Over 200 Join Walk for Hope
We did it! Together we raised over $20,000 to support Family Services’ Samaritans of the Merrimack Valley program.
We are so grateful for to the many individuals and organizations who supported and showed up to our 5th annual “Walk for Hope”. The outpouring of support we received for this event far exceeded our expectations and shows that we are making progress to end the stigma around mental health and suicide.
With 200 walkers and 14 sponsors, the proceeds from the Walk will enable us to take on some important projects this coming year, including:
- Developing a training program to help teachers, social workers, first responders, parents and others to recognize individuals who may be at risk;
- Provide ongoing individual and group support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide;
- facilitate a support group for people who have attempted suicide and survived; and
- Expand our crisis help line to reach thousands more people in crisis.
Thank you again to our 2021 Walk for Hope sponsors and everyone who joined, donated, volunteered or supported in any way!
Family Services’ Launches Diversion Learning Lab
Teenagers are not known for their great decision making. In fact, the stage of development from 12 – 20 is often marked by behavior that pushes boundaries and tests barriers as young people establish themselves as independent people. And sometimes that behavior crosses a line and they find themselves involved with the juvenile justice system. Family Services of the Merrimack Valley is pleased to now be partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) on a pilot project to divert young people from involvement in the justice system, and onto a path toward accountability, responsibility, and growth.
The “Diversion Learning Lab” is a collaboration between Family Services, NFI in Lowell, Family Continuity in Worcester, DYS, the Massachusetts Juvenile Court and other stakeholders in the juvenile justice system. This project is the result of two years of research and collaboration by the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board’s Community Based Interventions Subcommittee, and was specifically designed to:
- Reduce recidivism and increase public safety
- Support positive youth development
- Promote and ensure equity in the Juvenile Justice System and diversion process
- Hold youth accountable for their actions
Michelle Martinez, Family Services’ new Diversion Program Pilot Site Director, will be responsible for working with youth and families, as well as with the DYS and other project partners to develop a model program that can be deployed statewide in the future. “I’m excited to get this project off the ground,” says Ms. Martinez. “It’s a great opportunity to help young people start making healthier decisions, and support families navigating the difficult adolescent years.” For more information, contact MMartinez@fsmv.org.
A Note from our President
A message from our Board President about the power of Kindness…
- Supported 1,197 parents, guardians, and caregivers through the challenges of raising children in a world upended by remote schooling, food insecurity, and emotional stress.
- Helped more than 650 young people become strong, confident adults through mentoring, leadership development, and individual support and guidance.
- Trained 656 professionals, volunteers and community members in suicide prevention, trauma response, relationship skills, and self-care.
Stand & Deliver Kick Off
Family Services’ Stand & Deliver academic mentoring program kicked off its new school year program last month with 66 matches! We are so pleased to partner with four companies (Raytheon, New Balance, Pfizer and Schneider Electric) and three schools (Lawrence Technical High School, Lawrence High School and the Bruce School), matching students with adult mentors who can help inspire academic achievement and professional success.
Recently, mentors and students got together for some much needed in person time to meet one another, enjoy some pizza, play a few fun games, and make plans for their weekly virtual academic mentoring sessions for the rest of the school year. We can’t wait to see how much these matches grow between now and May.