A $500,000 grant, shared among 29 different nonprofits serving Haverhill youth, is a success according to those organizations, the children involved and the Mental Health and Youth Advisory Committee that distributed the money.
During last year’s city spending negotiations, Councilman Melinda E. Barrett engineered a compromise with Mayor James J. Fiorentini that created a fund for youth activities and mental health. The objective of this half-million dollar fund is to develop activities for young people to compensate for the isolation experienced by many young people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth Activities Committee Chairman George Moriarty briefed councilors last week on the initial action plan.
“How do we get young people into activities that get them to interact with other young people, with adults and with the life of the city here and what happens? »
Moriarty said the committee received 60 to 70 nominations which were evaluated by the 15 committee members. WHAV detailed the grants in a story two weeks ago.
Among the groups selected were the Presidential Gardens apartments, which were able to provide educational outings for around 30 children, and Somebody Cares New England to provide, among other things, new equipment for its playroom, a basketball clinic and an arts and crafts program.
Another grant recipient was the Haverhill YMCA. Chief Executive Tracy Fuller said the money enabled a number of children to attend summer camp.
“Your support has really helped us provide many more families with summer camp scholarships. This week we have 476 kids in summer camp,” she said.
In addition to thanking council, Moriarty singled out former mayor’s chief of staff Allison Heartquist and Haverhill Community Development Program Director Andrew K. Herilhy for their assistance in the programs’ success.
Moriarty told the board that with the additional $750,000 budgeted for this year, he thinks the program will only get better. He also expressed hope that more businesses and mentoring programs will participate next year where older young people can learn skills for the future.