AROUND THE VALLEY
Kids in Tech Launch Fund for Digital Equity
Kids in Tech is working to make sure the educational gaps in underserved communities don’t widen while schools are shut down.
The closure of schools due to COVID-19 have left hundreds of our students without any access to the resources that are now required for an education. Kids in Tech’s work in underserved communities continues to address these inequities virtually, delivering mentorship and programming to students who need it most.
As an extension of this effort, Kids in Tech is launching launching the Fund for Digital Equity to supply students with the resources they need to continue their education from home.
You can join in on the fight and help students continue to thrive now and in the future.
With your support, students will no longer be at risk of falling behind in their education simply due to lack of resources. Below we have listed some of our most pressing needs.
• An hour of virtual instruction — $100
• A portable hotspot for a family so they connect to the internet — $140
• Wi-Fi enabled laptops for a child to participate in our virtual afterschool program — $319
• One year of software licenses that allows us to deliver virtual learning — $5,000
• A series of STEM curriculum projects adapted for meaningful hands-on virtual learning — $10,000
Kids in Tech also welcome donations of any amount, as it will go a long way to supporting the programs.
You can help support by Texting “KIT” to 44321, donating online at KidsInTech.org/donate or mailing a check to Kids in Tech, P.O. Box 9057, Lowell, Mass. 01853.
A Double Win: Supporting Local Businesses and Ensuring Food Access
In a new partnership with MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative and the City of Lawrence, Groundwork Lawrence has been contracting with eight downtown Lawrence restaurants. The goal is to purchase 1,600 meals a week to be donated to the Lawrence YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, and Bread and Roses. This food is then distributed to local residents in need, expanding access to food during this time.
The restaurants — Blue Lounge Restaurant, Café Azteca, Coco’s Café & Catering, El Taller Café & Bookstore, Grumpy G, Lu’s Café & Bakery, Tu Kasa, and Vaka Restaurant — are all part of the fabric of our community. Each of these businesses were closed before this program began, but, with these funds, they have now been able to hire back 1/3 of their workforce.
The program is off to a resounding successful start, however we do not have enough funds to continue this work in the coming weeks. You can help — just $10 buys a hot meal for someone in need and supports our local restaurants. Donate here.
Mills42 Federal Credit Union Uplifts Through Acts of Kindness
When times are tough, the leadership of a few can help an entire community rise up. Thanks to the team at Mills42 Federal Credit Union, a number of individuals under the most financial stress right now have received unexpected help. Currently, Mills42 is awarding 100 Market Basket gift cards worth $10,000 in all.
This giveaway benefits members of Mills42 who are experiencing the most adverse economic impacts of COVID-19 — especially families struggling to put food on the table.
“After getting feedback from local charities, we found the quickest way to help our community was through food,” says Carla Rasetta, president and CEO of Mills42 FCU. The gift card giveaway was funded by a grant from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that Mills42 applied for. It’s just one of many acts of kindness Mills42 has spearheaded since the start of the pandemic.
Amesbury Carriage Museum Receives $120K from the Mass Cultural Council
The Amesbury Carriage Museum (ACM) has been awarded a Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) grant of $120,000 to support the development of the Industrial History Center. This new facility, currently under construction, will offer a wide range of programs to celebrate the rich history of Amesbury’s industry and its people.
“This is really amazing news. We are ecstatic. The support of the Mass Cultural Council is a huge validation of our project and comes at a time when we all could use a boost of positive news,” says ACM Executive Director, John Mayer. “Even during the COVID-19 crisis, we continue to work on our campaign. This grant moves us that much closer to our project goal.”
The One Haverhill Fund
The One Haverhill Fund — convened by Representative Andy Vargas and established by Haverhill community leaders like Mayor James Fiorentini, Representative Christina Minicucci, the Greater Haverhill Chamber, Community Action, Inc., Emmaus, Haverhill food pantries, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley — will mobilize resources for emergency assistance and expanded food distribution, with a focus on those who are most economically vulnerable during the pandemic. This fund will deploy resources through nonprofit partners to prevent financial crises and displacement for the residents of our city.
These funds will cover the costs of essential needs including, but not limited to, rent, food, utilities, internet connectivity, childcare, medications and other basic necessities.
At this time, this fund is not intended to support nonprofit capacity. It will rather focus on the basic needs of families. Priority will be given to those who are most economically vulnerable to this crisis. All donations will be collected by United Way and distributed by established Haverhill nonprofit organizations with a track record of administering assistance funds.
You can donate to the fund by clicking here. All gifts are tax-deductible, and 100% of the proceeds will go to individuals seeking assistance via nonprofits already working in our community.
Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Backbone of Haverhill
Haverhill’s small businesses and creative community are the backbones of what makes our city a wonderful place. The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce want to celebrate you — artists, restaurateurs, gym owners, musicians, writers, makers, lawyers, bankers — with their new media project .
Submit a 30 second to 1-minute video showcasing how you are getting the job done from home, from your essential business, from your garage/driveway or whatever you are doing to get by. Share a live performance, a time-lapsed art demo, a story, a poem, a working kitchen or anything else you can imagine, complimented by a short positive message to the Haverhill community.
Visit here for more information on how you can submit your video.
Friends from Mass. and N.H. to Hike the 21.5-Mile Wapack Trail to Raise Funds to Preserve Open Space
On June 6, 2020, mvm columnist Emilie-Noelle Provost and Robert Hamilton of Lowell, Mass., and Suzanne and Thomas Perry of Londonderry, N.H., will hike the entire 21.5 Wapack Trail, which runs from Ashburnham, Mass. to Greenfield, N.H. The hike, which is being called “Wapack Hike for the Wild,” will raise funds to support the Northeast Wilderness Trust’s effort to preserve a parcel of unprotected land abutting the Binney Hill Wilderness. The fundraising goal is $5,000.
The hike will begin at Wapack National Wildlife Refuge in Greenfield, and end at Watatic Mountain State Wildlife Area in Ashburnham. One of the oldest interstate hiking trails in the U.S., the Wapack Trail opened in 1923, and it traverses nine mountains. The estimated total elevation gain for the 21.5-mile hike is 4,600 feet.
Merrimack Valley Hospice Now Offering Free Virtual Grief Support Groups
Grief support groups offer individuals who have lost a loved one with a safe space and supportive environment to express feelings and share memories with others who understand what they are going through. Since in-person meetings are not possible during this health crisis, Merrimack Valley Hospice is offering virtual sessions so those who are grieving may continue to find comfort and learn coping skills to help them come to terms with their loss.
Groups are offered on a biweekly basis on Zoom, with each session led by a facilitator from Merrimack Valley Hospice’s licensed, credentialed bereavement staff. Groups take place Wednesdays (12 to 1 p.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (10 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.). Sessions are tailored to meet the group’s needs, with topics including the grief process, general loss and healing.
All groups are free of charge and open to the public. To learn more or register, call (978) 552-4510.
Maudslay Arts Center Cancels 2020 Summer Concert Series
Maudslay Arts Center has made the decision to cancel this years Summer Concert Series due to the COVID-19 crisis. The decision was made of concern for the safety of patrons, musicians and volunteers.
Congresswoman Lori Trahan Hosts Virtual Town Hall in Spanish with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar
Friday, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) was joined by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) for a live virtual town hall in Spanish to answer questions about COVID-19’s impact on the Spanish-speaking communities in their districts, the resources and benefits available to those who have been affected, and what they are doing in Washington to deliver additional relief.
The Congresswomen answered questions submitted by constituents ranging from what is being done to mitigate the disproportionate effects of the coronavirus on communities of color, assistance available to minority-owned small businesses, the recently passed Heroes Act and more.
The full event can be accessed by clicking here.
Around the Valley
GLCF Announces $75,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) recently provided phase one emergency response grants to Greater Lowell nonprofits serving vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Totaling $75,000, these 60 grants are the first to be distributed from the newly established GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, created to meet the need for nonprofit resources and services for the elderly, low-income, immigrants and homeless during these uncertain times. Categories of funding included: food insecure, essential/front line workers, homeless, immigrants, individuals with disabilities/elders, technology support/educational supplies and essential supplies.
An Update on the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
The support Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) continues to look for new and innovative ways to raise philanthropic support and donations of personal protective equipment. They wish to thank those that have given to the GLFHC COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as the individuals and organizations who have donated to help recognize our hardworking staff.
Their monthly Mobile Food Market at the 34 Haverhill Street site, in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, continues to serve the community as it has for the past three years. Their community support services team leads a group of over 30 staff volunteers on the last Saturday of every month in preparing bags of food and produce for patients in need. Over 750 Lawrence families received assistance this month. Here is short video from Saturday: GLFHC Mobile Food Market.
Pentucket Bank Processes Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Applications Through the Night
On April 27, Pentucket Bank processed over 100 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications through the night, securing critical funds for business owners who had applied with the bank.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) released the anticipated second round of PPP funds at 10:30 a.m. in the amount of $351 billion. Despite complications with the SBA portal, the Pentucket Bank team committed to securing funds for their customers, and they worked straight through until just before 3 a.m. when the last of their applications in queue was submitted and authorized.
Business and Community Leaders Launch One Haverhill Fund
Haverhill community leaders launched the One Haverhill Fund to mobilize resources to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The One Haverhill Fund — convened by Rep. Andy Vargas and established by community leaders including Mayor James Fiorentini, Rep. Christina Minicucci, the Greater Haverhill Chamber, Community Action, Inc., Emmaus, Haverhill food pantries, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley — will mobilize resources for emergency assistance and expanded food distribution, with a focus on those who are most economically vulnerable during the pandemic. The fund will deploy resources through nonprofit partners to prevent financial crises and displacement for the residents of Haverhill.
Groundwork Lawrence Helps Eight Local Restaurants To Provide 1600 Meals A Week To Families
Groundwork Lawrence (GWL) recently reached out to community and funding partners to collaborate on a COVID-19 relief response. Working with funding partner MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) — a state program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts — GWL contracted with 8 local downtown Lawrence restaurants to launch a COVID-19 relief response that provides much needed meals to families while also providing critical dollars to local businesses and supporting local jobs.
Blue Lounge Restaurant, Cafe Azteca, Coco’s Cafe & Catering, El Taller Cafe & Bookstore, Grumpy G, Lu’s Cafe & Bakery, Tu Kasa, and Vaka Restaurant have entered into an agreement with Groundwork Lawrence to provide catered meals that are delivered to three community partners: Lawrence YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, and Bread and Roses.
Align Credit Union Donates $10,000 to Hospitals and Food Banks on Pay It Forward Day
Align Credit Union announced that it has donated $10,000 to a group of local hospitals, food banks and food pantries that are helping Massachusetts communities battle the spread and effects of COVID-19. On Pay It Forward Day, which takes place every year on April 28 and is meant to inspire acts of kindness globally, Align donated $1000 to each of the following organizations: A Place to Turn, Anna Jaques Hospital, Danvers People to People Food Pantry, Holy Family Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, MetroWest Medical Center, North Shore Medical Center, Our Neighbors’ Table and Wilmington Community Fund Food Pantry.
Speechapalooza Speakers And Speeches Announced
Students from Northern Essex Community College hosted an online public speaking event, Speechapalooza, on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. Taking place April 29 through May 1, this event was used to collect donations for the college’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
The fund helps to provide laptops and/or internet access, tuition assistance, and stipends for students dealing with food insecurity, the switch to remote learning and other needs connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps you’ve tried a gym or fitness routine in the past that just felt like a dead end – no guidance, no inspiration and no results. Well, it’s not you, it’s your workout. You can achieve your goals to become a fitter, stronger, better version of yourself.
Imagine a workout designed with one goal in mind: to make sure anyone who tries it feels successful. At Orangetheory Fitness, we deliver on this promise every day.
The Perfect Package. Orangetheory provides a one hour total body workout, combining cardio and strength training. All workouts are guided by certified coaches and tailored to meet your goals – and are different every day, so you’ll never get bored.
A Workout for All Levels. You are encouraged to go at your own level. Our unique heart rate-based training allows you to measure results specific to your own body.
It’s a Community, Not a Competition. At Orangetheory, you will find yourself surrounded by an encouraging and supportive group of like-minded individuals with a common goal: to become better versions of themselves.
Orangetheory Fitness Methuen @ the Loop | 978.620.5850
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WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB
Five Health Tips For People With Busy Lives
There are lots of reasons that people neglect their health and wellbeing, but not having enough time is often at the top of the list. When you have a full-time job, children, a household to maintain and other obligations you’re responsible for, it can consume so much of your time that thinking about eating a nutritious meal or exercising are the last things on your mind. However, ThriveGlobal.com shows that maintaining healthy habits is not impossible with a busy schedule.
Meditate 5 Minutes Every Morning
Busy lifestyles and stress go hand in hand. While some stress gives you the adrenaline boost you need to get things done, too much of it can wear on your emotional and physical wellbeing. To try and keep stress at bay it’s a good idea to meditate before the madness begins. All you need is five minutes, a quiet space, and some instrumental music to do this.
Make Smoothies for Breakfast
No one has time anymore to make a full-course meal for breakfast. There’s simply too much to do. So they fill up on coffee and push through. Allowing your body to run on empty all day, however, is no good for your health. If getting the most important meal of the day is an issue, try simplifying your breakfast options. Smoothies are very healthy and quick to make. You can prep the fruits and veggies on the weekend and pre-bag them so that all you have to do is dump the contents in the blender when you need them.
Extend Your Walks
Getting outdoors and staying active isn’t always easy for someone who’s always preoccupied with other tasks. However, restricting your time outdoors and skipping out on physical activity can cause weight issues, sleep problems, mood disorders, and puts you at risk for certain long-term illnesses. If you don’t have time to hit the gym or follow along with a workout DVD, then perhaps you could just extend your walks. Instead of parking at the front of your office building, park further away and walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator as well. Or, while you’re at work, take the longer routes to get to equipment or people you may need to see.
Visit Your Doctor Online
Checking in with your doctor at least once a year is ideal to stay healthy. If you have preexisting health conditions that also need proper monitoring and regular treatment, this means seeing the doctor even more. When you’re busy, however, a trip to the doctor tends to go to the bottom of the list of priorities. You can easily change this, however, by using an online doctor. You can schedule virtual visits, ask questions, and get prescriptions filled online to save you time.
Quick Recipes or Meal Delivery
You can’t go all day without refueling on foods your body needs to function properly. However, when you have a busy lifestyle, it can be pretty common to skip a meal or two. If timing is the issue, it is best to look into quick recipe solutions. There are lots of meals that can be made with just a few ingredients in a few minutes. You can also utilize cooking appliances like a crockpot which would allow your meals to cook while you’re on the go. A final option would be to opt for meal delivery services. You can choose from hundreds of recipes and have all the ingredients portioned and prepped to your front door for easier cooking.
You only get one body. If you’re not doing everything you can to take care of it, eventually, you will break down. While other obligations and busy schedules can often get in the way it’s imperative that you find solutions to prioritize your health. The above-suggested ideas help to save you time and money while allowing you to continue to care for your health and wellness on a regular basis.
Is Napping Good Or Bad For Your Health?
Getting that every night as an adult seems more like a pipe dream than attainable goal. We often suffer for it later, relying on caffeinated beverages to help us power through our day when we’d rather find a quiet spot in the office to doze off for a minute.
From the “I’m just closing my eyes” to crashing long enough that you awake wondering what time and day it is, naps are surprisingly controversial in the medical community.
For starters, the need for a nap could signal larger health problems. Among other things, it can mean you’re not getting adequate sleep during the night. It can also be a symptom of dementia in older adults.
New research published this past week suggests sleep is yet another thing we need with a Goldilocks-like balance, and napping a few times a week to catch up might help stave off cardiovascular-related incidents, such as heart attack.
Dr. Anil Rama is the medical director and founder of Kaiser Permanente’s tertiary sleep medicine laboratory, adjunct clinical faculty at Stanford University’s Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine in California, and author of the new book “Shut Up and Sleep.”
Rama says that it’s important to look at whether a person’s nighttime sleep is healthy and free of things such as arousals, awakenings, disordered breathing and other issues that prevent a person from getting actual rest, rather than simply being in a bed.
“In my opinion, the question of whether napping is healthy or not in terms of duration or frequency is not relevant,” Rama says. “The relevant question: Is one’s sleep healthy? If so, one would surmise that napping should be healthy.”
He says as long as a person doesn’t have issues with insomnia, there’s nothing wrong with napping. He recommends people nap between 20 to 30 minutes or extend the nap to 90 minutes.
If you’re tired and have the time, a quick nap isn’t the worst thing for you. But you shouldn’t ignore why you’re so tired in the first place.
HEALTH IN THE VALLEY
Healthy Living Expo Comes At Harbor Place Plaza
The Healthy Living Expo provides an opportunity for people to meet with health and wellness professionals including traditional practices as well as holistic options that promote relaxation and stress management.
There will be free workouts from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm including Zumba, Yoga and Body Weight Boot Camp (program below).
WELLNESS TIP OF THE WEEK
Back-to-school checklist for healthy kids: Give your child a healthy start for the new school year.
From the first day of kindergarten to the first year of college, an important part of being a parent/ guardian is helping your kids prepare for a productive and successful school year. Below is a handy checklist of health-related to-dos to tackle as your child heads back to school.
Confirm that vaccinations are up-to-date.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each state requires certain vaccinations for school-age kids at different grade levels, including college. In fact, some school districts require proof of up-to-date vaccinations before kids can attend classes. Link below.
Schedule an annual physical.
Preventive checkups can help assess your child’s overall health and give you a chance to ask your child’s doctor questions or follow up with any concerns about your child’s health.
Schedule a fall sports physical.
If your child plays sports, he or she may be required to have a pre-sports physical to determine if they’re healthy enough to participate in that particular sport. A sports physical may also focus on injury prevention.
Schedule an eye exam and vision screening.
Just like your child’s body grows and changes, their eyesight may be changing, too. Addressing issues early can help ensure that your child sees clearly and is prepared to perform their best at school.
Schedule a routine dental exam and cleaning.
During a back-to-school dental checkup, your child’s dentist will check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Identifying conditions like these early may help prevent more invasive — and expensive — procedures.
For information about scheduling an appointment with a Pentucket pediatrician and/ or view the annual immunization guidelines click here : https://pmaonline.com/specialties-services/pediatrics/
WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB
Living Well While Aging: How To Maintain Your Vitality In All Stages Of Life
September is Healthy Aging Month, which is something we can all acknowledge since we’re all aging. Although there is no one “right way” to age, these five tips from Quad-City Times will help promote both physical vitality and mental well-being.
• Focus on “nutrient dense” foods. Counting calories is not enough when it comes to smart food choices. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins (beans, peas) provide vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are essential to healthy aging. Get more bang for your buck by adding more color to your plate and sticking to lean proteins.
• Laugh more often, it can heal what ails you. Laughter is the equivalent to “internal jogging.” According to William Fry, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter not only rejuvenates your mood, it also reduces blood pressure, relaxes muscles, strengthens the immune system and can lower stress in troubled times. Laughing is also contagious so it’s best we spread it around.
• Listen to your body and take preventive steps to protect your health. Every day we make hundreds of decisions about how we spend our time and what we choose to eat and drink. Make each decision count and choose foods that nourish and sustain and activities that invigorate. What are some self-care activities you engage in to protect your health? It could be as simple as getting regular health check-ups, putting on sunscreen and eating a balanced diet. Make prevention a priority.
• Stay active your way. You don’t have to run marathons to reap the benefits of physical activity. Walking, raking the leaves and house chores count toward your daily requirements. The point is to move more and sit less. Find activities you enjoy to keep the momentum going. If you’re able, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
• Stay hydrated. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water but this number decreases as we age and so does our sense of thirst. Is your urine dark-colored or have you been feeling fatigued? These are signs of dehydration so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water and other fluids. Water is essential for joint lubrication, regulating body temperature and digestion. Proper functioning of these systems will help propel you through the day.
Easy On The Eyes: Best Habits For Eye Care
If your like me, chances are you are staring at a computer, phone or TV screen during large portions of the day. These habits can be very taxing on the eyes, and although eyestrain doesn’t have serious or long-term consequences, it can be aggravating and unpleasant. It usually goes away once you rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce your eye discomfort. Still, in some cases, signs and symptoms of eyestrain can indicate an underlying eye condition that needs treatment.
HeraldTribune.com has this to say about symptoms, as well as how to avoid intense eye strain.
• Signs and symptoms: sore, tired, burning or itching eyes; watery or dry eyes; blurred or double vision; headache; sore neck, shoulders or back; increased sensitivity to light; difficulty concentrating; feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open.
• Common causes: Looking at digital device screens; reading without pausing to rest your eyes; driving long distances and doing other activities involving extended focus; exposure to bright light or glare; straining to see in very dim light; having an underlying eye problem, such as dry eyes or uncorrected vision; stress or fatigue; being exposed to dry moving air from a fan, heating or air-conditioning system.
Consider these tips to reduce or prevent eyestrain:
• Adjust the lighting. When watching television, it may help to keep the room softly lit. When reading printed materials or doing close work, position the light source behind you and direct the light onto your page or task. If reading at a desk, use a shaded light positioned in front of you. The shade will keep light from shining directly into your eyes.
• Take breaks. When doing close work, take occasional breaks and rest your eyes by looking away.
• Limit screen time. This is especially important for children, who may not make the connection between extended viewing, eyestrain and the need to rest their eyes regularly.
• When using a computer, blink often. Many people blink less than usual when working at a computer, which can contribute to dry eyes. Blinking produces tears that moisten and refresh your eyes. Try to make it a habit to blink more often when looking at a monitor.
Visit HeraldTribune.com to learn more methods of eye care.