2nd Annual Good Fellows Award Winners

Good Fellows Plates 2018This year, we are celebrating our Second Annual Good Fellows Awards!

Two of our supporters are being recognized for their incredible contribution to New Haven Reads and our community. We are very grateful to have such supportive donors who believe in the work we do and are always happy to lend a helping hand. Congratulations to Gemma Joseph Lumpkin and Dorothy Hurt. Read about this year’s Good Fellows Award recipients below.



gl (2)Gemma Joseph Lumpkin

Gemma Joseph Lumpkin is a deliberate and focused advocate for strengths-based engagement of youth, family and community to better the outcomes for students in New Haven Public Schools (NHPS). She is the Chief of the Office of Youth, Family and Community Engagement (YFCE) for the School District.  In this role, Gemma provides city-wide leadership to strengthen the resources available for city youth by bringing together schools, community, peers, government, families, and neighbors, and connecting and focusing these separate entities so that they are collective, cumulative, consistent and effective in serving students.  Also, in this role, Gemma works to deepen collaboration with disparate departments within NHPS and with organizations outside of NHPS to strengthen the network of supports available to youth and the community, with the ultimate goal of improving student achievement and success in college, career, and life.

Gemma’s top priorities are three-fold. Priority one is the importance of family and community engagement in understanding student academic needs and the role families and communities play to support students; particularly in understanding students’ grade level performance in reading and English Language Arts. Her Second priority is addressing the issues of chronic absenteeism where students are not attending school or truant for substantial amount of school days. Her third priority is addressing the issues of behavior that leads to student’s exclusion from classrooms and schools, due to regular out-of-class referrals, suspensions and expulsions. In addition, Gemma is focused on drawing attention to and addressing the concerns of substantial numbers of students who are overaged and under credited in high school and who are at risk for dropping out. She is one of the founding coordinators of YouthStat, the city’s flagship initiative to reduce violence among city youth and increase their engagement in schools by deliberately galvanizing a network of city organizations to provide wraparound social-emotional support, academic support, job opportunities and basic needs to at-risk students. She is a co-leader of the City and Board of Education Restorative Practices Initiative to review and revise district policies that deal with student behavior and promote healthy relations through safe and supportive learning environments, community building, redressing damage, and holding students accountable.

Gemma received her Masters’ of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute- Lally School of Management and Technology. She also has extensive backgrounds in Data Analysis, Television Public Affairs, and in working statewide with superintendents and policymakers to increase STEM opportunities for urban students. Gemma considers her greatest accomplishment is being a mother to an infant named Nora-Anthonia.

IMG_0748Dorothy Hurt

A dedicated New Haven Reads tutor and supporter, Dorothy Hurt has been involved with NHR since 2009. Her support for our mission is evident in the dedication of her time, her ideas, and her incredible energy for our students and our work. We are honored to have her as part of our New Haven Reads family.

Dorothy hails from Houston, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin. She is a retired Spanish teacher, having taught the language for fifteen years in Connecticut. She also taught ESL to professionals for two years in Valencia, Spain. She moved to New Haven in 2004.

Dorothy began tutoring at New Haven Reads in 2009 because she missed teaching and was intrigued by our program. As a tutor, Dorothy is engaged and supportive – creating a strong bond with her student, not only serving as a tutor, but as a cheerleader and mentor. Dorothy started working with her current student, Bobbi Howard, almost four years ago, because Bobbi needed help with her Spanish class. Dorothy would spend the hour talking to Bobbi in Spanish to help her improve in her understanding of the language. Since then, Dorothy has helped Bobbi tremendously, assisting her with SAT prep and college applications over the last year. We are delighted to report that Bobbi has received acceptance letters from all of the colleges to which she applied and has been granted several significant scholarships.

Not only is she a tutor, but Dorothy supports New Haven Reads in several ways. She and her husband, Bill, were instrumental in the success of our 15 Year Anniversary event last year. She is a valued member of the Advisory Committee, also known as the Brain Trust.

New Haven Reads is not the only organization to have the privilege of receiving Dorothy’s Dorothy has been enormously engaged in our New Haven community. She has volunteered at several local nonprofits including the Connecticut Food Bank, the Peabody Museum, JUNTA, and a wide assortment of other organizations. She currently donates her time to Common Ground High School, as well as New Haven Reads.

Dorothy and Bobbi work together every week at our Willow Street location. This is what our Willow Street Site Director, Carol Sarmiento, said about the pair. “Dorothy and Bobbi epitomize the true power of our program! Dorothy has catered her sessions to the needs of her student and her student has thrived because of it. She is an incredible educator, patient, funny, and above all – so very kind. Her dedication to Bobbi has been wonderful to witness and watching Bobbi flourish under her tutelage has been a joy and an honor. I appreciate all Dorothy has done to make New Haven Reads an organization that is recognized by its community as having a heart and making a difference in the lives of children and their families.”

Congratulations to our winners!

Thank you to Megan Cassidy at Clayworks for creating the one of a kind plates for our winners!

Categories News & Events, Volunteers | Tags: | Posted on March 29, 2018

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