FITCHBURG, MA – The Main Street Group Charitable Foundation of Main Street Bank awarded a $10,000 grant to Making Opportunity Count (MOC) of North Central Massachusetts to be used towards the renovation of the Youth Innovation Center in Fitchburg, MA. This project seeks to address both the socio-economic challenges of community residents as well as supplement after-school programming to reduce at-risk behaviors in young adults. The Youth Innovation Center will provide youths in the area with access to resources not found in homes or schools.
“Funds from Main Street Bank will help us with renovations of a previous grassroots organization into a new youth innovation center called the Adrian L. Ford Center for Change,” says Nicole Michaud, Vice President of Advancement at MOC. Recognizing that the previous Cleghorn Youth Center required updates to meet the ever-changing dynamic of the Fitchburg community, MOC recruited 10 Youth Founders to take the lead in the concept and design of the new Youth Innovation Center. “It’s really for the youth, by the youth,” says Shana Fitz, Director of Youth Programming for MOC.
Youth and young adults will have access to resources that will nurture their exploration in a variety of fields including graphic arts, audio and video production, podcasting, visual arts, performance arts, music production and performance. “My past, present, and future self, thanks MOC and Main Street Bank because I feel like if I had something like this growing up, it would have had an impact,” comments Sebastian Rodriguez, Youth Founder with MOC. Access to the innovation center will also connect the youth to local professionals from an array of fields that can encourage them to explore professions that intersect with their passions, talents, and skills. “Being from the area myself, I know that the youth center will be hugely beneficial for the neighborhood and residents,” adds Patrick Bean, Vice President Commercial Loan Officer at Main Street Bank.
“Putting our resources into the local economy in a meaningful and productive project is one of the best ways we can fulfill our mission as a community bank,” says Paul Musgrove, Chief Financial Officer at Main Street Bank. “Giving our communities the tools and support to educate individuals on marketable skills will have a tremendous positive impact now and in the future.”
“The impact from Main Street Bank is great as well. It’s going to allow this program to continue to work for our youth,” Fitz comments. The Youth Innovation Center addresses a gap in programs and services that center on and attract the 14- to 21-year-old age group. School-managed programs do not appeal to emerging adults who have spent their day being a student. “The innovation center will be a safe space for them to go to, but also a space for them to go to and explore what they want to do currently or in their future.”
“We’re looking for them to be outside of the box in this space and we want to provide the access to resources that are going to allow that to happen,” says Michaud, noting that those using the innovation center will have no parameters or requirements around the interests they pursue. “Once you walk into those doors, there are no outcasts, there are no stereotypes,” adds Rodriguez.
“As an organization, the most valuable thing we can do for our community is support the development of areas and people that need it the most, giving them the ability to grow in their potential,” comments Wally Dwyer, CEO of Main Street Bank. “If we can play a part to help instill life-long skills that will serve young adults over time, then we’re achieving our goal as a true financial partner to our neighbors.”
“That’s what Main Street bank does for us. They make this possible and gave us even more to put into this youth innovation center.” Rodriguez adds. For more information about the Youth Innovation Center or how to donate, visit www.mocinc.org/yic.
Image – Check Presentation to Making Opportunity Count
Video – Making Opportunity Count Youth Innovation Center Project (Extended)
Video – Making Opportunity Count Youth Innovation Center Project (Shortened)
Jamie Conaghan, VP Marketing
Main Street Bank
Direct Line: 508-460-4166
Email: [email protected]
About Making Opportunity Count
Making Opportunity Count, Inc. (MOC) was established in 1966 as North Central Massachusetts’ designated community action agency. As such, MOC has long been dedicated to promoting the wellbeing of low-income people across the region by providing direct services, collaborating with other public and private entities, and applying comprehensive strategies that help to address the complex issues of poverty. In service to our mission of empowering families to achieve economic security by eliminating barriers and creating opportunities, MOC touches over 15,000 lives each year though: Head Start, childcare, and preschool services; WIC; after school and summer camps; weatherization; financial education and workforce development; homelessness prevention and re-housing services; community health education; Meals on Wheels; mental health services, as well as case management. For over a decade, upon request from parents for a safe place for their children during out-of-school time, MOC has operated after-school and summer camp programming in the City of Fitchburg. To learn more, visit www.mocinc.org.
About Main Street Bank
Main Street Bank is a locally run, independent mutual savings institution serving the MetroWest and northern Middlesex communities of Massachusetts. They are united under a culture that strives every day to contribute to our communities by providing customer-focused, innovative products and services for individuals, families, local businesses, and community organizations since 1860, with particular attention to education and financial wellbeing. With branch offices in the MetroWest and North Middlesex region, Main Street Bank provides an extensive array of financial services and products for all personal and business life stages. To learn more, visit BankMainStreet.com.