The LSC program includes a class project, by which participants work in small teams to assist local organizations in the development of new, or in the implementation of existing, community-based projects. An experiential learning opportunity, the project allows participants to invest their individual skills, resources, and passions into efforts that aim to improve the community’s well-being. In the process, participants demonstrate their leadership capacity and cultivate meaningful experiences that contribute to their growth as leaders. The 2015 LSC class will be working to advance the following community projects this year:
Child & Family Services’ Big Brothers Big Sisters Program – Ambassador Corps Project
Big Brothers Big Sisters wishes to establish an Ambassadors Corps to help the program recruit volunteers and raise its profile in the community. Ambassadors will be trained volunteers who donate their skills and time to meet with businesses, professional groups, churches, etc. to spread its message and emphasize the need for mentors and other volunteers. LSC will help to create an engaging Power Point presentation and Frequently Asked Questions document; network with local organizations, business leaders & interested individuals; present to organizations about the need for mentors and other volunteers; and establish an ongoing Ambassador Corps Program.
Team Members: Linda Rodriguez – Baycoast Bank; Anna Marini – UMass Dartmouth; Angela Silva – Marion Institute; Lori Nickerson – UMass Dartmouth; Linda Franco – St. Anne’s Hospital
Marion Institute – Grow Education
Grow Education seeks to create a school garden at every public school in the City of New Bedford by 2018. The program is designed to bring cohorts of teachers together at each school and empower them with the tools to incorporate nutrition education and food into curriculum, engage families and neighbors in the growing process, and build sustainable communities. Grow Education recently adopted six new elementary schools for the 2014/2015 academic year. The LSC team will meet with the teachers and other necessary school community members to understand the individual school’s needs. The team will focus on gaining community support and advertisement for the project. They will help plan a “breaking ground” day for the school where the community will come together to construct the raised beds, and a garden ribbon cutting ceremony with city officials and the school community.
Team Members: Ed Washburn – Port of the City of New Bedford; Diane Medeiros – Baycoast Bank; Joanne Gregory – SouthCoast Hospitals; Rufai Shardow – NB Whaling National Historical Park; Lindsay Savageau – Justice Resource Institute
United Way of Greater New Bedford – Neighborhood Conversations for Impact
United Way of Greater NB is transitioning from serving primarily as a fundraising organization to one that will serve as a convener dedicated to fostering collaborative community change in Greater New Bedford. After a year of research and community-wide input, the UWGNB will focus its efforts on building stronger support for families so children can thrive. The neighborhoods served by the Gomes School will be the geographic area for the pilot. The LSC team will recruit, convene, and help conduct a Neighborhood Conversation during the month of March to provide a voice to the residents of the pilot area. The results will be used to introduce UWGNB’s intended involvement and pilot objectives, gain consensus about the priorities for improving education and neighborhood life, and build trust in the neighborhood. Additional convenings with stakeholders, members of the initiative’s design team, and local funders will be designed and coordinated by the LSC team throughout the spring and early summer.
Team Members: Karen Nelson, Carney Foundation; Vin Sylvia, Sylvia’s Insurance; Jason DeFalco, NB Public Schools; Mary-Kate O’Leary – People Incorporated; Maureen Sylvia – UWGNB
A project proposed by Bob Unger on behalf of Leadership SouthCoast – Saving our Sons
This pilot initiative will be directed at boys and young men ages 12 to 25, who are more likely than girls and young women to suffer from addiction, to be arrested and incarcerated, to join street gangs, to drop out of high school and to be unemployed. The LSC team will create a database of civic, business, or non-profit groups that devote significant financial or staff resources to benefit boys and young men in Southeastern Massachusetts and prepare a set of recommendations for better coordinating those efforts and addressing gaps in the spectrum of services available.
Team Members: John Kelly, The Schwartz Center; Denise Coombes, SouthCoast Healthcare; Rose Vertentes, Bank Five; Marc Bellanger, Coalition for Buzzards Bay; Bryan DeSa, RDA Insurance; Jake Waxler, NBEDC Wind Energy Center
Steppingstone Incorporated – First Step Inn
The primary goal of the Mayor’s Task Force to End Homelessness in Fall River has been to consolidate the emergency homeless shelter system. The need for consolidation is due to Steppingstone’s current First Step Inn shelter lacking the capacity to service all Fall River’s homeless during the colder weather months. First Step has a Capital Campaign underway to raise funds to renovate the new facility. In addition to the Capital Campaign, it’s essential to create a plan for sustaining operations. It plans to do this through two community events: its current spring fundraising walk and the creation of a new fall/winter event. LSC will help increase visibility and participation in the Get Steppin’ Walk and create a concert-type event at the Narrows Center for the Arts. New marketing ideas, as well as, event planning and man power, will be used to accomplish these tasks.
Team Members: Scott Lopes, Baycoast Bank; Nicolette Collard-Andrade, Bristol Community College; Phil Devitt, SouthCoast Media Group; Tim Lancaster, Town of Dartmouth; Karen Stewart, SouthCoast Energy Challenge
The Women’s Fund of Southeastern MA – Pathways for Women Mapping Project
The Pathways for Women to a Living Wage Task Force was established to build expertise, consensus on, and capacity to move forward, policy and system changes that will increase and improve pathways for women to earn a living wage that will support themselves and their families. LSC will develop a map of existing services, gaps, efforts, etc. to provide important baseline information to support the Task Force’s work into the future. Low- and moderate-income girls and women in greater New Bedford will benefit from the recommendations of this Task Force and the ability of these institutions to successfully implement them.
Team Members: Michelle Rivera, Baycoast Bank; Jessica McBride, UMass Dartmouth; Caitlin Joseph, NB Chamber of Commerce; Alexandra Moniz, YWCA; Erik Rousseau, SRTA; Stephanie Taylor, NB Community Connections Coalition