Youth Advisory Committee Holds Annual Meeting
Chair of the Youth Advisory Council, Jennifer Lieberman, called the remote annual meeting to order at 7:04 PM on Monday (6.14.21) evening. Minutes from the May 2021 meeting were quickly approved by all present, with only Kristin Haddad absent. The group then listened to the Director’s Report of YFS Director Jackie Winer.
Winer shared glimpses of May and June meetings and other events that included COVID Trauma Training for staff with Needham and Southborough, a virtual Stakeholder Retreat held by Holliston Drug and Alcohol Coalition (HDAAC), and Winer’s participation (with MetroWest Health Dept.) on mental health needs and COVID. Also, Winer sat on a hiring panel to select Holliston Public School’s Social and Emotional and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director (SEL/DEI) from a pool of candidates.
Heading the news of program updates, Winer announced that she anticipates taking a maternity leave in the fall. She explained how the present maternity leave of Kirsten Rancourt would conclude as Winer begins her leave. Winer also mentioned that two new interns will begin as of September 1. The YFS does anticipate an increase in need for therapeutic services, so they are working to ensure the department will meet those needs.
The Rent and Mortgage Relief Program—presently nearing its June 30th conclusion—has less than $5000 in assistance, but is ready to assist if another candidate should have need for funding. Winer reported the program has assisted 40 residents in need.
Also of note in “Program Highlights,” the Court Diversion Program reported a 100% success rate: no participant was charged with a new offense during the diversion period. Additionally, the 6-month Post-Program success rate was 100%, as no one involved had any new arrests or citations.
Citing other noteworthy statistics, Winer said YFS served 110 families in FY2020-21 (in comparison to 78 families in 2018). YFS answered approximately 357 phone calls, helping families access services in the community.
Winer also reported that HDAAC, with Director Melissa Stacy:
- Allocated funding to hire a Drug Free Community (DFC) grant writer,
- Led and interfaith prayer service for those lost to addiction in the community,
- Increased monthly meeting participation,
- Held a 2-night virtual stakeholder retreat. The two takeaways from the retreat are that Holliston youth have access to cannabis and are drinking alcohol. These will be the target areas for grant,
- Hopes to complete the DFC grant process by July 1, 2021.
John Drohan (above photo), Holliston Community Action Fund Chair, reported that the student division of HCAF—Students Taking Action—will hold an event this Friday, June 18, at 6PM at Goodwill Park. The adult arm of the Fund also needs new members, reported Drohan. No fundraiser is scheduled yet.
Lieberman recognized student representatives Brian Sahagian and Stephanie Farrell. Both were anticipating finals and the end of the school year. They expressed their thanks to everyone on the YAC for listening to them. “It’s nice to really be heard,” said Sahagian.
The Committee spent the remainder of the meeting in conversation about the Director’s final evaluation. The meeting was adjourned at 8:34 PM. No meetings of the YAC are planned for July and August, with Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 PM planned for the next YAC meeting.