BOSTON – Friday, August 15, 2008 – Commonwealth Corps volunteers will soon be on the ground throughout Massachusetts, as Governor Deval Patrick today announced $2,384,660 in grant funding for 36 public and non-profit organizations to take on nearly 300 volunteers later this fall.
"I am delighted to announce these awards as we work to implement Commonwealth Corps and call individuals to service to help make a real difference in communities across Massachusetts," said Governor Patrick. "We have a long history of service in the Commonwealth and I am pleased that the Commonwealth Corps has become the next chapter in that history.”
The Commonwealth Corp Commission and the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA) made final recommendations on funding to the Governor based on recommendations and input from 80 volunteer community reviewers from a variety of backgrounds. MSA is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the state commission on community service and volunteerism and has been selected to administer the Commonwealth Corps grants.
Organizations will now begin the recruiting process, and volunteers should be starting at sites around the state by November.
Proposed by Governor Patrick in 2007, the mission of the Commonwealth Corps is to engage Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds in direct service to rebuild communities and address their unmet needs. Commonwealth Corps will provide opportunities for skill building, leadership development and will encourage and enhance a lifelong civic vocation for its members.
Commonwealth Corps will work with non-profit organizations and public entities to reinvigorate civic involvement to help address the Commonwealth's most urgent needs. Commonwealth Corps members will work to strengthen the bonds of common purpose and unite people in service for the common good. Corps members will provide direct service, recruit, organize and mobilize additional volunteers - building a grassroots movement of volunteers dedicated to service.
The following list shows the breakdown of funding by county for the 36 programs selected:
Alzheimer's Services of Cape Cod & the Islands, Inc
Program Name: The Regional Caregiver Support and Dementia-Specific Respite Program
The ASCCI propose the Regional Caregiver Support and Dementia-Specific Respite Program. While this program is a multi-faceted approach to the barriers to service in their region, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, a large component of the program is focused around dementia-specific volunteer based respite. The pilot program would include 2 full time and 4 part time members.
Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction, Inc.
Program Name: NEW BEDFORD Corps
The New Bedford Corps project’s primary goals are to serve at risk youth through the New Bedford Youth Court and expand the City of New Bedford’s GIVING Network to maximize the number of volunteers engaged in service throughout the City by 20%. The project will host 2 part time members and 3 full time members. Some of the members recruited will be individuals whose lives have been touched directly or indirectly by substance abuse. For the members that are in recovery, this experience is a second lease on life, allowing them to further their education, enhance skills and give back.
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Program Name: L.E.A.D.S. Leadership for Educational Attainment through Service
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, in conjunction with Bristol Community College, seeks 15 Commonwealth Corps members for the proposed Leadership for Educational Attainment Developed through Service (LEADS) program. Pairs of Corps members working as LEADS teams will be assigned to work with middle school students in the Fall River and New Bedford schools, educating them about leadership, educational attainment, and service to the community. The goals of this project include increasing civic engagement of students and Corps members, increasing leadership skills of students and Corps members, increasing the engagement of students in their schools to prevent future dropouts, and increasing their awareness of and aspiration to college level studies.
North Shore Elder Services
Program Name: Benefits Check-up
The proposed program is Benefits Check Up. It would be the go between, connecting elders to the National Council on Aging information bank, helping many to take advantage of benefits they are eligible for. Three part time corps members will become the primary team responsible for implementation of this program with oversight from a North Shore Elder Services program coordinator. Corps members would be recruited from the local area. The technology involved will require corps members to be computer proficient.
Young Entrepreneurs Society, Inc.
Program Name: Cultivating Economic Self Sufficiency in the North Quabbin
The Young Entrepreneurs Society, Inc. is proposing the program Cultivating Economic Self Sufficiency in the North Quabbin to help address the interrelated educational, economic, and social cohesion needs of area residents. Five Commonwealth Corps members are being requested including: a full-time volunteer coordinator for the North Quabbin Adult Learning Center; two full-time mentor coordinators for the Young Entrepreneurs society; and a full time co-coordinator and a flex-time assistant for the North Quabbin Time Bank.
Program Name: Community Housing Ambassadors
Hap, Inc., Hampden and Hampshire counties’ regional housing partnership, works to improve housing and neighborhood conditions for all residents of the counties, particularly low income households, those with special needs, and those who face discrimination. Hap is requesting four Commonwealth Corps members to assist with its Community Housing Ambassador program. The overall goal of this program is to help HAP increase its capacity to address the region’s unmet housing needs, expand the impact of neighborhood revitalization activities, and fortify its own financial strength. The Corps Ambassadors will accomplish this by working to generate additional community support.
Mercy Hospital, Inc.
Program Name: Mercy Healthy Communities Corps Team
Mercy Hospital Inc. seeks to host a team of 12 Commonwealth Corps Members on the Mercy Healthy Communities Corps Team that will serve at two prenatal care centers and the hospital’s Volunteer Department, Brightside Treatment and Campus School. A diverse team will address unmet community health needs ranging from (a) serious health issues that are associated with poverty, low educational attainment, and unemployment; (b) critical labor shortages of doctors, nurses, and other skilled health care professionals; (c) chronic homelessness; (d) teen pregnancy; and (e) children who are abused and psychologically distressed. Corps members will provide healthcare career information to students; deliver vital health education and outreach to vulnerable community members; recruit and train additional volunteers, and provide mentoring services to children.
Mount Holyoke College
Program Name: Community Based Learning Program
Mount Holyoke College, Holyoke Community College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst jointly propose a Commonwealth Corps team comprised of 12 corps members – 4 students from each campus – to support Latino/ educational achievement in Holyoke, MA. Corps members will provide college awareness programming for Holyoke public school students that connects them to six-College (Five College consortium institutions + Holyoke Community College) campuses, students, faculty, and staff through college fairs, workshops, and campus visits, and direct tutoring and mentoring through in-school and after school programs. Activities will improve Holyoke students’ academic performance, aspirations, and access to higher education. Corps members will improve partner organizations’ recruitment, training, and placement of volunteers supporting these aims.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Inc.
Program Name: MLKCC Commonwealth Corps Dream Keepers
This program will focus on 3 components: building community capacity, promoting civic engagement within the youth population and providing opportunities for unemployed youths between the ages of 18-21, who come from low income families to develop leadership skills and help foster their economic and social independence in order to become self sufficient. Specific emphasis is placed on recruiting young adults who reside in Mason Square area where 32% of families live below the poverty level, which is the third highest poverty rate in Springfield’s 13 neighborhoods.
Valley Opportunity Council
The Valley Opportunity Council seeks to enlist a corps of 15 members to help erase an adult literacy gap that is negatively affecting the futures of the region’s residents. This will be achieved by having these individuals serve at half a dozen sites in the Literary Works network. Literary Works was created five years ago to bring literary providers together around their common cause and to provide a framework for collaborative efforts. The roles of the 15 members will include coordinating and recruiting additional volunteers, and tutoring adult education students in areas ranging from basic literacy to English as a Second Language to job development and computer literacy. The short term goal of the proposed program is to build a citizen army toward creating change. The long term goal is to erase the language and learning deficits that have left Western Massachusetts cities ranked at or near the top statewide for per capita poverty.
Center for Human Development
Program Name: BBBS of Hampshire County
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Hampshire County has identified a need for increased support in the areas of volunteer recruitment, match support, and fundraising. The Commonwealth Corps program will consist of 5 members filled both by local college students and year-round community residents. The Corps members will reflect the diversity of the community and this structure will give college students the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from older community members who already have a strong commitment to service.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Middlesex County
Program Name: New Everett Clubhouse / Club Tech
Boys and Girls Clubs of Middlesex Country is seeking six Commonwealth Corps members to help institute Club Tech (a national, award winning program) at the Mystic/Healy Clubhouse, as well as to help open a new clubhouse in Everett. The three Corps members at Club Tech will facilitate all aspects of Club Tech programming at the Club, and will promote the Club and Club Tech program to the Somerville community and the area surrounding the Mystic/Healy Club. The three members working at the Everett Club will create community outreach, marketing, and public relations plans to introduce BGC to the Everett Community, and will also create programming derived from community needs assessments and meetings with community leaders and school officials.
Program Name: Revere Literacy Program Expansion
Generations Incorporated is a mentoring and literacy program at 3 schools in Revere Mass: The McKinley, Whelan and Garfield elementary. They are looking to expand the existing programs by obtaining 3 fulltime and nine flex time Commonwealth Corps members to serve 600 students during 2009. They will serve 600 students at those schools. The program goals are as follows: to increase Reading Coaches student literacy scores by 2.5 reading levels in 2009, decrease Lunchtime Mentors student behavioral infractions and increase self esteem and academic performance, and increase teacher rating of student literacy ability within Language Arts classrooms.
Minuteman Senior Services
Program Name: Minuteman Access Corps
Minuteman Senior Services is requesting 15 Commonwealth Corps volunteers to be a part of its ACCESS (Assure Consumer Choice through Effective Supportive Services) program. ACCESS corps members will enhance Minuteman’s capacity to identify, reach, educate, and connect elders and caregivers with the vast array of resources available to them locally. Corps members will help create and sustain collaborative relationships with partner agencies, create and implement highly visible outreach opportunities, and reach out to a diverse population of underserved seniors and disabled adults.
The Revolving Museum
Program Name: Commonwealth Corps 2008-2009
The Revolving Museum is an evolving laboratory of creative expression for people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities who seek to experience the transformative power of art. The organization seeks three Commonwealth Corps members to work on three distinct projects: 1) Volunteer Program Coordination; 2) Website Manager; and 3) Facilities Coordinator. Some goals for the projects are to 1) establish a permanent volunteer program; 2) use web technology to increase community participation, provide better services to the public, expand audience, improve communication; and 3) serve the mission of TRM by insuring facility needs are met.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Program Name: Project IMPACT
Project IMPACT will provide a program of consistent math tutoring for 9th grade students at Lowell High School to increase the passing rate in Algebra One and prepare students for success on the MCAS test required for graduation. The goal is to increase the passing rate in Algebra One by 68%. UMASS Lowell will recruit 1 part time Corps member and 24 flex-time members from the student body at the university to tutor the Freshman Academy.
Action for Boston Community Development, Inc
Program Name: ABCD's Senior Services Volunteer Program
ABCD is going to recruit a total of 14 members, 10 part-time and 4 flex-time. Of the total 14 members, 3 will be trained as SHINE counselors and serve on a part time basis at ABCD’s Elder Services Department and in the community through a network of Neighborhood Service Centers. Four members will be trained to facilitate three evidence-based educational trainings related to disease prevention and designed to promote healthier lifestyles among older adults. These 4 flex-time members will be trained on content matter related to fall prevention, healthy eating, and chronic disease self management and will co-facilitate (in pairs) at least 20 trainings to over 300 seniors per year at community centers throughout Boston on a flex-time basis, starting with ABCD’s own Neighborhood Service network. The remaining 7 will work exclusively at their North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center on a part time basis as the center expands its services to seniors in neighborhoods characterized by a large percentage of low-income elder residents.
Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
Program Name: Oak Street Youth Center: Chinatown After School Enrichment Program
The Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center has grown to become the premiere Asian American multi-service center in Greater Boston. They proposed to provide the creation of service opportunities within The Oak Street Youth Center. Through Commonwealth Corps they want to recruit one part-time member who will coordinate the Tutoring Involvement Program. In addition, they will recruit 5 flex time members who will work as tutors during the school year. Then in the summer, they will recruit 2 flex-time members who will act as youth worker assistants, running clubs and field trips.
Codman Academy Charter Public School
Program Name: "Tutors for All" Academic Support Program
Codman Academy’s mission is closing the “poverty gap” related to student achievement and they believe “it takes a village” to do so. The Tutors for All program will put individualized literacy and numeracy instruction at the center of students’ instructional experiences. This program will enlist 15 Commonwealth Corps members as program leaders, individual instructors, and as agents of recruitment and program development. It is believed that these Corps members will profoundly affect students learning, leading to proficiency in state measurements (e.g. MCAS), success in Codman’s demanding course load, and success in college and beyond.
Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Program Name: LVM Volunteer Recruitment and Support Project
Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts (LVM) is a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote literacy skills that empower adults to realize their goals. The LVM Volunteer Recruitment and Support Project seeks five Commonwealth Corps members to serve in Boston, Framingham, and Southbridge. Although services provided by the corps members will vary according to each community’s needs, they will primarily consist of community outreach.
MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers
Program Name: La Cadena de Amistad (The Chain of Friendship) (MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers' Jamaica Plain Chapter)
MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers is seeking support for its La Cadena de Amistad program. Three Commonwealth Corps members will receive training to serve in the role of medical escort, health care system educator, and advocate. The project has several direct service, organizational and civic engagement goals including: improving access to and understanding of the American health care system for Latinos; increasing community awareness of La Cedena de Amistad services; and increasing volunteer interest and opportunities within the Spanish speaking population.
University of Massachusetts Boston
Program Name: Harbor Point Outreach Partnership
The University of Massachusetts Boston is proposing the Harbor Point Outreach Partnership (HPOP) to address community identified needs for tutoring, mentoring, access to higher education, and technology workshops for youth and adult residents of Harbor Point Apartment Community. Fifteen low income, first generation, college students of color enrolled at UMB will be recruited as Commonwealth Corps members. Members will enroll in a service learning class and will participate in a high quality service learning project. Students will work on-site at Harbor Point, providing tutoring, mentoring, and technology training and will plan workshops to promote community understanding and access to higher education.
Year Up (Greater Boston / Massachusetts)
Year Up is a one year intensive education program for low income and disconnected urban young adults, ages 18-24, individuals who are neither employed or enrolled in post-secondary education. The mission is to close the “opportunity divide” by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their full potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up seeks four Commonwealth Corps members who will support Boston’s program in teaching, learning, advising and mentoring.
LUK Crisis Center
Program Name: Connect & Serve
LUK Crisis Center Inc, a non-profit youth and family serving agency established in 1970, will work with 6 Commonwealth corps members to develop leadership skills, civic responsibility, and community service among youth in Fitchburg. LUK’s Connect and Serve program will recruit 6 diverse Corps members – 3 part time and 3 flex time, who will create a middle school Youth Leadership Institute that will take place in 3 middle schools, create a Youth Leadership Institute for older youth outside of school setting, promote positive youth development activities in Fitchburg, coordinate service learning for at-risk youth and coordinate media projects for youth. Program objectives include: preparing youth to assume leadership and volunteer roles, Corps members participating in additional responsible civic actions, increasing the number of youth who volunteer in Fitchburg, and preparing and supporting middle school peer mentoring.
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Program Name: Common Ground
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust Inc.’s proposed Common Ground Program is designed to address documented needs for increased collaboration and land protection capacity of land conservation groups in north central Massachusetts, while engaging the community, and in particular young people, in land protection and stewardship efforts. The project will provide direct service and support to community groups within the region. Mount Grace is requesting five Commonwealth Corps members. These volunteers will work in the program areas of Landscape Partnership, Land Stewardship, Service Learning, and Conservation Connection.
North Central Charter Essential School
Program Name: Teaching and Community Outreach Apprentice Corps
North Central Charter Essential School (NCCES) is a public school which serves middle and high school students from close to 30 cities and towns across Central Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Teaching and Outreach Apprentice program at NCCES is requesting eight volunteers and will increase the capacity of NCCES to serve its students, increase the number of people available to serve in volunteer roles at the school, and increase the number of NCCES students, staff, and families serving in volunteer roles in the region. Six Corps members will serve as part-time Teacher Apprentices who will work closely with and support grade level team leaders. Through their work they will help identify and codify specific volunteer needs in the school. The seventh Corps member will serve as Coordinator of the Teacher Apprentice Corps and facilitate corps members work with grade level team leaders. A final Corps member will serve as a Community Outreach Apprentice.
Pernet Family Health Services, Inc.
Program Name: Green Island and Lower Vernon Hill Neighborhood Development Program
PFHS, in partnership with the Oak Hill Community Development Corporation, proposes to create a program that targets economic and social barriers that the Green Island and lower Vernon Hill neighborhoods of Worcester face in their efforts to become a thriving and healthy community. The program will include 4 Corps team members, a full time volunteer /community organizer, a full time community organizer, a part time youth development specialist and a flex time. The goals of the program are: foster family engagement at the community and family unit levels, identify and foster the development of new adult and youth leaders with GI/VH, provide academic and social enrichment for school-aged children, recruit community volunteers to help meet community needs, and increase the capacity of PFHS and OHCDC to provide family and community development programs by expanding their funding.
Worcester State College Intergenerational Urban Institute (IUI)
Program Name: Ending Hunger Together
Worcester State College Intergenerational Urban Institute (IUI) is seeking funding to create a cadre of Commonwealth Corps members to implement a new program: Ending Hunger Together (EHT). The goal of EHT is to develop a model Intergenerational Fellows Program that creates hunger awareness while providing active roles to people of all ages in fighting it. With assitance of 10 Corps members EHT will provide food stamp outreach and application assistance to elders, assist with the outreach and management of volunteers, create an outreach program to involve urban schools, and develop and maintain a new hunger website that connects people across the Commonwealth in the fight against hunger.
Multiple County Partnerships: $616,450
Quaboag Valley Community Development – Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire & Worcester
Program Name: Western Massachusetts Community Development Collaborative
Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation, on behalf of the Western Massachusetts Community Development Collaborative (WMCDC), seeks to engage nine Commonwealth Corps members to work with seven community development corporations (CDCs) in Western Massachusetts. Corps members will work with the CDCs in WMCDC on outreach and marketing, helping to broaden public awareness of and draw more participants to the organizations’ programs and services. They will also develop written materials, communicate with community members one-on-one as well as in groups, help organize events, and develop databases of volunteers who want to work with the CDCs on an ongoing basis. The CDCs will benefit from corps members work in that they will see an increase in the numbers of community members participating in their activities and taking advantage of their services.
Horizons for Homeless Children – Essex, Hampden, Plymouth, Suffolk & Worcester
Program Name: Playspace Programs
Horizon for Homeless Children (HHC) is requesting five Commonwealth Corps members for its Playspace Programs, a growing network of more than 140 sites providing more than 2,000 homeless children each week with the opportunity for developmentally-appropriate play and learning. Through its Playspace programs, HHC installs and maintains Playspaces in family shelters and recruits, trains, places, and supports volunteers who serve homeless children. Commonwealth Corps members will play a key support role in improving program quality and expanding the scope of the program by helping to maintain the Playspaces and by helping HHC to reach its goals for volunteer recruitment and retention.
YouthBuild Boston – Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk & Suffolk
YouthBuild of Boston proposes to launch the YouthBuild Boston Commonwealth Corps Community Impact Program in September of 2008. Members will create 3 community focus/advisory teams, and increase student service involvement by 50%, define areas of opportunity for targeting needy populations ages 5-12, build 15 corporate partnerships, increase the volunteer base by 500 active members, serve 5-10 organizations through major service projects, partner with 3-5 local organizations to multiply resource effectiveness, have a positive impact on student behavior/attendance, and improve the GED attainment rate of students by 35% and provide a variety of services to senior citizens. The total personal impact reach of these efforts will exceed 4000 individuals in Metro Boston alone.
Boston Learning Center – Essex & Suffolk
The Girls Connection Program
Boston Learning Center is a private, community-based, non-profit tutorial center whose mission is to transform motivation in order to promote ownership of the learning process in middle and high school students so they can realize their full potential in school and in life. The Girls Connection Program was launched in 2006 as an after school program designed to meet the unique needs of at-risk and high-risk teenage girls. A total of eight Commonwealth Corps members will be assigned to work at the two Roxbury sites, the Lynn YMCA, and the BLC headquarters in Dorchester. Most Corps members will work directly with the girls as tutors/enrichment instructors and those members in the headquarters will be working with the Executive Director and Program Coordinator to develop a fundraising plan and a communications/marketing strategy for the upcoming year.
Commonwealth Land Trust, Inc. – Essex & Suffolk
Program Name: STEPS Project
Based in Lower Roxbury, the Commonwealth Land Trust provides supportive affordable housing and social services to very low income families and individuals struggling with multiple disabilities, including chronic mental and physical illnesses, additions, and a chronic history of homelessness. The primary goal for the STEPS (Supportive Training Education & Property Services) Project is to help CLT residents at high risk of returning to homelessness achieve and maintain stable housing, access health care, and learn the living skills they need to provide for themselves and their families. CLT is requesting funding for four Commonwealth Corps members who will focus on providing outreach and supportive services to help residents break the cycle of chronic homelessness and stabilize their lives.
Boston Cares – Franklin, Hampshire, Suffolk & Worcester
Program Name: Mass Volunteers
Boston Cares’ MassVolunteers program will address three important yet often overlooked challenges facing volunteerism in our communities: 1) the need to drastically improve the non-profit infrastructure it takes to engage volunteers, 2) a real dearth of volunteer opportunities for youth, 3) limited access to best practices among volunteer coordinators. Six Commonwealth Corps members will build the program infrastructure needed for dozens of local non-profits to engage 2,500 new volunteers in Greater Boston/Metro West, Central Mass., Greater Leominster and the Franklin-Hampshire-North Quabbin region. Additionally they will participate in volunteer coordination networks through which they can both share and learn best practices in volunteer engagement and retention innovations.
Samaritans, Inc. – Middlesex & Suffolk
Program Name: Close the Gap Corps
Samaritans, Inc. is a suicide prevention agency and pursues its mission through core services in the areas of prevention, intervention, and post-vention services. Samaritans is seeking to launch a Commonwealth Corps to support its volunteer based suicide prevention programs called the Samaritans ‘Close the Gap’ Corps. Twelve Corps members will serve primarily with the organization’s helpline programs doing volunteer recruitment, and training and retention activities, but will also provide support within the Grief Support Services and Development Programs. The goal of the Close the Gap Corps will be to provide additional capacity to the Samaritans as long-term solutions to the gap that currently exists between the demand for services and the organization’s ability to fully respond to that demand.
The Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc. – Middlesex & Suffolk
Program Name: Arts-Based Youth Organizing Initiative
The Center for Teen Empowerment’s (TE) Arts-Based Youth Organizing Initiative will engage three Commonwealth Corps members in empowering low income, urban youth through arts instruction and experiential education. The work of TE’s Commonwealth Corps members will take place as part of the organizations youth organizing projects in Somerville and in three Boston neighborhoods. The members will work directly with youth organizers every afternoon to help develop original performance and visual arts pieces about the community issues the youth groups are trying to address.