December 3, 2017

Inbox [Dec. 3-9]: News and notes from WCAC, YWCA, Worcester Center for Crafts, Straight Ahead Ministries and Worcester Public Library

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Worcester Public Library

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Chick-fil-A Foundation awards $50K grant to Straight Ahead Ministries

Straight Ahead Ministries, a local character-development program for juvenile offenders, has been named the recipient of a $50,000 grant through The Chick-fil-A Foundation’s fourth annual True Inspiration Awards. The awards honor organizations across the country that are working hard to make a lasting difference in the lives of children and youth in their communities.

Straight Ahead Ministries aims to provide ongoing support and resources for juvenile offenders through its faith-based programming. This intensive program includes job-readiness training, educational support and service opportunities. By connecting with youth during their sentence and continuing after their release, Straight Ahead Ministries helps adolescents become self-sufficient, productive members of their communities.

This grant is among $1.23 million being awarded to organizations through the True Inspiration Awards this year. The grants range from $20,000 to $100,000.

Organizations can either apply for an award directly, or receive a nomination from a local Chick-fil-A restaurant franchisee based on the group’s local work. The Chick-fil-A Foundation will award the 23 winning organizations at the True Inspiration Awards celebration in Atlanta, Georgia, in the spring.

Read more about the awards on the foundation’s website

WCAC earns $62K Health Foundation Activation Grant

Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC) has been awarded a $62,000 grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts Activation Fund to develop and implement a creative model to address poverty as a community health concern, bringing together community-based organizations, local government and financial institutions to meet the needs of those striving to improve their financial health and stability.

To be known as BankOn Worcester County, the project will address the high number of unbanked and underbanked individuals in Worcester County, specifically within Worcester and Southbridge.

“We are most grateful for the support of The Health Foundation for this important initiative,” WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis said. “Asset development is a key component of WCAC’s mission in helping individuals and families reach self-sufficiency. We recognize the need for additional financial literacy opportunities, and look forward to engaging our local financial institutions to assist with these efforts.”

Partners will seek solutions to increase access and decrease barriers to banking through the development of safe and affordable products and options, as well as financial-education opportunities to meet the needs of low-to-moderate income individuals and families in Worcester and Southbridge.

Preliminary planning meetings and partnership recruitment for the Bank On Worcester County campaign are underway, with an anticipated launch in conjunction with the city-wide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in January.

“The goal of the Activation Fund is to enable an organization to move to a higher level of capacity and to then continue to function at that higher level after the grant ends,” said Dr. Jan Yost, president and CEO of The Health Foundation. WCAC’s grant was part of a total of $694,516 allocated, the second-highest amount ever awarded by The Health Foundation in a single year.

Read the full article on the WCAC website

Nominations open for YWCA Young Women’s Leadership Program

The YWCA Central Massachusetts is accepting nominations for its 2018 YWCA Young Women’s Leadership Program, which provides key leadership skills to teen girls and develops them into “leading ladies.”

The Young Women’s Leadership Program is a 12-week program for high school sophomores and juniors that teaches, and provides guidance about, various leadership styles, public speaking, financial literacy, life-skills, diversity, career planning and college readiness.

The program’s curriculum transforms young women by incorporating best practices, including mentoring, experiential learning, community service, small-group discussions, as well as rich exposure to topics such as women’s rights, racial justice and poverty in our communities.

An additional, exciting component this coming year is an opportunity for collective action around social justice, in which the girls will develop and execute a project in conjunction with our Annual Stand Against Racism.

Read more and download the application form here

Worcester Center for Crafts’ Gallery store sets holiday hours

The Worcester Center for Crafts Gallery Store has expanded its hours for your shopping pleasure, and is open seven days a week until Dec. 24. Its amended hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. The Gallery Store is open until 3 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Featured in the Gallery Store, at 25 Sagamore Road, are American-made works by artists from around the country. Ceramics, glass, home goods, paper products, jewelry, hand-crafted candles, scarves, mittens, and much more are on display for purchase. Store assistants can assist you in finding the perfect gift made by an artist whose story appeals to you or an artist you like to collect. The store represents over 300 artists, including acclaimed glassmaker Simon Pearce.

Also available for purchase are cups and mugs from Krikorian Gallery’s Cup Show. The Gallery Store shop also features gift cards that can be used to give a gift of a craft class to the artisan in your life, or can be used in the store.

WPL launches Language Exchange Café Saturday mornings

The Worcester Public Library is launching a Language Exchange Café, which is designed to bring together native speakers of languages other than English, and native English speakers learning another language.

The weekly event is being held 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturdays through February in the café area at the Main Library, 3 Salem Square. Participants will pair up to spend half an hour teaching a language they know, and half an hour learning or practicing another with their partner.

Read more about the café and other WPL programs on its website

UniBank names Mironidis VP, Worcester branch manager

Wendy Brown, vice president and regional manager at UniBank, recently announced that Lemonia Mironidis has joined UniBank as vice president and branch manager of the bank’s Worcester branch.

In this role, Mironidis is responsible for operations, and growth and development of consumer and business relations for UniBank’s Worcester branch.
Mironidis joins UniBank with more than 25 years of experience in financial services, having worked most recently as branch manager at Bay State Savings Bank. She graduated from Worcester State University with a bachelor of science degree in English and Urban Studies.

Mironidis has taught financial literacy to students in the Framingham Public Schools system and is a board member of the Webster Square Business Association. She recently served as chairperson of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce and was the recipient of the MetroWest Chamber Ambassador of the Year award in 2012. Her NMLS number is 531393.

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