I’ve already mentioned this once, but it bears repeating: there is still time to register for the PMC Concord Kids Ride. I know you’ve all heard about the Pan Mass Challenge, that exhaustively long ride that people do on bikes to raise money for cancer research; well, this is a much shorter version for kids, right here in Concord. It takes place this Sunday, June 12, over at the Middlesex School, and there are 5, 10 and 15 mile loops, depending on age and ability. For all the information you need, and to register, go to http://kids.pmc.org/concord/. All funds go to the Fight to Conquer Cancer at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
The end of the school year is fast approaching. You want to find a way to thank the person who puts all that time into teaching your charming child, but hate to give them just another knickknack they’ll have to dust all summer. I’ve got just the thing: a Teacher Appreciation Award from the Concord Education Fund. Seriously, what could be better than thanking a teacher by donating money in their name to the non-profit organization that funds over $2 million in teacher grants and educational initiatives? And when you donate, the teacher or staff member will get a special acknowledgment card letting them know your family has made a donation in their name. Really, it’s a win-win.
To see recent grants given out by CEF and to donate online, go to www.concordedfund.org. And yes, you’re welcome.
I know it’s Tuesday, but I’m still basking in the glow of our incredibly beautiful weekend, perfect for the many outdoor activities that took place: the , the , event. All well attended and hugely successful.
But I’m not here to talk about them; instead, I’d like to introduce you to someone looking to make a difference here in town.
Concord, meet Erin Duggan.
Erin is the new Youth Services Coordinator for Concord and Carlisle. This is a brand-spanking-new position funded through the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest. It’s a position that’s been talked about before, but the two students who took their own lives last year stepped up the discussion, and made the two towns realize they needed to do something to make kids feel worthwhile.
Enter Erin. Erin spent twelve years as a Victim Witness Advocate and an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County. And if that’s not impressive enough, three years ago she started the non-profit MetroWest Womenaid, an organization that raises money so it can provide short term assistance to people experiencing financial hardship. So she’s brings pretty excellent cred to this position.
Erin’s been checking with other towns that already have this position in place, getting a lay of the land and garnering ideas for youth programs; her first one is “Kindness is Everywhere”.
“There are tons of kids doing things that no one knows about,” Erin told me. “One little girl brought every cent in from her piggy bank, for Japan relief. I want to put positive stuff like that out there, hopefully weekly.” Anyone can nominate someone for this award – each school has copies of the form, and they’re at the Council on Aging and the library. A lot of the stuff so far has come from the schools; Erin plans to follow up with the library and Hunt rec camp for more stories like this one.
Then there is the Tuesday afternoon program Erin has set up over at the Hunt recreation center: sporting equipment is available so kids can have impromptu games of basketball and soccer right there. I like this, because it gives those middle school kids who are looking for a longer leash something more productive to do than just wander around downtown without a purpose. The first week Erin did this, about ten boys showed up; she’s hoping to add in some craft materials to entice the non-sports-oriented crowd. And she includes some snacks and water, just to further sweeten the pot. This program will run through the end of the school year.
In the summer, she’s planning a picnic in the park series geared toward the high school crowd, with sporting equipment and pizza, once a week from 4 pm to 6 pm. She’ll get some of the kids to help her set up a Facebook page. “I’m hoping this fills a gap,” she says.
And lest you think she’s only thinking of the kids, think again: Erin’s got something up her sleeve for parents, too, a regular discussion group where parents can share information and ideas about their middle-school-aged and older kids. She’s hoping to work in conjunction with CCPI to bring in speakers on a range of topics. And because part of the theory behind this position is to try to involve the community more, she’s planning to use the library and other municipal buildings for her meetings.
“The departments and staff people in town are so supportive of this position,” Erin says. “Kerry Cronin (Library Director) works all day running the library, and then shows up at night for the discussion group.”
If you have any ideas for Erin, or need a form to nominate a kid for her “Kindness is Everywhere” award, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter what, she’s well on her way to making a difference, which is pretty cool.