One of the youngest residents of Northeast Hartford Affordable Housing celebrated her third birthday last Friday at the Johnson-Stewart Community Center. Family, friends, staff and residents of Sheldon Oak were there for the party!
After her career as a corporate training executive in the insurance and financial services industry abruptly ended in the early 2000s, Alice Margie Turner decided it was time for a change. Drawing on her longtime love of teaching, her master’s degree in education, and a childhood dream to empower young minds, she enrolled in the Encore! Hartford nonprofit leadership development program. Soon after, she founded the Urban Reach Institute for Student Enterprises, now called URISE.
A nonprofit organization, URISE is an award-winning leader in business, innovation, and entrepreneurship education for underrepresented youth, teens and adults living in the Greater Hartford area. This summer, URISE is partnering with Sheldon Oak Central to offer "Summer Biz Camp," a 5-week, paid program to teach entrepreneurship, financial, and career building skills to a select group of our young residents.
According to URISE, 74% of youth and young adults want to start and run their own businesses—but many of the skills needed to succeed on this path are not taught in school.
Meeting at Sheldon Oak’s community center on Martin Street, Alice Turner and her staff are passing the torch to the next generation; using their skills, talents, and passion to support Northeast Hartford’s youth in achieving their dreams.
Sheldon Oak's partnership with the nonprofit Read to Grow has enabled us to build a well-stocked Reading Room in our community center at 127 Martin Street. The books are new, culturally appropriate, and offered for free to neighborhood children and families.
This week we stopped by Read to Grow and picked up more than 400 new books. The charming new board book Hello Sometimes helps very young children make sense of an ever-changing world. We have copies in both English and Spanish.
With all these donations, we plan to create reading rooms in our community centers on Vine and South Prospect Street as well. The staff at Read to Grow also plans to visit us with their new bookmobile! Come check us out and pick up a book for the young ones in your life.
The new, hard-hitting docuseries The Frontlines is co-produced by Sheldon Oak board member James Jeter. The first three episodes are now streaming on YouTube, along with a trailer for Episode 4.
Episode 1 takes an unflinching look at the epidemic of gun violence in Hartford, through the eyes of the people most affected. Watch now: The Frontlines Docuseries - YouTube
If you've been on Nelson Street lately, you might have noticed things looking brighter in the vacant lot behind 96-98 Martin Street. That's because we've been sprucing it up a bit by painting the concrete blocks surrounding the lot with cheerful colors, stenciled and hand-painted designs, and inspiring messages. Heartfelt thanks to a group of committed volunteers, including students from Northwest Catholic High School, Northeast neighborhood residents, and other community members for volunteering your time. And a special thanks to KNOX, Inc. for organizing Love Hartford Week, and for giving us the idea to use stencils!
If you haven't seen it yet, come on by! The lot is a short walk from our community center at 127 Martin Street, where we have been hosting a variety of community meetings and events, while investing our time in the outdoor spaces.
Beautification projects are underway all over Hartford during the second annual Love Hartford Week, organized by the City of Hartford and KNOX, Inc. Representing the Northeast neighborhood, Sheldon Oak Central is sponsoring a neighborhood cleanup this Saturday, October 22, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Show your love by volunteering with us this Saturday!
To volunteer, come to the Johnson-Stewart Community Center, 127 Martin Street. The cleanup will be centered on the vacant lot across the street and surrounding areas. Breakfast and lunch will be served to all volunteers.
Activities will include the following:
To receive a free T-shirt and swag bag as a thank you for volunteering, register online before the event at this link: Love Hartford Week 2022 Project Sign Up (openforms.com)
The neighborhood that brings in the most volunteers will win a cash prize to fund additional beautification projects in the spring - so spread the word!
On Tuesday, Sept. 27th, several Sheldon Oak staff, youth partners, and neighborhood representatives welcomed two staff from Knox to the Johnson-Stewart Community Center on Martin Street.
Together, we took a walk around the Martin/Garden/Nelson area of Northeast Hartford to discuss ideas and possibilities for neighborhood beautification.
The fall weather was lovely. We are looking forward to partnering with Knox, the Northeast Revitalization Association (NERA), and other neighborhood partners and residents on some new initiatives (TBA)!
Approximately 20 residents of Northeast Hartford Affordable Housing met at Sheldon Oak’s Johnson-Stewart Community Center on Sunday, August 7, to share ideas for how best to use the center to support the community. The meeting was sponsored by LISC Connecticut, who provided a catered breakfast. Several Sheldon Oak staff were in attendance to distribute a survey, facilitate a discussion, and gather residents' input.
Several residents shared things they like about their neighborhood. These included learning from elders, spending peaceful time in the park, and coming to the Community Center. Attendees also expressed concerns about the neighborhood, including gun violence; vacant and blighted properties; and a need for more positive activities and opportunities for youth.
Ralph Knighton, consultant with LISC Connecticut and former Sheldon Oak board member, told residents he was there to listen and that LISC would provide funding to support programs at the center. A resident who works for the Urban League offered to bring information on their programs the following Sunday.
José Quiñonez, the Sheldon Oak staff member who facilitated the discussion, offered to connect residents with employment opportunities and to assist them with the application process. “Employment is very important,” he said, sharing from his own experience. “Work gives you a purpose. It changes lives.”
Residents discussed various types of activities and resources they would like to see for children, youth, and adults at the community center. Many expressed interest in continuing to meet regularly.
The Johnson-Stewart Community Center, built by Sheldon Oak as part of the development of Northeast Hartford Affordable Housing, has recently been renovated. Community meetings are held every Sunday morning from 10:00 to noon, with refreshments served. Community meetings are open to all residents of Sheldon Oak properties in Northeast Hartford, as well as to other residents of the Northeast neighborhood. The facility is wheelchair accessible.