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Puentes al Futuro Completes Summer Session at Eastern

Published on July 28, 2016

Puentes al Futuro Completes Summer Session at Eastern

On July 28, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Eastern Connecticut State University concluded its fifth summer youth program for “Puentes al Futuro” (Bridges to the Future). Sixty students from Windham Middle School participated in English, math, arts, music and dance, gardening, media production, sports and leadership workshops over the four-week program. The students also participated in service projects at the new West Avenue Community Center after school site and went on field trips to the local nonprofit organization CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen).

Puentes al Futuro provides a safe space for summer fun and helps students improve their academics in advance of the next school year. The program is an extension of an after-school program in Windham schools during the academic year that has grown from only 20 students when it started five years ago to an anticipated level of 125 for the next year.

This year 12 Eastern students served as counselors and mentors to build self-confidence among the children. Many are also members of CCE, where more than 1,000 students each year provide 20,000 hours of volunteer service in 35 programs at local schools and community organizations. One of the goals of Puentes is to encourage middle school students to learn about their personal identity and cultural roots, and realize that there is a path open for them to grow through school, attend college and realize their life’s dreams. “If you know who you are, then you will know where you are going,” said Rosie Hernández, coordinator of the Puentes al Futuro program.

Eastern student Carly Perron ’18 of Granby, CT, is one of the summer counselors. “The enthusiasm from the kids is really fun to watch,” she said. “I thought I was going to help them, but I feel I have learned more from the kids than they have learned from me,” remarked Adilsa Encarnacao ’18 of Waterbury.

Eddie Pavliscsak ’17 of Ashford, CT, said he was happy to be able to introduce the children to Eastern’s campus, including classrooms, the Sports Center, the Student Center and outdoor spaces. “Being on campus really helps them see themselves as future college students.”

Camper Devon, age 11, thinks the counselors are fun and liked the media program most of all.  He said he learned how to produce music, write songs and play instruments while recording the music he and other students had composed. “I am also glad to know some people when I start middle school in the fall,” he said.

Parents can learn more about the Puentes program and register their children when school begins by visiting or by calling (860) 465-2300. You can also watch a video interview about “Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future” at
For more information about the Center for Community Engagement go to or call (860) 465-0090.

Written by Michael Rouleau