YAC Readies for Annual Meeting

The Holliston Youth Advisory Committee’s (YAC) Chair Jennifer Liebermann opened Monday (5.16.22) night’s remote meeting at 7:07 PM to a crowded screen of members, potential members, and YFS personnel.  The agenda included many updates in addition to the Director’s Report, some discussion on membership updates, and an evaluation of the Director to be voted on in June.

Jackie Winer (above photo), Director, provided a few highlights from her “Mission Moments” section of the Report:

  • A Forum was presented with the Holliston Public Library on depression and bi-polar awareness.  Following this workshop, Jackie said that the department received several calls for referrals.
  • An event in conjunction with OUT MetroWest and the Holliston Public Library entitled “LGBTQ Basics and Beyond” will be live-streamed on May 26.  Registration is still open.
  • A new partnership with EDC and the Holliston Public Schools to join in an initiative to study data and create a tool to examine [shared] data yearly.
  • A meeting with Susan Stone at the Holliston High School about students working with Kaitlin Mills’ Service Learning class where 2 students have show interest in information about the delivery of prom messages about being safe and making safe choices. 
  • An interview conducted by HCAT Holliston “Heartbeat of Holliston” with Jackie and YFS Therapist Kirsten Rancourt that can be seen by clicking below:

Winer then asked for a vote on the draft job description for a temporary program assistant position funded by ARPA that she would like to post soon.  The position will support both Jackie and Kirsten and will help maintain and develop programs.  It will require a Bachelor’s and/or work toward or a present Master’s Degree. The position is part-time consisting of 19.5 hours/week with no benefits. Jackie is presently negotiating with the town presently about the grade and step of this position, but she would like the salary to be $25-30/ hour. Additionally, a decision must be made concerning whether the position is a one- or two-year position. The Committee accepted the draft with impending details that were to be negotiated.

Concerning the present caseload, Winer reported that the staff are not “maxed-out.”  “February and March were the highest number of referrals,” said Winer, who is also distributing a satisfaction survey to those serviced.  Demographics are showing that where YFS used to receive 60-70% of their referrals from the Holliston Public Schools and Holliston Police, presently most clients are self-referring.  The age range of clients is 5 years to 91 years. Jackie ended by updating the group about the progress of the Holliston Drug and Alcohol Awareness Coalition.  Although Jackie is presently serving as a temporary chair, she is encouraging that another member serve in this capacity.  News of the Drug Free Communities grant is expected in August 2022.  Various members were called upon for updates of other related town groups.

John Drohan (above photo), Chair of the Holliston Community Action Fund reported the following:

  • The student division held an awareness event recently in the Holliston town center.
  • The student division provided free babysitting to those attending the Town Meeting on May 9.
  • The student division will have a BBQ at Goodwill Park on June 3.  Some underclassmen will be “stepping up.”
  • The adult division will hold a fundraiser on Thursday, September 22, at Pinecrest to kick off the Celebrate Holliston weekend.
  • HCAT has awarded 3 emergency assistance grants in conjunction with YFS.

Matt Putvinski, YAC representative to Envisioning Future Holliston, said that he and Ken Henderson delivered a progress report to residents attending the Town Meeting on May 9.  They plan a second survey of residents and will make recommendations to the community during the Fall Town Meeting. 

Student YAC members Stephanie Farrell (photo above left) and Brian Sahagian (center above) are both graduating HHS seniors, retiring from two years of service to the Committee.  They reported a selection of Senior activities including this year’s prom in Providence, AP exams, senior projects, and finals before seniors leave on May 25.  Caitlin Correia (photo right), HHS sophomore, introduced herself, and she will be one of two new student representatives.

Chair Liebermann (above)  reported that Kate Cunningham and Matt Putvinski will replace her and Lynne Rahim as YAC Chair and Vice Chair, although the designation of each has not been determined.  Voting for these positions will occur during the June 21 Annual Meeting at 7 PM.  According to YAC By-Laws, the Committee is comprised of 9 members:  7 voting and 2 student representatives, with a quorum of 4 voting members.  Consultation with the Town Administrator and perhaps with the Select Board will determine whether the Committee can increase membership to 9 voting members and 2 student members, according to Liebermann.

The meeting continued at this point for the purpose of evaluating the YFS Director.  This evaluation will be voted upon during the Annual Meeting June 21, 2022.

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Yvette Cain