Connect-Us founder Pam Lewis has led a life of creating innovative and developmental afterschool programs for urban youth.
Her work as a preeminent youth organizer began in 1984 as a political activist and producer of grassroots community talent shows in New York City. The talent show initiative quickly grew to eventually span the entire city, and became a staple of urban youth culture during the golden age of Hip-Hop and at the height of the crack epidemic. Over the years, tens of thousands of people from New York’s most underserved neighborhoods came out for these talent shows to perform together, support one another, and celebrate the young people in their communities.
Out of these talent shows grew the present-day nonprofit All Stars Project, and over the course of three decades, Pam directed the All Stars’ youth work across the country. In her previous role as the All Stars Project’s Vice President of Youth Programs, Pam played a leading role in driving the nationwide impact of efforts to engage poverty through an innovative performance-based approach. In 2017, Pam founded the Bridgeport-based nonprofit Connect-Us with the mission to connect suburban and urban neighbors in Fairfield County and beyond.
Throughout her decades-long career, Pam has worked with thousands of young people to create new performances in their lives. Pam has built hundreds of partnerships with business leaders who have supported these new performances by providing mentorship, training, and paid internships. In her previous role as the All Stars Project’s VP of Youth Programs, Pam played a leading role in driving the nationwide impact of efforts to engage poverty through an innovative performance-based approach. Her work has taken her all over the U.S. and the globe – from New York City to Los Angeles, from Ferguson to Chicago, from South America to South Africa, and beyond. Pam’s mantra is: “If you can perform on stage, you can perform in life.”
Pam has received numerous awards for her work in Bridgeport. She was named Community Person of the Year by the Stamford Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; she received a Community Service Award from Yale-Bridgeport Gear Up; and she was honored at the Park City Regional Development Corporation’s Gala, as well as the All Stars Project’s National Gala. In 2019, Pam is being honored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, in partnership with Moffly Media, with the Community Impact Award, and she is being honored by the Bridgeport NAACP with the Berry Gordy Artistic Award.
Pam has been featured on NPR, News-12 Connecticut, and two PBS documentaries: America Beyond the Color Line, produced and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and The Promise of Play, produced by the Institute for Play. Additionally, she is a member of the Core Leadership Team of Fairfield County's United Way: Bridgeport Prospers, and she serves on the NY Board for Covenant House.