Human Rights Close to Home

Human Rights Close to Home (HRCH) engages educators and youth in the development and implementation of human rights education for civic action with the aim of strengthening democracy and respect for human rights in our Connecticut communities and beyond. 

Accepting applications for summer 2023 teacher and student fellowships until February 24!

About the Program

Human Rights Close to Home (HRCH) draws on best practices in human rights education, teacher professional development, youth leadership development, and democratic engagement. Our goal is to incorporate and support the knowledge and expertise of school and community leaders, educators, community-based civics organizations, and youth leaders in Connecticut.

 

The program is interactive and learner-centered. Fellows will learn and share through collaboration with teachers, students, scholars, human rights educators, and practitioners. HRCH is designed to accommodate and complement the busy schedules of each group.

 

Fellow Stipends: Teacher and student fellows receive monetary stipends for completing the program. Teachers will receive $6,000 between July 2023 and July 2025. Students will receive $2,000 for one year.

 

This year, we are inviting applications from the following districts: East Hartford, Hartford, Mansfield, Region 19, Vernon, West Hartford, and Windham.

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Key Activities for Teacher Fellows

The program runs from July 2023 through July 2025 for the first cohort of 25 teacher fellows from the high school, middle school, and elementary school level.

Summer Institute:

Summer 2023 Dates: July 17, 2023 - July 28, 2023 (Monday through Friday, approximately 9:00 am to 4:00 pm) 

Summer 2024 Dates: July 8, 2024 - July 12, 2024 (Monday through Friday, approximately 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)

Summer 2025 Date: One day in July 2025. Exact day to be confirmed.

 

You will explore human rights issues, learn teaching strategies, and develop and receive feedback on curriculum materials/educational initiatives that support civic engagement for human rights. Speakers will include expert scholars, school and community leaders, educators, community-based civics and human rights organizations, and youth leaders. The non-residential Summer Institute will take place at the UConn Storrs campus and is two weeks in July 2023, one week in July 2024, and one day in July 2025.

Curriculum Development & Contributions to Sustained Learning:

You will develop and implement human rights curricula, documenting successes and challenges along the way. HRCH will work with you to compile outputs as part of an open resource for future human rights and civic educators.

Professional Development:

During regular meetings (2-4 online and 1-2 in person each school year) with your cohort of 25 teachers, you will further develop your knowledge and skills, engage with fellow educators, and receive personalized coaching and feedback on your efforts to empower youth civic engagement and teach human rights. HRCH will also facilitate resource sharing and communicating through an online forum.

Alumni:

Alumni of HRCH may also be invited back in subsequent years to share your curriculum development projects, provide peer support for the new cohort of teacher participants, and have opportunities to deepen your learning and leadership.

Year One Timeline

February 24, 2023: Application deadline

Early March: Decisions sent

Late March: Commitments due

May - June: Program information sent

July 17 - July 28: Two week non-residential Summer Institute (Monday to Friday each week)

August/September: First stipend payment of $2,000 disbursed upon completion of Summer Institute

Sept 2023 - June 2024: Curriculum implementation with support from HRCH team and peers

Year Two Timeline

July 8 - July 12, 2024: One week non-residential Summer Institute (Monday to Friday)

August/September: Second stipend payment of $2,000 disbursed upon completion of school year curriculum implementation and second Summer Institute

Sept 2024 - June 2025: Curriculum implementation with support from HRCH team and peers

July: One day Summer Institute (Exact day to be determined)

August/September: Third stipend payment of $2,000 disbursed upon completion of second school year curriculum implementation and one day Summer Institute

Online Information Sessions for Teachers

To request an information session on HRCH for K-12 teachers in your school or community organization, please contact us at hrch@uconn.edu. Please note that information sessions are currently being held for teachers from East Hartford, Hartford, Region 19, Vernon, West Hartford and Windham.

Key Activities for Student Fellows

The program runs from July 2023 to June 2024 for the first cohort of 15 high school students.

Summer Institute:

Summer 2023 Dates: July 16, 2023 - July 22, 2023 (One week residential experience on the UConn Storrs campus) 

 

Fifteen Connecticut high school students will participate in a one-week residential leadership institute focused on human rights and civic engagement. You will explore human rights issues, considering how they relate to your own lives, and develop knowledge and skills to contribute to civic action projects in your home communities.

Community Engagement Projects:

Working in teams or individually during the school year, you will engage in a human rights-based civic action project. Receiving close guidance and supervision from HRCH staff, near peer mentors (undergraduate or graduate students), and community mentors, you will learn about local human rights issues, gain practical experience, and develop valuable skills you can apply to future human rights and civic engagement work.

Alumni:

Alumni of HRCH will have opportunities to continue to engage with HRCH after completing the yearlong program, in roles such as presenters, facilitators, or mentors for the next cohort of youth participants.

Timeline

February 24, 2023: Application deadline

Early March: Decisions sent

Late March: Commitments due

May - June: Program information sent

July 16 - 22: One week residential Summer Institute (Sunday to Saturday)

End of July/August: First $1,000 stipend payment is disbursed upon completion of the summer institute

Sept 2023 - June 2024: Civic engagement project implementation with support from HRCH team and peers

June 2024 Second stipend payment is disbursed upon completion of civic engagement project after June 2024

Information Sessions for High School Students

To request an information session on HRCH for high school students in your school or community organization, please contact us at hrch@uconn.edu. Please note that information sessions are currently being held for high school students from East Hartford, Hartford, Region 19, Vernon, West Hartford and Windham.

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Our Goals

Develop and implement a novel human rights and civics education model for schools.

Empower teachers with the knowledge and skills to offer human rights and civics learning opportunities in their classrooms, schools, and communities.

Support youth leaders and provide them with experiential learning opportunities.

Support community-level democratic engagement.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Get in Touch

Contact us at hrch@uconn.edu

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Our People

Leadership

Sandra Sirota

Sandra Sirota

Director, Human Rights Close to Home

Assistant Professor in Residence, Experiential Global Learning & Human Rights

sandra.sirota@uconn.edu

People

Sian Charles-Harris

Graduate Assistant

sian.charles-harris@uconn.edu

Melissa Chioreso

Graduate Assistant

melissa.chioreso@uconn.edu

John Dunn

Visiting Assistant Professor, Education and Human Rights

jkdunn@uconn.edu

Kristina Eberbach

Strategy and Curriculum Specialist, Human Rights Close to Home

kristina.eberbach@uconn.edu

Sara Harvel

Sara Harvel

Graduate Assistant

sara.harvel@uconn.edu

Rachel Jackson

Rachel Jackson

Associate Director of Operations, Human Rights Institute

rachel.jackson@uconn.edu

Thomas Levine

Thomas Levine

Associate Professor, Curriculum & Instruction

thomas.levine@uconn.edu

Kathryn Libal

Kathryn Libal

Director, Human Rights Institute
Associate Professor, Social Work & Human Rights

kathryn.libal@uconn.edu

Sandra Sirota

Sandra Sirota

Director, Human Rights Close to Home
Assistant Professor in Residence, Experiential Global Learning & Human Rights

sandra.sirota@uconn.edu