Organizers put final touches on 23rd annual Appleseed Festival


Sentinel & Enterprise Staff
Sentinel & Enterprise
September 14, 2016

Organizers are planning for another successful Johnny Appleseed Festival on the weekend of Sept. 24-25. 		Courtesy PHOTO / Richard MarchandSentinel and

Organizers are planning for another successful Johnny Appleseed Festival on the weekend of Sept. 24-25. Courtesy PHOTO / Richard Marchand

LEOMINSTER — On the weekend of Sept. 24-25, the city will celebrate its 23rd annual Johnny Appleseed Arts and Cultural Festival. And while plenty of activities are planned, organizers are still seeking sponsors.

“After last year’s event, it is hard to imagine this year’s event could be even bigger and better,” said Richard Marchand, who has been organizing the festival for 18 years.

Last year, the festival was followed by the 100th anniversary parade, which was the culmination of a long year of planning and city-wide activities to celebrate the city’s centennial.

“This year, we get back to the basics being a day to celebrate community with events and activities that are cross generational to be enjoyed by all,” he said.

The main stage located at the opening of Church Street onto West Street will have live entertainment all day long.

From 9 a.m. to noon, school-based instrumental and chorus groups will perform. Read more…

Reaching for the stars: Space-themed program touches down in Leominster


By David Dore
Leominster Champion
August 26, 2016


Former NASA astronaut Don Thomas, back left, and Michelle Lucas, back right, founder and president of Higher Orbits, stand with the 17 middle and high school students who took part in “Go for Launch!” last week at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. 
David Dore photo

Former NASA astronaut Don Thomas, back left, and Michelle Lucas, back right, founder and president of Higher Orbits, stand with the 17 middle and high school students who took part in “Go for Launch!” last week at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburgand Leominster. David Dore photo

Before they could imagine going to space, about 15 middle and high school students had a few things to learn here on Earth — such as how to speak in front of a group, present materials and overcome nervousness.

“Everybody gets nervous,” Michelle Lucas said. “It’s just kind of natural.”

Lucas, a former International Space Station flight controller and astronaut instructor, urged them when speaking to an audience to make eye contact, speak loudly enough to be heard in the back of the room, change their rate of speech if necessary (depending on the situation and the part of the country they’re in), pause and breathe when needed (but don’t use filler words such as “um” and “uh” too much), and “keep it simple, but informative” in their talks and PowerPoint presentations.

As for overcoming nervousness, Lucas told them to take a deep breath, relax and trust their knowledge — or do what works for them.

And, she said, don’t forget to smile. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club wraps up summer with a Blast


By Lucy Norton, teen intern
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 21, 2016

LEOMINSTER — On our last week here at the Boys & Girls Club, we had an especially fun week planned to make sure the kids remembered us until our upcoming school year.

The staff and kids had a blast this summer and were very sad to say goodbye to their favorite summer camp. But that didn’t stop us from having a blast on their last week of the Summer Blast Program.

Our Juniors started back again with their bread mural and lots of other fun arts activities, including Tie-Dye Fun, Camp Crafts, Art in the Garden, and even Pokemon Origami, keeping up with the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokemon Go. Some of the kids’ favorite STEAM activities this week were Lego Design, Minecraft EDU, Science STEM mentoring and Robotech. In our cooking programs this week, the kids made scrumptious Taco Fiesta Salad and baked up some delicious treats in Easy Baking. Read more…

Sign-ups open for Boys & Girls Club after school program


The Leominster Champion
August 18, 2016

With schools starting in a few weeks, many parents are thinking ahead to what their children will be doing in the hours after school.

For local youth, a popular option is the after school program at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, which is currently accepting applications for the fall program.

The program, which starts on Sept. 6, is geared for kids aged 8-18. Children between 8 and 12 years old spend their afternoons in the Junior Clubhouse, which is open from 2:30-6 p.m. every weekday. Members aged 13-18 spend their time in the club’s Teen Center, which is open 2:30- 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Read more…

Ex-astronaut has campers exploring wonders of science


Former NASA astronaut Don Thomas and Founder /President of Higher Orbits Michelle Lucas listens to some ideas from Madeline Hammar, 11, from Leominster as she explains some of the ideas that her group came up with for experiments in space at the Fitchburg/Leominster Boys and Girls Club this week. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

By Peter Jasinski
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 18, 2016

Photo Gallery | Astronaut visits Boys & Girls Club

 LEOMINSTER — According to Don Thomas, there are about a million things that will catch you by surprise during your first time in outer space, but the one that stands out is something he saw outside the space shuttle’s window during his first mission.

“I was looking out at city lights and the night below me and I saw a small zip of light go by,” the former astronaut said.

The light, it turned out, was a shooting star passing below him.

“Here on Earth, when you want to see a shooting star you look up at the sky. When you’re in space and you want to see one you look back at Earth,” he said.

Read more…

Boys & Girls Club to host event promoting STEM careers


By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 13, 2016

LEOMINSTER — Next week, local middle- and high-school students will have a chance to explore the final frontier from their own community.

Go For Launch, an educational and experimental space camp run by nonprofit Higher Orbits, is coming to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster from Monday through Wednesday.

The Go For Launch program will give students a chance to hear space-shuttle experiences from retired astronaut Dr. Don Thomas, and to design their own space experiments — one of which might go into orbit.

The camp’s purpose, in part, is to encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, said program director Michelle Lucas.

“I’ve had comments from students that we’ve shown them there’s a lot more options with science than they ever considered,” Lucas said. “We’re not trying to turn them all into rocket scientists, but what we do love is that space is a great way to get students excited about STEM, irrespective of what they want to do when they grow up.” Read more…

Kids get crafty in Summer Blast program at Boys & Girls Club


By Lucy Norton
Sentinel & Enterprise
July 31, 2016

Week 5 of Summer Blast is wrapping up here for the kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. The Sprouts and Juniors are sad to see another another fun week at camp go, but the staff are just as excited as the kids to come back next week to restart some of their favorite activities here at the club!

The Juniors had lots of fun in store this week, including a very special surprise in Kids in Clay. They made edible murals out of toasted bread, and after they are all finished, their artwork will be displayed at the American Visionary Art Museum in the exhibit Yum! in Baltimore.

Tsuhey are also still having a blast in Summer Patch Mural, where they have just finished their Kandinsky Tree and Camp Crafts.

DSC06474 Club members pose by their bread mural, which will be put on display in an art museum in Baltimore when they are finished.

Read more…

Rising to the creative occasion


Boys & Girls Club members part of bread mural project
By David Dore
The Leominster Champion
July 28, 2016

 A close-up of some of the bread mural contributions. David Dore photo

A close-up of some of the bread mural contributions. David Dore photoA group of children gathered in the art room at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Tuesday morning, ready to create.

After getting into groups, they were given their canvas and the tools they would need to bring their visions to life.

There was something unique about these canvases: They were 18-inch by 26-inch baking pans that had been painted gold. And inside the pans were pieces of toast.

Artist Jerry Beck is hoping to turn stale bread and baking pans into a mural measuring 100 feet long and 10 feet high that will go on display later this year at the American Visionary Art Museumin Baltimore. It might even break a world record, according to Beck.

“We hope that we’ll be in the Guinness Book of World Records so kids — they already feel a sense of pride, but when they’ve created a world record, it’s something we think they’ll never forget,” he said. Read more…

Retired astronaut to teach space program at Fitchburg-Leominster Boys & Girls Club


A principal instructor in Go For Launch! will be retired astronaut Don Thomas, who became an astronaut in 1991.

A principal instructor in Go For Launch! will be retired astronaut Don Thomas, who became an astronaut in 1991. Submitted photo

By Eric Stanway
The Worcester Telegram
July 22, 2016

WORCESTER – Those of us old enough to remember the first moon landings and initial exploration of Mars will recall the heady exhilaration of those times. For a while there, it seemed like every kid on the block wanted to grow up to be an astronaut.

The Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster is looking to ignite that spark again in a younger generation, as they initiate their first Massachusetts Go For Launch! program on August 15-17.

“We’re really excited to bring Go For Launch! to the area for the first time,” Katie Hammes of the Boys and Girls Club said. “This is a great way for kids to learn about space, and figure out ways to address the challenges that astronauts face all the time.”

The program is held in conjunction with the nonprofit organization Higher Orbits, which endeavors to make science more accessible to students.

Read more…

Kids beat the heat with cool programs at Boys & Girls Club


By Lucy Norton
Sentinel & Enterprise
July 24, 2016

At the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, members are more than halfway through the six-week Summer Blast program, and are having a great time doing all sorts of activities. Even though they are four weeks in, the kids haven’t slowed down one bit.

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The Sprouts, members ages 5-7, had lots of fun this past week with activities like Summer Brain Gain, which helps keep their minds and imaginations active over the summer, and dance with Miss Kim. There was plenty of giggling as the kids worked together to play parachute games and come up with dances. They also cooled down with water games and kiddie pools the day the Juniors were at the lake. It was a great afternoon.

The Juniors, who are 8-12 years old, have busy schedules as well. There are many STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) programs to keep them busy and learning, like Code Academy and Scratch, where they can learn and use programming skills, Minecraft.edu, Math Jeopardy, and DIY Volcanoes, where members build a homemade volcano and learn about real ones in the process. 3D Printing is popular on the Club’s new 3D printing lab — so far, the kids have printed lots of things that they’ll take home later this summer, including a cartoon cat figurine, a life-size hand, some angel wings and Minecraft mining tools. Read more…

Realtors partner with Boys & Girls Club to help youth


The Leominster Champion
July 14, 2016

The North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to ensure that the youth of our area have great futures.

“Realtors help build neighborhoods and communities, and volunteering time and resources with BGCA gives us the opportunity to help enrich and improve the lives of the young people in these communities,” said Michelle Haggstrom, president of the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

Members rallied together to volunteer at several posts during the 5K fundraising event to support the Boys & Girls Club. NCMAR members Kathryn Weldon manned the hydroblaster, Locke Haman and Tom Ruble fired up the grill to provide a hearty lunch, and Executive Officer Kathy Lore, Pat Toth, April Cover, Brian Cormier, Susan Roser and Haggstrom assisted with pre-race activities such as registration, bib and T-shirt pickup. The funds raised from the 5K race will be used to continue the many beneficial programs at the local Boys & Girls Club.

The North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors is the most trusted resource for real estate information in Northern Worcester County, and the Boys & Girls Club of America is the premier youth development organization in the U.S. Both organizations have come together to make an ever greater difference in the community.

“We are proud to partner with the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors and their members. This partnership will have an immediate and profound impact on our club, our communities and most importantly, our city’s young people,” said Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. “We look forward to this partnership and working together on volunteer projects, club improvements and mentoring, as well as fundraising and awareness initiatives to enable more young people to achieve great futures.”

Rollstone Bank & Trust donates $10,000 to Boys & Girls Club summer program


Published in:
Sentinel & Enterprise
The Harvard Press
The Worcester Telegram
July 7, 2016

Rollstone Bank & Trust recently gave $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster for its summer programs. The funds will be matched by an anonymous donor, who is matching up to $50,000 in donations.

“We appreciate the continued support of Rollstone Bank for our after school and summer programs,” Donata Martin, executive director of the club, said. “The willingness to help us meet our $50,000 Challenge by giving an additional gift is more than admirable and demonstrates Rollstone’s support of our mission: ‘To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive and caring citizens. Read more…

Creating a better future


Leominster Boys & Girls Club winner shows what a club could do for Gardner


By Andrew Mansfield
The Gardner News
July 2, 2016

LEOMINSTER – The motto for the Boys and Girls Club is “great futures start here.”

News staff photos by Andrew Mansfield Laura Jenny from the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, at 365 Lindell Ave. in Leominster, won the Youth of the Year award for Massachusetts clubs. Gardner has a Boys and Girls Club program at Gardner High School, with Fitchburg and Leominster being its parent club. Here, Jenny helps kids make cookies at the club in Leominster.

In Gardner’s case, a pilot program that ran this past school year has been looking to its parent club in Fitchburg and Leominster for how to build such an opportunity for its youth.

The parent club took another major step forward in living up to its saying this year, as member Laura Jenny, an incoming senior at Leominster High, won the Massachusetts Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award for 2016.

“We’re blown away,” said Executive Director Donata Martin.

The hope is that someday Gardner can build its program to become a full club with the same success and its own building too. The pilot program was hosted at Gardner High School for a group of about 20 middle-school students, run by parent club staff. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club: Tryout is a success


First year of after-school program touted; need for a building discussed

By Andrew Mansfield
The Gardner News
June 24, 2016

GARDNER – Victoria Fils-Aime said she was taught as a child that she couldn’t make it.

She was shy and felt “broken, ugly and weak,” as a teenager; but that all changed when she discovered the trademark symbol of two hands coming together painted on the brick building of her local Waltham Boys and Girls Club.

“It helped me see my full potential,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the club, I don’t know where I would be.”

Fils-Aime was one of a number of speakers at an informational meeting about the Boys and Girls Club held at The Gardner Museum on Wednesday evening.

The occasion was an effort to build on the momentum created this past school year with the opening of a pilot program in Gardner that gave 20 middle-school students a positive after-school outlet, thanks to staff from the Fitchburg and Leominster chapter. Read more…

Youth of Year big booster of Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg, Leominster


IMG_3683

Laura Jenny of Leominster poses outside the Bruce Lawrence Teen Center at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.Laura Jenny of Leominster poses outside the Bruce Lawrence Teen Center at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. Submitted Photo

By Amanda Roberge
The Worcester Telegram
June 24, 2016

LEOMINSTER – When asked to nominate a member of the club to compete at the state level with other Youth of the Year winners from their respective clubs, the leaders at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster didn’t hesitate.
A regular at the club since she was 8, Leominster High School incoming senior Laura Jenny, 17, was an obvious choice – but perhaps the reasons were not obvious.

There is no question that she is a poised and intelligent young woman, but for her to win the Massachusetts State Youth of the Year title, which Ms. Jenny now holds following a competition in Western Massachusetts during the first weekend of June, judges must have seen something more.

During the extensive interview process, Ms. Jenny deferred questions about herself in order to promote her local Boys & Girls Club.

“I didn’t want to focus on myself,” she said. “I would rather talk about the club, and how great the staff and the kids are, and all the amazing things we do.” Read more…

Leominster teen named state Youth of the Year


By Christine Smith
The Leominster Champion
June 16, 2016

LeominsterÕs Laura Jenny, 17, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, will represent Massachusetts in the Regional Youth of the Year competition. With her are Donata Martin, director of Fitchburg and Leominster club, and Jon Blodgett, director of the Teen Center. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

The responsibility and the reality is just starting to weigh in at this point, but Laura Jenny was pretty shocked when it was first announced that she was Massachusetts Teen Youth of the Yearfrom among the many other youths from about 40 Boys & Girls Clubs statewide.

As a longtime member of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, Jenny was feeling a deep sense of honor that day in acting as her club’s representative at the statewide competition held at Westfield State University on June 6.

In her surprise at the moment it was announced, she wished that all the staff and children she has come to share her time with during her more than nine years at her local club could have been on stage with her that day, because she believed they all deserved the honor along with her.

Jenny said her first time experience attending the state competition included making lifetime friends of the many other youths she met during the two day event and kept her wondering, “Why me, and not them?” She said they were all “great kids” and “solid characters.” Read more…

Community Foundation supports programs with grants


The Leominster Champion
June 17, 2016

Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts’ Maribeth Janssens and Phil Grzewinski look on as Donata Martin with the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster receives a $3,000 grant last week at the foundation’s anniversary event at Apple Hill Farm in Leominster. Courtesy photos

Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts’ Maribeth Janssens and Phil Grzewinski look on as Donata Martin with the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster receives a $3,000 grant last week at the foundation’s anniversary event at Apple Hill Farm in Leominster. Courtesy photos

The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts announced the distribution of 23 grants, totaling nearly $500,000 from its general endowment funds and field of interest funds, during a press event at Apple Hill Farm in Leominster.

“All of the programs we funded will make a difference in the quality of life for our region,” said Phil Grzewinski, president of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts’ Maribeth Janssens and Phil Grzewinski look on as Kylee McCumber with Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, Inc., receives a $15,000 last week at the foundation’s anniversary event at Apple Hill Farm in Leominster.

Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts’ Maribeth Janssens and Phil Grzewinski look on as Kylee McCumber with Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, Inc., receives a $15,000 last week at the foundation’s anniversary event at Apple Hill Farm in Leominster.

Eight of the grants were made from the Community Foundation General Endowment Fund, which includes support from seven named funds — ABM General Endowment Fund, Allen & Barbara Rome General Endowment Fund, Brown/Peterson Family General Endowment Fund, Gerald E. Bieler Memorial Endowment Fund, IC Founders Society Endowment Fund, KRC Family Endowment Fund and the W. E. Aubuchon, Jr. General Endowment Fund:

• Becket Family of Services Fitchburg, which specializes in addressing behavioral disorders in children and adolescents, of Fitchburg received a $6,000 grant to purchase additional tools for its vocational programming, allowing it to serve more clients. Read more…

GO FISH: Students release trout in Dunn Pond


By Andrew Mansfield
The Gardner News
June 16, 2016

 

GARDNER – One day we all have to grow up, move out of our parents’ house and dip our toes into the waters of life. That’s a lesson a group of young brook trout learned when Gardner middle-school students let them out into the wild at Dunn Pond on Thursday afternoon.

“I like that about half of them grew up big, a few inches. I like naming them too,” said sixth-grader Jack Keenan.

He was one of a handful of students releasing fish as part of a Boys and Girls Club pilot program this school year. Students began raising them in a fish tank over the wintertime, nurturing them from the time they were eggs to being able to go out on their own. Read more…

Community Foundation awards $433G to 23 local nonprofit agencies, programs


By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
June 10, 2016

LEOMINSTER — As foundation president Phil Grzewinski put it, being able to give away almost half a million dollars after only 15 years of operation is “quite an accomplishment.”

But that is what the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts did on Thursday night.

As the Community Foundation celebrated its 15th year, they gave $433,640 to 23 nonprofit agencies and programs, helping them continue or expand services.

On Thursday, at a celebratory grant-awarding ceremony, Ted Lapres, chairman of the Community Foundation Board of Trustees, looked back on the past decade and a half.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve accompished in the first 15 years,” he said, “but I can tell you I want to see us do even more in the next 15 years.”
Read more…

Leominster’s Laura Jenny named Massachusetts Youth of the Year by state Boys & Girls Club


By Julia Sarcinelli
Sentinel & Enterprise
June 9, 2016

 

LeominsterÕs Laura Jenny, 17, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, will represent Massachusetts in the Regional Youth of the Year competition. With her are Donata Martin, director of Fitchburg and Leominster club, and Jon Blodgett, director of the Teen Center.SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

Leominster’s Laura Jenny, 17, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, will represent Massachusetts in the Regional Youth of the Year competition. With her are Donata Martin, director of Fitchburg and Leominster club, and Jon Blodgett, director of the Teen Center. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

LEOMINSTER — Laura Jenny was named the 2016 Massachusetts Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of America during a ceremony at Westfield State University.

The 17-year-old Leominster High School senior will represent the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, as well as clubs from across the state, when she competes regionally with a chance of competing for the title of National Youth of the Year later this summer.

Jenny, who was the first finalist and award recipient ever to represent the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, was excited about the honor and what it means to her, as well as the chance to represent clubs from across the state.

“The club is my family,” said Jenny, who has been active in the club for nine years. “It’s my second home. I’ve been here since I was 8, and I’m always honored to represent the club because it’s done so much for me. Now that I’m State Youth of the Year, it’s kind of an extension of that, because now I’m representing all of the clubs in the state and all these great kids.”

Jenny is the daughter of Mary and Peter Jenny, and she has a 14-year-old brother, Eric, who has been active in the club for six years.

“I’m very proud of her,” Eric said, “and I think it’s great that someone from our club can be one of the best youth in the entire state.”

Read more…

Leominster teen wins Youth of the Year honor


Leominster Champion
June 2, 2016

IMG_3683Selected among several local outstanding youth, Laura Jenny will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Massachusetts Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire.

As the new Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, Jenny is a true example of an extraordinary young woman recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America for her leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club to hold seventh Great Futures 5K


The Leominster Champion
May 27, 2016

Mark your calendar for the seventh annual Great Futures 5K Run & Walk, hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. The event will take place Saturday, June 18 at the club, located at 365 Lindell Ave. in Leominster, to benefit the Boys & Girls Club.

The 5K is open to all levels of runners and walkers. Divisions include Adult 18-plus, Masters 40-plus, Seniors 60-plus, Elementary School, Middle School, High School and the Corporate Cup.

The Corporate Cup division, in which teams from local companies compete as a group, is back for the second year after a successful introductory year in 2015. This division has created a lot of excitement among local area companies and organizations who can’t wait to compete again. The Corporate Cup provides local businesses with an opportunity for employees to participate in an event that builds comradery among coworkers and encourages health and fitness.

The race will start at 10:30 a.m. out in front of the club and make the 5K loop around the scenic neighborhoods of west Leominster. Race highlights include medals to the top finishers in all divisions, T-shirts for the first 400 registrants, a barbecue, live music and a Health Fair.

Registering for the 5K is easy. Just visit the event website at www.GreatFutures5K.com or stop in at the Boys & Girls Club Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and pick up a form. Registration is also available the day of the race, but participants are encouraged to pre-register and take advantage of the pre-registration rates.

If interested in having your company participate as a sponsor, contact James Adams at james.adams@ebtc.com Sponsorships are a great way to support the club and let the community know your business supports the youth in the Leominster/Fitchburg community.

The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster offers year-round programming to over more than youth annually The mission of the club is simple and critical: To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive and caring citizens.

Brown cheerleaders talk science at Boys & Girls Club


 Brown University cheerleaders Aashna Mansharamani and Janice Havasy speak at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Wednesday, May 11. Courtesy photo

Brown University cheerleaders Aashna Mansharamani and Janice Havasy speak at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Wednesday, May 11. Courtesy photo

The Leominster Champion
May 20, 2016

Brown University seniors and cheerleaders Aashna Mansharamani and Janice Havasy visited the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Wednesday, May 11 to speak about their experience in working toward science degrees.

Their visit was possible through the Science Cheerleader program, a group of professional cheerleaders that encourages young women to pursue science careers.

According to the Science Cheerleader website, Havasy is majoring in biology with a focus in immunology. She is also an EMT.

“I chose to concentrate in Immunology because the immune system is crucial to complex organisms, such as humans,” she stated. “While it is vital for human existence, the immune system is also beautifully complex and it’s interesting to learn about the many ways the immune system fights off pathogens. Learning about the human body not only allows me to understand my own body better, but also will undoubtedly help me in my endeavors to become a doctor. In the future, my plan is to become either a trauma surgeon or an ER physician. Either way, I plan to do pediatrics because I love children.” Read more…

Boys & Girls Club to host benefit run and walk


Sentinel & Enterprise
May 15, 2016

LEOMINSTER — The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster will host the seventh annual Great Futures 5K Run & Walk Saturday, June 18, at the club, 365 Lindell Ave.

The 5K, which is open to all levels of runners and walkers, will benefit the Boys & Girls Club.

Divisions include adult 18+, masters 40+, seniors 60+, elementary school, middle school, high school, and the Corporate Cup.

The Corporate Cup division, in which teams from local companies compete as a group, is back for the second year after a successful introductory year in 2015. This division offers an opportunity for employees to participate in an event that builds camaraderie among co-workers and encourages health and fitness.

The race will start at 10:30 a.m. in front of the club, and make the 5K loop around the scenic neighborhoods of west Leominster. Race highlights include medals to the top finishers in all divisions, barbecue, live music and family activities.

To register, go to www.GreatFutures5K.com or stop in at the Boys & Girls Club noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Registration is also available the day of the race, but participants are encouraged to pre-register to take advantage of pre-registration rates.

For company sponsorships, contact James Adams at james.adams@ebtc.com.

Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/community/ci_29895138/boys-amp-girls-club-host-benefit-run-and#ixzz48pG1Tf2A

SHINE Initiative Awards $55K in Grants to Local Agencies


By the SHINE Initiative
May 4. 2016

May is recognized throughout the United States and several countries around the world as Mental Health Month and the SHINE Initiative recently launched its month-long awareness campaign by awarding grants totaling $55,000 to 13 local human service agencies and educational institutions in Central Massachusetts to support mental health education and related services.

The checks were awarded on May 2nd during a reception hosted by Fidelity Bank in Leominster to also celebrate the start of the SHINE Initiative’s 8th annual Quarter Mile campaign, which was established in 2009 by the bank’s directors and employees as a fundraising event to support community mental wellness. Read more…

Boys & Girls Club program teaches teens about bees


By Christine Smith
May 5, 2016
Leominster Champion


Students at the Boys & Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg inspect the bees, honey and larvae in the honeycomb with their instructor, Jon Blodgett. Students who attended the day’s program included Caleb Bergeron, 13, and Anthony Wheeler, 15, both of Fitchburg, and Laura Jenny, 17, Brett Houck, 16, Caitlin Doucet, 13, and Monica Cayenne­ Robinson, 14, of Leominster. 
Christine Smith photo

Students at the Boys & Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg inspect the bees, honey and larvae in the honeycomb with their instructor, Jon Blodgett. Students who attended the day’s program included Caleb Bergeron, 13, and Anthony Wheeler, 15, both of Fitchburg, and Laura Jenny, 17, Brett Houck, 16, Caitlin Doucet, 13, and Monica Cayenne­ Robinson, 14, of Leominster. Christine Smith photo

Philosophers may argue whether bees are delicate artists for their perfection of the hexagonal shaped compartments of the honeycomb, or exquisite chemists for their amazing transformation of nectar into golden honey, but modern day observers are also noticing an uncertain future for these creatures and their colonies.

For the third year in a row, teens at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster are being taught the basic techniques of beekeeping and observation of these talented insects, and program directors are also bringing to light for students the disturbing facts around an overall dwindling bee population.

It is part of what prompted Laura Jenny, 17, of Leominster, to get involved in the program at the club. Jenny said a science project a couple of years ago for biology class focused on the pesticides farms currently use and how these impact the insects that may visit the fields.

Jenny said an entomologist from Boston’s Harvard University had helped her with her project research, even providing her an up-close encounter with beehives at one of that school’s field stations in Bedford. Read more…

North End Subaru donates $18G to Boys and Girls Clubs


By Joe Atmonavage
Sentinel & Enterprise
April 30, 2016

13100936_1193679080643910_2901440046479536969_nLUNENBURG — Ninety percent of the Lunenburg Boys & Girls Club’s budget is funded by donations. That’s how the organization stays in operation, offering a place for local children.

“Things like this give us some room to breathe while we get to the next event and toward the next grant,” Michelle Belleza, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, said. “It enables us to do all these great things with the kids.”

Belleza is referring to a check that North End Subaru presented to the club, as well as another to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, on Friday at the dealership, totaling $18,515.

“We are part of the community,” said Marty Babineau, the Lunenburg dealership’s general manager. “The biggest part of having a successful business is giving back to the community, especially the kids.” Read more…

Busy beehives provide up-close learning experience in Leominster


By George Barnes
Telegram & Gazette
April 27, 2016

AR-160429350LEOMINSTER – Dressed in a full protective suit, Monica Cayenne-Robinson stood back a little as beehives behind the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster were opened for inspection Monday afternoon.

The 14-year-old Leominster High School student didn’t run away as the hive was opened and honeycombs taken out, but she was a little wary of having stinging insects buzzing around her.

“I’m still afraid of them, but I am starting to get to know them better,” she said.

Monica was one of six youths from Fitchburg and Leominster participating in the beekeeping program at the Boys and Girls Club. The program was created three years ago by Jon Blodgett, teen center director at the club and Leominster Police Officer Patrick Aubuchon at the suggestion of Donata Martin, director of the club. It is a work in progress. Read more…

50 Twin Cities youths attend Empowerment Summit


By Jordan Tillery
Sentinel & Enterprise
April 25, 2016

 

From left, Skyler Robinson, Natasha Clark and Juan Rivera lead a panel discussion during the "I Create My Future" Youth Summit Saturday at the

From left, Skyler Robinson, Natasha Clark and Juan Rivera lead a panel discussion during the Create My Future Youth Summit Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

LEOMINSTER — Local students learned a valuable lesson Saturday — you create your own future.

Nearly 50 students gathered at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to attend the annual Youth Empowerment Summit, organized by LUK Mentoring, the Boys & Girls Club and Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D Early Jr.’s office.

“We want to show the kids that they’re capable of anything,” said Najid Figueroa, youth development coordinator for LUK.

The theme of Saturday’s event, which was open to students between the ages of 13 and 18, was “I Create My Own Future” — a message echoed by panelists and keynote speaker Emy Vazquez, pastor of the Lancaster Excel Church.

“You can do whatever you want to do, as long as you live your life,” said Fitchburg High senior Skyler Robinson. “Even if at times things are a little rough, that’s not your final destination, you’re going to go on to something better no matter what.” Read more…

Boys & Girls Club fair lets youngsters see how much it costs to live


By Peter Jasinski
Sentinel & Enterprise
April 15, 2016

Kevin Noyes of People’s United Bank laughs with Anthony Calderon as his spin of the "wheel of life" lands on "broken cellphone"

Kevin Noyes of People’s United Bank laughs with Anthony Calderon as his spin of the “wheel of life” lands on “broken cellphone” during the Reality Fair of Wednesday at the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. (SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN)

LEOMINSTER — Can you remember how old you were when you learned what it meant to bounce a check or pay for a mortgage?

For the students who attended the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s inaugural Reality Fair, it can be as early as age 11.

“They have no idea what it costs to live,” said Ingrid Adade, a financial-literacy officer for Leominster Credit Union who coordinated the event. “They have no idea what their parents might pay for utilities or for their homes or the cars they drive. This is what life is. This is reality.”

Read more…

Science festival returns to Boys & Girls Club in Leominster


By Amanda Roberge
The Leominster Champion
April 8, 2016

Jonathan Arel of Fitchburg is shown the queen honeybee of a hive by Max Weagle of Leominster at a previous Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster's Science Festival.

Jonathan Arel of Fitchburg is shown the queen honeybee of a hive by Max Weagle of Leominster at a previous Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Science Festival. T&G File Photo/Paul Connors

LEOMINSTER – When the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster experienced a major renovation in 2012, leaders determined that the organization would be largely a STEAM-focused club. That intentional decision to spotlight science, technology, engineering, arts and math evolved, naturally, into the club’s sponsorship of an annual science fair.

This year, the third annual Central Mass. Science Festival, which has grown steadily each year, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 16 at the club, 365 Lindell Ave. The event is free.
“What we hear from people is that it’s just a really, really fun day,” said BGCFL Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Cyganiewicz.

Read more…

Sweet Spring: Boys & Girls Club members collect sap for maple syrup


Leominster Champion
April 7, 2016


Jack Keenan is shown with “Mr. Mike” (Michael Scherer, Gardner unit director for the Boys & Girls Club) drilling a hole so a tap can be installed. 
Courtesy photos Jack Keenan is shown with “Mr. Mike” (Michael Scherer, Gardner unit director for the Boys & Girls Club) drilling a hole so a tap can be installed. Courtesy photosMembers of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster tapped sugar maple trees on the Boys & Girls Club property and the adjacent Doyle Reservation in March and collected close to 30 gallons of sap to be boiled into maple syrup. The program was led by Michael Scherer, Gardner unit director for the Boys & Girls Club.



From left, Boys & Girls Club members Jack Keenan, Michael Aiello, April Chamberlain, Elizabeth Santry, Ayana Watson and Madeline Fichel.

 

From left, Boys & Girls Club members Jack Keenan, Michael Aiello, April Chamberlain, Elizabeth Santry, Ayana Watson and Madeline Fichel.

Third annual Science Festival to be held next weekend


April 7, 2016
The Leominster Champion


The Central MA Science Festival will be back for its third edition Saturday, April 16 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. 
Courtesy photos The Central MA Science Festival will be back for its third edition Saturday, April 16 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. Courtesy photosFull STEAM ahead! The third annual Central MA Science Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 16 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, 365 Lindell Ave., Leominster.

Put on your lab coats and get ready for a day filled with science, learning and fun. Try some coding, visit a traveling planetarium, or taste a “bug lollipop.”

The Central MA Science Festival seeks to highlight the impact of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) in our lives, ignite scientific curiosity in our community, and create opportunities for discovery. Hands-on activities will be available for children and families of all ages, including a planetarium, live caterpillars, robots, Lego engineering, nature art, airplanes, computer science, geology, solar power, and much more.

The Central MA Science Festival is free and open to the public, and is affiliated with the Cambridge Science Festival.

The festival is sponsored by IC Federal Credit Union, OMNOVA Solutions, Digital Federal Credit Union and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

For more information about the festival, please visit centralmasciencefestival.org.

Boys & Girls Club donates to United Way campaign


United Way of North Central Massachusetts President Phil Grzewinski, right, and Suzanne Farias, second from right, volunteer campaign chair, thank the members and staff of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster for their $507.59 donation to the 2015-16 United Way Annual Campaign.

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MOC volunteers help with taxes


March 6, 2016
By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise

FITCHBURG — Emily Fernandez may not have graduated from high school yet, but she can do your taxes — and she’ll do them for free.

Fernandez, a junior at Monty Tech, offers low- and moderate-income area residents free preparation and filing of their tax returns as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program through the Montachusett Opportunity Council.

MOC has operated the VITA program for more than 10 years, assisting anyone with an income of less than $54,000 and anyone eligible to receive tax refunds from the Earned Income Tax Credit. Read more…

Aviation program takes wing at Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg/Leominster


Kneeling from left, Kevin Corsani, 13, and Jordan Thompson, 13, two of the Fitchburg and Leominster Boys & Girls Club aviation club members, talk about the electric four-channel model aircraft that they built, under the supervision of Alfred Dean of the Wachusett Radio Control Club.

Kneeling from left, Kevin Corsani, 13, and Jordan Thompson, 13, two of the Fitchburg and Leominster Boys & Girls Club aviation club members, talk about the electric four-channel model aircraft that they built, under the supervision of Alfred Dean of the Wachusett Radio Control Club.

The Worcester Telegram
February 25, 2016
By Bill Thomas Correspondent

LEOMINSTER – Many hands make flight work, and in the case of the local Boys & Girls Club aviation program, that spirit of cooperation has translated into a radio-controlled model airplane.
“During the building process, it was necessary to ask for the help of others, and many responded to our needs with donations of the transmitter used to control the plane and a flight simulator that allowed the builders to learn how a model plane flies,” said program instructor Al Dean.

It was Mr. Dean’s friend Paul McCracken who donated the simulator and transmitter.

“The kids can practice 15 minutes of landing and taking off” with the model, “and now they’re not cracking it up anymore,” Mr. Dean said, reached while vacationing in New Orleans.

The largesse of Rollstone Bank & Trust of Fitchburg provided the rest of the components, which included the propeller, wheels, battery, battery charger and servos, which operate the rudder.  Read more…

Boys & Girls Club nurturing trout


By Peter Jasinski
Sentinel & Enterprise
February 12, 2016

Gavin Ward and Xavier Chadwick check out the trout Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Peter Jasinski

Gavin Ward and Xavier Chadwick check out the trout Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Peter Jasinski

LEOMINSTER — Nearly a full month into the Boys & Girls Club’s trout-raising project, things are looking up.

Current estimate are that 75 of the 80 fish eggs that were delivered to the club last month have hatched and, as far as everyone knows, those 75 fish are still alive.

Knowing for sure isn’t easy, though. Each hatchling is only about the size of a grain of rice right now, and they’re all hiding beneath the many pebbles at the bottom of their tank.

It’s the fifth year the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has been raising baby fish until they’re big enough to be released in the wild, and, according to program coordinator Luci Arel, the enthusiasm hasn’t waned.

“They’re fascinated by it and very interested in learning the challenges these fish face in their environment,” she said. Read more…

It’s Going Swimmingly: Boys & Girls Club raising trout


Gardner News
Andrew Mansfield
February 2, 2016

trout2 GARDNER  Children from the Boys & Girls Club are getting a lesson in the local ecosystem, even though it’s a little hard to see right now.

Instructor Mike Scherer, formerly of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, is helping them raise brook trout in a fish tank.

The fish eggs recently hatched and the trout are barely visible in the tank right now, but the hope is they’ll keep growing and the kids will release them into the wild at the end of the school year.  Read more…

Boys & Girls Club Names New Board Members


Gardner News
February 1, 2016

LEOMINSTER — The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster announced today that Thomas Mutti, Mark Bodanza, and Jonas Angus will join its local Board of Directors.

“All three men bring years of experience that will be an asset to the Club as it continues helping local youth achieve their full potential,” said BGCFL Board chair Justin Gelinas. Read more…

Magic of Motown at Mount Wachusett


The Telegraph
Gardner News
January 20, 2016

Magic of Motown is Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and more as the five-member singing group goes through a musical journey of the great Motown years. Magic of Motown’s vocalists are: Denny Mendes, Donald McCall, Arthur “AJ Smooth” Jefferson, Steven Wood and Evelyn Dillon. The concert will benefit the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation’s scholarship program and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

What: Magic of Motown

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22

Where: Mount Wachusett Community College, 444 Green St., Gardner

How Much: $50; $100 “VIP.” (978) 630-9276

Boys & Girls Club receives Hannaford Helps grant


Leominster Champion
January 8, 2016

Celebrating the $5,000 Hannaford Helps donation are, top row from left, Ean Rose,| Hannaford director of operations for District 20; Dave DeJohn,Local children will attend youth development programs at the Boys & Girls Club ofFitchburg 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 towards 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. Read more…

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