Yale Bulletin and Calendar

September 1, 2000Volume 29, Number 1













Students spent summer aiding Elm City groups

This summer, 11 Yale undergraduates dedicated their vacation from classes to community service in New Haven, where they were engaged in projects ranging from expanding services for the homeless to designing workshops for improving adolescent girls' body image and self-esteem.

The 32-year-old Dwight Hall Summer Internship Program allows Yale students the opportunity to spend their vacation in Yale's home city working full-time on projects they have designed themselves in response to community needs. In addition to working with a community group, student group or not-for-profit to implement their project, the interns met for weekly dinner seminars with a New Haven community leader to gather advice and learn more about a pertinent city issue.

The director of this year's program was Timothy O'Meara '00, who, along with Christiana Thomas, Div. '00, is one of two newly appointed AmeriCorps Promise Fellows at Dwight Hall.

A list of this year's Dwight Hall Summer Interns and their projects follows:

Meri Hancock-Brainerd '01 helped All Our Kin (a welfare-to-work child care center located in the West Rock neighborhood) enter its second year in existence. In addition to advising on policy revision and organizational restructuring, Hancock-Brainerd assisted in the group's successful expansion into a second site at Quinnipiac Terrace in Fair Haven.

Sara Coppeto '01, the artistic director of the student-run Yale Children's Theater (YCT), organized the group's 25th-anniversary celebration, to be held on the weekend of Oct. 20-22. The event will feature workshops and performances for members of the New Haven community, YCT alumni and Yale students.

Annie Fishman '02, Mackenzie Baris '01 and Johnny Scafidi '01 worked in connection with Elm City Congregations Organized (ECCO), New Haven's broad-based interfaith grassroots organizing coalition. Together with community leaders, they assisted the Trowbridge Renaissance organization in its efforts to revitalize the Trowbridge Square neighborhood in the Hill by eradicating blight and strengthening community spirit.

Autumn Leonard '01 spent her summer at CityKids, an organization centered in the Hill neighborhood which is dedicated to facilitating the growth of youth leaders and promoting greater understanding of youth issues. Leonard worked on community outreach with the group's theater repertory company, which performs pieces written, choreographed and scored by children from the neighborhood.

Abby Levine '02 spent her summer assisting New Haven's labor unions in order to learn more about their organizing efforts and techniques. One of her main projects was completing a comprehensive survey of the opinions and experiences of members of the city's Hotel and Restaurant Employee's Union to verify the effectiveness of the representation by its leaders.

Ciara McCormack '01, along with support from teacher Wanda Faison, created a series of week-long summer programs for middle-school girls at the Nathan Hale School designed to teach awareness of and resistance to the influences of peer pressure and the popular media on body image and self-esteem.

Grace Rollins '01 worked for Dwight Hall at Yale to slightly redesign the summer internship program. She did research and outreach in order to facilitate her plan to have Dwight Hall offer internship opportunities to all area college students and college-age youth, in addition to Yale students, beginning with next summer's program.

Jill Ruchala '02 spent her summer at Artspace, a not-for-profit arts organization, where she helped expand its City-Wide Open Studios event. Hoping to build a healthier city through arts, Ruchala and Artspace staff are working to include more artists and studios outside of the downtown area in order to bring public attention to communities and artists with fewer resources.

Chris Simmons '01 worked to further develop Harmony Place, a unique venture between Yale students and members of New Haven's homeless community providing a drop-in center and organizing headquarters with resources to help the city's homeless. Located at the Trinity Lutheran Church (on the corner of Wall and Orange Sts.), Harmony Place is designed to be run by the homeless community to help resolve their own issues.

Dwight Hall, founded in 1886 by undergraduates at Yale, is a nonprofit umbrella organization (independent of Yale) for over 65 student-led service and social action groups.


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