JZ-AMP Middle School Mentees Learn Trinfo Café Technology Skills and Community Movement

This semester, HMTCA middle school students in the Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program and their Trinity student mentors have had the opportunity to engage in technology and arts focused enrichment activities thanks to the collaboration across programs here at CHER. Trinfo has a long history of leading youth programming with other community partners, and we realized that JZ-AMP would be a unique opportunity for Trinfo to support both the middle-school mentees and the Trinity mentors in the program. Since the formation of CHER, our five programs have  so this seemed like a good opportunity to work together.

Assistant Director of Community Service & Civic Engagement Beatrice Alicea said,

“We are always looking for creative ways to engage our JZ-AMP students and introduce them to new skills they can learn with their mentors. With the growing use of technology, we thought a tech series at Trinfo would be an effective way to engage and develop students in the program, and a movement class would be something totally new for them. Plus, this allows the mentors and mentees to be part of many different Hartford engagement activities through CHER. ”

Matin Yaqubi ‘23 helps a JZ-AMP mentee work in Adobe Spark

In the technology series, first year student and Trinfo Café student worker Matin Yaqubi ‘23 and Program Manager Ari Basche designed a technology series curriculum called “Dream Vacation” where students researched a vacation destination of their choosing and created an informational video. To do this, Matin collaborated with Ari and the JZ-AMP Trinity mentors to teach mentees how to use Adobe Spark, an online program that can be used to create impactful social graphics, presentations, short video, and narrations for various projects.

Trinfo staff had also been working with Rebecca Pappas’ course Arts in Action: Moving Into Community, which is a Trinity Community Learning where students examine the ways movement engages a community, explore the role arts play in contributing to the health of a community, and offer a series of movement sessions for different Hartford community groups. These sessions provide a unique way to build community, break down social hierarchies, relieve stress, and get some energy out. The first session was held at Trinfo Café, and Carlos and Ari then suggested a collaboration with the JZ-AMP program to offer a movement session to the middle school students in the program.

Overall, these opportunities would not be possible without the CHER team and the increased collaboration we’ve seen across our programs over the past year. Thank you to Arianna Basche, Carlos Espinosa, Rebecca Pappas and the Arts in Action students, Beatrice Alicea and the JZ-AMP mentors and mentees for making these events a success.


The Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program (J-Z AMP™) is a proven path for dramatically improving outcomes among academically at-risk students. Via strong partnerships between urban universities and public school districts, J-Z AMP™ provides free, structured, after-school academic tutoring, life skills coaching, and enrichment activities to middle school students for three years.