Sep 25, 2015

Celebrating 2015 and Beyond at Our Second Annual Meeting!

From Public Allies Connecticut to Community Health Corps to Peace Corps and more - thank you to all who joined us on August 26th at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for our 2015 Annual Meeting!

Chapter Leader Tina Lindstrom, AmeriCorps NCCC
We were fortunate to be joined by Anne Ostberg, the Connecticut state director of the Corporation for National and Community Service and one of our chapter’s biggest supporters, who shared the impact national service has had on our state. In the past year CNCS committed over $10 million in funding, leveraging an additional $3 million from local sources. These funds enabled 750 AmeriCorps members and over 1,300 Senior Corps volunteers to serve our communities most important needs - from healthcare to education to caring for older adults with no one else to turn to.

The evening was also a chance to reflect on what AmeriCorps Alums was able to get done in Connecticut from 2014-2015. This past year our focus was to create more connections and offer more resources to AmeriCorps Alums.
  • Last November at our first-ever networking social with Brandeis University we welcomed over 30 people to learn about the amazing scholarship opportunities available to AmeriCorps alums pursuing graduate studies with the Heller School of Social Policy and Management.
  • At our annual Crazy Sweater Party (with a Purpose), we raised close to $150 in cash and collected three 30-gallon sized bags full of in-kind donations for the families served by IRIS - Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services.
  • The InterCorps Council of Connecticut grew into a thriving and very-active board, hosting almost monthly events and fostering partnerships with CTYP and others throughout the state.
  • In July we were fortunate to be a part of Connecticut’s VISTA 50th celebrations in Hartford, leveraging our partnership with Cabot Creamery to provide dinner to the over 100 alums, members, and community partners who attended.

Finally, we also announced our Champions of Service for 2015.

Alum Champion Ericus Adams shares her story. 
Jody Kelly, AARP Experience Corps

Mayor Toni Harp, City of New Haven
Ericus Adams, Green Crew

Connecticut Campus Compact

Sen. Christopher Murphy

It was especially moving to hear from our alum champion Ericus Adams who first started as a Green Crew member at Knox Parks in Hartford and now not only runs the program but is also a member of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service and a true mentor for others throughout the state.

VISTA, Public Allies, Community Health Corps, Peace Corps
and more came together to celebrate national service in CT.
Looking forward to the future our goal is to increase our level of engagement with alums in the state, reaching out to those who served many years ago and may not even know we exist. We also plan on continuing our efforts to connect alums and the broader national service community in Connecticut through service, professional development, and advocacy efforts. If you’d like to get more involved, please reach out to us at

Special thanks to the sponsors who helped make the evening such a success: Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Claire’s Corner Copia, Insomnia Cookies, and Staples. We’d also like to thank our generous raffle sponsors: Wood N Tap, Caseus Fromagerie, Barcelona Wine Bar, Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Message by Massage, Woodside Massage, Fresh Yoga, and Gouveia Vineyards.

Jul 20, 2015

Getting Cheesy Over VISTA 50!

On Tuesday, July 14th we were honored to be a part of Connecticut's celebration of VISTA's 50th Anniversary. Taking place in Hartford, Connecticut - one of the very-first VISTA service locations in the 1960s - the event brought together over 100 alumni, current members, and lovers of national service from throughout the state.

We were joined by Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, who thanked the VISTAs who had served and announced plans to place AmeriCorps VISTA members in support of the newly-rewarded Promise Zone designation of Hartford's North End. Also giving their thanks were MC End Hunger Connecticut! Executive Director (and VISTA Class of 1980 alum) Lucy Nolan, currently-serving PAVE New Haven VISTA Brittany Groat, and our very-own Chapter Leader Tina Lindstrom.

Hartford Mayor Segarra thanks VISTAs from
five decades for their service.

In addition to serving on the event's planning committee, we were honored to have helped provide food for the event through our new partnership with Cabot Creamery Cooperative and the Gratitude Grill. Cabot treated attendees to a hearty and delicious meal of homemade Legacy Mac & Cheese alongside a delicious fresh salad and cookies. 

Thank you to chefs Jimmy Kennedy and Cindy Stoker for making sure our bellies were full, and to Carolyn Kingston for coordinating the details. It was tremendous to work with everyone and a great pleasure to get to meet one of Cabot's Coop Farmers, Amanda Freund of Freund's Farmer's Market in East Canaan - we love that the cheese we buy can help support our local farmers (and taste so, so good!).

As a cooperative, Cabot Creamery is dedicated to giving back to the community and honoring all of the volunteers who help get things done. Reward Volunteers is an initiative that makes it easy to keep track of the time you spend making your community a better place and allows you to earn rewards, not only for yourself but also for the organizations you serve. For more information click here:

Bringing Cabot's Legacy Mac & Cheese Home!

Members from the Connecticut Chapter Leadership Board
Enjoy Legacy Mac & Cheese at VISTA 50, July 14, 2015
In honor of VISTA's 50th Anniversary on July 14th, our VISTA alums, VISTAs, and AmeriFriends were treated to a hearty meal including homemade Legacy Mac & Cheese, served by Cabot Creamery Cooperative Farmers’ Gratitude Grille. The farm families who own Cabot appreciate what volunteers do for their communities every day and are proud to support their efforts with the Gratitude Grille. 

Want to make Cabot Chef Jimmy Kennedy’s yummy Legacy Mac & Cheese at Home? Here’s a link to the recipe:

For more ways that Cabot gives back to volunteers, check out their Reward Volunteers program at!

Jul 12, 2015

Why CT's AmeriGrads Serve...

At this year's inaugural AmeriGrad Picnic held on June 27th, we were joined by members from throughout the state representing Green Crew, VISTA, Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, and even NCCC!

We asked the over-35 graduating members to share why they choose to serve Connecticut. From supporting social justice to listening to their heart, these brand-new alums really know how to get things done!

Thank you to InterCorps Council of Connecticut for their support, as well as to Trader Joe's of Orange, Subway, Insomnia Cookies, and Girl Scouts of Connecticut for their support in making this event possible.

Jun 25, 2015

Save Service in 60 seconds (or less!)

Advocacy Leader Sam Rigotti shares the following tips for how you can help push our representatives to do the right thing and save service in less time than it takes to boil an egg!
As we’ve seen in the past, Congressional funding for CNCS programs like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps is never a guarantee! Some legislators who don’t see the value of these programs have been calling for a major reduction in funding for national service. If these cuts were enacted into law, some CNCS programs would see a large-scale reduction, while others would be eliminated completely. In fact, according to federal Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, the proposals "would essentially eliminate the agency's ability to administer any of its programs."
As Alums, you can help prevent these proposed cuts from becoming a reality! Reach out to your Members of Congress via social media today. Let them know that national service is valuable, and that you oppose any cuts to CNCS programs. Here are your Connecticut Representatives’ Twitter handles:
  • Rep. John Larson: @RepJohnLarson
  • Rep. Joe Courtney: @RepJoeCourtney
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro: @rosadelauro
  • Rep. Jim Himes: @jahimes
  • Rep. Elizabeth Esty: @RepEsty
Be sure to use the hashtag #Stand4Service to be part of the national movement!
You can also easily reach out to Senators Blumenthal and Murphy via Twitter by following this link:
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for national service and for your communities!

If you'd like to learn how to get more involved in advocacy, contact us at For up-to-the-minute updates, please visit our friends at

Apr 1, 2015

Advocating for National Service 101

Want to speak out for national service but don't know how to get started? Our Advocacy Leader Sam Rigotti breaks it down! For more information about how you can help out, contact Sam at

Senator Blumenthal serves with AmeriCorps Alums (2011)

Funding for national service programs (such as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps) is not always guaranteed! Periodically during the federal budget process, some legislators or committees recommend reducing or zeroing out the budget for the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), which oversees AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs as well as the Social Innovation Fund.

It’s important, as an AmeriCorps Alum, to continually advocate for funding for national service programs! Your voice will help members of Congress to understand just how vital it is to preserve, if not increase, funding for these valuable programs. Your firsthand experience can speak louder than any chart of facts or figures could (though numbers are important, too!)


The first step is to find out who your Representative is. You can do this here:

From there, you can click on your Representative’s name to be taken to their website. You will find a link to contact them on their main page; this is typically done through a form. 

Keep in mind that while you are welcome to contact any member of Congress, you will be more likely to receive a reply from the member who represents the district where you live.

For Connecticut, your two U.S. Senators are:
In the contact form, you can include the following information:
  • Your story (keep it personal and talk about the impact that national service has had on you as well as the impact you were able to make in your community)
  • Your firsthand knowledge of the value of national service. You are committed to seeing AmeriCorps stick around long-term so that future generations will have the opportunity to serve!
  • Why funding for national service is important: minimal federal investment yields a high level of benefits and positive results for Connecticut’s residents and communities! You can pull some CT-specific facts here: or some more general facts are available at
  • Make the ask! Ask your representative or Senator to support federal funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service and to be an advocate for the value of national service to their colleagues in Congress.

Jan 12, 2015

#MLKDay is almost here!

Every year AmeriCorps Alums joins people from throughout Connecticut in honoring Martin Luther King Jr's legacy by making MLK Day a day "on," not a day off! We've highlighted just a few of the events taking place across the state -visit for even more! Make sure to tag us on Facebook and on Twitter @AC_AlumsCT so we can share!

Bridgeport - University of Bridgeport Day of Service
Contact: VISTA-alum Jennifer Turner,
January 19th, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Join over 300 students and community members to reflect and serve at organizations throughout Bridgeport, Connecticut. Lunch and t-shirt provided. Registration is strongly recommended at

Hartford - KNOX, Inc and Green Crew AmeriCorps
Contact: AmeriCorps-alum Ericus Adams,
January 19th, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Serve with Green Crew AmeriCorps members and local community gardeners to plant, harvest, and distribute greens to non-profits who serve those in need.

New Haven - Volunteer with Public Allies Connecticut
Contact: PACT-alum Emily Gallagher,
January 19th, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Serve alongside current Public Allies and alums at various sites throughout New Haven, including IRIS and Christian Community Action Agency. Contact Emily for more details.

Waterbury - New Opportunities, Inc and ACTS 4
Contact: Joan Neumann,
January 19th, 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM

New Opportunities, Inc. and ACTS 4 will be hosting their annual free clothing distribution drive at the New Opportunities Auditorium in Waterbury (232 N. Elm St).

4th-Annual Crazy Sweater Party Wrap-up

On Friday, January 9th we were excited to be joined by friends both new and old at our fourth-annual Crazy Sweater Party! Together we raised $133 and received in-kind donations to help the newly-immigrated refugees served by IRIS get through the cold months.
Guests at the 2015 Crazy Sweater Party assemble
 at the Cask Republic in New Haven, CT

  • Winter coats for both kids and adults
  • Warm winter hats
  • Socks and scarves
  • Household toiletries 
Based in New Haven, IRIS serves over 200 refugees and displaced people every year. Current clients come from several countries including Iraq, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Cuba and Sudan and range in age from a few months to over 80 years. In addition to helping recently immigrated people find housing and meet their basic needs, IRIS also provides job placement, ESOL classes, and early childhood care for their clients. 

IRIS has posted a list of their greatest volunteer needs here, or visit their website at for more information about the people they serve and how you can help! On February 1st they hold their annual major fundraiser, Run for Refugees - visit their page for more details!