FARMINGTON – Tunxis and Asnuntuck community colleges have received more than $22,000 in renewed grant support from Aurora Women and Girls Foundation for “Launch Your Leadership Journey” (LYLJ), a tuition-free, experiential leadership development program for female students at both colleges.
During the semester-length program, students learn leadership qualities and gain practical experience in leading change by working in small teams to plan and execute social action projects. They are also assigned female mentors for support and guidance, and participate in a series of Saturday workshops that cover leadership presence, goal setting, neutralizing gender bias, leading with courage and other timely topics.
“We are grateful for this grant, and to our sponsors for their financial support of this important initiative,” said Eileen Peltier, Asnuntuck and Tunxis Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. She leads the program with support and development from Asnuntuck Director of Student Activities Sherry Paquette, and others at both colleges.
“The support from all of these organizations is a vote of confidence in our program and in our students,” Peltier added. “We are thrilled that we were able to successfully replicate this program at Tunxis and look forward to further expansion in the coming years.”
A total of 65 women have graduated from Asnuntuck’s program in Enfield, which was founded in 2014 to address the needs expressed by female students who wanted to develop their leadership skills. The program kicked off at Tunxis in 2019 with 13 students.
The lead facilitator of the program is Ann Gowdey, president of Ann Gowdey Consulting, who has 30 years of experience in executive and leadership development, with an emphasis on the personal and professional success of women leaders in all roles.
“Aurora’s grantmaking for women’s college success in Greater Hartford has reached an exciting stage. Innovative programs we have identified and funded are demonstrating such a high level of success that they are being replicated on additional campuses, with ‘Launch Your Leadership Journey’ being a fabulous example,” said Aurora Executive Director Jenny Steadman.
“More programs mean that more women in our community have the tools they need to achieve their educational and career goals. With the help of these programs, these women will achieve economic security and go on to become the next generation of leaders in our community,” Steadman said.
Asnuntuck graduate Claudia Cupe said she gained a “sisterhood” in her fellow participants during the LYLJ program, and the experience taught her to be persistent in reaching her goals.
“The curriculum helped me regain my confidence and courage that had been buried deep down inside me,” Cupe said. She was one of three LYLJ graduates to receive all three awards presented in May at Asnuntuck’s commencement.
In addition to the Aurora foundation, the Asnuntuck program is funded in part by the Asnuntuck Community College Foundation, the Carol Rivest Memorial Foundation, and ShopRite of Enfield, operated by the Miller family.
The Tunxis program received a $5,000 donation from Farmington Bank Community Foundation, and is also sponsored in part by Highland Park Market of Farmington.
To be selected for the program, students must submit an application which includes a minimum GPA requirement and a written statement that explains why they want to develop leadership abilities, and attend an interview.
The Aurora Women and Girls Foundation is the only women and girls fund exclusively focused on the needs of women and girls in Greater Hartford, and it is currently the only free-standing foundation in Connecticut focused solely on supporting groups that serve women and girls.
Aurora’s goal through its grant making is to empower more women to complete their college education, enabling them to better their lives and those of their families. Since 2000, the foundation has provided more than $860,000 in grants to programs in the region that supported 4,500 women and girls in Greater Hartford.
For more information about the foundation, visit https://aurorafoundation.org/. For more information about Tunxis, visit https://www.tunxis.edu/.