News & Events
SERVE HERE CONNECTICUT EXPANDING TO NEW HAVEN
For Immediate Release
June 27, 2016
Contact: Jen Daly
Partnership with Community Foundation for Greater New Haven will assist with job creation and reduce college debt
(Old Saybrook, Conn.) Serve Here Connecticut today announced that it will expand programming to New Haven in partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
Serve Here CT was founded in 2013 by Alva Greenberg, with the mission of encouraging young people to stay in the state, invest in their local communities, contribute to job growth and help manage the soaring cost of higher education.
The program is funded with a combination of public and private funds.
Serve Here CT pairs participating non-profits that focus on children, the elderly and the arts or town or city governments with applicants for a newly created position in the organization. Participating organizations are given $10,000 towards the salary for a new position.
Fellows— young members of the community between the ages of 18 and 29 who are hired for the job–will receive $10,000 at the end of the program to pay off educational debt or to use for further educational or career training.
The inaugural class, based in Southeastern Connecticut, just completed the program in May. The group met for learning module sessions throughout the year at Three River Community College and participating organizations included Safe Futures, The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut and The Riverfront Children’s Center.
All five fellows are continuing to stay on at their new places of employment.
As part of the agreement, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven will set up a Serve Here CT fund to which The Foundation, other organizations, and individuals may contribute.
“We were thrilled with the success of the program’s first year, and the caliber and dedication of the fellows who participated,” said Greenberg. “The plan has always been to expand this statewide, and beyond, so teaming up with The Community Foundation is a logical next step that we’re excited to take.”
“We are pleased to work with Serve Here CT to bring new opportunities to our region and create incentives to keep Connecticut’s young talent in the State,” said William W. Ginsberg, President and CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. “Serve Here CT meets important needs for our young people and we are very pleased to assist it in expanding in our region.”
Thanks to the generosity of three generations of donors, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven awarded over $24 million in grants and distributions in 2015 from an endowment of more than $500 million and composed of hundreds of individually named funds. In addition to its grantmaking, The Community Foundation helps build a stronger community by taking measures to improve student achievement, create healthy families in New Haven, promote local philanthropy through www.giveGreater.org® and encourage better understanding of the region. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s 20 town service area includes: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Wallingford, West Haven, Woodbridge. For more information, visit www.cfgnh.org or follow The Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.org/cfgnh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/cfgnh).
Program Creates Jobs For Millennials In State, Helps Pay Off College Debt
NEW LONDON — It was 11 p.m. when Amanda Boaz called the Safe Futures hotline, looking for a way her and her newborn son could escape her abusive husband.
Four years ago, the Connecticut native fled South Carolina back to her home state. Now, Boaz, 28, is employed at the same New London organization that helped her survive due to a pilot program aimed at employing and keeping millennials in the state.
Boaz is one of five young professionals who recently completed their one-year fellowship with Serve Here CT. Founded in 2013, the five-year demonstration project is designed to reduce college debt and provide incentives to draw young professionals to work in the state.
Young professionals between 18 and 29 can apply for the program, which matches them with employers in town and city governments or nonprofit agencies that serve children, the elderly and arts groups, said Alva Greenberg, the program’s founder and president. The registered employer will create a new position for the fellow and receive a $10,000 grant toward the fellow’s first year’s salary, and the Serve Here CT fellow will also receive $10,000 toward academic debt or their future study, she said.
“Millennials are leaving,” Greenberg said. “We need jobs and everybody needs college debt reduction. That’s why the program came about.”
The program is funded through private individual donations and the state Department of Labor, and this year operated on a budget of about $175,000, she said.
The inaugural class, based in southeastern Connecticut, just completed the program in May, and all five fellows have chosen to stay at their jobs in state after graduating, Greenberg said. During their year of employment, fellows are also required to write a case study exploring a problem that their employer is facing, as well as take weekly classes on entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving at a local community college, she said.
“If they can get a job here and they become invested in the community their job is in, they are not looking to leave [the state],” she said.
Serve Here CT will soon expand its programming into New Haven and Greenberg said she hopes to cover the entire state in five years.
Boaz said she was volunteering with Safe Futures when the agency’s leaders approached her about applying to Serve Here CT.
“They knew I wasn’t happy with the employment I had,” she said. “I was working three to four jobs just to survive.”
Not only did the program give her self-confidence, but it also taught her entrepreneurial skills and helped her network with other young professionals in the state, Boaz said. In addition to working, Boaz is taking classes at Three Rivers Community College to complete a degree in social work.
Emma Palzere-Rae, the Safe Futures director of development and communications, said her organization heard about Serve Here CT through word of mouth and jumped at the chance to apply. The state is definitely challenged with retaining younger employees, she said.
“It’s giving us a way to engage and employ millennials who bring a whole different outlook, a whole different skill set, than other generations of employees,” she said. “Being able to tap into a young, smart employee who is interested in contributing to your agency and interested in staying around is hard to do without that added support.”
Taylor Shelly, another Serve Here CT fellow, moved to the state from Texas about two years ago, after she was offered an internship with the Eugene O’Neill Theater. Shelly, 23, is now the theater’s marketing and communication associate, and said the Serve Here program motivated her to stay in the state and pursue a master’s degree here.
“I think keeping [millennials] isn’t the problem, it’s finding them. I do see the issues, but I don’t think Connecticut is unique in this problem,” she said. “If you can keep them initially here, then you can lock them in. It’s a cute little state, it has a lot to offer. It’s a hidden gem.”
The other three fellows also work in nonprofits at the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, the Riverfront Children’s Center, and the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.
Serve Here CT is accepting both employer and candidate applications for its second class until Labor Day. To apply, visit serveherect.org/applications.
Serve Here CT Accepting Application for Next Inaugural Class
The inaugural class of Serve Here CT kicked off this fall.
The program founded by Alva Greenberg of Old Saybrook allows millennials to help build a sense of community and social capital while also helping them with the cost of education.
“Connecticut is experiencing a brain drain,” Tom Gullotta, chief adviser of Serve Here CT, said. “Well-educated individuals are fleeing the state for other parts of the country, which will offer more opportunity.”
The hope of the program is not only to help young adults build their careers right at home but to encourage them to help grow our local communities.
Serve Here CT partners with local non-profits to create jobs for its participants- organizations such as Safe Futures in New London.
Executive Director of Safe Futures Cathy Zeiner said she hired Amanda Boaz to improve on fundraising and the group’s volunteer work.
Boaz found support through Safe Futures after leaving an abusive marriage.
“Part of my healing was to give back and to find meaning in my life,” said Boaz, a member of the Serve Here CT inaugural class. “I didn’t want to just be. I wanted to do.”
In just nine months, Boaz has done wonders for the non-profit that helped her just four years ago, all while going to school part-time to finish her associates degree.
Serve Here CT helps supplement the cost of furthering education by granting each participant $10,000.
“She’s created some energy and a fresh perspective in our work,” said Zeiner. “That’s what we need to keep our agency energized and to keep our mission moving forward.”
“I think what’s been really great is the opportunity to meet with a lot of other people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet,” Boaz explained. “Working here I don’t have to be the victim anymore. I can be a survivor and I can start to thrive.”
Serve Here CT is now accepting applications for the next class.
Serving the Community
First year of program seeking to retain millennials drawing to a close
The New London Day
For months, at least, Amanda Boaz knew somewhere in her subconscious that something wasn’t right.
But it took the Groton native until sometime in 2012 to realize the bad relationship she’d been in with her husband of four years wasn’t something she had to withstand.
With her newborn son at her side and whatever belongings she could fit in her car, Boaz called Safe Futures, scared and without a plan but certain it was the right move.
She had no idea then that she’d be working for Safe Futures as a data programs specialist less than four years later.
Boaz is just one of five inaugural fellows who’ve been employed through Serve Here CT, a project whose goal, in short, is to offer young, smart residents an incentive to stay in Connecticut.
Funded through a combination of state monies and private donations, Serve Here CT matches qualifying 18- to 29-year-old residents with employment opportunities in local nonprofit agencies that serve children, the elderly and arts groups.
“The state is in serious trouble financially, and also in terms of its vitality,” said Serve Here CT Founder and President Alva Greenberg, an Old Saybrook resident. “If we continue to lose young people at the rate we’re losing them, there’s little hope we’re going to regain financial balance.”
It works like this: For each participating fellow, Serve Here CT shells out $20,000 — $10,000 for their employer to put toward funding their position, and $10,000 for the fellows to apply to academic debt or use for future study.
To ensure fellows get the most out of the program, they must also attend a multi-faceted course.
In the first half of the fellowship, learning module facilitator Barret Katuna explained, the fellows met once weekly at Three Rivers Community College, learning networking techniques and getting career advice from various texts and guest speakers while bonding over the highlights and challenges of their new jobs.
For the latter half, which began in January, the meetings became bi-weekly and the fellows started working to identify and develop ways to solve a challenge within their organizations.
Katuna, who has watched the fellows grow more confident, take advantage of networking and other events and begin to meet outside the scheduled courses, said the fellows are “blossoming.”
“I think this program is really doing what it’s intended to do,” said Katuna, who’s also a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Cathy Zeiner, executive director of Safe Futures, called the initiative “a win on three levels.”
For one, she said, the $10,000 stipend is no small thing for a nonprofit whose revenue largely is restricted for use on programming rather than administration.
There’s a benefit attached to bringing millennials on board, too, she said.
“Millennials have an energy and a creativity and a desire to change the world that is hugely important in energizing and really driving the engine of change,” Zeiner said. “Certainly, that’s what we’re about.”
Finally, she said, Serve Here CT’s focus on building social capital among the fellows is “exciting.”
“Being able to help millennials develop their ability to collaborate … is really going to continue to move all of us and our missions forward,” Zeiner said, explaining how crucial cross-agency teamwork is, especially in the nonprofit sector.
With the first year of Serve Here CT drawing to a close at the end of May — the fellows will continue in their roles but the courses will cease — Greenberg is looking to next fiscal year’s program.
This time, she said, Serve Here CT is hoping to select 15 millennials with varying backgrounds and interests — there’s no “ideal” candidate — from the applications, which are open.
In five years or so, Greenberg said, she wants to see Serve Here CT span the whole state. From there, she wants to see it take hold in other states suffering from the loss of millennials.
“The better Connecticut is, the better my life is,” Greenberg said, explaining a core ideology behind Serve Here CT. “The more I can do to help other people, the better for them, and the better for me.”
For Boaz, the job she’s been doing since September, which includes creating and updating donation and volunteer databases as well as doing educational and outreach events, has been life changing.
When she learned of Serve Here CT last summer, Boaz was juggling four part-time jobs, part-time schooling and raising her son.
“It’s challenging now to get a job,” she said. “Without Serve Here initiating this and building that bridge to getting that job, I probably would’ve spent five or six more years working really, really hard at a lot of jobs just trying to make ends meet.”
Now, with a steady 9-to-5 job and the benefits that come along with it, Boaz has been able to put more energy into her part-time schooling — she has a degree in pastry making and baking, she explained, but she’s realized something more along the lines of social work is her calling.
“I still am healing every day,” Boaz said. “Working at Safe Futures really helps give me that purpose and that sense of I’m doing something good now. I’m here for a purpose.”
We’ve all heard it over and over—Connecticut is having a rough go of it lately. While it’s easy to latch on to the negativity, for many of us, there is true frustration about the lack of conversation around what is working in our state. Despite the headlines, there are still many who are proud to call Connecticut home.
What we should be focusing on are the bright spots and programs that are working to help find solutions to the challenges our state faces in 2016 and beyond.
A new $150,000 program in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget would help young adults in eastern Connecticut gain much-needed employment while also taking a substantial chunk of college debt off their plates.
WTNH News 8
Social Capital Seminar, September 15
Child and Family Agency & The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services sponsored a a day long seminar on Social Capital, The Millennial Generation, and US Military Veterans.
The health of a community and the citizens within that community is found in the active involvement of its citizenry in the daily life of that community. It is in that involvement that needs are uncovered, that wrongs are corrected, and opinions are expressed and either gain currency or wither from lack of support. The measure of that involvement is called Social Capital. The literature is abundantly clear that groups high in social capital are healthier and more prosperous than low capital groups. This seminar: 1. Explores this concept, 2. Examines how social capital can be built, and 3. How it can be applied to the 18 to 29 year old age group to build civic engagement, decrease college debt, and encourage employment.
Seminar Video: Part 1
Seminar Video: Part 2