Thursday, April 30, 2009

Raising Healthy Kids

Raising Kids Isn't Easy is back, and with a new project. Did you miss our Community Meetings? Well here is your chance to add your option about Middletown!

We are talking to parents about
• Early Education
• Health Care
• Support for Family’s

Spotlight on Families will be on air on Comcast Access Channel

As a thank you for your generous support, you will be receiving dinner, childcare, and your choice of a gift card or a gas card.

Please contact Marilyn Dunkley 759-2945
Beverly Lawrence 759-2894
Dates: May 1st, 2009 - Friday
May 8th 2009 - Friday

Sponsored by, Middlesex Coalition for Children.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green Street Mural Project

The Green Street Arts Center is launching the Green Street Community Mural Project, an eighteen month-long art program that will culminate in a large public mural, to be installed in the spring of 2009 on the corner of Main and Green Streets in the North End. The Green Street Community Mural Project is made possible by a $10,000 grant from Citizens Bank and the Citizens Bank Foundation, who are the project’s lead sponsors.

Led by mural artist Marela Zacarias, the project’s participants are a diverse group of Middletown children, their families, professional artists, Wesleyan students, and other community members. A core group of students in Green Street’s Afterschool Program will work with the artists on the project regularly.

The primary goal of the Green Street Community Mural Project will be obvious to every driver and pedestrian who passes Green Street. According to Zacarias, “This mural will brighten Main Street with the colorful art of our students. It will also help to raise awareness of the wonderful activities that the Green Arts Center offers for the Middletown community.”

Over the summer of 2008, themes were finalized and designs drawn up by current Green Street students. In the words of Ms. Zacarias, “The ideas for the murals come from a variety of sources: The group that I work with (in this case, ten 4th graders), the wall and its particular characteristics (location, size, windows, etc), and my own artistic interpretation. Sometimes I feel like a channeling device: All the information comes through me and it comes out as visual images on a wall.”

The advance work of the Mural Project crew wrapped up last fall and this winter is the execution. This entails priming, painting, and sealing plywood panels that are to be permanently screwed into the brick on the north side of the building at the intersection of Main and Green Streets.

An important objective of the project lies, not just in the finished product, but in the process. The Green Street Community Mural Project intends to provide hands-on artistic and civic education to young people who desperately need both—like the ones who first sparked an idea in the mind of Green Street Artistic Director Janis Astor del Valle in autumn of 2007.

According to Astor, the seed of the Mural Project was planted by a group of young vandals. The Middletown Press ran an article about the teens, who had been arrested in Middletown for graffiti in public spaces. Recalling TATS CRU, a group of Bronx-based professional muralists whose work in aerosol changed the perception of graffiti as art and who she’d met while working at a youth development organization in the Bronx, Astor felt inspired to approach the Middletown Youth Services Bureau’s David Blumenkrantz and Justin Carbonella. Thus the Community Mural Project was born, charged with the mission of channeling the youngsters’ creativity from blight into beauty.

The final unveiling will take place at the annual Green Street Arts Festival in June 2009.

About Marela Zacarias
Zacarias graduated from Kenyon College with a major in Social Movements through Art and Religion. She did her thesis on Mural Art as a Tool for Social Change, and has gone on to teach mural art in Washington, DC, Mexico City and she is now teaching in New Britain and Hartford, Conn. Since graduation in May of 2000, she has become a recognized artist, having painted more than a dozen murals in the United States and Mexico.

Visit for more information.

About the Green Street Arts Center
Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, which opened in January 2005, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an afterschool arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing. Visit for more information about Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clarification on Today's Middletown Press Article

Dear Friends,

An article published in today’s Middletown Press (DARE Program Slashed From Proposed Budget) wrongly took words that were not mine and attributed them to me.

In the article, it appears as though I was speaking about tonight’s city budget hearing. In fact, I was not interviewed for the story. The information attributed to me was actually taken from an email I received (and forwarded to NEAT’s members) from Dic Wheeler, of Artfarm.

I do believe that it is important that people come out and speak about the proposed budget, but NEAT’s positions is slightly different from Artfarm’s. I’d like to take a minute to explain our positions.

NEAT is most concerned about funding to the Summer Arts Programming and the City's Matching Grant Program.

As for summer arts, families that live in the North End would be most affected by any changes to the sliding scale that is offered for summer arts programming. Many North End kids take part in those programs, run through the city Arts Office (including the Summer Circus), and wouldn't be able to if not for the financial aid that is offered. For many parents, the summer program is the only affordable option, giving kids a chance to participate in summer programming, and parents a way to work. It must be maintained.

Additionally, NEAT receives funding through the Middletown Commission on the Arts and the Youth Services Bureau for our Arts in the Garden Series and our Youth Leadership Initiative. If the matching grants and after school challenge grants ratio is changed to 4:1, small organizations like NEAT (there are a lot of us in Middletown!) would be unable to participate, leaving some effective, well-deserving programs unfunded.

I do urge each of you to come out to support the much-deserving groups in Middletown that are working hard to ensure that every city child has access to quality arts programming. And, though it wasn't my idea, I encourage you to show your unity and wear red.

Thank You,
Izzi Greenberg
Executive Director
North End Action Team (NEAT)

North End Clean Up a Success

It was a great day in the North End on Saturday where 150 people volunteered to do some spring cleaning. There were volunteers from the NEAT/Wesleyan Mentoring Program, Earth Ministries out of First Church, the Middletown Garden Club, and a group of youth doing a "30 Hour Famine" from East Hampton and Haddam. There were also other individuals from Middletown who came in to lend a hand as individuals. Residents got a chance to work alongside Dan Drew, who is running for Mayor this year, and Councilman Santangelo, who is a North End resident. Even the kids had fun working alongside the principal from Macdonough School, Jon Romeo, who spent hours helping out at the Erin Street Garden.

Most importantly, though, were the many residents who organized the day, spread the word to their neighbors, and went door to door, helping to clean the sidewalks and yards of their neighbors. It was a great event that helped the community, but more importantly, helped to build community.

Here's a slideshow of some of the people that were out that day. I'm sorry I didn't make it to all corners of the neighborhood with my camera....there were some great scenes to be seen...

A big thanks to Sherwin Williams Paint in Cromwell for donating supplies, to Kim O'Rourke and the City of Middletown for picking up the extra trash and helping with logistics, to Dominoes, Sammy's Pizza, Alpha Pizza House, and Jerry's for donating Pizza for the Lunch, and to all of those who came out to help.

Friday, April 24, 2009

North End PRIDE Day This Saturday!

The North End Action Team (NEAT)has organized a neighborhood clean up day, tomorrow, Saturday, April 25th from 9-3. Residents and volunteers are invited to spruce up common spaces in Middletown’s North End neighborhood or to just walk outside and start sweeping. The North End will unite for a block-by-block neighborhood clean up effort, picking up trash, cleaning out flower boxes, preparing the Erin Street Community garden for spring planting and more.

Resident leaders of NEAT are organizing Pride Day as a way to get more people involved to make visible improvements along with their neighbors. Pride Day will provide a great opportunity for people to get involved for the first time or continue to show commitment to the neighborhood.

A major component of Pride Day is the cooperation of local groups, including the Jonah Center and Earth Ministries, along with NEAT. Volunteers from partner organizations will work side by side with residents, distributing tools and water and helping collect bags of garbage and recyclables.

To celebrate the day’s hard work, NEAT will hold a Unity Pride Pizza party in the Erin Street Community garden at 1:00 pm.

I hope you'll join us!

You can meet at the Erin Street Community Garden from 9-3 or in the parking lot of the Green Street Arts Center from 9-10.

Call NEAT for more info: 346-4845


Mark your SUMMER 2009 calendars

Saturday, April 25th: 1/2 day Manchester: Orienteering class on blue trail & NEAT's Earth Day/ PRIDE Clean up Day in the afternoon

Sunday, May 17th: 3/4 day Huebline Tower

Saturday, June 6th: 1/2 day Chauncey Peak and Lamentation

Sunday, June 28th: 1/2 day Devil's Hopyard

Saturday, July 18th: 3/4 day Sleeping Giant

Sunday, August 9th: full day Bear Mountain

August 28th - August 30th: Overnight trip to Mt. Cardigan (more information will be distributed prior to the trip)

Saturday, September 19th: 1/2 day Castle Craig

Sunday, October 11th: TBD

All hikes will begin at 8:00 a.m. and meet in the parking lot of Green Street Arts center. Please call to register for each hike.
Be sure to bring a backpack and wear good hiking shoes for each hike. If you don't have those things, let us know and we may have extras.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009



MIDDLETOWN, CT— The Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded a $2,500 grant to the North End Action Team to support the Neighborhood Leadership Project.

"NEAT is so excited that in these hard economic times, Liberty Bank is continuing to support the small projects that make a difference. NEAT doesn't do glamorous work, but we're making important changes in the lives of the people in the North End. It's wonderful to have a community partner who recognizes that leadership development is worth supporting, even if it is not quick and easy. The type of change we are creating together is sustainable, and that is the difference."

Liberty Bank is pleased to support the continuing work of NEAT. Building strong

leadership is critical to a strong organization. A strong organization will lead to a stronger

community and enhance the quality of life for its citizens.

Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has provided over $5.1 million in grants to non-profit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area. The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in preventive programming for children and families, and in non-profit capacity building. In addition, the foundation is providing support to address basic human needs during these difficult economic times. Along with its grant making, the foundation strives to foster the convening and collaboration of non-profits, funders, business, and government to address community issues.

The North End Action Team is a grassroots neighborhood advocacy group Focused upon the revitalization of Middletown’s North End neighborhood. NEAT’s mission is to promote indigenous leadership, opportunity for children And families, public safety and code enforcement, improved affordable housing, homeownership and positive economic development.

Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank, with more than $2.8 billion in assets and 35 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, and shoreline areas of the state. As a full-service financial institution, it offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services. Rated outstanding by federal regulators on its community reinvestment efforts, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Local Teens Raise Funds for Green Street Arts Center

Confirmation Class’s Bake-sale a Success

Middletown, Conn., April 17, 2009 – On March 19, members of St. John Roman Catholic Church’s confirmation class presented Green Street Arts Center Artistic Director Janis Astor del Valle a $440 donation. The group of local high school freshman had raised that amount at a bake-sale held on February 13 and 14 at St. John Church, Middletown. Students, their parents, and parishioners volunteered many bake-sale items that yielded a significant donation for Green Street. Several of the students had volunteered or known volunteers at the Center, and agreed it was a worthwhile cause for their group service project.

Students in the class will be confirmed at 10am mass on Sunday, April 19, at St. John Church. Monsignor Bride will preside over the service.

“This group of young adults has grown spiritually over the past year preparing for Confirmation. They understand they are now a part of a larger community and that what they do matters. They’ve learned that giving can be as rewarding as receiving.”—Terri Zampini, St. John Confirmation Class Leader

About St. John Church
St. John Roman Catholic Church was founded in Middletown in 1843, and is located at 19 St. John Square in Middletown. Sunday masses begin at 8 and 10 am. For more information call (860) 347 5636 or visit

About the Green Street Arts Center
Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, which opened in January 2005, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an afterschool arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing. Visit for more information about Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Housing Workshop April 20


H.O.P.E, Inc., in partnership with the North End Action Team and Liberty Bank are hosting a housing forum to help anyone and everyone improve their housing situation.

If you:

Own a home and just want to reign in your spending,

Improve your credit or refinance your mortgage,

Rent and want to learn more about your rights,

Are thinking about buying a home and want more information about preparing your credit or becoming eligible for first-time buyer programs,

Own a home and are struggling to make ends meet,Are worried about foreclosure or eviction,

Just want to improve your credit score for your future,

Or, just want to learn more...

You are invited to Free Foreclosure-Prevention and Homeownership Counselling Workshop on April 20th at Cross St. Church at 440 West St. in Middletown.

Panel discussion/forum to connect residents with lenders, counselors, and other experts to begin to clarify the homeownership process and take steps to improve their current situation.

Tenants, residents and homeowners will all benefit from this forum. All are welcome. This event is FREE. This is a collaborative effort to address and inform our community of their options for:

Housing opportunities

How to save Your Home (Understanding Foreclosure process and your rights)

Renter's rights Tighten the Belt ( Budget & Credit issues) and more!

Cross Street Church, Middletown

Monday, April 20th from 5:30-8:30 pm (5:30-6:00: information tables, 6:00-7:30: panel discussion, 7:30-8:30: breakout sessions with individual speakers)
Childcare will be provided, please call NEAT for more information. 346-4845.

Friday, April 17, 2009


NEAT NEWS, our newsletter has been printed. We have some wonderful volunteers that will be distributing the NEAT NEWS all over the neighborhood this weekend. There are interesting articles about the up coming events, how to report a "HOT SPOT" anonymously, and town news that effects the North End. If you live in the North End and have not received a newsletter by Tuesday, please call NEAT at 346-4845 and we will get you a copy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Senator Dodd Visits the North End

Today, North End businesses met with Senator Dodd at the NEAT office on Main St. to talk about small business issues. The conversation was geared toward problems of perception, parking and transit/traffic. After talking, the group toured Main St. and visited Little Tibet. The senator will be returning to tour again and see the businesses firsthand.

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Friday, April 3, 2009


Members of the Block by Block committee met Wednesday, April 1 at the NEAT office to discuss details for the PRIDE DAY CLEAN UP. Members are taking a leadership role in organizing the PRIDE DAY CLEAN UP and will be passing out flyers around the North End to invite everyone to help out on PRIDE DAY, April 25.

Much help is needed both on April 25 and before. NEAT is looking for a few more “block captains”. Block captains will help by handing out flyers, encouraging neighbors to help clean up on April 25, and helping make sure volunteers get cleaning items on PRIDE DAY. Volunteers are also needed to help clean neighborhoods, gardens, and parks. No experience is necessary for either job, just the willingness to help out. Please call NEAT at 860-346-4845 for more details.

The Block by Block Committee was formed for members to take greater ownership of their neighborhoods. The committee discusses ways to make the area cleaner and safer. They meet the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 at the NEAT office. Anyone who is interested in being a part of this group, please come to a meeting and see how you can help. Please call or email NEAT ahead to confirm the meeting will be held at this time and location. NEAT’s phone number is 860-346-4845 and the email is

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Homeownership Classes in April

Time Homeowner and Credit Counseling with Rosa Carrero of Liberty Bank
WEDNESDAYS, April 1, 8, 15, 22
6:30 to 8pm | FREE
Rosa Carrero from Liberty Bank presents four info sessions designed to help people take the first steps toward buying a home. Topics include credit counseling (Session 1), finding the right home (Session 2), the lending process (Session 3) and understanding legalities (Session 4). Participants in all four will receive a certificate of completion that meets one eligibility requirement for The City Of Middletown grant and down payment assistance, CHFA and CHFA down payment assistance programs.

Computer Basics with Shawn Hill
WEDNESDAYS, May 6, 13, 20, 27
6:30 to 8pm | FREE
The North End Action Team and Green Street Arts Center will offer a short, free introduction to computer basics. In four classes over four weeks, you will learn how to create Microsoft Word documents (resumes, cover letters, email attachments) and explore the possibilities of creating household or small business budgets and lists using Microsoft Excel. By the time you have completed all four sessions, you will have the building blocks needed for adding a new skill set to a job application, or for organizing your household finances. People with all levels of computer experience, from absolute beginners and up, are welcome.
*Don't worry if you've missed any, you can make them up at any time.

For more information, or to register in advance, please call the North End Action Team at (860) 346-4845. NEAT will provide child care during Homeownership classes. Please be sure to mention whether your child or children will be attending when you register.