Chair Jennifer Liebermann opened the remote meeting of the Youth Advisory Committee on Monday, November 15, 2021, at 7:05 PM. The recording for this meeting is available at www.townofholliston.us/youth-advisory-committee.
A Director’s Report was presented by Interim Director of Youth and Family Services, Kirsten Rancourt (see photo below). She listed several meetings and workshops that both she and/or Keri Norris, Case Manager, attended in October and November, including one on the topic of suicide presented by McLean Hospital, one on community leadership presented by Holliston Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Kustka, and a MetroWest Youth and Family Service Director’s Meeting that launched the “I Decide” program, consisting of 4 sessions. It will allow attendees to access to materials created by the Mass General Hospital.
Rancourt also provided an update on a recent round of rent and mortgage relief. Monies for this round were voted on during the September YAC meeting and approved by the Select Board the same evening. Funding, obtained through the CARES Act, had to be disbursed by October 31. Rancourt said that $24,491 were expended, aiding 11 Holliston families.
Melissa Stacy, Director of the Holliston Drug and Alcohol Awareness Coalition, reported that the group is working toward the Drug Free Communities Grant (DFC), which is due in February. Grant writer Amanda Decker is assisting with this work. Additionally, Stacy reported that the State has earmarked $25,000 from the State budget to support programs and services as a result of the ongoing work toward the DFC grant. The DFC grant, when/if approved, will provide $125,000 a year over a 5-year period to the Holliston community.
An update on the Holliston Community Action Fund (HCAF) was provided by John Drohan (above), HCAF Committee Chair. Drohan announced the Student Division of the HCAF will hold its first annual Holiday Student Art Festival on Thursday, December 9, at 747 Washington Street. The event will feature a silent auction of Holliston High School students’ art works as a fundraiser. Drohan described the event much like a festival, with fun activities and food. Other local businesses will be open this evening to support the event. Prizes will be awarded to student artists who raise the most money in their particular art category.
Matthew Putvinski (above), the YAC representative to the Envisioning Future Holliston Committee (EFHC), reported that the group is preparing to send out a survey to the community. The EFHC is especially interested in reaching segments of the population that previously have not been heard. Presently the group is building a list of residents’ email addresses for this anonymous survey.
Student representatives Stephanie Farrell (above left) and Brian Sahagian (above right) mentioned the advent of a new academic term, beginning November 15. They also mentioned the recent bathroom incident of hate speech; both noting that the event(s) were handled well in classrooms and by the school.
In other business, Liebermann announced that Alison Quinan volunteered for the Secretary position for the Committee.
Liebermann adjourned the Committee at 7:44 PM. The next meeting is on December 13 at 7 PM.