A grant of $500,000, shared among 29 different nonprofits serving the Haverhill youth, is a success according to those agencies, the kids involved and the Mental Health and Youth Advisory Committee that distributed the money.
During last year’s city spending negotiations, Councilor Melinda E. Barrett engineered a compromise with Mayor James J. Fiorentini that created a Youth Activities and Mental Health Fund. The goal of that half million-dollar fund is to develop youth activities to offset the isolation experienced by many young people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth Activities Committee Chair George Moriarty told councilors last week about the initial plan of action.
“How do we get young people out to activities that get them to interact with other young people, with adults and to the city life here and what’s going on?”
Moriarty said the committee received 60 to 70 applications which were evaluated by the 15-member committee. WHAV detailed the grants in a story two weeks ago.
Among the groups selected was Presidential Gardens apartments, which was able to provide field trips for about 30 children, and Somebody Cares New England to provide, among other things, new equipment for its game room, a basketball clinic and an arts and crafts program.
Another grant recipient was the Haverhill YMCA. Executive Director Tracy Fuller said the money allowed a number of kids to attend summer camp.
“Your support really helped us to provide a lot more families with summer camp scholarships. This week we have 476 children in summer camp,” she said.
In addition to thanking the council, Moriarty singled out the former mayoral Chief of Staff Allison Heartquist and Haverhill’s Community Development Program Director Andrew K. Herilhy for their help in the success of the programs.
Moriarty told the council with the additional $750,000 earmarked in the budget for this year, he believes the program will only get better. He also expressed hope that more businesses and mentoring programs will take part next year where the older youth could learn skills for the future.