Youth Advisory Committee Meets

Youth Advisory Committee Chair Jen Lieberman opened the Monday (9.20.21) evening meeting at 7:03 PM with a nod to attending infant Morgan, introduced to all by returning mom Kirsten Rancourt, Community Therapist and Court Diversion Coordinator.  Following many expressions of joy for Morgan’s arrival, the Council approved June 2021 meeting minutes.

Keri Norris, LICSW

Youth and Family Service Program Director Jackie Winer next introduced and welcomed recent part-time hire Keri Norris, LICSW, (in photo above).  Norris, a Holliston resident, will be covering cases during after school hours and in drop in programs.  She will also assist and support the Holliston Drug and Alcohol Awareness Coalition (HDAAC).

Winer (photo above) continued presentation of her Director’s Report with news that the Simmons University intern expected by YFS is unable to support the department this year due to a leave of absence.  Winer said, “Another intern is not likely.” However, she continued,”We can still maintain the same level of service.”

ARPA Requests

Winer spent time explaining the purpose of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds and how requests are made of Holliston’s ARPA Steering Group. The Committee voted to approve Winer’s proposed request for funding for the following projects:

  • $1800 to fund “The Art of Belonging,” a class for LGBTQ and other students in grades 6-12 (See https://jennpipe.com/product/art-of-belonging/)
  • $5,000 to fund program collaboration with Holliston’s Mindshare that presents parent education nights and supports speakers and other programs for youth.
  • Undetermined amount to fund a proposal based upon the needs of YFS in relation to COVID needs over a 12-24 month period.

The Committee voted unanimously in favor of supporting the above requests.  The requests will now be sent to the ARPA Steering Group for review.

CARES Act Request/Holliston Rent and Mortgage Relief

Following the Committee’s approval, Winer will now also request $25,000 in CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) funding for rent and mortgage relief.  This “final round” of relief follows the distribution of $75,000 in rent and mortgage relief to previous qualifying applicants.  (NOTE:  As the Select Board was meeting concurrently, we now know that this fund request was approved by the Select Board shortly after the Council gave approval of the plan.)  Applications for this final round are due to YFS before Winer begins her maternity leave in mid-October.  Funds must be distributed before October 29, 2021.

For more information, see https://www.townofholliston.us/youth-and-family-services/news/holliston-rent-mortgage-relief

Holliston Community Action (HCAF) Fund Update

YAC member John Drohan provided an update on HCAF.  The student division, “Students Taking Action,” presently has 35 active teens.  This student group had its end of summer meeting.  A fundraiser is planned.  Additionally, Drohan reported that two emergency assistance grants in collaboration with Winer have been provided residents.  He reported that HCAF plans to continue to support Winer in the final round of Rent and Mortgage Relief.

HDAAC Update

Winer reported that progress toward the Drug Free Communities grant is “looking hopeful and promising.”  According to Winer, the consultant working on the grant application has shared a 12-month “plan of action” with the Coalition, and Winer shared this document with Committee members. 

Envisioning Future Holliston (EFH formerly Comprehensive Long-Range Planning Committee)

Matt Putvinski (photo above), the YAC representative to EFH, reported that the group has met twice, but its large membership is a challenge to scheduling meetings.  Presently, the group is discussing how to communicate with and elicit feedback from the larger community.

Finally, Winer acknowledged acceptance of a $1000 donation from the Holliston Lions Club.  Winer said, “We appreciate their support of our department.”

Chair Lieberman adjourned the meeting at 8:44 PM.  The YAC next meets (remotely) on Monday, October 18, at 7 PM. 

Yvette Cain

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