2020 JCCP Student Innovation Fund Grantees Announced

2020 JCCP Student Innovation Fund Grantees Announced!

Wesleyan students aim to deepen their impact on campus and beyond…

The Jewett Center for Community Partnerships is pleased to announce the initial spring grantees of the JCCP Student Innovation Fund.

Students from a range of majors and interests – all with shared interests in utilizing resources in innovative ways to positively impact the greater Middletown community – applied to this fund.  The Student Innovation Fund provides up to $750 for spring OR summer projects that prioritize:

  • Collaboration between student groups, faculty/staff, and/or community partners.
  • Investigation of the impact of our civic engagement efforts.
  • Sharing of ideas and learnings in civic engagement on campus and beyond.

All student efforts are representative of the JCCP’s continued commitment to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.

Read more about this year’s Innovation Fund grantees:


I.C. Empowerment
Ivie Uzamere ’21 and Camille Balicki ’21
I.C Empowerment provides young women ages 14-18 with the opportunity for team collaboration, leadership skills, self discovery and resources that promote growth and provide an acquisition of life skills . The program consists of a partnership with Middletown High School where they provide a free after school class that encompasses numerous activities focused on leadership, life skill resources, partnership with resources from Wesleyan and team building activities.
Partners for Rural Healthcare
Livia Cox ’22 and Nick Wells ’20
The mission of Partners for Rural Healthcare is to promote the welfare of rural communities through dissemination of culturally cognizant educational materials and resources to those who otherwise lack its access, particularly with regards to opiate overdose. As a service-oriented non-profit approved as a charitable organization through the state of Connecticut, they are committed to combating substance abuse and overdose in local populations through sustainable and community-led educational efforts in conjunction with the distribution of supplies and reversing agents such as Narcan/Naloxone in the case of overdose.
Syed Hussain ’21
The 2019 Middletown Urban Farming Symposium is a bold project which looks to build on the current local and national momentum around food justice. This symposium seeks to bring together disconnected but passionate forces in the local food justice movement: farmers (and prospective farmers/gardeners), municipal government officials, environmental and social justice activists, and Wesleyan students.
Mariel Baitenmann-Middlebrook ’20
A partnership between Oddfellows Playhouse and Cardinal Kids, this program provides individual music mentoring from a Wesleyan University student. These lessons are tailored to fit the individual needs of different learners, and the mentors work closely with their students to develop their musical skill and interest.
Day of Caring Event
Shanté Hamilton John ’22
This is a one day community event in the Spring that would bring together faculty, staff, students and community. They will organize teams of volunteers to help community members with household projects such as yard work, painting, or cleaning.
Song from the Uproar
Lisa Stein ’21, Sam Driver ’21, Manuel Perez (GRAD), Shiva Rumkumar ’22, Pau Rius ’20, and Emily Chackerian ’20
This group is producing a student-run modern opera at Wesleyan next semester, and will be collaborating with Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Programs, the Middletown High School Choral Department, and the Middlesex Community College acting classes for a Community Opera Workshop in order to expose young people to opera and bring together the Middletown community and the Wesleyan community.
Restorative Justice Committee
Emma Grinspoon ’22, Jessica Brandon ’20, Francesca Woodbridge ’20, Maggie Rothberg ’20, Polly Pierone ’20, Asiyah Herrero ’22, Jahnavi Mehta ’22, Gina Savoy ’20, Sydnie Rathe ’22
The RJ Committee will bring a speaker to campus who is an expert in restorative justice, and who can speak both to the history of restorative justice as a framework founded by women of color and also to concrete tools and methodologies to enact restorative justice and methods of accountability in campus spaces. The event will be open to all Wesleyan students and Middletown/greater community members with the hopes that we can build a dialogue across difference.
Level Head/Level Up
Inayah Bashir ’20
Inayah Bashir is working with 5 high school students to think about ways that they can effectively discuss and introduce healthy discussions of mental wellness to their school communities. They are planning a 4 week seminar that brings together about 20 – 25 students and goes through a whole mental wellness workshop.
Luke Green ’20
WESU will film, record, and play live performances on air of artists that come to the studio to play in front of a live studio audience, like a WESU tiny desk concert. They will be engaging the WESU audience, students, and attempting to highlight the talent of local artists and people who are largely ignored by the mainstream media, a pillar of WESU’s mission statement.
Alphina Kamara ’22 and Emily McEvoy ’22
The Pursuing Re-Entry and Employment Possibilities (PREP) Center is a space for re-entry career mentorship for the Middletown’s formerly incarcerated. Services include assistance in resume and cover letter writing, job search mentorship, and provision of free business-casual clothes.
Wesleyan IN-Reach
Melisa Olgun ’20
The Wesleyan IN-Reach program is a collaboration between Wesleyan STEM laboratories and local Middletown schools. The program focuses on inviting first-generation and low-income students to shadow laboratories during a 9-week program during the summer. The program seeks to address the gap of pre-college programs for students, and hopes to bring URM students to have an opportunity to see university-level research.
International Music Performances
Yu Qin ’21, Zian Zhang ’22, Shuyuan Zhang ’22, Tong Kong ’20, Philippe Bungabong ’22 
This project will increase the impact of international students and underrepresented cultural identities in the Middletown community by holding music performances in local senior centers, high schools, and museums. 
Be The Change Venture
Anthony Price ’20
This project will provide a central space for young people, ages 14-22, throughout the Middletown community to pitch ideas that seek to address systemic issues affecting their communities.
Partnership between Wesleyan, Middletown Immigrant Rights Alliance and Unidad Latina en Accion
Olivia Backal-Balik ’20 and Joy Ming King ’20
This project seeks to establish a long-term community partnership between Wesleyan and Middletown Immigrant Rights Alliance and Unidad Latina en Accion. The project will include recruiting volunteers for accompaniments, establishing consistent and long-term modes of transportation and figuring out best modes of communication for court accompaniment days.
Applications are still open for the Innovation Fund – learn more and apply here: http://bitly.com/wesinnovation