Written by Chris Herman and Anne Pappalardo
Jenn DuBois, Valerie Lewis and Lisa Forcellina present their People Helping People (PHP) Weekly Pen Pals Program with kids from the Natchaug Elementary School at the Service Expo. At the event, the Pen Pals Program received the Strengthening Communities Award.
Willimantic, CT -Several community service programs won top honors at Eastern Connecticut State University's Community Service Expo on April 19. Guest judges from the Willimantic community, as well as Eastern faculty and staff, awarded prizes in six categories, including Broadening Horizons, Putting Liberal Arts into Action, Going Green, Leadership Development, Strengthening Communities and Best New Program.
"The Service Expo is an opportunity for our students to share their experiences in the community, to reflect on their contributions and to articulate how the experience relates to their liberal arts education," said Kim Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement. "Eastern faculty and our community partners judge the projects in each category, and tell us how impressed they are with the dedication of the students."
Luis Rodríguez, assistant director for the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), and Jacqui De Cormier, AmeriCorps*VISTA at the CCE, pose with Jason Coombs, director of dining services at Eastern. Coombs was awarded the Faculty/Staff Community Engagement Award for his lead role in planning and organizing Eastern's annual Day of Giving Community Celebration.
The Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) middle school and high school afterschool programs won first prize in the Best New Program, Broadening Horizons, and Leadership Development categories. The program also won runner-up in the Putting Liberal Arts into Action category. The Education Club's "Science Extravaganza" was runner-up in the Best New Program category, while the Social Work Club's WAIM "Adopt-a-Family" and "No-Freeze Shelter Toiletry Drive" was runner-up in the Broadening Horizons category.
The first-prize winner in the Putting Liberal Arts into Action category was the VITA Tax Assistance program. The Going Green category award-winner was "Alternative Spring Break: Generous Gardens," a community service effort that took place in South Carolina. The Strengthening Communities category first-prize winner was the People Helping People club's "Weekly Pen Pals Program with Natchaug" effort. Runner-up in the same category was the "Brooklyn Correctional Institute's GED Tutoring Program."