Capital Community College’s collaborations with the city’s West Indian community and the Center for Urban Research, Education and Training (CURET) were a prominent part of CURET’s 25th anniversary celebration on June 26th at the Artists’ Collective.
CURET, an educational and family service organization on Albany Avenue in Hartford, marked its anniversary during National Caribbean American Heritage Month at the awards dinner. The celebration included Caribbean artists and dancers and reflections on programs serving 1,500 clients annually in the heart of the city’s Caribbean American community.
Linda Guzzo, Ed.D, the College’s Dean of the School of Workforce and Continuing Education, was recognized with a “Beyond The Call of Duty” award for her leadership in developing programs that are considered national models for career-oriented education including the Travelers-funded Crossroads To Careers program, Guardian Life Insurance Company’s financial literacy courses and Capital’s launching of the first workforce training and education program as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Connecticut.
In his remarks CCC President Wilfredo Nieves noted the strong partnership between the College and CURET and how CURET’s work complements the mission of the college to create access to higher education in the city. Highlighted were two neighborhood- and campus-based projects — an adult education transition to college program and a popular, tuition free collaborative urban farming certificate program. Instructor Bildade (Billie) Augustin and Continuing Education Coordinator Dan Gregory shared their reflections on the CCC and CURET collaborations.
Nieves, board members and other speakers praised Dr. Carol Johnson and Dr. Edgar Johnson, the founders of CURET for their continuing leadership in the community. Carol Johnson is an alumna of Capital (formerly Greater Hartford Community College). Edgar Johnson is a board member emeritus of the College’s Foundation & Advisory Council and previously served on the board of Hartford State Technical College that was consolidated with Capital in 1990.
On hand for the CURET celebration were U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Bloomfield Deputy Mayor Syd Schulman, State Representatives David Baram of Bloomfield, Ed Vargas and Doug McCrory of Hartford.
In addition to Dean Guzzo, CURET 25th anniversary awardees included Nora Brown, a retired Hartford Schools’ teacher and CURET volunteer; Jerry Clapis, communications specialist for CREC and a Hartford Community Television volunteer; Dr. Tina R. Jeter, the Director of the Adult Education Center in Hartford (AECH); Michael Scricco, retired managing partner of Keiler & Co and instructor at Hartford Art School (University of Hartford), and; Dr. Fiona Vernal, author and Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut.
In marking CURET’s quarter century of service, organizers said CURET and its Caribbean American Resource Center has become “one of Connecticut’s major educational and community service initiatives since the founding of the oldest West Indian organization in the United States, the West Indian Social Club of Hartford that was established in 1950.”
Based on census and immigration data Hartford is a city with one of the heaviest concentrations of Caribbean Americans and immigrants from Jamaica in North America.
CURET, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, has been providing services in the Hartford area since 1990. CURET extends a helping hand to families—adults, youth and children, through programs and services which are designed to build on strengths of the individual, and enhance the educational experience and personal well-being of all who seek our services.