The Perrin Family Foundation just released this new report: A New Role for Connecticut Youth/Leaders of Social Change. The Perrin Family Foundation, a long-time benefactor of Carver Youth Voice initiatives, included two Carver high school students in the making of this report, Marcus and Tomar.
Letter from the President
As we witness the growing call for social justice across America in the areas of immigration,
health care, education, and gay rights, it is increasingly apparent that this call does not always
include the voice of young people, on whose lives these issues have the greatest immediate
impact. Too often, adults create agendas and engage in dialogue about the issues without
the input of those who are most capable of providing firsthand feedback and leadership.
Often, youth are regarded as part of the problem, and they are given little opportunity to
develop skill sets that allow them to be part of the solution. Youth development programs
rarely include efforts to develop the social-political competency and encourage the collective
agency of marginalized youth. The active engagement of youth is essential for the healthy
development of our young people and our communities.
During the past year, our foundation designed a strategic plan for determining how best
to advance youth-led social change within Connecticut. In order to better understand the
statewide climate for this work, the Perrin Family Foundation, in partnership with the Funders’
Collaborative on Youth Organizing, participated in a nine-month process, convening focus
groups, and interviewing youth, youth practitioners, funders, and scholars throughout the
state. Our purpose was
• to determine the statewide perception of youth-led social change;
• to identify where and how Connecticut youth are organizing for social justice;
• and to assess the climate for further developing the field.
The resulting report presents a broad picture of youth-led social change work in Connecticut.
Although it reveals a striking lack of existing programming, it presents an encouraging picture,
as there is a strong desire that more be done. Our foundation is committed to the concept
of youth organizing and its importance in creating social change, and this data provides a
framework that will focus our efforts—efforts that must include partner organizations as we
work to support youth as leaders of social change in Connecticut.
We in the state have an exciting opportunity to build on the power of youth-adult partnerships.
We hope that this report and our grantmaking strategy will have a powerful impact on existing
youth-led social change groups and also help nurture and develop new groups in the future.
We encourage you to join with the Perrin Family Foundation in this exciting and important work.
We are proud that when our stalwart friends at Pepperidge Farm receive attention for their countless good works so do we! Thank you Pepperidge Farm for our being a part of each other’s stories!
Pepperidge Farm’s contribution to the Norwalk Community has been recognized by awards from the Human Services Council, the CT Food Bank, The Carver Foundation of Norwalk, and induction into the Chairman’s Circle of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County.
Sarahfina Strackman and Smana Seradieu, Norwalk High School seniors, are winners of the 5th Annual Natalia Rodriguez ELL (English Language Learner) Scholarship, each receiving $500.
Sarahfina and Smana will both be attending Southern Connecticut State University. They are winners at Carver as well, for years. Involved in many Carver initiatives, from the NicaPhoto activity with and visit to peers in Nicaragua to all the other opportunities offered by Carver’s Youth Development Program.
Ms. Natalia Rodriguez passed away in 2008, after a 33-year career serving Norwalk Public Schools. Her most recent post was as the Bilingual Parent Coordinator in the Central Office where she helped hundreds of immigrant families adjust to their new lives in America.
Sarahfina and Smana did not speak English when they arrived from Haiti and were enrolled in West Rocks Middle Schools. Today they are scholars winning scholarship awards!
Craft on Saturday became only the second African-American leader of a DAR chapter in Connecticut. The first was Gloria Williams, who was leader of the DAR’s Cheshire chapter and who attended Craft’s induction.
Craft, a 20-year Norwalk resident, works for the Norwalk Housing Authority as an early childhood program manager and tutors at the George Washington Carver Community Center. She is married to Jerry Craft, a syndicated artist who writes the cartoon “Mama’s Boyz,” and her two children, ages 15 and 13, are members of a regional chapter of the Children of the American Revolution.
Here is a video of last year’s tournament: cpep day 2012 – YouTube.
CPEP is an award winning, not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 that has been recognized for education excellence with urban students. CPEP is a long-time and integral partner in Carver’s after school programs.
CPEP was designed and implemented to address the growing need to identify, inspire and ignite the desire of under-represented youths to pursue careers in Engineering. In 2003 CPEP received the Pre-College Program of the Year Golden Torch Award from the National Society of Black Engineers. In 2002, CPEP received the Presidential Award from the National Science Foundation for its Mentor Program with the New Haven Public Schools, Bayer Corporation and Yale University. From our humble beginnings 25 years ago, operating from one school with 40 students, CPEP has grown to represent 11 school districts, 35 schools and directly touching the lives of over 900 students each year. While the CPEP program expanded across the state, so too has our ambition and core focus. In order to better align our programs/curriculum with the ever-increasing need for the United States to build a robust pipeline of students pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, we have adopted a broader lens. We have moved from a primarily engineering focus to include the full breadth of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education disciplines.
Abundant thanks to our volunteers, Debbie Lang, Kathryn Lang, Jane Malcolm, Sandy McDonell, Pastor Stuart Smith and so many others who support us through Noroton Presbyterian Church.
Thanks to our Carver students serving as Master of Ceremony, Shaniece Brown and Tiba Huckabee. Thanks to our Carver student performers: Dwana Masheck, Isabelle Montanez, Amisa Moore and Simone (CASPER Dance); Mother’s Day poem reading, Breyelle Hayes and Jordan Powell; instrumentals by Amisa Moore and Zadira Otivich; Praise Dancer N’yesea Scott and poem accompaniment by Justin Ford; song by Shaniece Brown and Tiba Huckabee; and to other students giving their all to make the celebration complete.
Thanks also to our DJ, James Richards; to Absolutely the Finest Catering; and to Carver’s staff and Program Managers for making this year’s celebration of “Mothers & Others” the best ever!