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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Heads Up Hartford Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Youth Community Service Clubs

Mission: Heads up! Hartford is a not for profit, 501(c)3 volunteer organization that operates a week long summer service camp (with touch points throughout the year) uniting urban and suburban youth to improve our communities. Our three-part mission is to promote diversity, develop collaborative leaders, and provide community service to Hartford, CT and its surrounding communities. Encouraging community service at a young age fosters ongoing community engagement as an adult and enables thriving communities. Studies show that to create positive, sustainable change in our complex world, we need collaborative leaders who value diversity, inclusion, and teamwork.

Target demographics: promote diversity, develop leaders, and strengthen our community

Direct beneficiaries per year: 80 youth and more than 20 local nonprofits

Geographic areas served: central Connecticut

Programs: Summer service camp: 15 consecutive years of service by 85-100 students and 15-30 adults, each summer reaching out to over 20 agencies, churches, and community organizations, totaling over 3000 hours of volunteer work to local non-profits, and service agencies. Evening programming educates the youth about social justice issues and community involvement. Twice a year, weekend workshops are held with our youth advisory board of approximately 25 youth who help plan the camp and get additional training to take on leadership positions during the week in june. At least 3 times per year, we hold super youth groups which bring 50-75 urban kids together to eat, play, and engage in significant conversation.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a place where leaders are formed, relationships built, and, most significantly, where walls come down. My two summers with HUH were filled with moments of joy and beauty and with breakthroughs in self-understanding. The camp brings together folks who might not ordinarily meet yet who find themselves sharing and celebrating ample common ground. The mentors are terrific and participants' lives are transformed. A precious jewel of a place.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This camp is a wonderful place that gives teens a space to flourish and grow, see themselves as leaders, positively impact their communities, and practice social justice work.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of being involved with this effort since it was an inspiration within the mind and heart of Denny Moon, the founder. When I first met him, sipping iced tea on a hot day, he vividly described his vision. I was deeply moved by his compelling picture of bringing together young people who were 'right across the river' from each other. He saw the opportunity for youth from different backgrounds and ethnicities and socioeconomic status to learn about one another, and build bridges across the many differences. He believed that while mission trips to serve the underprivileged in other parts of the country were worthy and useful, he also believed that there was plenty of work to be done 'in our own backyards.'

After year 15, and still actively involved with Heads Up! Hartford, I continue to be amazed at the transformational quality of a week of co-existence and co-creation. The leadership growth of the teenagers who attend, and the people who are touched as a result of the community outreach work, is immeasurable.

I am in awe of the power, strength and hope that the young adults bring to and take from this spirit-filled experience that happens year after year. Very grateful!

1 Rowena K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an excellent, faith-based service camp that bring teenagers together for worship, fellowship, service, fun and leadership. There are opportunities for participation for the whole family during the week while the teens are serving in various capacities throughout greater Hartford!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this summer camp!! It gave me an opportunity to meet people who I otherwise would have never meant!! I have created lifelong friends who I will be friends with for a lifetime! I see people from heads up hartford around at fairs, football games, at the supermarket and all over and it brightens my day to see these people. It is even better that we all are doing gods work and making a difference in our community

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors for HUH over the past 3 years! The organization has a special place in my heart. I wish I knew about the camp when I was growing up as I have heard and seen the camp change lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Heads Up! Hartford found me when I was a young 9th grade girl who wasn't sure who she was or who she wanted to be. After just one week at camp, I walked away wanting to make a bigger difference in the world around me, learn more about others who were different than I was, and to create a stronger relationship with God. Now, 9 years later I am on the Operations Committee and I work to help plan and create camp, bringing the opportunity for another young 9th grade camper to have the life changing experience that I once had.

1 Patti Sivo C.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a counselor and member of the ops committee for over 10 years. Both of my daughters also attended camp. From day one of my involvement I was impressed with the warm and welcoming environment that the returning campers and staff created for the new folks. HUH is safe place that gives campers the opportunity to stretch out of their comfort zones and take risks such as assuming a leadership role or challenging their perceived limitations as they give 100% at a work site. Friendships are formed across the urban/suburban divide as everyone works for a common goal. Every year I am so impressed by all the people who are served in one short week by teens who pour their hearts and souls into serving others yet manage to have the time of their lives doing it. Being able to be a part of the magic of HUH is a gift.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the joy of being part of the Heads Up! Hartford community for 13 years as camp counselor, Operations Committee member and in recent years Board member. I leave camp each summer being filled with hope that I see in campers and other counselors--hope for our hurting world. I serve at camp even when we don't have high school young people from our parish attending, because I believe in this camp that changes people. Each night of camp we have inspiring evening programs that challenge and open hearts for lively discussion--programs that move us out of our comfort zones. At the end of each night there is an opportunity for campers to share God-moments which are times when they see God in the midst of their service or interaction with another. My heart is warmed by the many campers who share how God moves in and through what we do, even those campers who enter camp professing no belief.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Heads Up! Hartford is an amazing charity focusing on growing our future leaders by teaching the importance of serving others in our community. It is wonderful to support a youth camp that makes a lasting difference in the lives of our youth. This camp brings high school aged youth from Hartford and surrounding towns in central Connecticut together for a week long summer camp uniting them to make a difference locally. Definitely a 5-star nonprofit!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Heads Up! Hartford is an extraordinary nonprofit camp that brings together urban and suburban youth to perform community service. It is a celebration of diversity, of the spirit of kindness and welcoming, and of helping others!