Children’s Smile Coalition turning poverty upside down, one kid at a time

Mary Ellen Wessell saw opportunity in a simple question, teamed up with a few trusted board members and created Santa’s Big League, CSC’s first initiative, to give gifts and bring cheer to teenage children who fell through the cracks. Children’s Smile Coalition has only grown from there — and more is on the way.

Billy Breault

Mariano: The man nobody wants but every neighborhood needs

“He is loud and brash. His hair is long and unruly, and he wears a giant mustache that looks like a battering ram. … When he gets angry, and that is often, he looks like someone you want to avoid. Detractors call him a loudmouth, a bully and much worse.” In the first of a new series, Ray Mariano profiles Billy Breault, the Marshal of Main South.

Editorial: Scout’s honor: ‘I know in my heart who I am’

Trevor Huntley was born with severe disabilities, but that did not stop him from dreaming about — and at last achieving — the rank of Eagle Scout. Worcester’s Troop 37 accepted him years ago, and adapted requirements so that he could participate as fully, and as fully challenged, as possible. Trevor’s example shows what can happen when we offer support instead of walls.

Sun Shine: Main Idea paints a new picture of opportunity in Worcester’s Main South

Eve James was so impressed by the impact the summer arts program has had on her children that she became a volunteer herself. “I feel as though my family has become part of their family.” She said the “excellent teachers” make Main Idea what it is. With the help of Eve and her son Isiah, a dedicated group of volunteers continues to buck the odds and make their vision flourish. Sloane Perron shines a light on this worthy endeavor.

Sun Shine: At Broad Meadow Brook volunteers are a natural fit

“We want to be engaged with the community,” says Martha Gach, the conservation coordinator. “We recognize that there is no way the paid staff can do everything that we need to do here, and we also recognize that people want to be involved.” Alex Khan straightens his tie and digs in for an in-depth look at where Worcester and nature and good people collide.

Sun Shine: Worcester’s Genesis Club goes the distance for mental health

“Members were doing well psychologically, but physically couldn’t work more than two hours,” said Kevin Bradley, club director. “We asked, ‘Is there something we can do to help?’” What started as a fitness program at Assumption College blossomed into Team Genesis, which will mark its 10-year anniversary of running the Falmouth Road Race Aug. 21. What started with but 14 runners has become a 42-person brigade, raising money and awareness for a segment of the population often left behind.

Sun Shine: YouthWorks building skills, pride in young people

For teens and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, YouthWorks — a mostly state-funded collaboration backed locally by Worcester Community Action Council and partners — provides more than something for them to do over the summer. It’s a stepping stone to the future. “What Worcester is doing is terrific,” said Anne Berrigan, a program administrator. “YouthWorks is one of the best kept secrets in your town.” Not for long! Alex L. Khan takes an in-depth look at what’s working for these Worcester youths.