Higher Orbits brings ‘Go for Launch!’ to Leominster


The Leominster Champion
June 3, 2016

Higher Orbits will host its first Massachusetts “Go for Launch!” program Aug. 15-17 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg andLeominster.

Middle school-aged students in the area will have the opportunity to participate in the three-day program that that uses space exploration as a platform to launch student engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), STEAM (Art), teamwork, communication and leadership.

Through their participation in “Go for Launch!” students learn about human spaceflight and get insight and feedback through a variety of talks delivered by experienced space and STEM professionals. Speakers scheduled to participate in this event include retired astronaut Don Thomas, former ISS flight controller and astronaut instructor Michelle Lucas, and others. The goal is to illustrate the numerous opportunities that exist in STEM-related careers.

Read more…

Early holiday gift for local kids


$5G Hannaford donation supports Boys & Girls Clubs programs

Sentinel & Enterprise
December 23, 2015

Celebrating the $5,000 Hannaford Helps donation are, top row from left, Ean Rose,| Hannaford director of operations for District 20; Dave DeJohn,

Celebrating the $5,000 Hannaford Helps donation are, top row from left, Ean Rose,| Hannaford director of operations for District 20; Dave DeJohn, Leominster Hannaford store manager; Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster; Marc Bonneau. Lunenburg Hannaford store manager; and Lancaster Street Hannaford Store Manager Joe Goody. With them are club members Hannah Cote, Sasha Gendron, Kamryn Snow, Jillian Cote, Hailey Joseph, Anthony Cucchiaira, Deanna Bailey, Jocelyn Silverberg, Jaeda Gairepy-Dargin, Alyssa Boisvert, Joshua Diaz, Kyle Rodriguez, Ariana Grossi, Kendra Grant, Chloey Picard, Ryan Deltergo, Shawn Deltergo, Rose Christian, Lauren Gosson, Nicolas Soto-Luna, and Diosmar Santana. COURTESY PHOTO

LEOMINSTER — Local children will attend youth development programs at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster and the Boys & Girls Club of Lunenburg, and gain access to nutritious food and school supplies as they receive a $5,000 Hannaford Helps donation.

The donation is part of a larger program launched by Hannaford this year. In the past, the supermarket chain has contributed more than $4 million to local charities each year, and this winter’s gift from Hannaford Supermarkets represents a 10 percent increase in those funds.

All of the new money is focused toward helping children to attend youth development programs focused in increasing their aspirations, giving them new life skills and helping them accomplish their full potential, and the clubs are excited and thankful to be named as two of the recipients.

The mission statement of the Boys & Girls Clubs is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

This is demonstrated through quality, engaging programs, professional and caring staff, and providing a safe environment that fosters learning and leadership.

“With these Hannaford Helps contributions, we are focusing on the fact that a community is only as strong as its next generation,” said Hannaford President Mike Vail. “We’re really excited about the impact of these donations because of the nature of these organizations. We are proud to support the work of educators, counselors, coaches and volunteers who are so impressive in their commitment to develop young people in the communities where our associates live and work.”

Hannaford Helps has set a goal of increasing the amount of meat, produce, bread and other fresh items donated directly from Hannaford stores to community food pantries and meal programs by 20 percent or 1.5 million meals in 2016. Hannaford donated 14.6 million pounds of rescued food to hunger relief last year.

Monty Tech Senior LeBlanc An IT Ace


By Peter Jasinski
Sentinel & Enterprise
December 15, 2015

From left are Raquel Hudson, Boys & Girls Club of America’s director of partner strategy & volunteer engagement; Mike Cipriani, a network technical

From left are Raquel Hudson, Boys & Girls Club of America’s director of partner strategy & volunteer engagement; Mike Cipriani, a network technical specialist for AT&T; Monty Tech student Michael LeBlanc; and his parents, Brian and Raeann LeBlanc. Michael LeBlanc is holding the laptop he received for being the only one of more than 100 students in the country to pass both tests during a computer-repair program sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America along with AT&T. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Peter Jasinski

 LEOMINSTER — Last summer, more than 100 students across the country took part in a rigorous computer-repair program sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America along with AT&T that culminated with two examinations.

Of the students who took the tests, only Michael LeBlanc, a senior at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, managed to pass both.

“It’s a little overwhelming, to be honest,” LeBlanc said. “I did not expect to be the only one out of who knows how many to pass.” Read more…

Retailers team up to support Boys & Girls Clubs during holidays


Submitted to the Leominster Champion
December 11, 2015

This holiday season, retailers are rallying around Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to support the gift of a great future for kids and teens around the country. Sixteen BGCA partners will donate and encourage their customers to donate to the organization now through January 2016.  Read more…

Fitchburg-Leominster Boys & Girls Club Helps Kids Build Guitars


By Peter Jasinski
Sentinel & Enterprise
December 10, 2015


From left, Rebecca Silva, Zia Thompson and Josh Melendy look on as volunteer Caoilin O’Connor shows them how to build wooden guitars Wednesday at theFrom left, Rebecca Silva, Zia Thompson and Josh Melendy look on as volunteer Caoilin O’Connor shows them how to build wooden guitars Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE PHOTOS / Ashley Green

 

LEOMINSTER — Legendary musician and guitar builder Les Paul once said, “I need to take a piece of wood and make it sound like the railroad track, but I also had to make it sound beautiful and lovable so that a person playing it would think of it in terms of his mistress, a bartender, his wife, a good psychiatrist — whatever.” Read more…

IC Announces ‘Change For Charity’ Distributions


Leominster Champion

“Change for Charity,” announced by IC Federal Credit Union in June, has awarded its first recipients of the new program.

“The funds, donated quarterly, are raised through our coin machines, of which a portion goes to service-oriented organizations in our area that you, a family member, or even a neighbor may receive help from,” said Tony Emerson, president and CEO of IC. “We are proud to make these first distributions on behalf of the fund, for a total of $8,636.42.”

Serving up an appreciation for ‘real food’


Free cooking classes offered at Boys & Girls Club

By David Dore
Leominster Champion
December 3, 2015

Amid the measuring, the mixing, the baking and the eating, there was the hope that the children left the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster with a new appreciation for healthy food and how to make it.

About 20 children recently finished an eight-week cooking class at the Leominster club sponsored by Watertown-based ChopChop magazine and supported by a $100,000 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

The kids, aged 8-12, learned how to create a variety of meals considered both healthy and family friendly: Smoothies, scrambled eggs, pasta and sauce, green salad and vinaigrette, quesadillas, beanie burgers, pizza and honey pear crisp.

“The recipes kind of build on skill,” explained instructor Abby Reich, special projects associate at ChopChop.

The program was designed by Sally Sampson, publisher and founder of ChopChop and former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses. The free classes have been offered at Boys & Girls Clubs acrossMassachusetts, including in Worcester, Boston and Lawrence, since last year.

During the Nov. 5 class, the second-to-last session, the children made vegetable pizza with a biscuit-type dough that needed no rising or resting. As they waited for their pizzas to bake, the kids played games such as “Heads Up,” a guessing game where the answer was a type of vegetable (in this case, broccoli).

“Our goal at ChopChop is to get kids and their families inside the kitchen cooking real food,” Reich said. “There’s a lot of really wonderful benefits that comes from that. It teaches the kids independence, but on top of that it teaches that they can try new foods and enjoy them, and they have these basic skills they can use in the kitchen. It not only brings families together, but it also encourages healthy eating and it encourages all of the wonderful things that you want for your family.

MWCC’s Music Of Motown To Benefit Scholarships, Boys & Girls Club


Sentinel & Enterprise
November 29, 2015

magic-of-motown-4fd32541bfc504d6Magic of Motown will perform at Mount Wachusett Community College in January to benefit the MWCC Foundation’s student scholarship program and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

GARDNER – A musical journey through the Motown years will take place at Mount Wachusett Community College’s newly renovated Theatre at the Mount on Friday, Jan. 22, to benefit the MWCC Foundation scholarship program and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

Magic of Motown at the Mount begins and 7:30 p.m. and features a cast of singers and dancers that recreates the harmonies, dance moves and stylish looks and legendary musicianship of the era. The performance includes the hits of Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, the Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Isley Brothers and others. Backed up by a six-piece band, Magic of Motown includes vocalists Evelyn Dillon, Denny Mendes, Donald McCall, Arthur “AJ Smooth” Jefferson and Steven Wood.

“We are delighted to present this community event to benefit the Boys & Girls Club and the MWCC Foundation’s scholarship program,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We’re partnering to help students of all ages build a great future.”

Since 2001, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has worked in youth development with young people ages 8 to 18 from many economic, social and family circumstances.

“We are grateful to the community for its ongoing support, particularly Dan Asquino and Mount Wachusett Community College, for serving as our primary sponsor and host of this event, among everything else they do for the club and the community,” said Leominster attorney Justin Gelinas, chairman of the nonprofit organization’s Board of Directors.

Sponsors to date include Mr. & Mrs. Daniel M. Asquino, The Ronald M. Ansin Foundation, Heat Trace Products, Heywood Hospital, I/C Federal Credit Union, Enterprise Bank, Advanced Cable Ties, Fidelity Bank, HealthAlliance Hospital, Bemis & Associates, GFA Federal Credit Union, Workers’ Credit Union, Rollstone Bank & Trust, Hometown Bank, North Middlesex Savings Bank, Simonds International, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, Leominster Credit Union, Geosearch Inc., SimplexGrinnell, Zottoli Family Trust, Molds International, Mr. and Mrs. Scot Barrett, W.E. Aubuchon Foundation, Fitchburg State University, Dunkin Donuts, Mr. Marcus Moran, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Martino, DiGeronimo Properties, and GVNA Healthcare.

Tickets are on sale. General admission is $50. Special VIP tickets are $100 and include reserved seating and a cocktail reception. In case of inclement weather, the snow date is Saturday, Jan. 23.

For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, contact MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli at czottoli@mwcc.mass.edu or 978-630-9276. Tickets may also be purchased online at mwcc.edu/foundation/motown.

North County Neighbors: Monty freshman first to serve on state council


Worcester Telegram
November 13, 2015

Grace Kirrane of Fitchburg, second from left, joins other SkillsUSA-Massachusetts state officers in attending the Washington Leadership Training Institute held recently in Washington, D.C.  As part of their itinerary, the students met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Submitted Photo

Grace Kirrane of Fitchburg, second from left, joins other SkillsUSA-Massachusetts state officers in attending the Washington Leadership Training Institute held recently in Washington, D.C. As part of their itinerary, the students met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Submitted Photo

FITCHBURG – Grace Kirrane, 15, a sophomore in the Health Occupations program at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, has become the only freshman to have served on SkillsUSA-Massachusetts State Executive Council.

 

“I heard a lot about SkillsUSA from friends, and I wanted to see what it was all about,” she said. After being elected chapter vice president for Monty Tech last year, she attended the organization’s annual fall leadership conference and was very impressed by a state officer’s speech. “I felt she was speaking to me when she told us that it is our job to paint our own future. … I started researching the duties and responsibilities of being a state officer, and decided that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club Pilot Program Has Begun


Club runs after-school program for middle-school students at Gardner High

By Andrew Mansfield
The Gardner News
November 11, 2015

GARDNER – The Boys & Girls Club has made its way to Gardner, giving a new generation of kids another option for after-school activities.

“It’s really fun. There’s robotics, computers and art. You can do your homework and have snacks,” said Neffy Pereira, a participant of the new pilot program run by the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. Read more…

Giving kids the tools to achieve: MyTurn helps at-risk students finish school, find career path


By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
October 29, 2015

Tim Salafia, 18, left, and Justin Akins, 16, are two of the 15 local youth currently enrolled with MyTurn Inc. Both boys are working at paid internships in

Tim Salafia, 18, left, and Justin Akins, 16, are two of the 15 local youth currently enrolled with MyTurn Inc. Both boys are working at paid internships in their future career fields through MyTurn. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Anna Burgess

FITCHBURG — Amanda Ludwig credits youth career center MyTurn Inc. with helping her son find focus, direction and a career path.

“If it wasn’t for this, he wouldn’t be in school at all,” said Ludwig, a Fitchburg resident. “It saved his future, in a way.”

Her son, Justin Akins, was a 16-year-old high school dropout last year. Now, he is one course away from earning his HiSET high school diploma equivalent, has so far scored well above average on the HiSET tests, and is working as an assistant automotive technician at A & P Auto in Fitchburg.

By the time he finishes the MyTurn program this winter, Akins will have a completed high school education and on-the-job experience in his chosen career.

The difference between her son a year ago and her son now, Ludwig said, is “like night and day.” Read more…

Youngsters in Fitchburg, Leominster get lessons in healthy cooking


By Amanda Roberge
The Worcester Telegram
November 1, 2015

Ruby Riggs, 10, of Fitchburg checks her quesadilla under the watchful eye of Abby Reich.

Ruby Riggs, 10, of Fitchburg checks her quesadilla under the watchful eye of Abby Reich.

The kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster have discovered that healthy food tastes better when you make it with your own two hands.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant through the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, sessions of healthy cooking classes have been taking place across the state over the last year, beginning at the Worcester Boys & Girls Club in July 2104. The grant was part of a much bigger initiative that sought creative ways to tackle the issue of childhood obesity. Read more…

Cooking program a hit at Boys & Girls Club


By Peter Jasinski
October 26, 2015

Abby Reich, special projects associate with ChopChop, shows off an avocado during a cooking class held for students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg &

Abby Reich, special projects associate with ChopChop, shows off an avocado during a cooking class held for students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg & Leominster on Thursday.

LEOMINSTER — Who said cooking is only for the grown-ups? Admittedly, being older makes it easier to reach ingredients on the top shelf, and maybe makes you a bit more confident working at the stove, but that isn’t what cooking is about. For students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg & Leominster, cooking isn’t about age, it’s about passion.

“I am very passionate about cooking, and I was willing to do anything to get into this class,” said 11-year-old Zoey Ellis.

Ellis is one of the lucky 20 local children, selected among a list of 90, who we’re able to get into the ChopChopKids cooking program being offered at the Boys & Girls Club. The eight-week program features a different healthy dish each week that is cooked by kids under the supervision of on-hand support staff. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club to get a trial run


Pilot program at school could be precursor to a new club
September 25, 2015
Katie Landeck
News Staff Writer

GARDNER A pilot program of the Boys and Girls Club is set to open at Gardner Middle School this November, giving students a place to go after school.

“We wanted to start some sort of an after-school program at the middle school,” said school Superintendent Denise Clemons. “A lot of people have worked hard to make this happen.”

For the past few years, local officials including Mayor Mark Hawke and Mount Wachusett Community College President Daniel Asquino have been working to bring a Boys and Girls club to Gardner. This is the first step in making that happen.

“This is one little program we hope we can build off,” said Mr. Hawke. Read more…

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB Summer Blast Program full of opportunities for kids


By BGCFL Junior Staff member Renee Mercier
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 16, 2015

DSC04725   The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Summer Blast Program has been a fun educational experience for all. Our variety of programs provides something enjoyable for every child.

When asked their favorite part about the club, the campers said everything from sports to science. Rowan likes art the best. “We can paint, draw, and we even made little puff balls out of yarn.” she explains.

“My favorite part about the Boys and Girls Club is spending time with my friends,” Tora says. Read more…

Unified – Featured Article by Club Members Domanique and Desarae Dudley


By Domanique and Desarae Dudley
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 5, 2015

Club Note: Two of our Teen members, twins Domanique and Desarae, had the opportunity to work on the Alphabet Project at the Sentinel & Enterprise this summer, which included the chance to experience journalism in action by writing their own piece for the paper. On the day the letter “U” was featured, the twins’ article, entitled “Unified”, was on the front page.

20150805_063106_Letter U_200Twin #1: “What’s Desarae thinking right now?” To everybody reading this: I have no clue! Being twins doesn’t give us special powers. I am a regular human being just like you. Read more…

Longsjo Classic Gives Back


By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 1, 2015

Longsjo Board of Directors members Donn Ingemie, left, and Sam Squailia, right, hand over a $500 check to American Legion Post 151 at the Leominster

Longsjo Board of Directors members Donn Ingemie, left, and Sam Squailia, right, hand over a $500 check to American Legion Post 151 at the Leominster Veterans Center on Tuesday afternoon. The Longsjo Foundation wanted to give back to nonprofits as a way to thank all those who came out to volunteer during the annual race series in June. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

FITCHBURG — As part of an ongoing effort to have the Longsjo Classic embraced as a community event, the Longsjo Foundation donated $2,000 to local nonprofits this week as a “thank you” for their participation in the race.

Representatives from the Longsjo Foundation Board of Directors traveled to four area nonprofits to present donations as a show of gratitude for the organizations’ help preparing for the 2015 Longsjo Classic. Read more…

Four local nonprofits earn national certification


Worcester Telegram – 8/2/15
Nashoba Publishing – 8/7/15

FITCHBURG – United Way of North Central Massachusetts and three other local nonprofits have been certified in volunteer management by Points of Light, a national nonprofit organization that promotes community service.

United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Leominster-based Boys & Girls Clubs of Fitchburg and Leominster, Loaves & Fishes in Devens and Our Father’s House in Fitchburg completed the extensive program requirements to earn Points of Light’s Service Enterprise certification. Read more…

Racing to Help


LCU_5K team

Worcester Business Journal
July 20, 2015

Leominster Credit Union had a team of 35 participating in the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Great Futures 5K race. The credit union donated $1,020 to the club as well. Pictured from left: Bryon Goguen, Roland Paquette and Kathy Hurley of the credit union; Patty Fields, resource development director, Boys & Girls Club; and Nicole Florio, Melissa McDonald and Andrew Squire of LCU.

Interacting With Police: Teens Lead in Training Peers


P.L.A.Y.By Jamal Abdul-Alim
Youth Today
July 22, 2015

In order to make Protecting Law Enforcement and Youth, or PLAY, a reality at The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, Mass., club member Laura Jenny, 16, and her schoolmate, Isaac Annan, 15, had to put together a budget and presentation, giving the pair firsthand experience in designing, financing and implementing a program. Read more…

Avidia donates to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster


Leominster Champion – July 23, 2015
The Community Advocate – July 19, 2015
Worcester Telegram – July 14, 2015

R-Avidia-donates-to-BGC-rs1-300x224

(l to r) Todd Wood, Leominster branch manager of Avidia Bank; Donata J. Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster; Mark R. O’Connell, president & CEO of Avidia Bank; and children of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominsterr. (Photo/submitted)

Region – The Avidia Charitable Foundation recently donated $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. This donation will help with operational support of Project Learn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

Avidia Bank is a $1.2 billion mutual community bank, headquartered in Hudson, with branches in Hudson, Westborough, Clinton, Leominster, Marlborough, Northborough and Shrewsbury.

IC is adding up ‘Change for Charity’


Nashoba Publishing- 7/10/15
Worcester Telegram – 7/12/15

FITCHBURG — A little change can make a big difference. That’s the premise for IC’s new “Change for Charity” — a program in which the community can help support local organizations by using IC’s coin machines.

Read more…

No Free Lunch? Tell Ebony Fagan


By Jon Bishop
Sentinel & Enterprise
6/15/15

Ebony Fagan was recently chosen as the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.  SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

Ebony Fagan was recently chosen as the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.
SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

FITCHBURG — No one was surprised when the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster named Ebony Fagan, an incoming senior at Fitchburg High School, its Youth of the Year.

Except, of course, for Ebony Fagan.

Read more…

Fitchburg’s Sizer School collaborates with researcher to create art exhibit of birds


Anna Burgessbirds-of-a-feather-2
Sentinel & Enterprise
6/15/15

WILMINGTON — With help from the Fitchburg Revolving Museum and dozens of local students, green-chemistry education nonprofit Beyond Benign has designed an exhibit that represents a beautiful marriage of art and science.

Beyond Benign is the sister organization of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, run by scientific researcher John Warner. The institute works to develop green-chemistry technologies while Beyond Benign, run by Warner’s wife, Amy Cannon, focuses on K-12 student outreach and education. Read more…

Revolving Museum works with Boys & Girls Club


Leominster Champion
6/12/15

TRM Director Jerry Beck collaborates with young people from the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster on the “Bird-Land” public artwork. Courtesy photo

TRM Director Jerry Beck collaborates with young people from the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster on the “Bird-Land” public artwork. Courtesy photo

WILMINGTON — The Revolving Museum, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster and the Sizer School are showcasing their artworks created in Fitchburg as part of Pete Myer’s “Birds of a Feather” photographic exhibition at Beyond Benign and the Warner Babcock Gallery and Laboratory Space.

Pete Myers, a leading scientist in the field of environmental health, is showcasing more than 50 photographs of birds from the east coast near his home in Virginia, from the California coastline, and also from his travels around the world for speaking engagements. The images are breathtaking and capture birds in a number of rarely seen natural states.

“The Revolving Museum is thrilled to be partnering with Warner Babcock and Beyond Benign by involving young people, artists, educators, and community members in collaborative groundbreaking art and science public art projects, exhibitions, and events,” said Revolving Museum Founder/ Director Jerry Beck. “This will allow our vision to expand and be impacted by an extraordinary team of scientists and help bring awareness to the green movement.” Read more…

Ebony Fagan picked as Boys & Girls Club’s Youth of the Year


IMAG0060The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster is proud to announce that Ebony Fagan was recently chosen as the Club’s Youth of the Year, and had the opportunity to represent the organization at the recent state competition.

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s way of recognizing members who embody the values of leadership service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles. They exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people. Read more…

Leadership Summit Donation


Leominster Champion
6/5/15

49p1.previewWorcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. presents a check to help fund the 16th Annual Youth Leadership Summit, held April 23 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. Open to middle school and high school youth, the Youth Leadership Summit (also sponsored by Subway/ Grinnell Enterprises, the Boys & Girls Club and LUK Inc.) included workshops, awards, a Lunch Information Fair, entertainment and more. Courtesy photo

‘Corporate Cup’ gives boost to annual Boys & Girls Club race


By Nick Mallard
Sentinel & Enterprise
6/2/15

LEOMINSTER — Even a light rain couldn’t put a damper on Sunday’s Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Great Futures 5K walk and run.

The sixth annual edition of the race drew 340 runners and walkers — doubling last year’s turnout — all showing up in moist, muggy conditions to support the club.

Crossing the finish line in just under an hour, 82-year-old Marilou Crohan was just like many of the other participants: a bit wet, but wearing a smile from ear to ear. Read more…

SHINE awards grants to 10 agencies


Worcester Telegram
5/31/2015

LEOMINSTER – The SHINE Initiative Advisory Board awarded grants April 30 totaling more than $40,000 to 10 Central Massachusetts human service agencies and educational institutions, in support of mental health education and related services.

The recipients are: Alternatives ($3,000), with programs in the Blackstone Valley, Worcester, Gardner and Leominster; Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster ($4,000); CAPS/FLLAC Educational Collaborative of North Central Massachusetts ($4,000); Children’s Friend ($4,000) Worcester; Community Healthlink ($5,000), with programs and services in Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster and Worcester; Doctor Franklin Perkins School ($4,000) in Lancaster; Family Health Center ($5,000), Worcester; Jewish Family & Children’s Services ($4,000), Worcester; Leominster Education Foundation ($4,000); and Worcester State University ($10,000, 2-year grant). The grants awarded by the SHINE Initiative were made possible with funds derived through a series of events, including its signature Keep Your Mind Open in the autumn and the Quarter Mile campaign in May to coincide with national Mental Health Month.

Since 2013 the SHINE Initiative has awarded $152,000 in grants to 20 nonprofit organizations to support and promote mental health awareness, education, research and direct services. The SHINE Initiative was formed in 2004 as a social enterprise with support from Fidelity Bank. Its mission is to be a leader in recognizing mental illness in children and young adults as a mainstream health issue.

In recent years it has collaborated with middle and high schools, colleges and universities, mental health and youth-serving organizations to promote and sponsor awareness and education of behavioral, emotional and mental disorders that affect young people and their families.

Corporate Cup brings new challenge to 5K race


By David Dore
Leominster Champion
5/22/15

Next weekend’s Great Futures 5K, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, will have a brand new group of runners.

The sixth edition of the race on Sunday, May 31 will have a new division known as the Corporate Cup, made up of teams from local companies.

“This division has created a lot of excitement among local area companies and organizations,” said Boys & Girls Club Resource Development Director Patty Fields. “The Corporate Cup provides local businesses with an opportunity for employees to participate in an event that builds camaraderie among coworkers and encourages health and fitness. The Corporate Cup is expected to bring in up to 200 additional walkers and runners.” Read more…

Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Certified as the First Service Enterprise Organization in Massachusetts


Leominster, MA – The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster is pleased to announce that it has been certified by Points of Light as a Service Enterprise organization!  A Service Enterprise is an organization that fundamentally leverages volunteers and their skills throughout their organization to successfully deliver on its social mission.  The Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) is a social innovation built on the Service Enterprise concept, which promotes transformational change within qualifying companies and non-profit organizations and was inspired by Reimaging Service.  The effort to bring the Initiative to Massachusetts was spearheaded by the United Way of North Central Massachusetts’ Volunteer Center, Community Builders, who worked with a select few nonprofit organizations to achieve their certification. As a result, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster proudly claims its place as the first Club in Massachusetts and the second Club in the U.S. to become a Service Enterprise. Read more…

A showcase of all things STEAM


By David Dore
Leominster Champion
4/10/2015

2p1.previewIf you’re looking for airplanes, bees, or maybe robots, you’ll probably find it at the Central Massachusetts Science Festival.

The second edition of the Science Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, 365 Lindell Ave., Leominster.

“It is a celebration of STEAM, which is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics,” said festival coordinator Rebecca Cyganiewicz, the Boys & Girls Club’s volunteer resources coordinator. “It’s a free family event, and we’ll be showcasing a lot of the programs we run here are the club.” Read more…

North End Subaru in Lunenburg donates more than $10,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs


By Cliff Clark
Sentinel & Enterprise
3/29/2015

No Published Caption

LUNENBURG — The annual North End Subaru “Share the Love” sales event resulted in a donation of more than $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lunenburg, Fitchburg and Leominster on Saturday morning.

“This is going to make a huge difference to the children in both clubs,” said Michelle Belleza, director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lunenburg, after accepting the donation of $10,877 from Subaru.

The donation will be equally divided between the two Boys & Girls Clubs that serve Lunenburg, Leominster and Fitchburg children.

“We didn’t ask for this. They approached us, which I think makes it even more important that they recognize the value of what the club does for children,” said Belleza. Read more…

Ready to ‘Recycle’: Boys & Girls Club Robotics team heads to district competition


By Christine Smith
Leominster Champion
3/6/2015

In an upcoming district level competition that will mean a match up against 32 other teams from the northeast coastal region, Team 3623 — known as TerrorBots — from the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster have bagged and tagged their robot and are gearing up for travel to Springfield for arrival on March 5.

The team has been preparing for the 2015 challenge Recycle Rush for about six weeks, with the combined help of several students from Grades 8-12 and their mentors and coaches. Read more…

Making a difference, one meal at a time: Community Café serves displaced families


By Peter Jasinski
Leominster Champion
2/13/2015

Jackie Mestre, 10, of Lowell serves cupcakes at the Jan. 20 Community Cafe birthday celebration.  David Dore photo

Jackie Mestre, 10, of Lowell serves cupcakes at the Jan. 20 Community Cafe birthday celebration.
David Dore photo

The exact total number of displaced families living in Leominster changes depending on who you ask.

It’s true that the number fluctuates as the families that succeed in their struggle are replaced by the next ones to arrive. What’s known for sure is that each of these people needs to have something to eat.

The Community Café is one of the more recent creations that helps address this problem.

Staffed by more than 80 volunteers, the Community Café is made possible by the combined efforts of the Leominster school system, the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

“A little over a year ago we heard about these families at the Days Inn. We discussed it and said, ‘There’s got to be something we can do to help these families,’” said the Rev. James Craig, rector of St. Mark’s. “It’s really been a remarkable journey we’ve been on.”

Every Tuesday night, families are bused in from their hotels to the Boys and Girls Club for a meal that lasts for about an hour. The numbers of those attending varies based on the number of occupants in each hotel, with a low week bringing in around 70 people and a busy night having more than 120. According to Craig, the majority of the crowd is made up of children, and on the busiest night more than 150 arrived. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club offers course for teens about peer depression


By Katina Caraganis
Sentinel & Enterprise
1/26/15

Laura Jenny, a Leominster 10th-grader, asks a question at the Leominster Boys & Girls Club during the suicide-prevention meeting on Friday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

Laura Jenny, a Leominster 10th-grader, asks a question at the Leominster Boys & Girls Club during the suicide-prevention meeting on Friday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

LEOMINSTER — Sometimes all a person needs is to know that someone is there for them.

Teenagers at the Boys & Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg are learning how to identify the symptoms of mental illness and to direct their peers to professional help.

The training, called the Swensrud Depression Prevention Initiative, was developed by Boston Children’s Hospital and is being offered free to teenagers in grades 9-12. So far, 11 teens have taken part in the training at the club.

Leo Gonzalez and Laura Jenny are two members of the Boys & Girls Club who received the training. Gonzalez, a 10th-grader at Sizer, a North Central Essential Charter School in Fitchburg, said his high school is accepting of all kinds of students, no matter their background.

He wanted to learn how to be more supportive to classmates.

“You always try to comfort someone you see having a bad day, but you don’t always know how,” Gonzalez said. “This really showed me how to identify depression and point them in the right direction to resources and an adult who can help them find a therapist or whatever else they need.” Read more…

“Resolve and Rescue” author visits Boys & Girls Club


Leominster Champion
1/9/2015

Pictured are, front row, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster with, back row, Martin Connors, president and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust, author Mark Bodanza and Club Executive Director Donata Martin.  Courtesy photo

Pictured are, front row, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster with, back row, Martin Connors, president and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust, author Mark Bodanza and Club Executive Director Donata Martin.
Courtesy photo

Author and historian Mark C. Bodanza recently paid a visit to the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to discuss his newly released book “Resolve and Rescue.”

“Resolve and Rescue” tells the story of a woman from Leominster, Frances Drake, born in 1814, who worked for decades to end slavery and contributed tirelessly to the abolitionist movement.

Greeted with cheers and applause by the children of the BGCFL, Bodanza explained the history of slavery, the abolitionist movement, and the remarkable life of Drake.

In 1841, after living in Boston for a period of time, Drake returned to her hometown of Leominster with her husband, purchasing a home on 21 Franklin St. The Drakes’ antislavery involvement began in Boston and gained momentum in Leominster. Believing strongly in the abolitionist movement, the Drakes helped escaped slaves. Their home on Franklin Street was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Read more…

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