Youth and Family Advisory Committee Meets

Darlene Vittori-Marsell, Chair of the Holliston Youth and Family Advisory Committee (YFAC), opened the March 2 meeting with an introduction of prospective member, Katie Cunningham. Ms Cunningham is a parent and social worker. 

Melissa Stacey (center above), Chair of the Holliston Drug and Alcohol Awareness Coalition (HDAAC), made a guest appearance to update the Committee on their efforts:

  • Stacey is collaborating with the PTO group Mindshare in developing a survey modeled after the Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey. The purpose of the HDAAC survey is to assess needs and subsequently direct the Coalition’s work in the areas of programming, education, and resources for parents for 2020-21. 
  • Youth and Family Services Director Jackie Winer, Katie Sugarman, and Melissa Stacey attended a February meeting of the Holliston Select Board to request $10,000 to hire a grant writer.  They also presented to the Holliston Finance Committee. 
  • Stacey visited Senator Karen Spilka’s office for the purpose of requesting $10,000 in funding. 
  • Stacey and Winer presented at the February 26 meeting of the newly formed Wellness Council, a subsidiary of the School Committee.  Stacey reported the Council would like to support the efforts of the Youth and Family Services and the HDAAC

Prior to reviewing the Director’s Report, January minutes of the YFAC were reviewed and approved.  Jaclyn Winer announced that YFS has a new Holliston High School intern, Ashley Rivas, who began on January 24 and will continue throughout her third term. 

In an update of programs and clinic statistics, there were 11 new referrals in January and 8 in February.  In February, a total of 166.75 hours was spent in direct service to 47 clients.  Other counseling activity included group work and individual and group supervision work. 

The Holliston Community Action Fund, Winer reported, provided funds to take care of a HHS cafeteria student lunch debt and put credit on the account as well. 

Looking ahead, Winer reviewed her present process of manually collecting and analyzing data, and would like to look into an electronic medical record program to improve this process.

Winer is beginning to look at next year’s plan for interns from Simmons College.  Adding an intern “builds a good team,” said Winer, “and it’s a good learning opportunity for them.”  The internship program at Simmons taps Master’s level students.

In New business, member John Drohan provided an update for the Holliston Community Action Fund.  The group plans to launch their pilot HHS student afterschool program “Everybody Matters.”  Drohan said, “It will provide a place where they [students] can go, be themselves, have fun.” 

Drohan is hoping to create some awareness for the HCAF within the student community.  “At some point, students will do some community service.”  Tentatively, the first meeting of Everybody Matters will be on March 18, with a fundraiser—perhaps a carwash or a bake sale—following on March 21.

Additionally, Drohan reported that a pre-Christmas fundaiser for HCAF raised $8000 for community action grants. 

Chair Darlene Vittori-Marsell, retiring this fall from her service to the YFAC, spoke to Town Clerk Elizabeth Greendale about ways to redistribute YFAC tasks among its members.  Preparing the Committee for a seamless transition to a new Chair, Vittori-Marsell shared a list of Committee positions and corresponding tasks.  She also mentioned the retirement of Jeff Ritter, Town Administrator, and her hope that the new Town Administrator would attend one or more meetings to understand the Committee’s work.

The meeting adjourned at 8:08 PM.  The next meeting is March 30, 2020, at 7:00 PM.

Yvette Cain

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