Lisa Book, is a member of both Beth David Synagogue and Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT. She coordinated the collaboration between these two synagogues to plan a community-wide Mitzvah Day event, that took place in December. At the event, and in some cases at individuals’ homes, congregation members participated in a range of social action projects benefiting those in need in the local community. Several members of the community participated and among them were students of the University of Hartford Hillel.

One of the activities offered was writing personal greeting cards stuffed into envelopes to be distributed to homebound seniors who receive meal deliveries through CRT’s Meals on Wheels program.

Hilary Silver (pictured below), who volunteered to bring the 85 greeting cards to CRT, shared her feelings about being involved in the project. “This project was especially important to me because the homebound seniors receiving these cards have little to no social interaction during the day. My hope is that when they receive their personal notes it will bring them a little joy.”

Other activities offered through Mitzvah Day included making meals for families in need, volunteering at Foodshare, and knitting blankets.

Mitzvah is a Hebrew word that translates to the performance of a good deed.

CRT is so appreciative to have been one of the organizations chosen to benefit from this incredible effort and our community members’ good deeds.

Hilary Silver of West Hartford

Dear National Arts Community,

I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!

Most of us were very happy to have 2021 behind us. COVID, COVID, and more COVID, it feels like an endless story, right?

In all seriousness, I’m writing today to tell you that unfortunately, CRT’s 31st Annual National Arts Program will not be taking place this coming spring.

We had hoped to resume with an in-person exhibit and celebration, but the current Omicron variant and the ongoing effects have caused us to pause this year’s festivities for the safety of everyone.

Although we will miss seeing your artwork, we hope you will continue to create art, and we encourage you to share your art in other ways.

Our programs and services have been greatly impacted by this prolonged pandemic. But we are continuing to ensure that we are providing quality services to our community and keeping staff and clients safe.

The well-being of the people we serve is the foundation for the well-being of our community. We look forward to celebrating with you and the whole art community in 2023.

For questions, please contact Irene Mackey: (860) 560-5684 or [email protected]


Lena Rodriguez

President/CEO of CRT

P.S. Save the Date for National Arts in 2023!

CRT’s Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Women’s Empowerment Center recently got a newly painted mural on the side of its 330 Market Street building.

Watch this incredible time-lapse video of the creation of the mural by Micaela Levesque.
The mural will serve as a beacon for women, young and old, in the community, increase awareness of the Women’s Empowerment Center, and support our collective vision for a future that will help all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income level, or social status achieve their potential.

Fox 61 aired coverage of CRT’s toy drive on Tuesday, November 29th, Giving Tuesday, with the Hartford Fire Department and CRT’s efforts to ensure each child has a toy or present during the holiday season.
CRT’s Director of Community Services, Elizabeth Horton Sheff, shared the needs among families receiving services from CRT because they are having trouble making ends meet this year.

Peter Kaye, host for K-LOVE Radio (106.9 FM) in Hartford recently spoke with CRT’s Dr. Leslie Giordano, Director of Early Care and Education. They talked about the importance of early childhood education, and how it helps young children get ready to learn and succeed when entering kindergarten and beyond.

Give a listen to this “Closer Look” interview.

Note: This interview originally aired on June 20, 2021, and has been replayed multiple times this summer.

The Community Renewal Team (CRT) will honor the legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (#RBG) and other remarkable women leaders with a massive public mural at the Women’s Empowerment Center in downtown Hartford.

Local, award-winning artist Micaela Levesque began painting the mural this week. She spoke with NBC Connecticut about why this new mural featuring iconic women leaders is so important, and what it means to her.

Learn more about this new mural project.

Rhaili-Em Lowe was one of more than 85 young adults who spent time this summer as an intern working with CRT’s Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program. This summer, the students dedicated their time to helping to educate others in the community – especially their peers – about the need for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Her efforts were featured on the front page of the Hartford Courant this past weekend.

As she told the paper: “I’ve been a remote learner for one-and-a-half years. I’m trying not to have it happen again,” said Lowe, a rising junior at the Connecticut IB Academy in East Hartford.

Lowe and the other young adults in the program worked to promote COVID-19 vaccine awareness through projects like creating hundreds of yard signs distributed citywide. They also hosted a Zoom panel discussion about vaccine hesitancy among teenagers and misinformation spread through social media.

As she went on to say: “We all miss each other,” she said of her friends. “I want to experience my junior year in some type of normalcy.”

Read the complete article in the Hartford Courant online.

Photo above: Rhaili-Em Lowe, 16, of Hartford, spent her summer interning with CRT’s Summer Youth Employment Program to promote COVID-19 vaccines to teenagers in the Hartford area. Photo by Sofie Brandt/The Hartford Courant.

More than 80 students enrolled in CRT’s Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program took part in a civic engagement project this summer to educate fellow students and people in Hartford about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. They created 370 handmade lawn signs that have been distributed throughout the city to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Other signs were created to let people know about the availability of rental assistance through Unite CT.

According to an article in the Hartford Courant this past weekend, “The signs are now spread across the city, including areas around Stonington Street, Market Street, Main street, and the Blue Hills neighborhood.”

CRT Program Manager Cynthia Baisden said the ongoing increase in COVID-19 cases inspired the vaccination campaign.

“The COVID vaccination is something that I truly feel very passionate [about] that our youth need to be vaccinated, especially now that Connecticut has become a hot spot,” Baisden said.

Read the full article in the Hartford Courant online:

Hartford youth cover the city in signs in campaign to boost vaccination rate

Photo above: Rhaili-Em Lowe, 16, of Hartford, spent her summer interning with CRT’s Summer Youth Employment Program to promote COVID-19 vaccines to teenagers in the Hartford area. Photo by Sofie Brandt/The Hartford Courant.