ILRies Make an Impact Through Community Partnership Funding
Five ILR students received funding from the student-run Community Partnership Funding Board this past academic year to lead community projects.
A student-run grant organization that seeks to foster student leadership and social responsibility by encouraging students to act against social inequities, the board assists students in developing community projects and administers grants up to $2,500 made possible through student activities fees.
ILR winners and their projects are:
Kaitlyn Molito ’23
Project: Ballet and Books – National Expansion
Organization: Ballet and Books
Molito used her funding to support Ballet and Books, an organization that strives to reduce the literacy gap through storytelling combining dance and reading. Ballet and Books is a national non-profit organization founded in 2017 by Cornell alumnae Talia Bailes, HumEc ’20. Molito serves as director of the Ithaca chapter.
“As a lifelong dancer myself, I am proud of the way that Ballet and Books encourages a greater love of learning while fostering a sense of confidence and leadership skills among both young children and college students alike,” Molito said. “Thanks in part to the board’s generous funding, we were able to hold weekly sessions with our 30 Cornell student mentors, four student dance teachers and 30 children from the Ithaca community at the Tompkins County Public Library every Sunday of the fall 2022 semester. During these hour-and-a-half sessions, participants took a 45-minute dance class coupled with 45 minutes of one-on-one mentorship from our Cornell student volunteers in an attempt to tackle America's literacy crisis in an exciting and memorable way.”
Sydney Browne ’23
Project: Mothering Through Domestic Violence
Community Agency: Community Engagement Specialist Advocacy Center of Tompkins County
Browne partnered with the Community Engagement Specialist for the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County to facilitate the Mothering Through Domestic Violence program. This six-week program was intended for women navigating the challenges of motherhood in the aftermath of domestic violence. Funding went toward transportation, food and supplies for the program.
“Overall, the program was a resounding success for advocates, volunteers and participants,” Browne said.
Margot Treadwell ’24
Project: Community-Based Advocacy Symposium
Student Organization: The Advocacy Project from Cornell
Community Agency: The Partnership for the Public Good
Eight advocacy project members traveled to Buffalo, New York, to learn about community-based advocacy techniques from the Partnership for the Public Good, a think tank that works to build a more just, sustainable and culturally vibrant community through research, policy development. and citizen engagement. Then, the students shared their knowledge on campus in the Community-Based Advocacy Symposium, a pop-up led by Treadwell that connected with over 60 students to encourage them to work to improve their communities.
Emmanuel Daudu ’23
Project: Day at Cornell
Student Organization: Prison Reform and Education Project (PREP)
Community Partner: Struggling to Reunite our New Generation (STRONG)
Through the Prison Reform and Education Project at Cornell and with funding support from the Einhorn Center for Community Engagement, justice-impacted youth from Downstate New York were invited for a “Day at Cornell.”.
“The intention of this program is to expose the opportunities of a college education and experience to justice-impacted youth,” Daudu said. “Mini lectures from Cornell professors, undergraduate club meetings, recreational activities, seminars with ILR Career Services and other programming supported the youth in seeing college as a desirable and viable option for themselves.”
Alex Herazy ’25
Project: Democratizing College Access in Yonkers, New York
Community Partner: Yonkers Partners in Education
Herazy partnered with the educational nonprofit Yonkers Partners in Education to create a video series featuring high school students in the program discussing the college search, application and decision process.
The project seeks to democratize access to higher education for the 1,200-plus high school students in Yonkers, New York, who are scholars in the program.
Through the grant, Herazy said, he and the organization scaled up the program’s videos, “while also engaging students who have an interest in filmmaking and cinematography – a true win-win situation.”