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Civic engagement takes many forms at Wesleyan: volunteerism, activism and advocacy, community-based work, and more recently, unique academic experiences like service-learning and civic engagement courses.  Alicia Gansley ’15 – a Computer Science major completing the Economics minor and Civic Engagement certificate – has been involved with nearly all of these activities during her time at Wesleyan. In the fall of 2014, she brought her programming knowledge to COMP 342: Software Engineering, a service-learning course where groups of Computer Science majors developed special projects for local organizations. For insight on how working with a community partner affected her experience of this course, I asked Alicia a few questions about the service-learning component:

Q: What project did you work on this semester?
A: My group made a web application for Green Street Teaching and Learning Center to use to sign students up for one of its after school programs. Our system will allow Green Street to collect students’ contact information and course preferences, as well as allow the staff to keep track of this information throughout the semester.

Q: How did the experience of working on a project for an organization differ from working on a project for a typical academic course? Were there unexpected rewards and challenges that came with having a client?
A: It was a real pleasure working closely with Sara MacSorley at Green Street and learning more about their facility and programs. Part of what struck me about working on a project for a client was the fact that you can never just say “90% is enough.” We needed to always figure out some way to meet their specifications, which I think pushed the team to really learn and work together. I think it was a great motivation to produce our best work, and I’m excited to think we helped such a worthy organization with a hard working staff.

Q: Now that the course has ended, what’s next for your project? Does Green Street plan to implement your work?
A: A couple of students will be hired this Spring to polish all of the projects our class produced last semester. Hopefully, Green Street will be able to implement the project in the Fall.

Q: Why did you sign up for this course?
A: I signed up for the class mainly because I am pursuing a career in software engineering and I wanted to get some formal training in that field. I wanted an opportunity to take the time to learn Ruby and Ruby on Rails. I was also interested in taking a class where we would be undertaking a large scale, team-based programming project.

Q: How has this course influenced your career interests?
A: It solidified my interest in being a software developer and made me realize how much I value teamwork. It also made me realize how much work and thought goes into good software projects. I also realized that software can be used in all kinds of organizations to solve many different problems, and I’m really interested in seeing how I can use my programming skills to promote and help with other good causes in the future.

Q: What other student groups and activities are you involved with at Wesleyan?
A: I am a Publicity Assistant at the Wesleyan University Press and a course assistant in the Computer Science department. I was the web editor for The Argus and a peer advisor for the Patricelli Center. I have also been involved in feminist activism on campus and was the student leader for Democracy Matters, an organization that advocates for public financing of elections.

From the Wesleyan Engage Blog

Its that time of year, time to sign up for Discovery AfterSchool! We are accepting registration appointments for the Spring 2015 Semester of our Discovery AfterSchool Program. Please call us today to set up your appointment: 860-685-7871.

Registration is almost over, we’ll sign up kids until Thursday, February 5th! We specifically have slots available for elementary students in the red classes below – Capoeira, Art Around the World, Choreography, and Sign Language. We also have space in the unique college experience class for middle school students, Wesleyan Bound. 

The Spring Semester runs from January 26 – May 8, 2015.

AfterSchool

Here is the diverse list of available classes for the spring. Don’t forget to sign up for homework help Mondays-Thursdays too.

  • African Drumming (Grades 3-8 on Thursdays)
  • Art and Food (Grades 1-3 on Fridays)
  • Art and Science (Grades 6-8 on Mondays, Grades 1-3 on Tuesdays)
  • Art Around the World (Grades 1-3 on Thursdays, Grades 3-5 on Fridays)
  • Beginning Breakdance (Grades 1-3 on Mondays)
  • Beginning Hip Hop (Grades 1-3 on Fridays)
  • Capoeira (Grades 1-3 on Thursdays, Grades 3-5 on Wednesdays)
  • Choreography (Grades 3-5 on Thursdays)
  • Chorus (Grades 1-5 on Fridays)
  • Computer Art (Grades 1-3 on Wednesdays, Grades 3-5 on Thursdays)
  • Environmental Art (Grades 1-3 on Wednesdays)
  • Exploring the River (Grades 3-5 on Fridays)
  • Improv Theater (Grades 3-8 on Wednesdays)
  • Intermediate Breakdance (Grades 3-8 on Wednesdays)
  • Intermediate Hip Hop (Grades 3-8 on Tuesdays)
  • Kids in the Kitchen (Grades 6-8 on Thursdays)
  • Multimedia Art (Grades 6-8 on Mondays)
  • Musical Mentoring (Grades 1-5 on Mondays and Tuesdays): During these lessons with a Wesleyan University student musician (often on a one-on-one basis), children will study a musical instrument. Students will be allowed to borrow an instrument to practice at home– at no extra cost! After a rich, semester-long musical experience, many students will participate in a recital performance.
  • Picasso and Math (Grades 3-5 on Tuesdays)
  • Science Club (Grades 1-3 on Thursdays)
  • Simple Stylin’ Fashion Design (Grades 3-5 on Mondays, Grades 6-8 on Wednesdays)
  • Sign Language (Grades 1-3 on Tuesdays)
  • Wesleyan Bound (Grade 6-8 on Fridays): This class exposes students to the college experience via weekly visits to Wesleyan University. Students meet student leaders, tour science labs and art galleries, and more.
  • Yoga (Grades 1-3 on Mondays)

There is a non-refundable $25 registration fee. For program fees, we do have financial assistance for those who qualify. For any questions, please call our front desk.

Green Street is hosting a free 8-week yoga class starting on February 20th with teaching artist Meg Geyser. We’ll meet on Fridays from 12-1pm, come on your lunch break. Pre-registration is required, please call us today to sign up 860-685-7871.

Yoga_Fit

Kiene was one of our Middlesex Community College interns last semester and we asked him to share some of his experience with us. It has been great watching him learn more about working kids and learn more about himself. Here is his third guest post.

If you’re interested in signing your child up for Discovery AfterSchool classes, our spring semester registration is open and we have slots available for many of our classes in art, math, and science. Classes start the week of January 26th. Call us today to set up an appointment.

My Buddy

Many great bonds have formed since my start at Green Street. Everyone from the staff to the kids are amazing to work with, but there has been one person in particular that has managed to easily secure a special place in my heart. Her name is Skye and after meeting her for the first time, I knew we would be the best of buds.

In a short amount of time, Skye has managed to make a very big and unexpected impact on me. She was born with Downs Syndrome and possess the rare ability to light up any room that she enters with her contagious energy and spirit. I think that has a lot to do with what initially brought us together.

Being new to Green Street was very nerve wracking at first, but the second I met Skye, that all went away. She was so happy to sit down and introduce herself and started talking up a storm. Before I knew it, I had made a friend in a very unfamiliar place and it helped me a lot with adjusting to my new surroundings. That is not the only thing Skye has helped me with this semester. Before my time at Green Street, I didn’t have much experience working with people who have disabilities and I wasn’t sure that it would be something I could handle. But Skye has shown me that there is absolutely nothing to fear or worry about. This little girl has single-handedly shot down all preconceived notions and stereotypes that I ignorantly came into my internship with, all by just being herself.

I’m not sure if Skye is even aware of the impact she’s had on me, but it is something that I’ll forever be grateful for and cherish. My time with Skye has really gone to show me that life lessons come in all different shapes and sizes and the best ones are usually disguised in the most mysterious ways.

As my time at Green Street slows down, I am saddened to know that my daily routine of meeting Skye at the door with a smile and a hug and personally escorting her to snack time is coming to an end. But I can take great pride in knowing that I was able to connect with her on such a special level and that with each day our bond grows stronger. Even though I still have a long life to live, I’m almost 100% positive that I’ll never have a buddy that is quite as amazing as Skye has been these past couple months. She has a friend in me, forever.

Hello Friends of Green Street,

Today I’m excited to announce that Green Street has become the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center–Green Street TLC. This structure better represents the work we do in Middletown and also allows us to grow our programs in the arts, math, and sciences for kids, teachers, and our broader community.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 9.40.19 AM

The arts are still very much at the heart of what we do at Green Street. We want to make sure our friends understand that this name change does not change what we’re already doing, it simply better reflects our full scope of work and also opens up new ways for us to grow.

We will continue our Discovery AfterSchool Program, which serves 80 Middletown students in Grades 1-8 each year with diverse classes in the arts, sciences, and math; our Private Lessons Program, and our Green Street-to-Go Residency Program that brings teaching artists into community organizations to engage their clients and residents.

We will build on our programming with the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) who has lived at Green Street for two years now and the CT Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools who are approaching their fourth year with Green Street. Science safety workshops, which have served over 200 teachers since my arrival nearly two years ago, and the Intel Math Institute that prepares K-8 teachers for Common Core implementation will continue.

We have linked Wesleyan to the local community for ten years and look forward to an even more rewarding collaboration in the years to come. We want to make sure you know about all the opportunities awaiting you at the Teaching and Learning Center.

For more information on any of our programs, please explore our updated website at  www.wesleyan.edu/greenstreet or come visit us.

Thank you and we look forward to working more with you in the future.

Sara MacSorley
Director, Green Street Teaching and Learning Center

P.S. – It may take a little while to make sure our name is updated everywhere, please be patience as we make the switch and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have in the meantime.

Kiene is one of our Middlesex Community College interns this semester and we asked him to share some of his experience with us. It has been great watching him learn more about working kids and learn more about himself. Here is his second guest post.

If you’re interested in signing your child up for Discovery AfterSchool classes, our spring semester registration will open the week of December 8th. Call us today to set up an appointment.

The Kids of Green Street

Green Street definitely helps serve as a getaway for the kids that are part of the Discovery AfterSchool Program. With such a wide variety of classes offered, there is truly something for everyone to do. That is one of the great benefits of having a place like Green Street in Middletown. It gives each individual kid the opportunity to find a class that best suits them and provides a safe place for self-expression.

After watching the kids participate in these classes for weeks, I thought it would be an awesome idea to give the kids in the program a platform to share their favorite things about Green Street. The middle school kids are what I like to call program “veterans”. Most of them have essentially grown up in the program and really gotten the chance to experience a lot of what Green Street has to offer. One of the students I talked with made mention of her love for the Musical Mentoring Program. She spoke to me about how much she loved the step-by-step approach to learning to play the piano and that she feels like she is beginning to master the instrument. Another one of the sixth grade students beamed with excitement as she told me about the Wesleyan Bound Program she attends as one of her AfterSchool classes. Going to classes on the Wesleyan campus and getting to learn with her friends were just a few of the many things that made this particular student so enthused about the class.

Getting to have fun and learn amongst the company of friends was a reoccurring theme in my conversations with the kids. A fifth grade student shared these feelings along with a love for his the Computer-Aided Art class. He mentioned who much he enjoys getting to learn about computers – how they work and all the different things you can do with them.

Even the littlest members of the Green Street family have very specific opinions about what makes Green Street an awesome place. Dancing and Art topped the list for one of the first graders. He highlighted that drawing fish in Art class is he area of expertise but made sure to mention that his artistic ability stretches way beyond that.

As many rounds of interviewing came to an end, one thing was very clear about how the kids of Green Street felt about the Discovery AfterSchool Program. Not only do they appreciate it, but they genuinely love the time they spend at Green Street. Hearing all these kids proudly explain their answers to my questions reconfirmed to me how great of a place Green Street is for the youth of Middletown. Knowing that the kids are taking away such great things from AfterSchool, makes it all the better working with them. After hearing about all the fun things the kids do on a daily basis, I know that the sky is the limit for every single one of the kids involved at Green Street.

Kiene is one of our Middlesex Community College interns this semester and we asked him to share some of his experience with us. It has been great watching him learn more about working kids and learn more about himself. Here is his first guest post.

Then vs. Now

Prior to getting involved with the Green Street Discovery AfterSchool Program, I knew that I liked kids but I had no idea how much I’d enjoy working with them. I did a lot of second guessing toward the beginning of this internship experience. I second guessed myself and what I was capable of when it came to effectively working with the kids. As time went on however, I began to realize that I had sold myself very short. It only took a few days at Green Street for me to come to the realization that working with kids is not only something that I enjoyed but it is also definitely something I could handle.

What has played such a major part in that realization is my ability to connect with the kids and that I’ve made it a point to really get to know and talk with them. I vividly remember being around the age of the kids in the program. I guess you can say that somewhere deep inside me still lies that little kid that wanted nothing more than to be taken seriously by anyone older than me. Although that might sound a little cliche, I honestly think it has a lot to do with my success this semester.

I didn’t come into this internship with thoughts of ruling with an iron fist. I really wanted to go in,  get to know the kids I was working with, and makes strides in truly making a difference in at least one life if not more. Even through all the occasional attitude and misbehaving, I can see that the kids of Green Street appreciate that I’ve taken the time to see them as individuals.

My experience at Green Street has shown me all the great potential that kids possess and that it is important to make sure that they are just as aware of it as everyone else around them. It has been a great pleasure to watch all the kids in the program progress over these past couple months and be welcomed into their world with open arms. Its been great to get hands on experience with this particular community  and learn some things about myself in the process. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my time at Green Street.

Christmas

Ornament decorating workshop courtesy of Middletown Parks & Recreation Dept at Green Street Arts Center.

Kids can decorate an ornament for FREE to place on their tree at home or give as a gift.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

10:30am-12:00pm

 

IMG_0288

Green Street accepted a $5,000 award today from Liberty Bank. Liberty Bank has been a long time supporter of our Discovery AfterSchool Program. Their funds help provide scholarships for students who need financial assistance to attend our program.

Our kids thank you, Liberty Bank!

Cornucopia

You are invited to…

Middletown Potluck’s Fall Festival at the Green Street Arts Center!

The fall theme is Where do you call home?

bring your appetite, stories, and a dish to share!

Saturday, November 1st from 5-8pm

Location: 51 Green Street

If you have any questions please email at middletownpotluck@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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