Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from StandUp For Kids - Worcester!

We're really excited to start 2010. Why? We have new goals for the new year!

Our Program Goals
  1. Recruit and retain volunteers. We already have a great group of volunteers but we could always use more volunteers in all areas of the program. We also want to make sure we keep all our great volunteers, so we'll be looking at better ways to communite with and appreciate our team (p.s. You guys and gals are the best!).
  2. Build community awareness of our program and youth homelessness. We kicked it up a notch in 2009 with two great awareness events: 24 Hours on the Street and Come Draw with Us. We'll hold both of these events in 2010 plus we'll add some more events to the line up (e.g., a rumored Talent Show). We'll also be contacting schools and local organizations to educate them on our services. And we're going to start mailing our quarterly newsletter to local organizations!
  3. Initiate Preventative Programs within the community. We've been doing a lot of street outreach to the at risk and homeless kids in our community. Now it's time to take a look at ways to prevent these kids from ending up on the streets. We plan to promote the Don't Runaway Program to local youth interested in helping the program. We will also be looking at starting a Backpack Outreach program (more details to come). Of course, we would love to have a few new volunteers to help out with this effort (Hint. Hint.).
  4. Maintain and expand our Outreach Center. We're currently looking at new ways to get the word out about our outreach center to youth. We may also look at expanding the times or days, which of course would mean more volunteers (see Goal 1... You know you want to join our program).
  5. Expand Street Outreach. We just added one more day a week of street outreach to our schedule. Now we'll be looking at new locations to add on to our current locations of outreach. Our street outreach counselors are amazing! Keep up the good work, guys!
  6. Develop our funds through fundraising, marketing, and grants. We're ending the year with some great donations from the UMass Memorial Nursing Leadership Team and DePierro Productions. In 2010, we'll continue to apply for grants and market to the local community. Plus, we hope to host our very first fundraising event!

That's six major goals for 2010! After looking at 2009's Program Goals (e.g., Open an Outreach Center, Improve our community resource documents), we're pretty sure we can accomplish all of these.

Thank you to our wonderful team of volunteers for a successful 2009 and to our supporters for helping make it a success! And welcome to 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

StandUp For Kids - Worcester would like to wish all our supporters and volunteers (both past and present) a very peace-filled and joyful holiday season.

The support of the Worcester community has been incredible.

In fact, just the other day, we got a very special holiday present.

The UMass Memorial Nursing Leadership Team raising $2,615 for the Worcester program! We were humbled by such wonderful news! This money will definitely help us provide continued services to the youth of Worcester (e.g., bus tickets home, hot soup on a cold night).

As this holiday season brings warmth and love to your household, remember to stop and help out those in need, whether young or old. Hold the door for someone on your way out of work. Help your neighbor shovel.

Whatever you do, know that it has a ripple effect. For every good thing done, another good thing is done in return.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Tis the Season

Right now, you're probably on your way to get the rest of that holiday shopping done.  You have a menu planned for your holiday gathering with family and friends.  The decorations are all up and you can't wait to just celebrate the good times with ones you love.

The homeless youth of American (and for that matter, all the homeless of America) won't be sitting down for dinner with family and friends.  They'll be alone out there hungry for a good meal.  Perhaps some will find a warm place to have a meal.  And yet, so many will go without even a hug, never mind food or presents.  

They need someone to say - "You don't need to be out here.  You can have a life away from the streets.  There are people who care about you.  Your breath, your life is precious."

182 kids will die in the next 14 days across America.  Think about that number.  

So many people say they don't have time to volunteer.  They have families, they have kids, they have jobs.  Well, so do most of our volunteers.  Sure, some are in college (madly studying for exams), while others are raising kids of their own the best way they know how.  And yet, they take time away from their week to find and help the youth of our community.  And those youth appreciate just the hellos they get.  

How do we know this?  Just recently, a kid we met only once approached us to let us know they had a job and a place to stay.  

You don't have to join a street outreach counselor.  Street outreach is a difficult commitment.  It can be overwhelming at times.  But you do have plenty of options if you choose to join our program.  Or host a fundraiser, awareness event, or donation drive.  Dedicate a few hours of your year or a few hours of your month to a good cause.

Consider what it would feel like to save a kid?  Contact us at to join now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Farewell to Our Local Program Founder

Special Edition: Saying Goodbye to Rob Donnelly

Role model. Caring. Trustworthy. Honest (Ain't that the truth). Respectful. Funny. Hardworking. Unstoppable.

These are just a few of the words our volunteers would and have used to describe Rob Donnelly, the first volunteer for our program, our past Director of Volunteers, and a committed outreach counselor.

In just a few short days, we will say goodbye to Rob, who is graduating from college and moving on. After three years of service to StandUp For Kids - Worcester, Rob has accomplished so much and supported each of us in our endeavors to achieve program goals.

Some of Rob's Achievements:
  • Recruited every single volunteer that has joined the program to date.
  • Presented to local services and organizations about our program.
  • Outreached to youth from April 2008 (first outreach night ever) to December 2009.
  • Served on the National Don't Run Away Taskforce in 2009.
  • Planned the opening of our program's outreach center.
Rob has also been here to witness other volunteers accomplishments:

In 2008:
  • Sue Kramer ran a very successful Shaw's Receipt Campaign
  • Chris Flagg organized our first resource survey (local services information for kids)
  • Ally Trull (Director of Outreach) kicked off the first night of outreach and has since ensured street outreach happens on a weekly basis.
In 2009:
  • All of our volunteers teamed up to run a 24 Hours on the Street event in April 2009.
  • Mary Ann Stoica organized two volunteer nights to the Mustard Seed (Soup Kitchen) and created the first program newsletter.
  • Kristina England established an agreement with a local organization to open an Outreach Drop-in Center.
  • Mari Sayama ran a very successful National Youth Homelessness Awareness event in November - Come Draw with Us.
  • Brian Bickford kept our many local services documents up-to-date for our youth.
  • Ken Latham and Donna Katsoudas jumped into the Executive Director positions in November 2009.
  • Over the past two years, Jose Alvarez has attended the most street outreach nights of any outreach counselor.
As we move forward without Rob, most of us know the biggest challenge and achievement ahead of us is to make him proud of the program's future. Although he'll be gone, Rob has left a well-formed group of volunteers to step up to the plate and continue to serve the youth of our community. He would never want us to focus on the past and how things were when he was here. He would want us to focus on the future and what we can do to save the lives of homeless and at risk youth.

Thank you Rob for all you have done. We know that wherever you go, you will continue to raise awareness of youth homelessness and inspire others to become involved in community outreach. Plus, you can visit us anytime you are in the neighborhood (a.k.a. We'll miss you!)

As Jose Alvarez wrote in Rob's scrapbook: "To the Wo Godfather! Look what you've started!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanking Our Volunteers

Many of our volunteers commit several hours a week to the StandUp For Kids - Worcester program.  Whether outreach counselors, leadership team members, or general program support, they constantly achieve great things for the program.  

To recognize our volunteers dedication, we host a Volunteer Appreciation Night once a year.  One of the big rules we have is no talking about StandUp For Kids.  It's a great way to bond with each other.  Also, some of our volunteers don't see each other for months at a time due to scheduling conflicts so the event gives them the opportunity to catch up with one another.

This year's Volunteer Appreciation Event was hosted by Ally Trull (Director of Outreach) on Saturday, December 5th.  We enjoyed pizza, games, and the company of Ally's many pets (a rat, a cat, and two kittens).

Other Updates

Thank You to the UMass Memorial Medical Center Nursing Leadership Team!
We received a congratulatory letter from the Nursing Leadership team of UMass Memorial Medical Center on Saturday, December 5th.  The Nursing Leadership team expressed appreciation and support for the work that we do with homeless youth in Worcester.  They also informed us that they are collecting a holiday donation for our program.  Our Co-Executive Directors have been invited to their January meeting to accept the donation and talk to the leadership team about our efforts.  Thank you so much to the UMass Memorial Nursing Leadership Team!  We are overjoyed by this news and thank you for your support of our program!

The Outreach Scoop
Now that the winter is here, the streets are getting quiet.  Like most of us, the kids don't want to stand out in 40 below weather.  They find warm places to hang out.  This means that our street outreach evenings are getting quiet.  Of course, this does not mean that we won't run into any kids.  You just never know.  That's why we are out there.  Because life is unexpected and the kids need us out there to find them in their times of need.

New Volunteers
In November, we trained 5 new volunteers!  Welcome to Jacque, Jeff, Megan, Perry, and Ralitsa!  

Donna Katsoudas (Co-Executive Director) also ran her first volunteer info session yesterday, December 9th.  She presented to four perspective volunteers.  Great job, Donna!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Shout Out for SUFK - Boston

You're Invited to a StandUp For Kids - Boston Benefit Event!

That's right.  We're breaking out of our Worcester box this week to spread the word about a great event benefiting the StandUp For Kids - Boston program.  

Boston Talent Showcase
December 11, 2009
Doors open @ 6:30PM
Event starts @ 7:00PM
3rd Floor
437 Boylston Street
Boston, MA

Tickets are $5.00 at the door.

Come enjoy some local Boston talent and support StandUp For Kids - Boston.  

SUFK - Boston is an amazing program!  We are grateful for such good neighbors.  :-)

For more details on the event, check their website:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Special Note on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our wonderful supporters!  We would like to thank you all for continuing to spread the word about our program.  And thank you to those who have responded to our donation requests over the last year.  You have all made a difference in the lives of the kids we work with on the streets.

As you sit to have dinner today, please keep the homeless youth of America in your minds and hearts.  These kids are out there right now, possibly without food and without a warm place to stay.  They need our help to ensure they do not end up another statistic. 13 kids should not die on the street everyday.  They not only need our donations - food, clothes, etc.  They need someone to care about them out there.  Someone to provide them with their options other than living on the streets.

There are so many ways you can help.  Talk about the reality of youth homelessness at your dinner tables during the holidays.  Sponsor a donation drive for our program.  Join our terrific team of volunteers.  If you are in a city outside of Worcester, join a local program or start one where one does not exist.

Just think of the number of kids out there that will die without our help everyday.  One kid is too many.

And for those with youth in your household today, give your kid a big hug and thank him or her for each amazing moment he or she has brought into your life.

May your day be full of joy and happiness!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Welcome Worcester's New Co-Executive Directors!

On November 14th, Donna Katsoudas and Ken Latham stepped into the Co-Executive Director roles at the StandUp For Kids Worcester program. Donna is the Program Contact for the group (facilitating meetings, assisting info sessions, etc.) and Ken is the National Contact for the group (monthly reports, National Executive Director conference calls, etc.). Liz Burrows will assist Donna and Ken as the Treasurer for the program (budget tracking, expense reimbursements, etc.).

This week, Donna facilitated her first meeting. She did a wonderful job! Ken also sat in on his first Executive Director conference call last week and provided an update to the program at the meeting.

Sue Kramer took a picture of the new Co-Executive Directors shaking hands with Kristina England, who served as Executive Director of the program for the past year. In picture (from left to right): Donna Katsoudas, Ken Latham, and Kristina England.

Best of luck to Donna and Ken in their new roles!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What are you up to this Saturday?

We're holding our National Youth Homelessness Awareness Event this Saturday, November 21st. You're invited!!!

Saturday, November 21st
City Hall, Worcester

Join us in front of City Hall to draw the StandUp For Kids logo on the sidewalk (with chalk of course). We'll be passing out flyers and answering questions as well. Come have some fun and meet our volunteers. Look for us in the purple shirts!!

If you have facebook, you can RSVP at the following link: If you don't have facebook, but want to contact us about the event, see our contact info at the top right corner of the blog.

Join Our Program!
Volunteer with us! We'd love to have your help! Attend our next info session:

Wednesday, December 9th
Worcester Public Library

After you attend an info session, you are then invited to volunteer training (2 hours). If you are also interested in becoming an outreach counselor, we conduct a separate outreach training (2 hours) as well.

You don't have to volunteer with us to make a difference. Spread the word about the reality of youth homelessness. Every voice counts!

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Our Birthday!

It's StandUp For Kids Worcester's Birthday Today!

Happy Birthday, StandUp For Kids Worcester!

That's right!  Have some cake at lunch or dinner today to celebrate with us!

On November 13, 2008 at 7:13PM, National recognized the Worcester program as an official chapter of StandUp For Kids!  That means we are officially one year old.  The date and time were picked by Founder Rick Koca as a reminder that 13 kids die on the streets everyday.  Our mission is to find, stabilize, and help these kids through weekly street outreach.

The Worcester program was first established in 2006 so we actually have two birthdays - not a bad deal.

A big thank you to all our supporters (that means anyone that is reading this right now)!  Thank you for spreading the word, providing our kids with much needed resources through donations, and just for being you.  

And a very special thank you to our volunteer team!  They are a WONDERFUL group of people.  WONDERFUL doesn't even begin to express how much dedication and support our volunteers provide this program.  

Please congratulate our program on 1 year of outstanding work!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Join Our Program!

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our program. If you have interest in marketing a non-profit, conducting street outreach to youth, or any skills that you would like to share with a great team of volunteers, join us! We would love to have you!

Next Info Session:
Wednesday, December 9th
Worcester Public Library

Our very own Donna Katsoudas will be conducting her first volunteer info session. Come learn about StandUp For Kids and youth homelessness in America.

Come Draw with Us!
Meet up with us on November 21st at 11:00 a.m. at the Downtown Common (We're the group all in purple). November is National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month so to raise awareness, we'll be drawing the StandUp For Kids logo on the common (with chalk, of course!), handing out fliers, and answering your questions.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our Outreach Team Loves Halloween!

Getting in the Halloween Spirit
With the Outreach Center open on Saturdays, two of our outreach counselors got to conduct street outreach on Halloween.  Ally Trull (Director of Outreach) and Jose Alvarez got all dressed up and headed out to talk to kids (see picture to the left).  As always, our outreach counselors are amazing!

Updated Wish List
We've updated our Wish List on the StandUp For Kids Worcester website.  Food bags are our number 1 need right now.  If you are part of a youth group, church, organization, or class that would like to prepare food bags for us, please contact us at or 774- 242-4289.  We also have a Gift in Kind Donation Form on our Wish List page for your convenience.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gearing up for November

November is approaching and it's a big month for us.  First, November is National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month.  Our volunteers are currently planning an outdoor event to be held Downtown.  More information about the event will be posted in the weeks to come.

The Worcester Program will also celebrate one year as an official program on Friday, November 13th.  Yes, we started developing the program in 2006, but we were officially recognized by the National Office last year.  We're looking forward to celebrating all our achievements over the last year!

November is also bringing some changes for our group.  

On November 1st, Rob Donnelly will step down from the Director of Volunteers position as he gets ready to graduate from Clark University this December.  Rob will continue to volunteer with the group until mid-December, assisting with street outreach and the outreach center.

And on November 13th, Kristina England will step down from the Executive Director position to focus her efforts on volunteer training as Director of Adult Volunteers.  The program is currently working on filling her position (more updates on this position are forthcoming).

November is going to be a busy month for our volunteers with street outreach, events, and changes.  With such an amazing group of people, the month will bring much excitement and achievements.

Thank you to all our volunteers for your efforts.  You are the best!

For those interested in joining the program, please contact us.  You can find our contact info at the top right corner of the blog.  

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thank you Clark University!

We've Got Socks!
Last night, students from a Management Class at Clark University hosted a sock drive for the StandUp For Kids - Worcester program.  The sock drive was held in the cafeteria, where students donated money to try their luck at a sock toss.  Students that successfully threw a sock into the hoop (displayed to the right) won raffle tickets.

A few of our volunteers were there to answer questions about the program:  Rob Donnelly (Director of Volunteers), Sue Kramer (Director of Kid Development), Ken Latham (Outreach Counselor), and Allyson Trull (Director of Outreach).  Money collected during the event will be used to purchase socks in bulk for our kids.

Thank you to the Clark University Management Class for hosting the event and spreading the work about SUFK!  And thank you to all the students at Clark University who participated in the sock drive!  Your donation will provide a homeless or at risk youth with a new pair of socks.

Also, thank you to our volunteers who participated in the event!  And to Sue for taking such wonderful pictures!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Donation Request

Baby Clothes Donations
We are currently looking for baby clothes from 0 to six months.  Please contact us at 774-242-4289 if you would like to make a donation.  

Thank you to Jessica Rosen for her continued support of the program.  She provided us with much needed baby supplies last week.

Spreading Awareness: Alpha Gamma Meeting
On Thursday, October 8th, Ally Trull, Director of Outreach, presented to Alpha Gamma, a local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma (a retired of practicing and retired women educators).   Thank you to Laurie Dunleavy for inviting us to speak at Alpha Gamma's meeting.

Welcome to SUFK Worcester's New Volunteers!
The following four volunteers joined the StandUp For Kids Program in September and October:
  • Liz Barge
  • Keisha Grant
  • Mari Sayama
  • Mohsin Syed
Join Our Program!
Contact us with questions on how you can volunteer with our program at or 774-242-4289.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thank You, KarmaThreads!

We've got backpacks and blankets!

Thank you to KarmaThreads, a postive messaging apparel company located in New Hampshire, for their donation of backpacks and blankets to the Worcester Program.  We can't wait to hand these donations out to kids at the outreach center and during street outreach.  Rhonda, thank you and your company for your support!

Food Bag Drive: A Success!

Thank you to the Mission Committee at Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester for hosting a food drive for the Worcester program.  Several parishioners stopped by to help Chris Flagg (Co-Director of Community Resource Development) and Kristina England (Executive Director) make food bags for our kids.  A total of 72 bags were made!

Coming Soon: Clark University Sock Drive!
Students from a Management Class at Clark University will host a sock drive for our program from Monday, October 19th to Wednesday, October 21st.  On Monday and Tuesday, they will set up an information table about our program from 1:00PM-3:00PM and 5:00PM-7:00PM.  Volunteers from our program will be there to talk to students, faculty, and staff at the University.  The sock drive will happen on Wednesday at 6:00PM.

Become a Volunteer
There are several great ways to volunteer with StandUp For Kids - Worcester:
  • Host a food drive
  • Join our street outreach team
  • Spread the word as part of the public relations/marketing team 
  • Take on a leadership role (i.e. Director of Volunteers)
You'll join a great group of volunteers and more importantly, you'll be helping the youth of our city.

Contact or 774-242-4289 for more information.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Outreach Center, Food Bags, and More!

Outreach Center Update
The Outreach Center has officially been open for a month.  This past week, we helped two kids build resumes and fill out applications for local jobs.  Thank you to Ally Trull (Director of Street Outreach), Rob Donnelly (Director of Volunteers), and Donna Katsoudas (Outreach Counselor) for volunteering at the center this past week.  

We need food bags!
The StandUp For Kids - Worcester Program is still in need of food bags.  We distribute food bags every week to our youth during street outreach and at the outreach center.  If you are interested in donating food bags, please contact

What's in a food bag?
  • Juice box/water
  • Cup of ravioli, spaghetti, etc. (pop top) or Bumblebee Chicken/Tuna Salad with Crackers
  • Pudding/Fruit Cup (pop up)
  • Candy bar
  • Granola bar
  • Napkin and plastic ware
Thank you to Wesley United Methodist Church!
The Ministry Committee at Wesley United Methodist Church is donating food bags to us on Sunday, October 4th.  Thank you to all the parishioners at WUMC for your continued support!

Behind the Scenes: Marketing Committee
Keisha Grant, a new SUFK volunteer, is working on marketing our program to local media.  She just got us an Advertisment in the November issue of Bay State Parent Magazine.  Thank you, Keisha!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Join Our Outreach Team

Honestly, right now, the Worcester program could use a few more people as outreach counselors. We have a dedicated group of counselors but we could never have too many.  The most important part of outreaching is our kids.  We talk to kids 21 and under on the streets.  Often we run into the same kids on a regular basis.  We check in on them, find out what's new in their life, show that someone cares, and they can count on us to be there on a weekly basis.

Outreach Counselor Expectations:
  • Volunteer as little as 2 hours a month.
  • Attend basic and outreach training.
  • Partner up with another volunteer (You never do outreach alone).
Come to our Volunteer Information Session on Wednesday, September 30th @ 7:00PM in the Banx Room of the Worcester Public Library if you are interested in joining our outreach team.  

Plus, if you don't think outreach is your thing, join one of our many other teams: Fundraising, Marketing, Public Relations, Community Resource Development, etc.

What if I can't make it to the September info session?
Contact us at and we'll keep you posted on the next information session.

Last Week's Street Outreach Stats

Number of Regular Kids Assisted: 4
Number of New Kids Assisted: 10
Number of Kids Provided a Meal: 6

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting the Word Out

For our volunteers, raising awareness of youth homelessness is a big part of what we do. Yes, we conduct street outreach every week to connect with the youth. But we also need to make our community aware that youth homelessness is real. 13 kids will die each day on the streets. Our job and your job is to make sure kids understand their other options before they runaway.

Don't Runaway Program
The Worcester program is actively participating in the National Don't Runaway Taskforce. Our hope is to help enhance the program and eventually start programs within our own community. These programs allow college and high school kids to take action in preventing youth homelessness. The DRA Program should be implemented in every city and every town. But we as an organization need the help of the community to do this. Find out more here:

Awareness Events
While we would definitely like to implement the Don't Runaway Program in the Worcester schools, we are still getting the word out with the volunteers we have by attending awareness events:

Rob Donnelly (Director of Volunteer) and Kristina England (Executive Director) attended the Wesley United Methodist Church Ministry Fair on Sunday, September 13th. They handed out information about the program and wish lists. A few people even signed up to volunteer with the program. We definitely hope to see them all on Wednesday, September 30th at our next Information Session (7:00PM @ Worcester Public Library, Banx Room). Thanks to Chris Flagg (Director of Community Resource Development) for getting us a table at this event!

Allyson Trull, Director of Outreach, will present to Alpha Gamma on Thursday, October 8th about StandUp For Kids.

Get the Word Out
You don't have to be a StandUp For Kids volunteer to spread awareness about youth homelessness. Tell your family and friends about us and our mission. Remember - Every voice counts!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Outreach Center is Open

As the blog sometimes gets a bit long, here are the topics you'll find below:
  • The Outreach Center Update
  • Weekly Food Basket Request
  • Food Bags Needed
  • The August Street Outreach Numbers
The Outreach Center Update
The Outreach Center is now open every Saturday.  Thank you to the following outreach counselors for volunteering throughout the day on Saturday:  Jose Alvarez, Oz Diaz, Rob Donnelly, Kristina England, Ken Latham, and Ally Trull.

Weekly Food Basket Request
We've been looking at our food supply and thought it might be a good idea to have a basket of "healthy" food such as fruit, cheese, trail mix, etc.  Basic healthy food for the kids to eat at the center or take with them.

If anyone is interested in preparing a food basket for us, let us know.  You can sign up for one week, once a month, whatever you like.  Contact Oz Diaz, Director of the Outreach Center, at

Food Bags Needed!
We are now collecting food bags for distribution during street outreach.  A food bag contains the following items:
  • Juice Box/Water
  • Candy Bar
  •  Pudding/Fruit Cup (pop top)
  • Cup of ravioli, spaghetti, etc. (pop top)
  • Bumblebee Chicken or Tuna Salad with Crackers
  • Granola Bar
  • Napkin and plastic ware
Contact if you would like to donate food bags.  This can be a great project for students, youth groups, etc.

The August Street Outreach Numbers
So you are probably wondering how many kids we assist each month.  Here are the numbers from August:
  • 15 Regular Kids Assisted
  • 41 New Kids Assisted
  • 20 Kids Provided with Meals
This is the total amount of kids we saw in four weeks (one day outreach a week).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Outreach Center Opens in Two Days!

That's right!  Only two more days until we open the Outreach Center!  We have been very fortunate over the past few months.  Thank you to everyone who has made the Outreach Center possible.  A big thank you to Crystal Bowman from National for helping us throughout the whole process!

The volunteers have been planning away but we also know that this center is going to be a learning experience for us and for the kids.  As we move forward, you'll get plenty of updates on the outreach center and our continued growth as a program.

What's Happening
Rob Donnelly and Donna Katsoudas presented information about our program to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation last week.  Great job, guys!

Tracy Altan and Beth Connors from StandUp For Kids - Boston will stop by Worcester in the near future to attend our next training session.  Tracy and Beth plan to start conducting training for the Boston program.  SUFK Worcester is looking forward to their visit.  Boston has a great group of volunteers.  If you are in the Boston area, check out their Program Website or join their Facebook Group.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Outreach Center Opens in 9 Days!

The countdown is here! Only nine more days and we open the doors to the Outreach Drop-in Center.

Oz Diaz, Director of Outreach Center, has been busy preparing the outreach center process. On Saturday, August 29th (tomorrow), he will meet with the outreach center counselors (Ally, Donna, Ken, Kristina, and Rob) to go over the process.

New Volunteers
We have a few new volunteers attending training in mid-September. If you are interested in our program, contact us at We hold an information session every month.

The Youth Homeless Numbers in Worcester
Worcester Community Connections is conducting a survey to find out the number of homeless youth in Worcester. StandUp For Kids was asked among other agencies to survey kids last week. Oz Diaz, Rob Donnelly, and Donna Katsoudas surveyed several kids during street outreach. We'll keep you posted on the outcome of this survey.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Summer Newsletter is Here!

Thank you to Rob Donnelly (Director of Volunteers) for creating the Summer 2009 Newsletter.  You can read it now at the StandUp For Kids Worcester Program Site.  The newsletter link is on the right corner of the page (scroll down just a little).  Plus, our site is looking very nice from all the design updates that Rob requested.  Thanks to David at National for keeping up with us!

Outreach Center Update
Ally Trull (Director of Street Outreach) and the Outreach Counselors continue to spread the word to kids about the Outreach Center opening.  Oz Diaz (Director of Outreach Center) and a couple Outreach Counselors will also hit the streets on opening day to remind kids about the center and take the walk to the outreach center with any kids interested.  Outreach Counselors will be back at the center ready with opening day activities.

Interested in Volunteering?  Meet Us on Wednesday, August 26th
We are having an information session for anyone interested in volunteering for StandUp For Kids (SUFK):

Wednesday, August 26th
Banx Room
Worcester Public Library

You will get all the details on SUFK from Rob Donnelly.  Contact us with any questions at

Donations.  Donations.  Donations.
We have obtained several outreach center supplies.  We now have a laptop, television, filing cabinet, etc.  Thanks to everyone who has donated!  

We still need more items for both street outreach and the outreach center:  Wish List.  

Also, thank you to volunteer Donna Katsoudas for her fund development efforts this month.  She created a great donation letter and wish list for local businesses, and began reaching out to local businesses.

The Don't Run Away Taskforce: Progress!  Progress!  Progress!
The National Don't Run Away Taskforce continues to make progress in updating the Don't Run Away Program.  The Website Team has developed all preliminary web content for the new site.  The updated Don't Run Away Training Manual is in progress.  And drafts of the DRA Informational Presentation and DRA Fact Sheet have been completed.  Thank you to Rob Donnelly and Kristina England (Executive Director) who continue to serve on the taskforce.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Announcing the Director of Outreach Center

Outreach Center Update

One of our outreach counselors, Oz Diaz, has stepped up to the new Director of Outreach Center position.  Oz shows amazing commitment to street outreach and promises to bring a positive energy and dedication to this leadership position.

Stopping By Boston

Rob Donnelly, Director of Volunteers, visited the StandUp For Kids - Boston program on Sunday, August 9th.  The Boston program is a great group of people.  If you are in the Boston area and interested in volunteering for SUFK, please visit their site for more information:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Week's Worcester Update

Outreach Center Update
Six of our volunteers met today to discuss the opening of the outreach center.  Some great ideas/suggestions were brought up along with questions to address before we open the drop-in center.

We are looking for some outreach center supplies.  Check out our wish list at:  If you would like to donation supplies, please contact

We are also currently seeking volunteers for the outreach center.  If you are interested in volunteering at our new outreach center, please attend our next volunteer information session:

Wednesday, August 26th
Banx Room
Worcester Public Library

Keeping Up on the Local News
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette published an article today entitled "Street survivors" that talks about a group of young adults in Worcester that call themselves Street Survivors.  Here's the link:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Countdown to September

The Outreach Center Update
It's official.  We have an Outreach Drop-in Center for kids that will open in September for one day a week.  The outreach counselors began spreading the word this week to kids.  

Very shortly, we will announce the addition of a new leader to our team: Director of Outreach Center.  

Program of the Month!
Each month, the StandUp For Kids National Office picks a city program as their program of the month.  Worcester just found out we are program of the month for July 2009!  We are so proud of our wonderful team of volunteers.  Each volunteer continues to bring amazing value to the team.  Keep up the good work!

Coming Soon: The Summer 2009 Newsletter
Rob Donnelly is currently working on our Summer 2009 Newsletter.  Articles include:
  • Greetings from the Executive Director
  • Volunteer Spotlight
  • Becoming a Volunteer: A How to Guide
  • Calendar of Events
The newsletter letter will be posted to our official StandUp For Kids City Program site (  A shortcut will be included in an upcoming blog.

Updates to Our Resource Documents
Brian Bickford, Director of Community Resource Development, is currently updating two of our resource documents for kids: Food Pantries & Meals Served and the Long Resource list (includes Job Resources and Transportation).  The outreach counselors use these lists to help out kids on a weekly basis during street outreach.  It's very important to keep these documents up-to-date so that we are providing our kids with the best information possible.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Quick Update

Outreach Drop-in Center
The Outreach Center agreement will be signed within the next week.  We are making plans for the first month (i.e. communicating the location to kids, pulling together supplies for the center, and identifying some activities to hold at the center).  

Don't Runaway Taskforce
Kristina England and Rob Donnelly are helping the National Office restructure the Don't Runaway Program.  This program allows StandUp For Kids to reach out to at risk kids within the elementary and middle schools.  College and high school students can also start school clubs and present to youth in their community.  Here is the link to the current site: (the new site is still in development).

Invite Us to Present at Organization
We are always available to present about StandUp For Kids.  Just email us at

Making Donations
If you are interested in making donations to our group, please check out our wish list or email us at  

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sign Up Your Shaw's Rewards Card

Want to help SUFK?  Enroll your Shaws reward card in a special program and then just shop.  Easy to enroll, secure, confidential.  We can also provide your donation for tax purposes.  For more information on the program and how to enroll, email    Your email address will not be used for anything other than the Shaws donation program.

Don't Forget: We're on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook.  You can either join our Group or our Fan page.   

Want to Become a Volunteer?
Just contact  We have several different committees you can pick from: Outreach, Community Resource Development, Public Relations, Recruitment, Fund Development, Training, or Program Support.  There are no set hours for volunteering.  If you can only volunteer a couple hours a month, that's fine with us.  Every effort helps!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Latest From Worcester

As always, street outreach is going well.  Ally Trull and Rob Donnelly are beginning to plan ways to advertise the outreach center., which will open in the first week of September.  

Upcoming Events
Volunteers will participate in the Turn Purple Campaign on Sunday, July 19th at 12:00 p.m. in Elm Park.  This event spreads awareness about the number 1 cause of youth homelessness: child abuse.  Volunteers will dress in purple (including purple face paint) and hand out flyers to cars driving by.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another Update from Rainy Worcester

Yes, the blog skipped a week because I went away and forgot to have someone else update it.  Whoops.  

The weather in Worcester has been mostly rain.  We only saw two days of sun in June.  However, the outreach counselors have begun to meet more and more kids on outreach nights.  Come this September, we should be able to provide these kids with an address for our outreach drop-in space.  That way, when the rain still hasn't stopped, they have some place to go that is dry and safe. 

Latest Happenings
Volunteers Brian Bickford, Allyson Trull, and Osvaldo Daiz participated in the Community Health Link Fair event held on June 17, 2009 at the PIP Shelter in Worcester.  They provided information about our program as well as distributed hygiene kits.  Homeless guests staying at the PIP Shelter enjoyed the food, health services and great music which brought a needed joy into their lives.

This week, we received a generous donation from Ben E. Factors Foundation, a group that continues to be a great support to our program.  

The outreach center committee continues to work hard on planning for the outreach center.  We are just finalizing an agreement with the location for the drop-in center.  Rob Donnelly has drafted a wonderful plan for us.  Now we just need to recruit some more volunteers so that we have enough outreach counselors for both street outreach and the outreach center.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't Runaway Taskforce and More!

Don't Runaway Program Update
Rob Donnelly (Director of Volunteers) and Kristina England (Executive Director) are now fully engaged in the Don't Runaway Taskforce.  The Taskforce is taking a look at the current National Don't Runaway Program and making enhancements, including:
  • A new website for local programs and school clubs
  • Updated training documentation
  • Informational materials for distribution.

We look forward to helping out the National program and gaining an understanding of how we can establish Don't Runaway Programs in Massachusetts.

Find out more about the Don't Runaway Program at

Safety in Numbers Conference
On Friday June 12th, Rob Donnelly and Allyson Trull (Director of Outreach) attended the Safety in Numbers2: The Power of Prevention and Partnerships For At-Risk Youth Conference presented by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Youth Violence Prevention Program in Worcester. Rob and Ally attended workshops on:
  • Youth development approaches in working with at-risk youth,
  • Non-violent conflict resolution,
  • The use of community mobilization to address violence, and
  • Working with urban, at-risk youth.
They also participated in a panel discussion on collaboration between different youth programs and organizations in order to effect greater change and heard a lecture on the modern challenges of youth violence from the keynote speaker, James Alan Fox, Ph.D., professor of Law, Policy and Society at Northeastern University.  

The conference provided information that will help the group incorporate some new perspectives and approaches into their work with Worcester youth. It was also a great opportunity to network with other organizations in Worcester and meet like-minded people who are working for a better future for youth throughout the state of Massachusetts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What We're Up To This Week

Ally Trull returned to street outreach this week with the outreach counselors.  

As we move into the second year of street outreach, we would like to try out other street outreach locations.  Right now we focus on Downtown and Main South.  Any suggestions on other places to try street outreach would be great.  We outreach to kids 21 years and under.  

What do we provide?
  • Immediate resources (e.g., food, clothes, sleeping bags)
  • Long term support (educational assistance, job search support, life-skills training, etc.)
  • Counselors who care and, at even turn, prove it

Other Activities
Currently, Rob Donnelly and Kristina England are working on updating both the basic volunteer training and street outreach training.  As the program makes plans for an Outreach Center, we will also need to look at developing training materials for Outreach Center counselors.

The next Volunteer Information Session is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the Worcester Public Library.  Come check it out.  We have a great group of volunteers and, with an Outreach Center in the near future, we could really use a few more extra hands.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

SUFK Worcester Welcomes Back Ally!

We are pleased to have Ally Trull, Director of Outreach, back with us after four months of studying aboard.  Ally is both a knowledgeable and dedicated street outreach counselor.  Her return to the street outreach program promises to strengthen an already wonderful group of counselors.

In other news, we are currently working on an agreement with a local organization for an Outreach Drop-in Center.  Our plan is to open a drop in center for a couple hours once a week to The center provide a place for kids to:
  • Pick up food, clothes, and other resources
  • Attend activities (e.g., films, workshops) 
  • Utilize our services (e.g., GED program information, resume building).
Congratulations to the following volunteers for receiving volunteer of the month:
  • Sue Kramer - Volunteer of the Month, April 2009
  • Mary Ann Stoica - Volunteer of the Month, May 2009
Upcoming Events
Ally Trull and Rob Donnelly will attend the MA Dept of Public Health Youth Violence Prevention Conference on June 12th in Worcester.  

Oz Diaz, Rob Donnelly, Sue Kramer, and Ally Trull will attend the Community Health Link Fair in mid-June.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Week at StandUp For Kids - Worcester

Last Thursday, Sue (Director of Kid Development) did a great job running the volunteer meeting when Kristina (Executive Director) and Rob (Director of Volunteers) were absent.  Thank you, Sue!  And thank you to Donna for taking the minutes!

This past Tuesday, our outreach counselors went out to the streets, as they do every week, and talked to youth.  They are the most dedicated and caring people an outreach program could have.  We could not be where we are today without their commitment. 

Rob ran the monthly volunteer information session on Wednesday, May 27th.  He has put together a wonderful informational presentation.  Come check it out at next month's information session on June 24th.  If you are not interested in volunteering, just come and learn about StandUp For Kids.  We need help in all forms, from donations to spreading the word throughout the community.  You can stand up for kids just by recognizing the fact that there are homeless and at-risk youth out there that need our help. 

This evening, Kristina, Rob, and Mary Ann (Director of Public Relations) wrapped up the second Outreach Center Committee Meeting.  They have made great progress.  Rob has even developed a in depth Outreach Center Plan.

Lastly, thank you to Mary Ann for writing up a short article for the May National Newsletter on our 24 Hours on the Street event (April 24-25, 2009).  A picture of the event is posted above.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Worcester Makes Plans for an Outreach Center

The Worcester Program's number one goal for 2009 is to obtain an Outreach Center.  We hope to have more news about this venture shortly.  

How can you help us reach our goal?
  • Join the group as a volunteer.  You can assist with the outreach center, public relations, volunteer recruitment, or more!  Our next information session is on Wednesday, May 27th at 7:00 p.m. in the Banx Meeting Room at the Worcester Public Library.
  • Donations are always welcome.  Visit our fundraising page at
Recent Achievements
Our wonderful Director of Public Relations, Mary Ann, wrote a news article regarding the Worcester Program's 24 Hours on the Street (April 24-25, 2009) event that will appear in the StandUp For Kids National Newsletter.  Great job, Mary Ann!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recap on our visit to Boston

Three of our Worcester Program volunteers traveled to Boston on Saturday, May 9th.  The SUFK Boston program invited us to attend their volunteer training and Youth Pride Day.  Kristina England (Executive Director) along with a new volunteer, Donna, attended the volunteer training.  Rob Donnelly (Director of Volunteers) assisted SUFK Boston volunteers at Youth Pride Day.  We had an incredible time and really enjoyed getting to know the Boston volunteers.  Thank you to Ben and Bernie for extending the invitation.  The picture on the left is of Rob and Ben at Youth Pride Day on the Boston Common.  

Kristina speaks at the Alpha Gamma Meeting on Thursday, May 21st.  Alpha Gamma is a local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a society of practicing and retired educators. 

We are also very excited to have Allyson Trull (Director of Outreach) arriving home from a semester in Spain at the end of May.  We can't wait for her return!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Welcome to the StandUp For Kids Worcester Blog!

That's right.  StandUp For Kids Worcester now has a blog.  If you're here, you are probably curious about our program.  StandUp For Kids Worcester is one of over 40 programs across the country who are committed to helping homeless youth ages 21 and under.  

What are we up to this week?
  • Our outreach counselors go to the streets weekly to help homeless and at risk youth in Worcester.
  • A few of us are heading out to see the StandUp For Kids Boston program on Saturday, May 9th.  We'll attend refresher volunteer training and assist the Boston program with a local awareness event.  
Recent Achievements
  • Worcester recently completed 24 Hours on the Street on April 24th and April 25th to raise awareness about youth homelessness.  During the event, we held a Candlelight Vigil, the Walk in the Shoes of a Street Kid, the Turn Purple Campaign, and seven hours of Street Outreach.  Check out the YouTube Video:
Check out this blog on a weekly basis for more about our program.