Southcoast Community Benefits Grant Recipients Make an Impact
Three organizations explain how these grants help them make the South Coast healthier
Here, three grant recipients discuss how Southcoast’s Community Benefits program is helping them address unmet health needs in South Coast communities.
“Our mission and Southcoast’s aligns beautifully,” explains Maureen Manning, director of Beyond School Time in Wareham Public Schools. “Everyone is working to help families in our community become stronger and healthier.”
Southcoast’s support allows Manning and her team to develop creative and engaging enrichment opportunities for K-12 students and their families.
“Research says that when families are engaged, instances of child neglect and abuse decrease. So engagement drives all our programs,” Manning stresses.
A few of the many Beyond School Time programs include:
- Community Cafés: Free gatherings that give families a chance to get together and discuss topics, from budget planning to healthy cooking.
- Grandparents Group: A free, monthly support group for grandparents who are helping to raise their grandchildren.
- Parents Interacting with Infants (PIWI): A weekly group designed to help parents support their infants’ social and emotional development.
Founded in 1871, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham is the third oldest club of its kind in the country. Throughout its 147-year history, the Club has always provided community boys and girls with a healthy and wholesome environment.
Today, the Club has about 1,200 youths registered in their programs, although Robert Mendes, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham, estimates that about 2,000 non-members also benefit from the many free offerings.
“One of our strongest goals is what we call a TRIPLE Play,” Mendes explains. “The program focuses on the health of our community’s youth, with programs that key into nutrition, exercise, and social and emotional behavior. When we hit the TRIPLE Play, data tells us that academic achievement is an added bonus.”
Building programs that meet those goals requires serious funding, and for some time now Southcoast’s Community Benefits program has been there. “Their financial support keeps our programs going and also allows us to enhance and expand services for our kids,” Mendes says. “None of this would be possible without their partnership.”
“We have these amazing ideas to support our community’s youth, strengthen families and empower our residents — incredible programs that we can accomplish because of the grants Southcoast Health Community Benefits program awards us.”
That’s how Wendy Garf-Lipp, executive director of United Neighbors of Fall River, summarizes the coalition’s relationship with Southcoast.
For example, Garf-Lipp explains how the grants support the Peace by Piece Summit, a day-long, annual event that brings the community together for open, safe, and constructive discussions about how violence, gang involvement, bullying, and substance abuse impact everyone.
“This year, 150 14- to 24-year olds and 50 adults attended, and we discussed the pieces that can help us find peace,” Garf-Lipp says. “It was such an encouraging experience.”
Southcoast’s grants also support Confronting Discrimination, a monthly program that United Neighbors of Fall River initiated to curb discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, race, class, or religion. The group includes Fall River youth as well as community leaders.
“It’s all very empowering. We’re fortunate that Southcoast cares so much about our community,” Garf-Lipp says.
Learn more about the Community Benefits grants that Southcoast awarded this year.