Asnuntuck Community College and The YWCA New Britain have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging to work together to support students at the community college in Enfield. Partners for many years with various initiatives, the MOU will enhance the alliance with new programs and services to raise awareness of sexual assault prevention, advocating for victims of sexual assault, and educating the community about sexual violence.
“Asnuntuck Community College relies on collaborations like this one with the YWCA to better serve our students and our community. Addressing issues of sexual violence must be done by joining forces to effect change,” said Asnuntuck Professor and Department Chair for Career Programs Carol LaLiberte.
The agreement has Asnuntuck pledging to have prevention and awareness information and activities on campus. The YWCA will share in this programming by giving materials which can share information about prevention and services that are available. The college will market and recruit participants for the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor/Advocate 48-hour certification trainings. Elms College, who offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree program on-site at Asnuntuck will also participate by working with the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Crisis Service. The YWCA will provide field work opportunities for these students.
The YWCA New Britain Sexual Assault Crisis Service (SACS) is a free, confidential program that provides immediate crisis counseling and advocacy to survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. SACS serves 46-towns across Connecticut (including all of Hartford county, part of Tolland county, and the town of Plymouth) and is one of nine member centers under the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence providing support to survivors across the state.
“The work being done by Asnuntuck and the YWCA is far reaching. Our goal is that this becomes a best practice and we can replicate partnerships like this across our region and our state,” said Dr. James Lombella, Regional President, North-West Region Connecticut Community Colleges. He continued, “This is important, and all of our students, staff and faculty will benefit from this type of education. Sexual violence cannot and will not be tolerated by our institutions. Education is the best way to inform and protect our community.
“The collaborators of this agreement are intent on raising awareness of how sexual violence can be prevented; services provided, and more trained advocates available.
During the MOU event, held in Asnuntuck’s Conference Center Interim Dean of Student Services Tim St. James praised the support received from the YWCA in the past and was enthusiastic about the work that will be done in the future.
Alyssa D’Amato, from the YWCA gave the audience an overview of the training curriculum and the volunteer experiences it offers.
LaLiberte shared information on how these opportunities connected to Human Services field work. Program Director of Social Work at Elms Maureen Holland also spoke about how the three will work together.
Asnuntuck student Claudia Cupe spoke about her perspective having taken the course. She said she found the training very valuable and came away with a message that everyone can use. “If you have a listening ear, people will talk to you.” She encouraged everyone to have compassion in their heart.
Asnuntuck CEO Michelle Coach discussed the impact on the Asnuntuck community. “We are honored to sign our partnership with the YWCA. Our campus and community will have a heightened awareness of sexual violence prevention and the services that are available for victims. Our students will learn how to communicate these effective prevention strategies and best practices, which will aid our local community. This agreement strengthens our relationship within the community and provides support to those that need it.”
YWCA New Britain Executive Director Tracey Madden-Hennessey and CEO Coach and Madden-Hennessey concluded the announcement by signing the MOU.
“The YWCA New Britain is pleased that Asnuntuck and Elms College administration and faculty are so forward thinking on the issue of sexual assault. Prevention and education are key to building awareness and addressing this issue. Volunteers and educated bystanders are essential to assisting survivors get the assistance they need to recover. The YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Service recognizes the importance of this partnership and looks forward to working with campus students and staff to enhance the student academic experience and support student safety,” said Tracey Madden-Hennessey, Executive Director, YWCA New Britain.
To get connected with a local member center, please visit the Alliance website at endsexualviolencect.org. If you or someone you know needs support, advocacy, or information, please call our free and confidential sexual assault crisis hotlines at (888) 999-5545 (English) or (888) 568-8332 (Español).
The following individuals were present when a memorandum of understanding between Asnuntuck and YWCA New Britain was signed. From left to right are Pam Keenan, Dr. James Lombella, Dr. Michelle Coach, Dr. Teresa Foley, Tim St. James, Colleen Kearney, Carol LaLiberte, Jamaal Wagner, Lindsey Jones, Amanda Carrington, Sophie Kulowski, Alyssa D’Amato, Tracey Madden-Hennessey, Bradley Alagna, Kenisha Farquharson, CJ Boggs-Bernier, Olga Fritho, Sunny Swearsky, Melanie Sanchez, Esther Santana and Lorena Morgan.