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2018 Waltham Group Winter Newsletter

Message from the Waltham Group President

Hello Waltham Group Alumni!

My name is Matt Nadler, this year’s Waltham Group President. I’m a junior from Austin, TX, studying Biology and HSSP.

This semester has been one of change for Waltham Group. My main focus this semester has been the implementation of the new Executive Board structure that former President Marissa Lazaroff briefly mentioned in her spring message. Following elections this summer, the inaugural EBoard has been hard at work planning new programming for coordinators, revamping recruitment efforts, and providing additional resources to coordinators. While any new structure has its share of initial hiccups, we are highly encouraged by the early results of this restructure. And the EBoard is not the only leadership change this semester. In September, the Department of Community Service (DCS) welcomed four new CEAP Student Ambassadors, including two who are Waltham Group coordinators along with two new graduate assistants. And in October, we sadly said goodbye to our adviser, Lauren Shortall, who took a position with Google in Austin, TX. The change continues next semester as we welcome two new members to the EBoard and a new adviser to Waltham Group.

Aside from all those changes, Waltham Group has experienced another year of growth. We welcomed Hospital Helpers back to the WG family with new community partners. They had over 100 volunteers sign up for their listserv on Recruitment Night and currently have a waiting list for volunteers! Some other highlights include Companions to Elders adding another community partner, Kids Connection reporting a record number of volunteers at training, and Brandeis Buddies piloting a new program to add to their programming. These are just a few of the many examples of our programs expanding and trying new things to make a greater impact in the Waltham community.

We’re excited to continue this year of change and I’m looking forward to what the next semester brings as we continue to embrace the new leadership changes and what each position brings to the table.

Alumni Event: Brandeis Alumni in Nonprofits & Education Meetup

Thursday, February 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
City Year, 287 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA, 02116

 
Join the Brandeis Alumni Club of Greater Boston, Department of Community Service Director Lucas Malo,  and the Hiatt Career Center for a Nonprofit and Education Meetup to connect with fellow mission-driven Brandeis alumni in the Boston area. This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded professionals and share advice, connections, and referrals that can help you advance your career.

The event will begin with a panel of Brandeis alumni working in the nonprofit space who will discuss their career paths since Brandeis and offer advice for fellow alumni. Following the panel, meet and connect with alumni working in diverse fields and functions including: arts and culture, environment, health, housing, human rights, human services, philanthropy, youth and education and more! You can register for the event HERE.

This event is in collaboration with'deis IMPACT! 2019, Brandeis University's week-long festival of social justice.

Restructure Updates                                 

Last semester, we promised to update you on the Executive Board Restructure! Prior to the restructure, the entire Waltham Group was overseen by two co-presidents, who worked in tandem with the Department of Community Service, and were advised by a staff member within the department (the community service specialist). Now, the Waltham Group has an Executive Board (EBoard), headed by the president, with six positions to divide responsibilities equally and ensure that student leaders are playing to their strengths. These positions are as follows:

The President is the head of the Waltham Group EBoard, and oversees all positions, but all of EBoard works collaboratively. The Training Team Leaders (TTLs) work together to plan coordinator training initiatives, and each TTL leads a small group (called houses) of WG programs. The Volunteer Engagement Coordinator advertises volunteer opportunities throughout the year, leads trainings on volunteer retention and recruitment, and collaborates with campus partners to broaden volunteer recruitment and appreciation, among other things. The Treasurer oversees the Waltham Group budget and assists coordinators in filling out the proper paperwork and making sure it is submitted correctly. The Public Relations Coordinator runs all WG social media, like Facebook and Instagram, and publicizes Waltham Group events; she will be receiving training to manage the website and physical publications. The Community Building Coordinator plans events to promote bonding among coordinators within the Waltham Group. The Volunteer Representatives were elected midway through the semester, by both volunteers and coordinators. They serve as the link between coordinators and all Waltham Group volunteers. See the restructure chart below!



Alumni Spotlight





Seth Coburn ’10
Waltham Group Coordinator, Kids Connection

What were you involved with on campus as an undergrad?

I majored in psychology with a minor in Classical Studies. I played intramural softball, basketball and soccer.  I also participated in several clubs including the Cooking Club. In the Waltham Group, I split my time as a Program Coordinator for both Kids Connection and Community Connection, where I helped develop programming and coordinate volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA.  I was an active volunteer myself, jumping into opportunities as needed.

Did anything in the Waltham Group impact your career trajectory? Values? Ethics? How else has the Waltham Group impacted you?  

The Waltham Group left an indelible impact on my career trajectory in both a personal and professional sense. The mission of the Waltham Group centers around community service, correcting social injustice and boosting the livelihood of others in the surrounding community.  I bring that same mission wherever I live, devoting my time and resources to those who are disadvantaged or are in a time of need. Professionally, as an aspiring registered dietitian the same mission remains; providing the tools and education to empower individuals to improve their well-being.  

What is your most vivid Waltham Group memory?

I remember the Waltham Group meetings like they were yesterday; we had a really active and passionate group committed to making a difference, which carried outward into the incredible impacts we had in the Waltham area.  The program coordinators treated their participation as seriously as their studies, and I remember the committed attitude of our coordinators expanding the Waltham Group reach to the point where we needed more coordinators.  At some point we were so big we needed a large conference room to accommodate the new members.

What advice would you give to other WG students or alumni?

The act of showing up and being present in both mind and spirit leaves an impact on the person or group of people you are supporting, and your acts of kindness radiate outward like a ripple in a pond.  I remember partnering with the YMCA to bring Waltham Group volunteers to facilitate some of their programming, and one child grew to remember some of our regular volunteers and would spread cheer around the facility because “cool college kids are here to be with us!"  

Looking back at your Brandeis experience as an alum, what do you wish you’d done?

I wish I had done more self-reflection to figure out my career passion, maybe done more experiential learning, networking and informational interviews to learn about possible career paths.  I also wish I had developed my critical thinking skills more thoroughly -- all those projects, papers and exams are not only testing one's subject-based knowledge but also develop problem solving and analytical skills.

Program Spotlight

Hunger and Homelessness (HnH)

WG's Hunger and Homelessness is a program organized around addressing the issues of poverty within the Waltham community. Every semester they have huge volunteer drives that collect nonperishable food items in the Fall and hygiene products in the Spring. Their donations are sent to the Community Day Center (CDC) as well as the Middlesex Human Services Agency (MHSA). HnH also provides meals every Friday to guests at the local CDC that are collected from Brandeis' dining halls, which are exchanged from students who donate their guest meals. They were also on the planning committee that helped to bring the Brandeis Food Pantry to campus. One of the main events that HnH plans is Halloween for the Hungry, a drive in which students “trick or treat” in surrounding Waltham neighborhoods to collect canned food for MHSA. This year, the 31st year of Halloween for the Hungry, Hunger and Homelessness collected their 100,000th item!

C2E has a new community partner!

Companions to Elders partnered with Francis Cabot Lowell Mill this semester! The Mill is an independent living facility housed in the historic mill next to the watch factory that provides elderly residents with various opportunities for engagement and enrichment. This semester, volunteers at The Mill have had the opportunity to connect with residents, and some were able to practice both Mandarin and English with Mandarin-speaking residents. Additionally, some student volunteers who are musically talented coordinated with residents who play Erhu (a Chinese string instrument) to put on a concert at the end of November, and some volunteers also helped out at The Mill’s “Friendsgiving.” as well. The Mill is C2E’s fourth community partner, as students enjoy volunteering at Leland, Marist Hill and Memory Cafe (through JF&CS) throughout the semester as well.   

Department of Community Service & Waltham Group Headlines

9th Annual Kindness Day! 

Kindness Day Decorations

On Thursday, November 8th, Brandeis had its 9th annual Kindness Day! Throughout the day, students, faculty, and staff all had the opportunity to participate in activities that celebrated and contributed to the kindness that exists in the Brandeis community.

Waltham Group specifically helped out by tabling in the SCC and hosting an event called “Come Spread S’more Love Through Community Service.” Students were able to stop by and have a tasty s’more while learning about Volunteer Appreciation night and the Commitment to Service Award program, and participated in a Kindness Day reflection activity. Pictured below left are Miriam Krugman ’20 and Michaela Cabral ’19, the co-coordinators of Kindness Day. Below right are some members of the WG Eboard, with staff member Will Brummett tabling with s’mores on Kindness Day. Keep spreading kindness throughout the world, everyone!


WG welcomes two new vans to our community service fleet!

We are so excited to welcome two new members to our (van) family! The Department of Community Service now has a fully ADA accessible van to ensure that all members of the 

New Toyota Minivan

Brandeis community can engage within our community. We have heard over the years that accessibility on our campus is challenging and we wanted to ensure barriers to access were removed. This van is replacing Van # 26 and is a 11 passenger van with all seats down and a 10 passenger van when a wheelchair on board. We also replaced our minivan with a brandnew 2019 Toyota Sienna! We feel so lucky to continue to be able to transport volunteers safely and efficiently to their service sites.

Prospect Hill Toy Drive


Presents for Prospect Hill Toy Drive
We are so happy to have worked with Prospect Hill Community Center again to put together our annual Toy Drive for children at the center! Pictured below is just a sampling of the toys collected; over a period of three weeks, we were able to collect a total of 33 toys for all the children at the center! The toys were delivered to the center on December 6th. Weare incredibly happy to have been able to continue this tradition and spread some cheer during the holidays! We are considering opening this donation drive to alumni. If this issomething that you would be interested in assisting with, please email Lucas Malo at lmalo@brandeis.edu. 

Fun Fall Semester Facts!

  • The theme of this semester’s Team Day was Harry Potter, since all the WG groups are sorted into “houses” now.
  • We had approximately 82 volunteers join us at our Volunteer Appreciation Night, which was our highest fall volunteer turnout ever!
  • We had over 25 alumni donate to Waltham Group on Giving Tuesday.
  • Our new "Waltham: The More You Know" interactive training had more than 100 students participate this fall.
  • Halloween for the Hungry collected its 100,000th item since their founding!

 

Thank YOU!

Thank you for reading our winter 2018 Newsletter! The success of the Waltham Group is  due to our active and engaged students. As alumni, we hope that you will continue to stay involved.  Click here to learn about the variety of ways you can support the Waltham Group. We wish you the happiest of holidays and a happy new year!


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