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The OPP path to success is through Personal Development, Academic Achievement, and Workforce Readiness.

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OPP serves over 1,000 young people in the Greater Hartford, CT area giving them the opportunity to discover the great futures they deserve!

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Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot at OPP. I learned the value of time and how to be punctual. I’ve learned a lot about myself and that I’m a hands on learner. Doing lawn care and snow removal with the Youth Service Corps, I learned how to use a snow blower and how to operate different equipment. Now, because I learned that skill, I help out at home. It’s given me confidence. I know that I am reliable and hardworking. I take pride in my job and honestly, it’s fun. I love working with OPP. I tell all of my friends about OPP. It’s the best place to be!

IMPACT of OPP in FY23

July 2022 - June 2023

Youth served
0


Received in
youth wages/stipends for work experiences
$ 0


personal goals completed by 418 youth
0

OPP ON INSTAGRAM

Next week OPP’s Senior Director of Youth Engagement Girard Dawes will present at 119K Commission’s meeting at Hartford City Hall. The meeting will focus on education with presentations on credit attainment, special education, CTE/pathways within high school, and broader systemic issues. Girard will share how Opportunity Academy provides youth with alternative pathways and wrap-around supports to earn a high school degree. All are invited to attend! Click the link in our bio to RSVP. ...

Yesterday Hartford`s Mayor Arunan Arulampalam @arunanarul launched Hartford`s Blue Ribbon Commission on Education. This group of elected leaders, advocates, and community members will develop recommendations on actionable steps to address challenges faced by Hartford Public Schools and identify opportunities for progress. OPP`s President and CEO Hector Rivera will serve as a Commission Co-Chair and OPP`s Director of Finance Amilcar Hernandez will serve as a Commission Member.

“This Commission will allow us to strategically and intentionally look at some of the district’s most glaring needs and partner with local, state and national experts to develop recommendations. Our goal is to produce an impactful outcome and opportunities in service to our students and families.”
- Hector Rivera, OPP`s President and CEO, Blue Ribbon Commission Co-Chair

Click the link in our bio to learn more.
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Happy 4th of July! Wishing everyone a fun holiday with family and friends. ...

Today Opportunity Academy`s Class of 2024 celebrated their graduation surrounded by family, loved ones, OPP staff, and OPP board members. Congratulations to all the graduates on your accomplishments! Your OPP family is so proud of you and we can`t wait to see what your future holds. #ClassOf2024 ...

Jessica Blake works with justice-involved youth as the Behind the Walls Navigator at OPP. She has 17 years of experience impacting disconnected youth. Youth work with Jessica while they are incarcerated to plan their return home, determining the supports they have in place and setting goals to fill their gaps. She also connects with their inner circle (family and friends) to share essential physical and digital resources for the youth to access upon their return.

A significant barrier youth face upon their return home is access to housing. Jessica notes, “It can be hard to get a lease with a criminal record and many families can not add their child to their lease due to housing regulations.” Returning to society with people who do not understand the barriers that come after incarceration can be challenging. Through OPP’s collaboration with correctional facilities, youth are referred to Jessica during their incarceration. Re-entry counselors at each facility understand that youth who join organizations like OPP can benefit from community connections before they return home. “I hear their needs and connect them with experts,” says Jessica.

Jessica’s community connections include lawyers, post-secondary programs, and employers who want to work with the youth. Consistent employers include Valvoline, Mr. Sparkle, and Hartford restaurants. Fire by Forge offers transitional employment opportunities, culinary education, and connections to certification programs.

Jessica says her favorite part about OPP is the people. “I’m truly blessed to work with people who value our youth and their families. They are passionate people who work relentlessly to support the youth through life’s journey to become successful adults. We are a family at OPP. We take care of one another and truly want what’s best for each other.”

Jessica will attend the TOW Youth Justice Institute: Pathways to Success conference on 5/22 with OPP youth to share their journeys of incarceration and re-entry. Visit @towyouth to learn more.

Pictured left to right:
Jessica Blake, Behind the Walls Navigator
Tashar Rankine, Youth Engagement Specialist
...

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Name

Kim Johnson

Senior Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives

ext. 7347

Kim Johnson joined Our Piece of the Pie (OPP) in January 2024. She has spent her career in the nonprofit sector. Kim brings over 35 years of experience in fund development, youth development, capacity building, and volunteer management. Most recently, Kim served as Chief Youth Development Officer and previously as Chief Development and Marketing Officer for LifeBridge Community Services in Bridgeport. She has also worked for United Way and multiple Girl Scout Councils. All of these organizations worked to increase the capacity and resilience of both the clients and communities they served. Kim is passionate about filling the opportunity gap for youth.

In her role as Senior Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives, Kim will use her experience and skills to increase OPP’s visibility as well as financial and community resources to support and expand our mission.

Kim earned her Master of Public Administration with a nonprofit concentration from Indiana University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Leisure Studies – Program Management from University of Illinois. She completed her certificate in Fund Raising Management with the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University.