NoteWorthy – 3/28/21
AROUND THE VALLEY
NECC & Whittier Early College Program Receives State Approval
Whittier Tech and Northern Essex Community College (NECC) have announced that their partnership has been given official designation as a Massachusetts Early College Program, which will take effect in the fall of 2021 and allow Whitter students to earn college credits at no cost.
The Massachusetts Early College Initiative was created in 2018 to give local students, especially first-generation collegegoers, access to college completion and career success.
Whittier students have been taking NECC courses since 2018, and there are currently 70 students enrolled in the program. With this new designation from the state and the benefit of free tuition, it’s anticipated that the number of students involved will increase significantly.
Marcy Yeager, executive director of NECC’s PK12 Partnerships, which administers the Early College program, says, “it’s not double the work; it’s double the credit. We are moving them toward degree completion.”
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education data shows that high school graduates who participated in Early College programs are enrolling in college at a rate that is 20% higher than their high school peers. Additionally, their FAFSA completion rates are 25% higher than school peers.
The program also benefits underserved communities, with two-thirds of students enrolled in Early College programs identifying as Black or Latino.
Baker-Polito Administration Provides Weekly Dose Updates, $100 Million for Disproportionately Impacted Communities, Announces Homebound Vaccination Program
The Baker-Polito Administration announced the weekly distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses to providers across Massachusetts. The commonwealth has received 330,000 first and second doses from the federal government as part of the state allocation of doses.
The administration also announced $100 million in funding for four communities, including Methuen, and the launch of a homebound vaccination program to build on efforts to ensure that all state residents have equitable access to the vaccine.
Lawrence Partnership Ushering in New Leadership
The Lawrence Partnership, the collaboration of business and civic leaders committed to building an inclusive and resilient economy in Lawrence, officially announced a pair of long-planned leadership moves.
Derek Mitchell, the organization’s executive director since it was founded in 2014, announced that he will complete his term this summer. The board has initiated a search for a new executive director with experience in economic development and a background in business, public administration, community planning or a related field.
The transition was planned to coincide with the elevation of its new board chairperson, Lawrence attorney Wendy Estrella, who took over as chair in January. She replaced Marianne Paley Nadel. Lawrence attorney Socrates De La Cruz has been named board vice chair.
Merrimack Valley Hospice Clinical Hospice Director Gives Back by Volunteering to Administer the COVID-19 Vaccine
As a health care professional who has endured the personal and professional tolls of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Linda Miller is now giving back by volunteering to administer inoculations at Lowell General Hospital’s regional vaccination site at Cross River Center in Lowell. Miller is a Dracut resident and clinical hospice director at Merrimack Valley Hospice, a nonprofit agency of Lawrence-based Home Health Foundation.
According to Hoey, Cross River Center is currently providing approximately 2,000 shots per day, and has administered more than 50,000 doses since the vaccines were released.
National Research Project Bundles Interventions to Make More Aggressive Gains in Black Women’s Health
The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), in collaboration with AIDS United and the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health at Boston University’s School of Social Work, have been tapped to lead a national, first-of-its-kind project to evaluate and disseminate bundled evidence-informed and trauma-informed interventions for Black women with HIV.
This work comes on the heels of a year defined by race-based inequities in health care, political and social unrest, and increased calls for racial and social justice. Furthermore, it includes a bundled intervention approach in recognition that multi-pronged strategies may more effectively address socio-cultural health determinants, expand utilization of services, and ultimately improve health outcomes for Black women.
According to the CDC, Black women represent 57 percent of all new HIV diagnoses among women. Black women also disproportionately experience violence, including intimate partner violence, at higher rates than other women, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Irene O’Brien Honored After Nearly Two Decades of Service as North Andover Senior Center Executive Director
After nearly two decades of service as executive director of the North Andover Senior Center, Irene O’Brien will be retiring this year.
O’Brien, who previously served the towns of Salisbury, Newbury and Groveland, was recently celebrated for her service during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration hosted by state Sen. Diana DiZoglio at the Senior Center.
DiZoglio, fellow senator Bruce Tarr and state Reps. Christina Minicucci and Tram Nguyen presented O’Brien with proclamations from the legislature in honor of her service and accomplishments.
“In her role as executive director, Irene has been a tireless leader and advocate, helping countless older adults in the community by identifying their health, economic and social needs and working with them to improve their quality of life,” said DiZoglio. “She will be greatly missed but we wish her all the best in her retirement!”
Local Montessori Preschools Receives Haverhill Cultural Council Grant
Local Wildflower Montessori preschools Wisteria Montessori and Marigold Montessori have received funding from the Haverhill Cultural Council for six months of art curriculum and supplies to serve over thirty preschool age children. The curriculum is designed by Creative Haverhill, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “support Haverhill arts and culture, providing experiences and access at the intersection of art, culture, and community and to develop high-quality spaces as platforms for community and cultural expression.”
Marigold and Wisteria Montessori Schools are part of the Wildflower network, an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that support children, teachers, and parents. There will be an exhibit of original artwork created by the children of Wisteria and Marigold Montessori schools at a Boardwalk Block Party slated to take place this summer. The event will invite the public to enjoy a day of free, family-friendly programming. Activities may include interactive art projects, music and dance performances, food and an outdoor movie.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
MCC’s Caleb Chin wins 2021 Mass. Student Employee of the Year Award
A Middlesex Community College (MCC) Commonwealth Honors Program (CHP) student and computer science major, Chin was recognized for this achievement among two-year and four-year college students across the state. For the past five semesters, Chin has been working as a computer science supplemental instruction leader and peer tutor for MCC’s academic centers for enrichment. Through his work supporting students, he learns different subjects while further developing his communication and leadership skills. The experience has also taught him how to balance school with other responsibilities. From California and now living in Lowell, Chin started at MCC in the dual enrollment program to complete his studies as a home-schooled student. In his third semester at MCC, he enrolled as a full-time student and will graduate with an associate degree in Computer Science in May 2021.
YMCA 2021 Virtual Legacy Gala
Join the YMCA on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at 7 p.m. for a good cause. Tickets are $60 and include a special event swag bag, one entry into the “virtual” door prize, charcuterie from Bradford Country Club and a Pentucket Bank Payday signature cocktail. All proceeds will help YMCA children enjoy essential enrichment programs at Haverhill and Plaistow summer camps. Click here to learn more.
“Fuel Her Fire” Virtual Auction
Girls Inc. of New Hampshire will host its annual Fuel Her Fire auction virtually on Friday, April 16, 2021. The event will stream live to Facebook and YouTube at 7 p.m. with a pandemic-friendly live auction and entertainment. All proceeds will go toward program scholarships and to fund Girls Inc. of New Hampshire centers in Nashua and Manchester. The virtual auction is free, but guests are encouraged to register in advance to receive event updates, preview live auction items, bid on online items, and purchase raffle tickets to a deluxe escape for two from the Bedford Village Inn. Click here to register.
Hike for Hope 2021
Join the Lazarus House Ministries’ HIKE for HOPE 2021 Challenge and be part of the solution to food insecurity in our community. This community-focused and fun challenge will bring everyone together to raise critical funds to support our soup kitchen and food pantry, relieving the stress and uncertainty for families who struggle to put food on the table for their families. This year, there will be two live 5K walk or run events on Saturday, May 22, and Sunday, May 23, at 10 a.m. Click here for more information.
Merrimack Valley Hospice Free Virtual Support Group for Children
Merrimack Valley Hospice has expanded its offerings of free grief support groups to include a session for children. Groups are offered biweekly via Zoom video conference, with sessions led by a facilitator from the Merrimack Valley Hospice licensed, credentialed bereavement staff. The new children’s grief support group meets every other Monday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., from March 29 through June 7. All groups are free of charge and open to the public. To register, call (978) 552-4510 or visit here to learn more.
Lawrence Boys & Girls Club Virtual Auction
Support the daily operation of the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club during the “Let’s Fiesta” 10-day VIRTUAL Annual Auction that will take place from Thursday, April 1, to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. This year, support is more important than ever. COVID-19 has turned members’ lives upside down. While implementing careful safety guidelines, the club continues to serve kids both in person and virtually as a reliable, familiar, and safe place to receive remote learning help, eat a nutritious supper, and discover talents in sports, STEM programs, the arts, leadership groups, and so much more. Click here to donate.
Fania Davis Leads the Annual Day Without Violence & More
Civil rights leader Fania Davis, UMass Lowell’s (UML) 2021 Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies, will lead the annual Day Without Violence with the keynote address “Restorative Justice, Racial Justice and Peace Building,” online on Tuesday, April 6 at 12:30 p.m. Davis will also lead “The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice: Resources for Cultivating Peace in Our Communities,” a virtual event presented by UML and the Greater Lowell Interfaith Leadership Alliance on Thursday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m. Click here to attend these free virtual programs.
Sip, Sample & Support
Sip, Sample & Support: A Virtual Affair to benefit Emmaus is a week-long silent auction culminating in an interactive wine/beer, cheese and chocolate tasting this April. The event will feature an online and live auction, musical entertainment, and an interactive wine/beer and cheese and chocolate pairing via tasting boxes that will be available for purchase. The weeklong online event will begin on April 7, and the concluding wine, beer and cheese tasting will occur on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. Click here for details.
Merrimack Valley Conference for Women
This year’s Merrimack Valley Conference for Women will take place virtually on Thursday, April 8, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The conference will include five panels with three Merrimack Valley women on each of those panels, and the featured keynote speakers are Liz O’Donnell and Carol Hay. View the full schedule for the 2021 conference and click here to register for the event.
10th Annual Chris Sullivan 5k
UMass Lowell (UML) will honor one of its graduates through the 10th anniversary Chris Sullivan 5K run in May. Any participant interested can take part between May 1 and 9, and those who register by March 26 will receive a commemorative medal while supporting student veterans pursuing their education at UML. For more on Sullivan, visit here, and click this link to register for the event
YWCA 38th Annual Tribute to Women
Each May, YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts honors a select group of remarkable women who contribute to the communities within its service areas. This year the women will be honored virtually at the 38th Annual Tribute to Women on Thursday, May 13. Visit here for more information, or to help sponsor this event.
Megan House Foundation 7th Annual Golf Tournament
The Megan House Foundation Inc., who are committed to supporting the treatment and recovery of young women struggling with substance use disorder, will be hosting their 7th annual “Fore” Hope and Recovery golf tournament on Monday, June 14. The tournament will be held at Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, and tee time starts at 7:30 a.m. Click here for more information.
WSCW Spring Craft Fair 2021
The Woman’s Service Club of Windham will hold its 9th Annual Spring Craft Fair on Saturday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside at Windham High School. The fair features more than 85 artisans from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont who exhibit a wide variety of handmade crafts. The fair benefits the club’s scholarship fund and its many contributions that benefit area residents. Click here for more information.
Lowell General Hospital’s TeamWalk for CancerCare
Last year, Lowell General Hospital transitioned their annual TeamWalk for CancerCare to TeamWalk on your terms, and the will be continuing this tradition this year. TeamWalk on Your Terms allows you to hold TeamWalk on your turf and on your time. When it is safe and you feel comfortable, simply choose when and where you want to walk. Get your team together for a three or six mile walk on the date and time of your choosing. You can walk anywhere between May 23 and September 1. For details, click here.
Emmaus Annual Cycle for Shelter
Registration is now open for the 2021 Cycle for Shelter. Join the ride to help raise money to defeat homelessness. This year riders have the option of riding virtually or joining in-person on Sunday, September 19, if COVID restrictions allow. If the in-person ride is limited in numbers due to state restrictions, the event will operate under a “first-come, first-served” model and those who registered first will have the opportunity to participate. Click here to register.
Greater Lawrence Summer Fund
Consider providing opportunities for thousands of children this summer by donating to the Greater Lawrence Summer Fund. The fund gives children from low-income families a chance to experience life-changing summer activities that not only keep them safe but provides them with opportunities that open doors for a promising future. Click here to consider helping this community organization.
Free Webinars for Essex County Artists
Assets for Artists has redesigned its business and financial education programming to provide artists with recovery-focused, distance-learning opportunities that retain the intimate cohort-focused style of in-person workshops. The workshops will discuss current challenges, relief efforts and opportunities for artists’ financial futures. They are only open to artists who currently reside in Essex County, Massachusetts. All workshops are free and held via Zoom, with pre-registration required to keep the webinar cohorts at a size that maximizes participation and peer support. Click here to register.
MCC’s College for Kids Online Summer Classes
This year, Middlesex Community College (MCC) has transitioned College for Kids to online formats for this summer’s programming. These summer programs aim to provide children and teens with unique opportunities to explore careers, learn new skills, meet new friends and boost self-confidence while keeping them safe and having fun. The program will feature seven weeks of half day programs taking place from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., or 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for children and teens ages 8 to 17. The program will run from July 6 through August 19. Click hereto register.
Bring Live Theater Back to Lowell
Lend a hand in the effort to bring live theater back to Lowell by making a donation to the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT). Your support will bring back vital, remarkable storytelling to the stage and help revive the careers of 40 gifted artists, technicians, and staff members who have all been out of work since March. Visit here to support the MRT.
Project LEARN is an organization that works hand-in-hand with Lowell public schools to fund innovative programs and services to inspire today’s students and equip them with the skills, knowledge and mindset they need for college, career and life. Your support will ensure that Project LEARN can expand in 2021 to impact more of Lowell’s young people through game-changing programs. Visit here to donate and learn more about this program.
Check Out the Latest Episode of The 495 Podcast!
This week, The 495 goes COSMIC! We’re joined by physicist Noureddine Melikechi, a Dean at UMass Lowell and member of the Mars Science Laboratory, NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars space mission. We talk everything from the Mars rover to the folk music of Maghreb. Click here to listen.