February 19, 2017

Inbox [Feb. 19]: Court advocate program for kids nets grant, Clark website design lauded, Petty and Augustus pen letter to MBTA, WPI offers research experience for high schoolers

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Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

CASA Project lands national grant to serve more Worcester County children

CASA Project, Inc. of Worcester has been awarded a $99,000 Local Growth Grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. Funds will be used to increase the number of abused or neglected children in Worcester County who have a CASA volunteer helping them find a safe, permanent home where they can thrive.

CASA Project, Inc. is one of 943 CASA and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) programs with 76,756 volunteers across the country. The program recruits, trains and supports volunteers who ensure that children who have been removed from their parents’ care receive appropriate services and have a voice in determining their futures.

Last year in Worcester County, CASA Project we worked with more than 205 volunteers, to serve 579 children; CASA Advocates filed 367 court reports and attended more than 750 court hearings. That number is projected to increase dramatically in 2017.

In 2016, National CASA awarded more than $4.1 million in federal grants to help CASA/GAL programs recruit needed volunteers.

Every two minutes, a child enters the foster care system. There are not enough CASA volunteers to serve every child. On average, for every child assigned a CASA volunteer, two others go it alone. We are working in partnership with our programs toward the day that every child in need has a CASA volunteer standing by her side.”

CASA Project, Inc. is holding its next volunteer training starting April 3.

Read the entire story on the CASA Project Worcester Facebook page

Clark University website redesign wins CASE Gold Award

Clark University’s website redesign has won the Gold Award in the 2017 Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District I Excellence Awards.

The Clark University Website Redesign and Relaunch took top honors in the category of institutional websites. Judges praised the redesign, including its “compelling videos and visuals, and easy navigation.” Also, Clark’s entry in the fundraising materials category, a Clark Fund mailer, won the silver award.

“Recognition from our peers in higher education is truly gratifying. We’re excited about the success and scope of our web-based accomplishments, especially in a geographic region that boasts some of the best-known colleges and universities in the world,” said Clark Vice President of Marketing and Communications Paula R. David, who accepted the awards at an event Jan. 26 in Boston, along with Pennie Turgeon, Clark Vice President of Information Technology.

CASE, an international membership association, advances and supports educational institutions by providing knowledge, standards, advocacy and training designed to strengthen the combined efforts of alumni relations. CASE District I (northeastern United States and eastern Canada) annually bestows its Excellence Awards on individuals and schools doing innovative work in the fields of special events, fundraising, stewardship, volunteer engagement, alumni relations, student alumni initiatives, advancement services, and communications.

Clark’s new digital design and content have garnered further professional plaudits: In December, the University received the “Best in Higher Education” 2016 Acquia Engage Award, and in January Clark won the Silver Award for Institutional Website in the competitive Higher Ed Marketing Report’s Educational Advertising Awards.

Read the entire story on the Clark University website

Petty, Augustus ask MBTA to maintain nonstop service

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. sent a letter to Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve asking that they maintain nonstop Heart to Hub service on the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail line.

The MBTA recently announced plans to add additional stops to the evening Heart-to-Hub run from Boston to Worcester. Citing an existing schedule with less than desirable times, Petty and Augustus stated, “Worcester needs to have nonstop train service that will accommodate a nine-to-five work schedule and deliver passengers to work on time in the morning and home for dinner in the evening.”

“Rather than adding additional stops along the Heart to Hub line, we respectfully request the MBTA and Keolis deliver a schedule that better serves the needs of the growing workforce traveling between Worcester to Boston every day,” the letter read.

“An increasing lack of affordable housing in MetroWest is a very real issue that negatively impacts a number of constituencies. Gateway cities like Worcester offer an affordable alternative that must continue to be promoted and made more attractive,” the leaders wrote.

The Worcester/Framingham line is the busiest of all the MBTA’s commuter rail lines. The Heart to Hub nonstop trains from Worcester to Boston began in May.

WPI offers summer research experience for high school students

WPI is offering a summer research experience for current high school sophomores and juniors interested in biology, mathematics and computer science.

In the bioinformatics and computational biology program, students will help solve problems in biology and medicine using computer science and mathematics.

Selected applicants will work with WPI faculty and students on cutting-edge bioinformatics and computational biology projects. The summer research experience is a free, non-residential program for students who live within driving distance of Worcester. The program runs 5 weeks, 30-40 hours per week.

Participants will enhance their knowledge of the life sciences, mathematics and computer science.

Application deadline is March 6, successful applicants will be notified by March 27, and the research program runs June 26-July 28.

More information on the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program is available on the WPI website

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