Thursday, September 30, 2010

Local Service Spotlight: Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester

In April 2010, one of our chapter volunteers, Kathy Senior, mentioned she was attending training to become a literacy tutor at the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester (LVGW).

Believe it or not, we hadn't heard of this great local service until Kathy joined their tutoring team.

What is LVGW?
LVGW was founded in 1973 to provide literacy services to the Worcester community. Over 100 trained volunteers serve as literacy tutors providing basic reading and English for speakers of other languages. Tutoring hours are confidential, free, year-round services.

In addition to one-on-one sessions, the program also offers classes taught by certified ESL and reading teachers. Upcoming courses are listed right on their website (

Where is LVGW?
LVGW is located at an ideal location for many of our youth - the Worcester Public Library at 3 Salem Square in Worcester.

How can I find out more info about LVGW?
Glad you asked! :) Check out their site at You can also contact the office at or (508) 754-8056.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chapter Update: The Outreach Team Grows

The Street Outreach team has some new additions: Amber Dudley, Kathy Dalianis, and Amanda Ethridge.

Amber joined the team back in August. She is quickly learning the ropes and finding her own outreaching style.

Kathy and Amanda just started outreaching this week. As part of the training process for outreach counselors, they will both shadow a pair of outreach counselors for a few weeks before interacting with the youth. Shadowing gives counselors the ability to observe other counselors and to get to know the areas in which we outreach.

Our Needs: Public Relations and Fundraising
Want to volunteer from home? Well, public relations and fundraising are two of the great areas in SUFK - Worcester where you can pretty much volunteer from anywhere (even a coffee house).

The chapter would love to get the word out about the program to other community services, local organizations and churches, and even get a radio gig or two. In order to do this, we need some great volunteers to join our Public Relations and Marketing team.

We would also like to continue to plan fundraisers and work on fund development. We have a great Grants team, but could use a few more hands to raise funds.

Contact us at for more details.

Or attend our next volunteer orientation:

Tuesday, October 12th
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Worcester Public Library
Bank Conference Room

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Local Service Spotlight: Pernet Family Health Services

This week, I thought I would focus on Pernet Family Health Service. Pernet is a local service founded by the Sisters of the Assumption after their arrival in Worcester in 1955. Their mission is to help disadvantaged families, to "support the physical, social, pyschological and spiritual development of individuals and families by providing home-based health and social services that lead to long-term strengthening and enhancement of family and community life." (

So what services does Pernet offer to foster individual and family development? There are several programs available:
  • Early Intervention
  • Emergency Assistance Program
  • Family Support Program
  • Fathers & Family Program
  • Homemaker Program
  • Maternal Child Nursing
  • Spiritual Life Program
  • Worcester Healthy Start Initiative
  • Young Parent Support Service
  • Youth Program
As StandUp For Kids works with at risk and homeless youth 21 and under, I thought I would focus on three of the above services. I encourage you to read their Programs page for more great information on the services above:

The Fathers and Family Program

The Fathers and Family Program offers weekly parenting/support groups and individual case management services. This program also provides support services to incarcerated fathers.

Young Parent Support Service
The Young Parent Support Service assists youth 23 and under with parenting skills, time management methods, and help in establishing a support network.

Youth Program
The Youth Program offers a free, drop-in Homework Club, an after school program run by local colleges. Pernet also offers a Mentoring Program for middle school students on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. that includes arts and crafts, recreation, and youth events.

Pernet Family Health Services is located at 237 Millbury Street in Worcester.

For more information, visit their site at or call Pernet at 508-755-1228.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Local Service Spotlight: AIDS Project Worcester

During the next few months, I'll be randomly focusing on several key services within the Worcester community. It's not only important for our outreach counselors and our kids to know about these services, but it's critical for the community as a whole to become familiar with them.

This Week's Spotlight: AIDS Project Worcester

AIDS Project - Worcester was founded in 1987 "to provide education to the community about HIV/AIDS and services to individuals and families infected with HIV disease." (

What Services does AIDS Project Worcester Provide?
When a person contacts the program, his or her needs are assessed and a care plan is established. Services can include:
  • Referrals (e.g., Local Medical Providers, Support Groups, Legal Services)
  • Advocacy (e.g., Phone Calls to Local Services on Behalf of the Consumer)
  • Transportation Support (Cab Vouchers and Bus Tickets for medical appointments)
  • Housing (e.g., Rental Start-Up Program, Homelessness Prevention Program)
  • Nutrition Program
  • Mental Health Services (e.g., Individual Counseling, Group Counseling)
Another great program offered is the Peer Program. The Peer Program staff are people living with HIV. "Sometimes just being able to talk to someone else who is HIV+ can make all the difference." (

Those interested in services provided by AIDS Project Worcester can set up an appointment with a Case Manager or drop in during business hours (location business hours are provided on their site).

The not-for-profit organization has two different locations in Central Massachusetts: 85 Green Street in Worcester and 39 Elm Street in Southbridge.

Check out more information about this local service at their website, including statistics on the current population they serve and new projects in the works:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where is the closest food pantry?

Do you know where the closest food pantry is to your house?

What about to your workplace?

When is the food pantry open?

Don't know the answers to these questions.? Well, many of the youth we work with also don't know the answers. It's not the first thing your parents or your community teaches you about as we don't think of anyone in our lives becoming homeless.

We regularly update a two-page document of local places to get meals (food pantries and soup kitchens). If we run into any youth that are having trouble affording their rent and their meals, we pull out the list and work with them to find a few places that are close by. We also provide them with the hours of operation for these places as they are not usually open all day (in fact, some are only open once a week).

So here's your assignment this week. Whether you live in Worcester, Boston, or all the way in Austin, Texas, I want you to findone food pantry in your area. Get the details on the place: it's name, location, hours of operation, and any other pertinent information. Then tell at least two people you know about the food pantry.

Next week, we'll start focusing on some great local services in the Worcester area.