From the archives: our community partners

While the blog is on summer vacation, we’re sharing past posts and social media coverage about the many ways City Connects helps students thrive. 

This week’s roundup looks at how City Connects works with community partners around the country to bring the right services to the right students at the right time. 

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City Connects and Catie’s Closet: working with a community partner that’s just down the hall
City Connects Blog, January 24, 2019

Last school year, Lincoln Elementary School in Springfield, Mass., had a custodian’s closet that was nothing special.

This year that space has been transformed – painted, carpeted and decorated – and turned into Catie’s Closet, a cheerful place where students can get donated clothes and toiletries.

It’s a powerful example of a City Connects’ community partner that places its resources inside schools where students have easy access.

Now, when a student at Lincoln needs clothes, City Connects Coordinator Allison Emhoff can go into the closet and get winter coats, sweaters, pajamas, backpacks, or the school uniforms that students at Lincoln wear. The closet doesn’t have shoes, but Emhoff can put in a special request for them. Students can also get personal products like deodorant or toothpaste. And it’s all convenient because the closet is just down the hall.

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Tapping data and community partners to help English Language Learners
City Connects Blog, February 20, 2020

“Two of the coordinators told me that they needed more English Language Learner help,” Laurie Acker, the City Connects Program Manager in Minnesota, says. 

Among the top languages spoken in Minnesota besides English are Spanish, Somali, Hmong (there’s a large Hmong community in St. Paul), and Karen, which is spoken in lower Myanmar (the country formerly known as Burma), and in Minnesota by immigrants from that region. 

Given these demographics, Minnesota schools have seen widespread growth in the language diversity of their students. 

So Acker went out and found two community partners who could provide help, Hamline University and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Professors from Hamline’s English-as-a-Second-Language department have met with coordinators and teachers in City Connects schools to explain sheltered language instruction, ways to teach in English while also providing context and support for English learners. Coordinators use these techniques when they work with students in small groups.

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City Connects students meet the Minnesota Vikings
City Connects Blog, September 19, 2019

 Thank you to the Minnesota Vikings.

 Last week, the professional football team spent a day visiting the LIFE Prep School, a City Connects school in St. Paul.

Community service is a common part of the team’s life, and we’re grateful to them for being a City Connects community partner for the day. Their visit shows how important it is to connect students to shoes, health care, and community-based fun.

Twenty past and present Vikings team members helped fit students with Toms shoes. And Toms, in addition to the shoes, provided volunteers who helped out, and pizza for lunch. Helen Keller Intl, a nonprofit organization, was also there to give free vision tests and fit students who needed them with eyeglasses.

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