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2013-2014 PCSE panelists, presenters, and workshop leaders: Thank You!

Just a quick note of thanks to the following alumni, students, faculty, and friends who donated their time and expertise to the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship in 2013-2014. We learned from you and look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Nakia Booth ’96
Peter Kim Frank ’12
Julian Applebaum ’13
Kwaku Akoi ’14
Katya Sapozhnina ’16
Oladoyin Oladapo ’14
Ted Shabecoff ’15
J. Dontrese ‘Smack’ Brown
Evan Carmi ’13
Steve Windsor
Lionel Nyange ’12
Carlo Francisco ’11
Jonathan Lyons ’12

Beezer Clarkson ’94
Kagiso Bond ’01
Erica Gersowitz ’01

Kira Fabrizio ’97

Mary Cyriac ’02
Jackson Ulrich ’14
Steve Marcelynas

Scott Lombart

John Rhea ’87
Shola Olatoye ’96
Sharon Greenberger ’88
John Alschuler ’70
Muzzy Rosenblatt ‘87
Tracey Gardner ‘96

Hailey Sowden ’15
Joshua Lee ’16
Adin Vaewsorn ’15
Nur Moebius

Wendy Jeffries ’01
Liz Bliss ’01

Abigail Hornstein
Persephone Hall
Richie Adelstein
Monica Noether ‘74
Damien Sheehan-Connor
Lexy Funk ‘91
Sam Astor ‘07
Garrett Blank ‘11
Kevin Curtin ‘13
Hailey Sarage ‘09
Ben Carus ‘14

Kate Clopeck

Alexis Ohanian
Peter Frank ’12

Jordyn Lexton ‘08
Peter Frank ‘12
Gabi Fondiller ‘07
Jonathan Leland ‘07
Jason Rosado ‘96
Raghu Appasani ‘12
Mufaro Dube ‘08
Cynthia Jaggi ‘00

Jack Leonard Ed.D.

Evan Okun ’13
Circles & Ciphers staff

Jake Levine ’08
Alex Rosen ’08
Tim Devane ’09
Peter Frank ’12

Sarah Abbott ’10
Joy Anderson ’89
Shawn Dove ’84
Dave Kane ’93
Tim Freundlich ’90
Jason Segal ’95
Andy Weissman ’88
Sarah Williams ’88

Juliet Schor ’75
Steve Oleskey ’64
Jonathan Haber ’85
Ellen Remmer ’75 P’12

Kate Weiner ’15
Meagan Erhart

Rebecca Knight ’98
Marcus Chung ’98

Alex Cantrell ’14
Katya Sapozhnina ’16
Oladoyin Oladapo ’14
Tavo True-Alcala ’15

Tracie McMillan

Adam Poswolsky ’05

Art Feltman ‘80
Ysette Guevara ‘98
Liza Conrad ‘11
Zach Valenti ‘12
Kwaku Akoi ’14

Kennedy Odede ’12
Jessica Posner Odede ’09

Restorative Justice Conversation with Evan Okun ’13 and Circles & Ciphers staff (5/9)

This week, Evan Okun ’13 and his colleagues from Circles & Ciphers will come to Wesleyan for a series of events and workshops about restorative justice and issues faced by young men of color. They will visit the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (Allbritton 022) on Friday, May 9, 11:30-12:30 p.m. We invite all interested students to stop by to hear about their work and connect with the C&C team. This will be a casual gathering; feel free to arrive late or leave early, and bring lunch if you’d like.

More information:

Circles & Ciphers is a youth-led restorative justice organization that uses HipHop to engage young men of color in critical discourse around issues ranging from manhood to mass incarceration.  We empower prison-, court-, DCFS-, and gang- involved young men to transform legacies of violence, incarceration, patriarchal masculinity, and disengagement.

Four veteran youth-leaders will be at Wesleyan: Marlon English, Lookman Muhammed, Ethan Viets-Vanlear, and Ash  Froston.  All four design and implement peace-circles, incubate new restorative justice projects, and coordinate partnerships with various other organizations. They will be accompanied by the Program Coordinator for Circles & Ciphers, Evan Okun (’13).  In his last three years at Wesleyan, Evan Okun taught his own class entitled “Culturally Critical Rap” at the music therapy department of a local juvenile detention center.   He began his work with Circles & Ciphers after receiving a seed grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and was later hired by the organization.

Inner-City Violence Prevention Panel (moderated by Evan Okun ’13, 2/8 at 1pm)

Cure ViolenceInner-City Violence: an inside look at the epidemic and possible solutions

Saturday, February 8
1 p.m. 
Daniel Family Commons

The goal of this event is to (1) three-dimensionalize gang/drug related violence that plagues lower income, minority neighborhoods across America, and (2) discuss community-based programs in Chicago addressing this epidemic.

CeaseFire/Cure-Violence is a Chicago based organization which aims to interrupt gang-violence.  Its programming was popularized by the documentary, The Interrupters, and has since been replicated around the world!  Almost all employees have been incarcerated (these are ex-gang leaders, drug lords, etc.).  Having shifted perspectives/with a renewed passion for stopping violence, these employees return to the corners where they made a name and convince young men that violence is not ideal (gets in the way of business, leads to more violence, increases police intervention, etc).

This event will feature a panel discussion with two members of CeaseFire/Cure-Violence (one of whom is the star of the documentary; both of whom served time in jail). They will be joined by three youth leaders from Circles & Ciphers, a leadership development organization for young men of color that combines peacemaking circles and hip-hop to transform legacies.  Leading the panel will be Evan Okun ’13, who taught at the Middletown juvenile detention center for 3-years, and now serves as Program Coordinator for Circles & Ciphers.

 

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to provide support for this event and for Evan’s work with Circles & Ciphers. Read more here.

PCSE Seed Grants in Action: A Note from Evan Okun ’13

In April 2013, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded five seed grants to Wesleyan students embarking on high-impact projects around the globe. Each grant recipient has been reporting on his/her work with blog posts and photos. Here’s the third and final report from Evan Okun ’13. Read his earlier posts here and here.

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evanCircles & Ciphers is a remarkable organization. Through hip-hop infused peacemaking circles, participants become fluent in the principles and practices of restorative justice and circle keeping.  They cultivate empathy, literacy, and critical thinking; they learn facilitation, public speaking, and organizing skills; they network and connect with community leaders, learning how to be reliable and accountable to their team members.

Circles & Ciphers hosts programs in the Rogers Park community, Chicago Public Schools, and at a juvenile detention center.   At each location, youth leaders engage in critical discourse about a variety of topics, from vulnerability to mass incarceration.   Hip-hop songs are used as the entrance points to these discussions: after conducting an Invocation and Check-In (staples of all peacemaking circles), a hip-hop song is played.  After discussing the song and sharing personal stories related to the song’s content, participants engage in creative writing about the subject.  These youth are then granted the opportunity to record their art in a professional studio and perform it at art-exhibits across the city.

Recently, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Chicago-based institutions and youth service agencies seeking to explore restorative justice practices.  Circles & Ciphers plans to meet this need by creating a consulting group that will train youth participants to serve as contracted restorative justice practitioners.  This development will allow the organization to be a revenue-generating social entrepreneurship venture, while ensuring that youth leaders are financially compensated for their expertise.

For readers interested in Circles & Ciphers, our program will be presenting at Wesleyan University on Saturday, Febraury 8th (along side two veteran members of CeaseFire/Cure Violence, a Chicago-based violence-prevention  program).  The panel will be held in the DFC, starting at 1pm.  The goal of this event is to (1) three-dimensionalize gang/drug related violence that plagues lower income, minority neighborhoods across America, and (2) discuss community-based programs in Chicago addressing this epidemic.

PCSE Seed Grants in Action: A Note from Evan Okun ’13

In April 2013, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded five seed grants to Wesleyan students embarking on high-impact projects around the globe. Each grant recipient has been reporting on his/her work with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from Evan Okun ’13. [Editor’s note: Two days after submitting this blog post, Evan found out that he has been hired for a permanent position with Circles & Ciphers, where he has been running programs previously supported by the PCSE Seed Grant. Congratulations Evan!]

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evanWhen asked about the organization I work with, I usually offer a formulaic response:  Circles & Ciphers is a leadership development organization for young men of color who are prison-, court-, and gang- involved. Fusing restorative justice practices and principles with hip-hop arts and culture, we empower participants to transform legacies of violence, incarceration, patriarchal masculinity, and disengagement.

When asked to describe my specific responsibilities, I explain: in addition to grant writing & program coordination, I am blessed with the opportunity to design and implement curricula for many of the circles.  When I tell them this, they quickly clarify, “So you’re their teacher?”

“No,” I respond.

“Oh! Got it. You’re more of a mentor to them? A role model of sorts?”

“Not really, no.”

They continue to offer terms that me force the youth participants and I into a hierarchical relationship.  In America we have been socialized to perceive the college-graduate grant-recipient as the disseminator of knowledge – or, at the very least, as a model for “good behavior.”  This perpetuates the colonial legacy of depreciating the intelligence & power of lower class, minority youth.

How, then, do I characterize my relationship with the youth leaders in Circle & Ciphers?

I am an ally in their struggle against the prison industrial complex; a peer  who will engage in critical discourse when they insist I read, “The New Jim Crow” or “Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson”; a friend who is similarly obsessed with Hip-Hop as a tool for social justice.

Circles  & Ciphers supports its participants in many ways – fueling economic empowerment, cultivating critical thinking, building social/emotional skills, etc. – all of which are astounding.  But the organization’s ability to dismantle traditional notions of hierarchy is truly revolutionary.

PCSE Seed Grants in Action: A Note from Evan Okun ’13

In April, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded five seed grants to Wesleyan students embarking on high-impact projects around the globe. Each grant recipient will be reporting on his/her work with blog posts and photos. Here’s one, a report from Evan Okun ’13 (who, incidentally, also happens to have a new album out.)

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This fall I am moving to Chicago, where I will be living for four months thanks to a seed-grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.  During my stay I will be working with Circles & Ciphers, a program that uses hip-hop-cipher-peace-making-circles to do restorative justice with system involved youth.

In a hip-hop cipher, participants form a circle and trade off turns sharing their art (poetry, written-rap, improvisization, etc.). Circles & Ciphers combines hip-hop ciphers with “peace-making circles,” a popular tool used for restorative justice (which utilize a talking piece, opening and closing rituals, etc.).   The combination of these two techniques aims to dismantle hierarchical power structures, while confronting issues such as racism, police-brutality, and gang violence.

As the fall approaches, I find myself deeply appreciative of how thoroughly Wesleyan has prepared me for this work.   During my time at Wesleyan I conducted two independent studies analyzing a two-year-class I taught in the music therapy department at a nearby juvenile detention center.  The first study focused on developing the curriculum and pedagogy of the course I taught.  The other examined the detrimental effect that egocentricity and paternalism had in the classroom.   I was able to examine my work further in other classes as well, including Psychology & The Law (PSYCH) and Creative Non-Fiction (ENGL).   Approaching the topic from a range of disciplines forced me to adopt a variety of critical lenses.

This interdisciplinary analysis has helped me realize that I am, and always will be, a learner.  In the first semester I taught at the juvenile detention center, I often found my white-male-body attempting to dominate/colonize the spaces I was in.  Unlearning racism, classism, and colonial conquest is an on going project, but one I am dedicated to.  I am thankful to have been humbled by Wesleyan’s education and I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn from Circles & Ciphers’ innovative approach to social justice.

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship: 2012/2013 Year in Review

Two years after its founding in May 2011, Wesleyan University’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) is becoming a hub of activity. We are cultivating the long-standing Wesleyan ethos of social justice and entrepreneurial spirit as we carry out our mission: to support students and alumni interested in creating and sustaining programs, businesses, and organizations that advance the public good.

This year, the PCSE offered 36 events featuring 30 alumni and 5 students, awarded 22 grants to 44 applicants, provided bi-weekly student counseling hours to dozens of  undergraduates, and added more than 30 alumni volunteers to our growing network.

2012/2013 highlights include:

  • Five $5,000 Seed Grants were awarded to individual students or student teams with plans for a new venture or a scaling up of an existing enterprise.
    • Evan Okun ’13 will launch a new program with Circles and Ciphers, a leadership development organization in Chicago that fuses restorative justice practices with hip-hop culture to empower and support predominantly young African-American and Latino males.
    • Hailey Sowden ’15 and Kate Enright ’15 will launch The Middletown Food Project, a subsidized, low-cost, community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for low-income families in Middletown, Connecticut.
    • Shyam Desai ’15 and Rehan Mehta ’14 will use their seed grant to support The MINDS Foundation, which works to increase access to mental health care and reduce economic stress and social stigma around mental illness in rural India.
    • Nina Gerona ’15 is launching a data collection project for Big Tree Farms, a supply-chain farming company in Bali, which will assess and improve living standards for their farmers.
    • Faye Phillips ’13 designed a Women and Girls Hygiene Program for Maji Safi Group, a disease-prevention and health-promotion NGO which empowers communities in rural Tanzania to fight waterborne and water-related diseases.
  • Along with a financial prize, Seed Grant winners are paired with alumni mentors and given 24-hour access to the PCSE Board Room and preference for PCSE workshops. They are expected to give back to the Center with regular blog posts and peer counseling hours. Through these experiences, we seek to continue the trend of success by young Wesleyan social entrepreneurs like Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09 (Shining Hope for Communities), Raghu Appasani ’12 (The MINDS Foundation), Max Perel-Slater ’11 (Maji Safi Group), and Tasmiha Khan ’12 (Brighter Dawns).
  • In April, Joy Anderson ’89 presented Structure Lab to a group of 13 undergraduates. After the 3-hour session (a free, pared-down version of Joy’s day-long, $300/person workshop), one student remarked “This was the best thing I have ever attended at Wesleyan.” Dr. Anderson taught a course entitled “Money and Social Change: Innovative Paradigms and Strategies” during the Fall 2012 semester, and she will repeat this course in Fall 2013.
  • The Patricelli Center hosted or co-hosted four off-campus events for alumni. In October, more than 75 people attended “The Future of Social Innovation: A Conversation on Social Entrepreneurship, New Sources of Capital, and Careers that Change the World” in NYC and 65 people attended “The New Impact Economy” in San Francisco. These panels featured Shawn Dove ’84 (Campaign for Black Male Achievement), Sasha Chanoff ’94 (RefugePoint), Jessica Posner Odede ’09 and Kennedy Odede ’12 (Shining Hope for Communities), Tim Freundlich ’90 (ImpactAssets), Scott Donohue ’86 (Year Up, Inc.), John Perry Barlow ’69 (Algae Systems), Corey Block ’01 (Treasure Island Job Corps), Joshua Kagan ’01 (Carbon War Room), Alex Rosen ’08 (GREE), Sara Chieco ’94 (Non-Profit Business Analyst), and Shivani Siroya ’04 (InVenture).
  • With a $500 Patricelli Center Enrichment Grant, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 designed her own 2-week intensive coding course. Ola will use the skills she learned in a venture she is beginning to develop this summer.
  • Eleven rising juniors and seniors will be able to gain valuable experience doing unpaid summer experiences thanks to Patricelli Center Internship Grants. Five of these students will learn collaboratively as part of the intern cohort at The Hub San Francisco — “where change goes to work.”
  • The Patricelli Center sought out alumni mentors for Mfundi Makama ’14 and Greg Shaheen ’13, Wesleyan’s 2013 recipients of the prestigious $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship relies on some key partnerships:

  • The PCSE, Center for Community Partnerships (CCP), and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life (ACSPL), collaborate as a hub of civic engagement theory, research, experience, and practice. We are all housed together in the Allbritton Center in the heart of campus (formerly Davenport Campus Center).
  • The Career Center’s job and internship databases, resume service, and workshops complement PCSE programs.
  • The PCSE Advisory Board and a coalition of student social entrepreneurs provide invaluable advice and support for the Center.
  • More than 1,000 members of Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Service (WAPPS) promote service and social impact among the alumni community, and they co-host events with the Patricelli Center.
  • Social entrepreneurship colleagues from other institutions come together through AshokaU to share ideas and resources.

Social metrics and measuring impact are crucial for ventures being launched by our students, and we apply these same concepts to our work. In 2013/2014, we will begin measuring outcomes of PCSE programs, not just outputs.

2012/2013 was a year of rapid growth for the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and we look forward to continued progress and impact in 2013/2014 and beyond.

13 Students Awarded Grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce its 2013 Seed Grant and Internship Grant recipients.

The PCSE Seed Grant program was launched this spring.  Individuals and teams of students competed for $5000 prizes intended to provide capital to help Wesleyan students launch their socially-oriented project or idea and/or build capacity of their existing social enterprise. The winners are:

evanCircles and Ciphers
Project Leader: Evan Okun ’13
Description: This grant will fund a project in Chicago with a leadership development organization that fuses restorative justice practices with hip-hop culture to empower and support predominantly African-American and Latino males, ages 14-23.

Evan says, “Programs that seek to reengage system involved youth are often punitive and paternalistic. Ciphers (a circle of rappers) dismantle traditional power dynamics by setting all participants on an equal playing field. From there, compassionate and progressive discourse can arise. It is an honor to get to work with Circles & Ciphers, a profoundly effective and forward thinking program.”

The Middletown Food Project
Project Leaders: Hailey Sowden ’15 and Kate Enright ’15
Description: This grant will support the creation of a subsidized, low-cost, community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for 20 low-income families in Middletown using Long Lane Farm on Wesleyan’s campus.

rehanThe MINDS Foundationshyam
Project Leaders: Shyam Desai ’15 and Rehan Mehta ’14
Description: This grant will support The MINDS Foundation, which was founded at Wesleyan by Raghu Appasani ’12, and works to increase access to mental health care and education and reduce economic stress and social stigma around mental illness in rural India

Rehan’s and Shyam are both from India and are passionate about mental health issues. They say that “working with The MINDS Foundation has been the perfect opportunity to combine these two parts of our identities and to have a huge impact on our community. The MINDS Foundation has already sponsored the treatment of over a hundred mentally ill patients in the second phase of our program, and the Patricelli Seed Grant is going to allow us to begin our next phase, which will provide vocational training to some of those patients who have made progress, allowing them to gain employment and help support their families.”

Sustainable Social Metrics for Big Tree Farm
Project Leaders: Nina Gerona ’15
Description: This grant will fund a data collection project for Big Tree Farms, a supply-chain farming company in Bali, which will assess and improve living standard for Big Tree farmers.

fayeWomen and Girls Hygiene Program for Maji Safi Group
Project Leaders: Fayette Phillips ’13
Description: This grant will fund a new Women and Girls Hygiene Program in impoverished rural areas of Tanzania for Maji Safi Group, an existing organization that was founded at Wesleyan by Max Perel-Slater ‘11.

Faye says, “This work is meaningful for me because I believe in education for community empowerment, and in particular when the education is coming from mentors and leaders within that very community. Hopefully, my initiative will spark a long-lasting program to address the information gap for adolescent girls who need to know how to understand and care for their changing bodies so that they can become informed, healthy, strong women.”

 

The PCSE Internship Grant, now in its second year, supports Wesleyan sophomores and juniors currently receiving need-based financial aid who plan to do socially innovative or socially responsible work during the summer. Six internship grants were awarded in April, and additional grants will be awarded in late-May to students interning at The Hub in San Francisco. The six students already selected to receive Internship Grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship are:

Wesley Close ’15
Major: Latin American Studies
Internship with: Dream Ghana
Location: Ghana
Field of impact: Human Rights Law

William Curran-Groome ’14
Major: Government
Internship with: INJAZ Al-Arab
Location: Jordan
Field of impact: Refugee Support/Education

Jacqueline Freed ’15
Majors: Psychology, Science in Society
Internship with: Chisang Clinic
Location: Nepal
Field of impact: Women’s Health

Judhanny Garcia ’14
Major: English
Internship with: Breakthrough Collaborative
Field of impact: Education/Achievement Gap

Jessica Gorak ’15
Major: Science in Society
Internship with: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin
Field of impact: Women’s Reproductive Rights

Olayinka Lawal ’15
Major: Sociology
Internship With: The Savvy Madam Network
Location: Washington DC
Field of Impact: Women of Color Leadership Development

 

All grant recipients will submit blog posts about their work, and they will offer peer counseling sessions or workshops for other Wesleyan students with similar interests and aspirations.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship also offers Student Enrichment Grants on a rolling basis. For more information on all three types of grants administered by the PCSE, visit our website. To hear about other PCSE news and initiatives, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.