Thursday, March 3, 2011

Save the Date: 24 Hours on the Street (April 29th & 30th)

That's right! The 3rd Annual 24 Hours on the Street will be held on Friday, April 29th and Saturday, April 30th. In line with the name, activities will take place for a full 24 hours straight. More details coming soon!

Next Volunteer Orientation
Interested in our organization? Want to find out about volunteer opportunities? Come to our next volunteer orientation:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Worcester Public Library
Banx Room

Walk in My Shoes Photo Display
Worcester Public Library will be displaying a photo exhibit called "Walk in My Shoes". "Walk in My Shoes" seeks to present a perspective of society as experienced from the streets. This exhibit will be on display from March 1st through March 29th.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Blog is Back!

Sorry for the long silence on the blog. The blogger may have gotten a little to busy for her own good.

What's new with the Worcester chapter?

First, congratulations to Mari Sayama who has stepped into the role of Assistant Executive Director! Mari joined the chapter about a year and a half ago. In October 2009, she stepped into the position of Director of Community Resource Development. During the next year, she ensured all our Community Resource materials were kept up to date on a regular basis. Mari is now managing the chapter budget and financing.

I would also like to wish Brian Finley, Grant Research Writer, a very heartful farewell. Brian spent the last year developing our Grants process. He also provided valuable input on other plans and processes we implemented over the last year. Brian will be missed. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

Plans for a New Outreach Drop-in Center Location

The chapter is also currently establishing a new location for our Outreach Drop-in Center. We would like to thank our previous location - Wesley United Methodist Church - for providing us with free space and amazing accomodations from September 2009 to December 2010. Why the change? We are in search of a location that will be more central to the youth with which we work. Right now, as we build up our volunteer base and budget, we plan to collaborate with another not-for-profit organization.

Recap: Ralph's Diner Stands Up For Kids Benefit Event

The chapter held our second fundraising event on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Thank you to Ally Trull who organized this event for the chapter. We would also like to thank the following entertainers and sponsors that participated in the event:
  • First and foremost, Ralph's Diner for providing us with space, sound, and making this event possible!
  • The amazing hosts, Nick Davis and Alex Charalambides (check out their weekly Monday gig at Ralph's - The Dirty Gerund Show)
  • The Hip Swayers (Band)
  • The Hotel Year (Band)
  • Speaker for the Dead (Band)
  • North Showcase Cinema (Raffle Prize)
  • Jillian's of Worcester (Raffle Prize)
More updates to come!
Stay tuned into the blog. We'll be posting info about the upcoming 3rd Annual 24 Hours on the Street Event and other chapter activities.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Local Service Spotlight: Worcester Youth Center

Homeless and at risk youth can most often be found hanging out on the streets, in parks, at convenience stores, etc. Often they do not have any place to go to fill those hours between school (if they are still attending) and sleep.

In Worcester, we are lucky enough to have the Worcester Youth Center, a facility founded in 1994 through a partnership between youth and adults. This center provides youth with educational, recreational, and social activities on weekdays.

The Worcester Youth Center Mission
The mission of the Worcester Youth Center is "to provide a place where youth can build lasting, positive changes in their lives" (Worcester Youth Center Website). The center ensures that their programs operate on a youth empowerment and development model, focusing on the following key areas:
  • Leadership
  • Health and Wellness
  • Education
  • Employability
The center offers various programs including movie nights, GED/Basic Skills, and Work Readiness. They recently extended their hours to not only cover weekdays, but also Saturday afternoons.

Location/Hours of Operation
Mondays-Fridays: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

326 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Join Our Team - November 23rd!!!

That's right. Our monthly volunteer orientation is coming up. Save the date:

Tuesday, November 23rd
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Worcester Public Library
Saxe Conference Room
3 Salem Square
Worcester, MA

What is a volunteer orientation?
The volunteer orientation will provide you with an overview of the youth homelessness statistics both nationally and locally, what StandUp For Kids is, and how you can get involved.

What happens after volunteer orientation?

All volunteers are required to have background checks and then attend a 3 hour basic volunteer training. 3 hours might seem like a lot but it goes by pretty fast and provides you with a good foundation for your volunteer experience with SUFK.

For those who plan to become outreach counselors, an additional 3 hour outreach training is required. This is an interactive training which provides you with an introduction to street outreach and our core services for the youth of Worcester.

How can I volunteer?

The great thing about our program is that we have a variety of roles you can take on whether you want to work from home on marketing materials or work with our kids directly through street outreach.

As a volunteer for over 3 years now, I've had the ability to experience pretty much every element of the program. There have been times when I can only contribute from behind-the-scenes with general support. The group is pretty flexible.

Of course, for the outreach counselors, we do ask that you provide at least a six month commitment of four hours a month. It is important for our youth to see consistent faces on a regular basis. They are in need of consistency and people they can count on. Our number one goal is to provide at-risk and homeless youth with people who care and who they can trust.

Want to learn more about our program? Attend the volunteer orientation and I'll try to answer as many questions as I can about this great opportunity to join the SUFK - Worcester family.

- Kristina England
SUFK - Worcester Volunteer

Thursday, October 28, 2010

November 6th: Youth Homelessness Awareness Event

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
StandUp For Kids - Worcester is inviting you to participate in our November awareness event:

Youth Homelessness Awareness Sit-in
Saturday, November 6th
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
in front of Worcester City Hall
Candlelight Vigil at Dusk
Contact us at with any questions.
2nd Annual Worcester Talent Showcase
Also, save the date for our 2nd Annual Worcester Talent Showcase, which will be held on Thursday, January 27th (evening). We are still working on the logistics but last year we pulled in some incredibly talented musicians, poets, and dancers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Point in Time Survey

The Worcester Teen Housing Taskforce held their first point in time survey in August 2009 to get a sense of the homeless youth population within the Worcester community. The second annual survey was conducted this week on Octoer 20, 2010. Our outreach team participated by surveying youth on the streets during our weekly street outreach. We'll keep you posted on when these survey results will be released.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Local Service Spotlight: The Mustard Seed

If someone asked you where they could grab a hot meal, what would your answer be? Most of us have a home, a kitchen, a refrigerator full of food. But there are many homeless adults and youth who struggle to get a good meal each day.

One of the main requests we get as an organization is for food bags. Our counselors carry around backpacks full of these food bags on outreach night. What do our food bags consist of? Chef Bouyerdee, a Fruit Box, Water, Chips, and maybe a fruit bowl. One food bag may be good for a youth to have when nothing else is available but we really don't want the kids living off the contents of these food bags on a continous basis.

Thankfully, Worcester has a wide array of food pantries. Worcester also has a long running soup kitchen called the Mustard Seed.

What's a soup kitchen?
A soup kitchen, or a free meal program, allows people to come in from the cold and have a warm, cooked meal.

How does the Mustard Seed operate?
When you enter the Mustard Seed, it is one big open room with several tables and chairs. The meals come from local community organizations and churches. Volunteers from the Worcester community (college students, church members, etc.) arrive each night to set up, serve dinner, and clean up afterwards.

Where is the Mustard Seed located?
The Mustard Seed is located at 93 Piedmont Street in Worcester at the corner of Austin and Piedmont. Don't go looking for a building. This soup kitchen is quite literally a house with a sprawling lawn. During the nice weather, there are picnic tables outside where people can sit and enjoy their dinners.

When are meals served?
Supper is Monday through Saturday from 4:00 to 6:30 during the winter and 5:00 to 6:30 during the summer. There is also lunch served on Sundays at noon.

The Mustard Seed is one of many places a homeless youth can get a free meal in Worcester. If for some reason the hours at the Mustard Seed don't work out or a youth needs breakfast or lunch, we have a two page list of options.

There's no reason anyone should go hungry. To start learning what options are out there, check out the Worcester Resources website ( It's good to be aware of the local food pantries and soup kitchens in your area. You just never know when or why you'll need to know about such services.