Help Make Middlesex County a Bully-Free Community.


Buddying Up for Positive Change in Essex

November 8, 2018 • Events,Pressroom
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Community Foundation of Middlesex County Supports Social Inclusion Youth Project


The “Buddy Bench” is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Representatives from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and Rushford Academy recently joined students, teachers and parents at Essex Elementary School for a very special ribbon cutting ceremony. The Community Foundation’s Council of Business Partners Fund presented a Buddy Bench for the school’s labyrinth site, an initiative to create an outdoor space of community and inclusion. The wooden bench, with the words “Buddy Bench” spelled out in bright-colored letters, was built by Continue Reading »

Community Foundation of Middlesex County Recognizes Morgan High School with Bully-Free Spotlight Award

October 11, 2018 • Pressroom
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HIGHLIGHTS: 400+ stand together for change at Rally for Bully-Free Communities in Middletown; The Morgan School in Clinton Recognized For Positive School Climate.

Students, educators, business owners, and community leaders came out in record numbers to rally for bully-free communities at the EMPOWER Leadership Sports Center in Middletown on October 4, in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Organized by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) and its Council of Business Partners Fund, the fifth annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities included team building activities, guest speakers, pledge taking, and the presentation of the Bully-Free Community Spotlight Award before a crowd of more than 400 people.

In attendance were educators and students in grades 5 through 12 from Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Westbrook, Middletown, Durham, Middlefield, East Hampton, North Haven, and Cheshire, as well as young adults with intellectual disabilities from Vista Life Innovations and MARC Community Resources. School bus transportation was funded by the CFMC Council of Business Partners. The morning program included team-building and self-empowering activities led by the staff at EMPOWER Leadership Sports; First Tee of Connecticut; Rushford; members of the Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company; Middletown School’s physical education teacher Amanda Amtmanis; State Trooper Dawn Taylor and K-9 Lucas; and volunteers from Xavier High School, North Haven High School, Rushford Academy, and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

Kayla Pelligrino, a student at Morgan High School in Clinton, spoke about how the positive environment at her school helped her to get involved with different groups and made her feel like she was part of a family. Dave Director, Chairman of the CFMC Council of Business Partners, and Dave Maloney, Director of Student Activities for the Connecticut Association of Schools, presented Morgan High School Principal Keri Hagness with the Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award in recognition of the school’s ongoing work to sustain a school culture centered around individual uniqueness, diversity, acceptance and kindness.  The school program features a three-day summer orientation program for incoming freshmen that pairs them with upperclassmen who are there to help during the transition to high school, and well into the school year. Renee DiNino, Director of Community Affairs for iHeart Radio, and Chief Ambassador for the campaign, was also recognized for her community service work.

Sportscaster and former NBA/UCONN Basketball star Donny Marshall, the campaign’s spokesperson, shared his personal experiences as a victim of bullying, wrapping up the day’s events by leading the crowd in reciting of the campaign pledge, which promises to be an agent of change and stand up to mean-spirited behavior. For more information on the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, call the Community Foundation of Middlesex County at 860-347-0025.

2018 Rally For Bully Free Communities Retrospective

October 9, 2018 • Events,Pressroom
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We would like to thank everyone – students, adults, volunteers, Council of Business Partners, and CFMC Board of Directors – who made the 2018 Campaign for Bully-Free Communities Rally a

great success. This year we were joined by over 400 youth and adults for a morning of team-building activities followed by inspirational words from incredible speakers who shared their personal stories. October 4th truly was a day where Middlesex County (and beyond) came together to affirm our commitment to be UP-Standers by taking the Bully-Free Communities Pledge.

Take a look at some of the fun we had this year: Continue Reading »

5th Annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities

September 19, 2018 • Events,Pressroom
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We are thrilled to announce that the fifth annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities will take place during National Bullying Prevention Awareness month on October 4, 2018.

Rally for Bully-Free Communities on October 4, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (Grades 5-12)

Once again, the good folks at EMPOWER Leadership Sports in Middletown have generously offered to host the rally on their grounds. The Council of Business Partners at CFMC will provide free bus transportation for all Middlesex County middle and high school students and educators who want to attend this informational and motivational event.

Some highlights of what to expect this October: Continue Reading »

Campaigning for Bully-Free Communities

September 19, 2018 • Uncategorized
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 CAMPAIGNING FOR BULLY-FREE COMMUNITIES. October is National Bullying Prevention month, and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County is recognizing the great work being done in our local communities by the many individuals who are dedicated to creating a safe, kind and positive environment for our young people.  Together, educators, health professionals, youth counselors, local business owners, and media personalities are partners in the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, using their voices, time, and talents to take action to help making every community in Middlesex County bully-free.

The Campaign for Bully-Free Communities was started by members of the Council of Business Partners Fund at the Community Foundation. The Council is a philanthropic, action-oriented group of local business people who pool their resources to support positive youth development programs. In 2009, through a partnership with Rushford mental health professionals, they funded the development of numerous anti-bullying programs. To date the program has helped more than 10,000 educators, students, Continue Reading »

Buddying Up For Positive Change in Middlesex County

When is a bench so much more than a bench? When does a bench have the power to connect people of all ages and experiences and create a community of upstanders? When it is a Buddy Bench built by at-risk youth from Rushford Academy in Durham. Thanks to 34 individual donors and the countless contributors to two Funds at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, the residential teen students are learning positive life skills and giving back to their community. The students at Rushford Academy are building wooden benches for local schools to use as a social inclusion tool. The benches are clearly labeled “Buddy Bench” and strategies for use are provided to school staff and students with each installation.

The initial idea for the bench building project came from a Rushford Academy resident supervisor’s desire to engage the young men recovering from substance abuse. He was looking for an interactive activity that would foster teamwork, commitment, and useable skills. The “Buddy Bench” project was the perfect opportunity – Continue Reading »

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