(The Coalition for New Britain’s Youth, formerly the Coalition for New Britain’s Children and the New Britain Early Childhood Collaborative, originated in 2001 as part of the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund’s Discovery Initiative. The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain played an instrumental role in the Coalition’s beginnings and remains a major funder of the program today.)
Long-time Community Leader Darlene Hurtado Returns to New Britain
Former Literacy Volunteers Executive Joins Coalition for New Britain’s Youth
New Britain, Conn., February 2, 2016 – Longtime community leader Darlene Hurtado, who over the course of more than a decade built New Britain-based Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut into one of the most successful and highly regarded literacy programs in the region, has returned to the Hardware City with the Coalition for New Britain’s Youth following an 18-month absence.
Hurtado began work last week as the Coalition’s newly appointed Program Operations Manager, working closely with Executive Director Robin Lamott Sparks to advance the Coalition’s goal of building a successful future for New Britain’s children and families.
“I am thrilled that Darlene has joined the Coalition, and the friends and colleagues she worked with for so many years here in the New Britain family services community are excited as well,” said Lamott Sparks. “I know that Darlene was one of those forward-thinking community leaders whose input in the Coalition’s earliest days was so important. Having access to that experience and knowledge will be instrumental as we work together moving forward.”
“The time I spent here in New Britain with Literacy Volunteers was so valuable to me,” said Hurtado. “Looking back at New Britain from the outside, I came to realize how well coordinated this community really is about the challenges it faces.
“It’s exciting to come back to New Britain and again be a part, especially with the Coalition, of all the good things that are happening here for our children and families.”
As Program Operations Manager, Hurtado will be responsible for all-day-to-day Coalition activities and outreach efforts, including support of the Coalition’s four strategy groups. Included in her role are the functions of community engagement and outreach, communications, legislative agenda and policy development, and research and development.
Hurtado, a resident of Eastern Connecticut with more than 30 years of experience in social services and community outreach, left Literacy Volunteers in August, 2014 to become supervisor of the Family School Connection Program at Madonna Place in Norwich. She served in that capacity for just over a year.
Between 2003 and 2014, Hurtado was instrumental in growing Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut, based in the New Britain Public Library, into a comprehensive program serving more than 400 adults and families from central Connecticut communities. During Hurtado’s time in New Britain she led the establishment of the Central Connecticut Family Literacy Center; made school-based Parenting for Academic Success classes a program priority; increased the participation of Hispanics/Latinos in the program; and expanded program revenues, including event, grant and individual funding, by 50 percent.
In 2012, Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut was one of seven organizations, from a pool of 650 nationwide, to be approved for Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy funding. Under her tenure, the program received awards from the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University.
Hurtado holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s Degree in Human Service Administration from Antioch New England Graduate School.
The Coalition for New Britain’s Youth is a citywide collaborative committed to improving the lives of New Britain’s youth, birth through age 24, and working to ensure they have what they need to succeed in all areas of life. Coalition members include parents, educators, government officials, health agencies, social service agencies and advocacy organizations. For more information, visit www.coalition4nbyouth.org.