Charter Oak Wins NBC’s 21st Century Solutions Award!

We are proud to announce that Charter Oak Cultural Center is one of three Connecticut nonprofit recipients of the 21st Century Solutions Award from NBC.  The Award was designed to support high-impact, progressive programs in the categories of Arts and Media; Civic Engagement; Community Development; Education; Environment; Jobs and Economic Empowerment; and Technology. Through this $25,000 gift, Charter Oak Cultural Center will be able to greatly strengthen and grow Beat of the Street*, our programming for individuals who are experiencing homelessness.
Other grant recipients include: the University of Connecticut Foundation’s entrepreneurial boot camp program for veterans with disabilities, and the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program’s cyber-gaming math challenge to close the achievement gap
among urban students.
“The winning programs showcase innovative and creative ways to impact our state.
NBC Connecticut is proud to recognize the organizations and provide resources to
move their projects forward to benefit our community,” said David Doebler, NBC
Connecticut President and General Manager
*As part of our social justice programming, Charter Oak Cultural Center developed and launched Connecticut’s first “street paper,” entitled Beat of the Street (B.O.T.S.). Beat of the Street is a newspaper created, designed and sold by individuals experiencing homelessness. The paper is executed, from start to finish, by volunteer staff members, all of whom have or are currently experiencing homelessness, as well as their allies.  Staff members create newspaper content, handle the distribution, and guide the overall direction of the paper. Over 4000 people experienced homelessness over the course of 2011 in Hartford, which accounts for close to 25% of the homeless population in all of Connecticut.  Despite this, many people are not aware of the extensiveness of the issue.   Beat of the Street puts a face on the issue of homelessness and gives voice to this often forgotten population.  Over the past two years, Beat of the Street has grown immensely and we have launched other offshoot programs that also work to address the root causes of homelessness. Two of these programs include:
B.O.T.S. Pots
This past summer, Charter Oak created B.O.T.S. Pots, a program designed to meet three goals: 1) To provide employment for the homeless community, providing these individuals with all important job experience and a résumé line item 2) To provide low-income Hartford residents with free, fresh vegetables 3) To create art for the public to enjoy. We placed 14 potted vegetable plants throughout downtown Hartford, offering a stipend to members of the homeless community who tended the pots. We then commissioned local artists who transformed the pots into public art pieces, providing art and beauty in this urban environment.
The B.O.T.S. Center for Creative Learning
The B.O.T.S. Center for Creative Learning provides free classes for the Hartford homeless community.  Classes include graphic design, journalism, computer literacy, photography and business, marketing, etc. and will be taught by local leaders in these subject areas.
The B.O.T.S. Center for Creative Learning is a bit different from other job training programs in Hartford.  B.O.T.S. staff and other community members have developed a curriculum that accomplishes three things:  1) Provides people with skills that will help them in their work with B.O.T.S. 2)  Provides people with skills that will help them advocate for issues having to do with homelessness  3)  Provides people with skills that will help them find employment and enrich their lives. Classes take place twice a week and also offers participants a full breakfast as well as a safe, warm place to go when homeless shelters close during the day.We are proud to announce that Charter Oak Cultural Center is one of three Connecticut nonprofit recipients of the 21st Century Solutions Award from NBC.  The Award was designed to support high-impact, progressive programs in the categories of Arts and Media; Civic Engagement; Community Development; Education; Environment; Jobs and Economic Empowerment; and Technology. Through this $25,000 gift, Charter Oak Cultural Center will be able to greatly strengthen and grow Beat of the Street*, our programming for individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

Other grant recipients include: the University of Connecticut Foundation’s entrepreneurial boot camp program for veterans with disabilities, and the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program’s cyber-gaming math challenge to close the achievement gap among urban students.

“The winning programs showcase innovative and creative ways to impact our state. NBC Connecticut is proud to recognize the organizations and provide resources to move their projects forward to benefit our community,” said David Doebler, NBC Connecticut President and General Manager.

*As part of our social justice programming, Charter Oak Cultural Center developed and launched Connecticut’s first “street paper,” entitled Beat of the Street (BOTS). Beat of the Street is a newspaper created, designed and sold by individuals experiencing homelessness. The paper is executed, from start to finish, by volunteer staff members, all of whom have or are currently experiencing homelessness, as well as their allies.  Staff members create newspaper content, handle the distribution, and guide the overall direction of the paper. Over 4000 people experienced homelessness over the course of 2011 in Hartford, which accounts for close to 25% of the homeless population in all of Connecticut.  Despite this, many people are not aware of the extensiveness of the issue.   Beat of the Street puts a face on the issue of homelessness and gives voice to this often forgotten population.  Over the past two years, Beat of the Street has grown immensely and we have launched other offshoot programs that also work to address the root causes of homelessness. Two of these programs include:

BOTS Pots

This past summer, Charter Oak created BOTS Pots, a program designed to meet three goals: 1) To provide employment for the homeless community, providing these individuals with all important job experience and a résumé line item 2) To provide low-income Hartford residents with free, fresh vegetables 3) To create art for the public to enjoy. We placed 14 potted vegetable plants throughout downtown Hartford, offering a stipend to members of the homeless community who tended the pots. We then commissioned local artists who transformed the pots into public art pieces, providing art and beauty in this urban environment.

The BOTS Center for Creative Learning

The BOTS Center for Creative Learning provides free classes for the Hartford homeless community.  Classes include graphic design, journalism, computer literacy, photography and business, marketing, etc. and will be taught by local leaders in these subject areas.

The BOTS Center for Creative Learning is a bit different from other job training programs in Hartford. BOTS staff and other community members have developed a curriculum that accomplishes three things:  1) Provides people with skills that will help them in their work with BOTS 2)  Provides people with skills that will help them advocate for issues having to do with homelessness  3)  Provides people with skills that will help them find employment and enrich their lives. Classes take place twice a week and also offers participants a full breakfast as well as a safe, warm place to go when homeless shelters close during the day.

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