Community Resource Center to receive 'Community Service Award'

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Thu., Aug. 1, 2013
(L-r) Olga Casanova, service provider; Lisa Diaz-McMahon, ELL parent and resource center coordinator; and Cindy Lopez, service provider with the letter honoring the CRC with a 'Community Service Award.' - Contributed Photo

The Community Resource Center at East Hartford Middle School is being honored for its work with a “Community Service Award.” The honor will be presented at the 16th annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony hosted by the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m. at the Bond Ballroom in Hartford. The CRC is one of just four recipients of the award for this year.

“This center is truly a welcoming beacon and a starting point for many families on their journey through our schools,” said Mayor Marcia Leclerc. “I am proud of our support and partnership with the East Hartford Board of Education. When we work together as a town, our community wins. I am proud to be a partner in this important and vital work.”

The CRC is a collaborative effort of the town of East Hartford, East Hartford public schools and the non-profit organization East Hartford Child Plan. The CRC was opened in April of 2011 and is located at East Hartford Middle School on Burnside Avenue. The mission of the CRC is to serve as a liaison to families and the services available to them.

“We try to inform families of anything that's going on that would be of interest to them,” said CRC coordinator Lisa Diaz-McMahon. “If there is a program we think a parent might benefit from, we make sure that we call them and inform them of when it's happening and what time it's happening.  So it's not just a resource, but also for programming and assuring that parents know that these things are available.”

The CRC is open year round and offers services such as translators and ESL classes. Although Spanish is the highest need in terms of translators, Diaz-McMahon said the CRC also provides assistance for other languages.

The CRC also offers year-round support for people interested in learning English or improving their English, with the assistance of the Rosetta Stone program. Diaz-McMahon said this summer the CRC is running a special ESL summer school for students who have been identified by the East Hartford public school system as needing assistance with English. 

The school runs Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and averages 22 students per day, according to Diaz-McMahon.
“We have certified teachers that are there for them,” said Diaz-McMahon. “They are provided with Rosetta Stone and they are provided a breakfast and a lunch. The only thing we don't provide is transportation, but the parents have been phenomenal in seeing the importance of the program, and they make sure that their child is here.”

Diaz-McMahon said in addition to connecting families with the appropriate resources and community services, the CRC also makes sure to follow up with the families. “One of our biggest goals is self-sufficiency, and although we are available for these families when they need us, our goal is for them to be able to maneuver the many systems we incur on a day-to-day basis,” said Diaz-McMahon.

“The CRC has filled an incredibly important role in our town and school by providing our students and families those vital links to success,” said East Hartford Board of Education Chairman Jeffrey Currey.

For more information on the CRC, call 860-622-5635 or visit

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