, and work with local public, private, and faith-based organizations to deliver community educational and/or awareness sessions on opioid addiction and abuse. In addition, Prevention Corps members will leverage an additional 100 volunteers who will be engaged in local prevention councils work to combat substance use in Connecticut.
The mission of Public Allies is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Public Allies Connecticut (PACT), one of 25 Public Allies sites around the country, meets the emerging needs of the nonprofit sector in Greater New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford by: 1) creating a pipeline of leaders from diverse backgrounds (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, education, professional experience, etc.) for the nonprofit sector; 2) increasing the capacity of nonprofit organizations in a cost-effective manner; and 3) strengthening civic participation by promoting service opportunities. PACT’s vision is to change the face and practice of leadership in communities across Connecticut by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together.
The Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, Inc. (CHCACT) will have 23 AmeriCorps members who will serve through its Service to Improve Community Health (STICH) AmeriCorps program to expand access to primary care and preventative health care for communities in Bridgeport, Cheshire, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Norwich, Torrington, and Waterbury. At the end of the first program year, the AmeriCorps members will be responsible for increasing the understanding of health insurance literacy of 2,535 unduplicated individuals and changing the attitude of 10,357 unduplicated individuals to feel better equipped to navigate the health care system through health education. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional 115 non-AmeriCorps volunteers who will be engaged in service projects that will support efforts to improve health outcomes in the community. CHCACT, a statewide association of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), exists to enable Connecticut's FQHCs to provide access to the highest quality health care and social services to Connecticut's underserved populations. CHCACT was incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation in 1989 and has 27 years of experience administering grants and contracts to implement a wide range of grant funded programs that provide training, technical assistance and support to Connecticut's FQHCs.
In Connecticut, the problem of educational inequity is pervasive. Of the approximately 545,000 students attending Connecticut’s public schools, one-third live in low-income households and are overwhelmingly students of color. We are building individual and collective leadership in partnership with students, families and communities so that, one day all students in low-income and historically oppressed communities will grow to attain a wide-range of self-determined opportunities in life: opportunities not limited by systemic injustices, but reflecting children’s fulfilled potential. Our mission is to enlist, develop and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence. Since 2006, Teach For America – Connecticut has worked across the state, in partnership with many others, to eliminate disparities in access to opportunity and educational outcomes between students growing up in poverty and their more affluent peers. We do so by recruiting and developing a diverse corps of outstanding individuals who commit to teaching for at least two years in high-need schools in our local communities of Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven. These individuals go on to impact change through their leadership and over the course of their careers as alumni.