Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 RLP #5: Resources

Community Resources:
2015 Resident Leadership Program
by Chandel Gibbs, Resident Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA Member 
This past Thursday, NHS hosted the final installment of our 2015 Resident Leadership Program. Our very own Jim Paley, NHS’ Executive Director, facilitated the last workshop: “Effectively Using Community Resources.” Jim started the workshop by showing the class a series of historic videos and images: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech; the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing; Watts riots; Ferguson riots; and Baltimore riots.  Participants then wrote down the first thought that came to mind when viewing these images. This activity stimulated an in-depth discussion of community cohesion and chaos.
Jim’s objective was to figure out ways to bring about constructive change within communities. Participants learned about the Elements of Resident Leadership, including building teams to accomplish goals; the importance of forming alliances with police to enhance community policing; and identifying needs and finding resources to catalyze community change.
At the end of the class, we held our graduation ceremony for the RLP participants – complete with cake!
We asked participants to write down their ideas for community projects to undertake now that they had completed the RLP. Here are a few of their goals:
  • “Project at overseas vision: help ensure women, youth, and children cultivate sustainable development in Indonesia.”
  • “Develop and beautify resident veggie garden at 73-75 Kensington Street. This garden connects with new NHS property at Edgewood Ave.”
  • “Bring lights into Huntington/Sheppard green space and camera at the corner.”
  • “As a city, I think it’s important to optimize our bus system and make more direct routes between neighborhoods that don’t stop Downtown always. Also: more lines that run past 7pm.”
  • “I would like to get more resources to people/families who have ‘family’ gardens.”

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Resident Leadership Program! We look forward to future collaborations!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Solar Youth at The Ivy Street Garden

The Ivy Street Garden Welcomes Solar Youth
Connecting community groups is one of the Community Building & Organizing team’s favorite ways of contributing to New Haven’s neighborhoods. In Newhallville, we were able to introduce program coordinators and participants of Solar Youth, Inc. to the resident gardeners of the Ivy Street Community Garden. This introduction proved to be rewarding in many ways for everyone involved. The friendship provided welcome help and energy to the gardeners as they began to prepare the garden for new plantings, and gave the young Solar Youthers a space and opportunity to get their hands (and clothing) a little bit dirty. 

Throughout April and May, this particular Solar Youth crew, whose home base is located at King-Robinson Magnet School, walked over to the Ivy Street Community Garden to spend an hour and a half facilitating the garden’s upkeep. Along the way, students had a chance to learn about composting and healthy soil, planting seeds and seedlings, the purpose of a greenhouse, the nurturing process and working together to complete tasks. One occasion even allowed students an opportunity to work alongside two of Newhallville's beat cops. Time was also spent having engaging and fun conversations with the students. We learned that a great way to keep attention was to pass around a daisy as a pretend microphone to allow one speaker at a time. So clever! We’re so appreciative of the great work that Solar Youth does, all around New Haven. We look forward to continuing this collaboration!  

Friday, May 15, 2015

2015 Family Festival

2015 Family Festival
On Saturday, May 9, NHS hosted its sixth annual Family Festival! From fire trucks to food trucks, we had activities for the entire family to enjoy. Thanks to everyone who came out, including our vendors and partners! We appreciate everything you did to make this festival such a success!

Special thanks to our generous sponsors:
Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale University, United Way of Greater New Haven, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund.

The New Haven Police Department's K-9 unit was understandably popular!

Kids were welcome to read and take home books provided by our friends at New Haven Reads
Solar Youth got us grooving!
Kids' healthy cooking demonstration, offered by Kidz Kook.
Exploring the fire engine.
NHS staff and guests with Firefighter Joe
Mayor Toni Harp poses with guests and the NHPD's K-9 unit
Hillhouse High School's pep band and squad closed out the event.
Hillhouse High School pep squad

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lincoln-Bassett School Joins the Ivy Street Garden

In the Garden with Lincoln-Bassett School
CB&O staff, alongside Ivy Street gardeners, experienced one of the busiest volunteer events to date! On Tuesday, May 12 and Wednesday, May 13 we had the pleasure of hosting ten different classes of Lincoln-Bassett students, ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. Teachers were a big help as we spent 45 minutes with each class, exploring various activities at the Ivy Street Garden

Students were able to rotate through four stations. The first was set up to have the students gather soil from the compost bin and fill up small seedling trays. At the next station students made use of the newly soiled trays and carefully planted carrots, peppers and tomatoes. Others were able to plant seeds directly into a raised bed that has been designated for school students. 
Another station allowed an opportunity for younger students to sit and enjoy story-time as we listened to the timeless tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” 
The third station gave older students a chance to show off their raking and teamwork skills as they worked in pairs to gather left-over leaves around the garden, bag them up, and carry the big bags over to the sidewalk curb. 

The fourth and final work station mobilized the students to run around the garden and pick up weeds. This station proved to be surprisingly exciting and fun for all of the students who loved the opportunity to find weeds all over the garden!

It was a pleasure to work alongside students and teachers of Lincoln-Bassett, and we hope to have another fun Day in the Garden again soon! 

Thank you to these participating classes: Ms. Stopka's 2nd grade class, Ms. Forsa's 2nd grade class, Ms. Perone's 1st grade class, Ms. Dumont's 3rd grade class, Ms. Clark's Kindergarten class, Ms. Petersen's 6th grade class, Ms. Liguz's 1st grade class, Ms. Slivinski's 1st grade class, Ms. Magalhaes' 5th grade class, and Mr. Messina's 5th grade class!

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