ARPA Steering Group Reviews Three More Organizations’ Requests

The ARPA Steering Group on Wednesday at Noon to review requests from Youth & Family Services, the Library / Library Trustees, and the Senior Center / Council on Aging. The scheduled one-hour meeting required the group to be efficient in their questions and comments following each group’s presentation.

First up was Jackie Winer, Youth and Family Services Director, who presented two requests totaling $6,800. The “Art of Belonging,” an art program to engage LGBTQ youth would be tuition free for participants through this grant. $5,000 would be used to pay for speakers to help parents through the PTO’s Mindshare initiative to help students recover from the pandemic’s educational and emotional impacts. Chief Cassidy confirmed that these request fall in the “promoting healthy childhood environments,” in the ARPA guidelines. The six-member Steering Group unanimously recommendedthese grants for consideration be the Select Board at its next meeting.

Holliston Public Library Director Leslie McDonnell requested funding to acquire three additional electronic media resources to add to the streaming movie library, e-book and audio library, and provide online scheduling for patrons to sign up for the Library’s meeting rooms. Over the three years of ARPA grants, that would amount to $19,350. Steering Group members reminded Director McDonnell that if the Library wanted to continue these new additions beyond three years, other means of paying for them would be necessary. Mrs. McDonnell noted that the Library budget has been moving from printed matter to online resources and would likely continue to do so. The unanimously recommended these grants for consideration be the Select Board at its next meeting.

Senior Center Director Lisa Borchetta and Council on Aging Chair Yvette Cain presented the first of two requests in the time remaining. The request was for funding to hire a professional consultant to design, administer, and report on a survey of Holliston’s senior population – age 55+. Currently, about 25% of the eligible population of 4,300 residents utilize the Senior Center offerings. The goal is to find out what would engage more seniors in the Center’s activities and resources. The proposed cost would cover a mailing (age-appropriate medium) now, and a second survey to gauge the progress made in the intervening years. The Steering Group offered several ideas and other resources that might be used to accomplish such a survey. The Group recommended that the project be deferred (shown below) for now while more research about alternative support is completed.

With time running out, Mr. Ahern asked the group members to share any quick questions / concerns about the proposed Home Repair Program. The following items were noted: staffing, liability for Town, legal ramifications, and use of a digital resource. Ms. Borchetta and Mrs. Cain will meet with the Steering Group at its next meeting, Wednesday, August 25th at noon.

Chris Cain

2 Comments

  1. Kay Mackey on August 20, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    I think the Senior Center survey is a great idea! I also think it’s very good that approximately 25% of the town’s 4,300 55+ residents use the senior center. I’d be more curious to know what percent of the 65+ residents use the center because most 55-65 year olds I know in town (myself included!) aren’t in “senior center mode” yet.
    .

  2. Kevin Robert Malone on August 21, 2021 at 9:22 am

    I hope this is not an example of less than enthusiastic support for elder-specific initiatives on the part of town leadership. I am confused as to why something that would seem to benefit 25% of our population – often silent in terms of their own advocacy and with no seeming champions at leadership levels – has to be “deferred” and requires “alternative support”. Are we uncomfortable with finding out what services our seniors want and need, but our town fails to offer?

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