fund grant recipients Women Accelerators
fund grant recipients Women Accelerators

Grant awards announced to support nonprofits helping women in Greater Lowell

The Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund, a permanently endowed fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, has announced the recipients of $43,710 in grants that will support local nonprofit programs that empower women and girls to effect positive change in the community

The Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund recently awarded more than $43,000 in grant funds to support local nonprofit programs that empower women and girls to effect positive change in the community. WWW Fund Grant recipient Women Accelerators, from left, Hagir Mohamed, Debby Fowler, Miriam Margala, Jodie Bruneau, Susu Wong and Kim Meninger.

Lowell, MA – The Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund, a permanently endowed fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, has announced the recipients of $43,710 in grants. These grants will support local nonprofit programs that empower women and girls to effect positive change in the community.

“During this unprecedented time of economic hardship and public health crisis, Women Working Wonders is proud to support these five organizations in their work to improve the lives of women and girls,” said Susan West Levine, Women Working Wonders Fund board president. “Now more than ever, our philanthropy and attention are needed in the Greater Lowell community.”

2020 WWW Grant Recipients:

  • Community Teamwork, Inc.for Support for Minority Women Childcare Service Providers – $10,000
  • Dignity Matters Inc.for Period Protection to Support Greater Lowell Providers – $10,000
  • Lowell General Hospital for Cancer Center / Cancer Services Breast Boards for Radiation Therapy Treatment Providers – $10,000
  • South Sudanese Enrichment for Families for Women’s Financial Literacy Programming: Whole Family Health and Stability – $3,825
  • Women Accelerators for The Accelerating Women Leadership Program – $9,885

“Access to menstrual care makes an enormous difference to girls and women who are homeless or living in poverty. Period protection makes it possible for girls to attend school and improve their economic prospects, and it helps women work reliably and access other services to support their families,” said Kate Sanetra-Butler, Executive Director of Dignity Matters. “We’re so grateful to the Women Working Wonders Fund for this new grant, which will help hundreds of women and girls in Greater Lowell through schools and COVID-19 emergency centers. When women support each other, anything is possible.”

Women Working Wonders provides annual grants in three key areas: assist women in transition, provide leadership development as well as contribute to the beautification of the environment.

At a COVID-19 emergency center at Stoklosa Middle School in Lowell, a volunteer hands out menstrual care packages from Dignity Matters, an organization recently awarded a grant from the Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund.

Founded in 2004 by a small group of women coming together to form a collective giving organization that focused on women’s issues, the fund has made more than $200,000 in grants to organizations supporting women and girls in the Greater Lowell area.

“We are thrilled to receive this year’s Women Working Wonders Fund Grant. The grant will be used to assist us in helping women with their professional and career training in the Merrimack Valley,” said Susu Wong, co-founder of Women Accelerators. “The grant will support our mission of giving women the tools they need to succeed professionally and to affect meaningful change leading to closing the gender gap.”

The Women Working Wonders Fund’s virtual Power of the Purse 2020 event is scheduled for October 15. Tickets go on sale September 1. For information about WWW and the upcoming event, visit:


Greater Lowell Community Foundation

100 Merrimack Street, Suite 202,
Lowell, MA 01852

© 2020 Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster lastsunday in Austin Texas.
People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster lastsunday in Austin Texas.

Truths about Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter and seeking change is not “anti-police”, it is pro-community

Sun | Page B01 and B02 Sunday, 2 August 2020

By Karen Frederick, CEO Community Teamwork

An opinion piece that recently ran in this paper accused peaceful protests about racial injustice of being “ anti- police” — a common attack we have heard on the Black Lives Matter movement for years. Being an advocate for reform, training, and enhanced social service capacity is not “ anti- police.” It is pro- community.

Support centered on Black Lives Matter, commonly referred to as BLM, is a national movement. I could not disagree more with the author of the oped. Citizens and elected representatives, like Congresswoman Lori Trahan, seek constructive change.

So, here is the truth about the movement that the author of the negative op- ed elected to ignore.

As a result of the BLM movement, communities across our country are engaged in long overdue conversations about racial disparities rooted in hundreds of years of discriminatory practices, policies and laws that continue to negatively impact the Black community.

These disparities have real consequences. The committee’s selection is based on three criteria: running skills, teamwork and leadership. The Black community endures higher rates of unemployment and poverty. And they live at a greater risk of homelessness than their neighbors. Of course, these challenges are only made worse by the global pandemic we currently face.

Community Teamwork staff and I have witnessed these struggles firsthand in our work with families and individuals throughout the Greater Lowell region during the COVID pandemic.

BLM and its supporters like me are far from “ anti- police”; so too are the elected officials that the op- ed author labels as such. From the day she was elected, Trahan has been a tireless Community Teamwork advocate and partner. She cares deeply for her hometown of Lowell and all the communities she represents. Her support for Community Teamwork has never wavered. In fact, it is because of that support, along with that of Senator Ed Kennedy and Representative Jim Arciero ( among our many bipartisan supporters) that Community Teamwork can strengthen its programs.

Together, their support and advocacy helped us garner the resources to address the critical needs of low- income people in the 70 cities and towns we serve.

Our clients are fortunate to have leaders like them representing us. These are challenging times. Yes, Black Lives Matter and seeking change is not “anti-police”. It is constructive leadership. Karen Frederick of Dracut is CEO of Community Teamwork.

People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster last sunday in Austin, Texas.


2 City Councilors Resign from CTI Board in Wake of Racism Vote

by Elizabeth Dobbins Lowell Sun

Newly elected and sworn In Lowell City Councilors L-R, front row, Rodney M. Elliott, Rita M. Mercier(Vice Mayor), John J. Leahy (Mayor), John Drinkwater, back row, Daniel P. Rourke, Sokhary Chau, David J. Conway, Vesna Nuon and William Bill Samaras. SUN/ David H. Brow

LOWELL — Veteran City Councilors Rodney Elliott and Rita Mercier said they would step down from Community Teamwork Inc.’s board of directors after voting against a motion to declare racism a public health crisis in Lowell — a declaration CTI vocally supported.

“I thought it would be better if I resigned and I could not be an effective board member,” Elliott said.

CTI Chief Executive Officer Karen Frederick said she intends to reach out to the councilors and speak to them directly.

“I am grateful for the time they’ve been on the board and I respect their decision,” she said.

She said she has not yet received their official letters of resignation. CTI is a prominent Lowell non-profit, which “mobilize(s) resources for low-income people, providing opportunities for them to achieve stability, self-sufficiency and have an active voice and participation in the decisions that affect their lives.”

Elliott said he has been on the board for eight years. Mercier has been on the board 14 years.

CTI issued a statement in support of a letter drafted by Merrimack Valley Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which called for the declaration of racism as a public health crisis among other reforms.

“These declarations are an important first step in the movement to advance racial equity and justice and must be followed by allocation of resources and strategic action,” read a statement emailed out by the organization. “For these reasons Community Teamwork is in support of the efforts of the Merrimack Valley and Lowell Diversity Equity and Inclusion Consortium and is urging the city of Lowell to also take this first step and declare racism as a public health crisis.”

Mercier and Elliott instead supported a resolution regarding racism that stopped short of labeling it as a public health crisis, during a contentious City Council meeting Tuesday night. A sentence on the CTI website said this alternate motion “commits to no actual change in business as usual.”

Elliott said calling for a declaration of racism as a public health crisis in the city exposes Lowell to a “potential liability.”

At the meeting on Tuesday night, City Solicitor Christine O’Connor said a specific finding by the City Council on a declaration of racism as a public health crisis could have an “adverse impact” for future lawsuits against the city. Framing the motion as a response to a larger, national issue would avoid this issue, she said.

Elliott also took issue with an email sent by Carl Howell, which called the resolution Elliott supported “dismissive, tone deaf and non-committal” and urged the council to be on the “right side of history.”

While Howell is an employee of CTI — the division director of housing & homeless services — he sent the email as an individual.

Elliott said he felt calling his resolution “tone deaf” was a personal criticism.

“I feel I am on the right side (of history). … I’ve listened to people for 23 years as a city councilor,” he said.

Mercier also took issue with Howell’s email.

“People shouldn’t have taken this personal and yet they did,” she said.

She said she does not like to be disrespected and she is not a racist.

“You can call me any name you want, Elizabeth,” Mercier said, referring to the Sun reporter she was addressing. “Don’t call me a racist and that’s what that man was implying.”

Howell did not respond to two emails seeking comment.

Prior to the vote, CTI posted on social media a notice reminding residents of the vote. Part of the notice read, “There is an alternate motion that commits to no actual change in business as usual.”

That was Elliot’s motion and he took offense to it.

Elliott said he believes CTI helps many people in need and wishes the organization well.

Mercier and Elliott were appointed to the CTI board of directors by Mayor John Leahy earlier this year, though Frederick said this was an oversight and is not how people are appointed to the board anymore. The two councilors’ appointments continued from previous years.

Frederick said the board meets again in September and is expected to select another councilor, or councilor’s representative, and community member to fill the spots.

She said CTI plans to continue to work with the city.

“We are good partners,” she said. “We differed on an issue. I think that’s just the world.”

Leahy said the resignations during the City Council meeting came off as “foolish” and he believes the councilors could have waited until the next day.

“If you’re in politics, we take the criticism along with the praise,” he said.

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mcc and training on zoom
mcc and training on zoom

MCC Partners with CTI to Transition Course to Virtual Platform



Helping Clients at Home Lowell Sun REV
Helping Clients at Home Lowell Sun REV

Community Teamwork, Inc. HELPING CLIENTS AT HOME

Published in the Lowell Sun, Thursday, April 23, 2020

Virus housing crisis brewing

Lowell Sun Wednesday, 1 April 2020

By Elizabeth Dobbins

edobbins@ lowellsun. com

As the coronavirus pandemic impacts the paychecks of many in the Greater Lowell area — and rent and mortgage payments come due — officials are asking how to keep people housed.

“ Making rent in the coming months is going to be a big concern,” said Lowell City Councilor John Drinkwater.

Last week, Drinkwater made a motion asking the City Council to support a Statehouse bill placing a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the current emergency. Councilors unanimously voted in favor.

“ I think it’s a good motion and a very timely motion,” said Councilor William Samaras.

The bill proposed by state Rep. Mike Connolly, D- Cambridge, and state Rep. Kevin Honan, DBrighton, was referred to a committee on housing on Monday. The bill accompanies a mid-March court order, which suspended most eviction proceedings in the state until April 21.

“ In many ways it’s the same proposal,” said Democratic state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D- Acton, who is supportive of the bill. “ It was filed before the courts took action.”

Mike Weinhold is the supervisory attorney for Northeast Legal Aid, a nonprofit that represents low- income clients in Lowell and other areas. He said even with the new court order, navigating the eviction process still poses challenges for tenants, who very rarely have legal representation.

For example, he said the courts are notifying tenants of eviction proceedings and, in initial communications, provide court dates that do not reflect the stay on evictions, resulting in inaccurate dates.

“ They’re going to think they’re going to have to go to court in the middle of the outbreak,” he said.

With the courts almost entirely closed to in- person proceedings, he said it’s harder for people to connect with legal aid. Usually “ lawyers for the day” are set up at a table in the court to offer services to those who qualify.

Eldridge said the legislation also addresses the issue of foreclosures, providing some relief for people who own their own properties, including landlords who may not be collecting as much rent to pay mortgages.

“ Certainly we need to take action there,” he said.

Not all are fans of the proposal. On March 19, Executive Director of MassLandlords. net Doug Quattrochi wrote a 10- point rebuttal. He argued against the stringency of the penalties landlords could face and instead called for an extension of the court order if necessary and establishment of an emergency basic income.

President of the Greater Lowell Landlord Association Dick MacDonald said last week that he isn’t sure what actions are needed.

Many people, including landlords with other jobs, are out of work, he said. The federal Department of Labor reported 147,995 nonseasonally adjusted advance unemployment claims in Massachusetts for the week ending on March 21, a nearly 20 fold increase over the previous week.

“ It would be helpful if tenants were able to get some funds to help pay their rent,” MacDonald said.

He said the situation will be challenging for both landlords and tenants.

“ What would be helpful is if this thing would be over with,” he said.

Eldridge said he is sympathetic to the challenges facing smaller property owners, but larger property owners likely have the capital to forgo full collection of rent. Financial assistance to residents from the state or federal government could help, he said.

Lowell Mayor John Leahy, who supported Drinkwater’s motion, said banks could alleviate some of the strain if mortgage holders were able to extend their mortgage and delay payments in the wake of the crisis.

Still, eventually, everyone needs to pay their mortgage or rent, he said.

“ Fair is fair,” Leahy said. “ Everybody has to take a little bit of responsibility on this.”

Drinkwater said he believes the eviction issue isn’t just about housing, but also supporting small businesses, many of which owe rent during this period even as revenues plummet.

The pandemic also raises challenges for homeless shelters where people are often living in close quarters, he said. The city can work with institutions to provide types of housing that limit the spread of COVID-19 better than the traditional shelter, like dorms, according to Drinkwater.

Organizers at Lowell nonprofit Community Teamwork Inc. — which provides a variety of services from meals to fuel and rental assistance — said they are already seeing the impact of this crisis on people contacting their office.

“ The impact is really profound for so many of our clients who are facing job loss and all those other impacts that we all know about,” said Connie Martin, division director of energy and community resources.

Martin said the agency has seen an uptick of people who need food and housing support. Last week, CTI received $ 1 million in additional funding from the state to provide short- term financial assistance for people at risk of becoming homeless.

“I think that’s going to be what allows us to keep people housed once the courts open ( and owe) that back rent,” Martin said. “ Landlords are going to look to being made whole.”

Though the CTI offices are closed, staff members are still available by email or phone, including at 978- 654- 5607 and C o v i d R e s p o n s e C T I @ c o m mteam. org, according to CTI Director of Development and Marketing Kathleen Plath.

“ We’re not going to capture every need, but we want people to know we are open,” Plath said. “ We’re open for business and we’re basically taking care of our client’s needs in a different format.”

Plath is also the owner of two restaurants: Cobblestones in Lowell and Moonstones in Chelmsford. When dine- in services around the state closed, she said she had to lay off over 75 employees.

“A lot of them we are sending them to resources like Community Teamwork,” she said. “ We set up our own emergency fund with what we had and what we’re able to provide just to help them out. And the first two people who asked us to help was to help with rent.”

As a business owner, she believes local government could help ease the burden on businesses through tax abatements. Like tenants who have lost their jobs, the business will not make up this lost revenue even after they reopen for dining- in, she said.

“As we know it’s a chain,” Plath said. “ It’s a cascading effect. It’s going to hurt everyone.”

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

At this time, information about COVID-19  is rapidly evolving as new details are confirmed and new questions emerge. In the event of an outbreak in your community, as a parent/caregiver, your first concern is about how to protect and take care of your children and family. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties. This resource will help you think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect your family—both physically and emotionally—and what you can do to help your family cope.

What You Should Know

  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus; this means it is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
  • COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is mainly spread person-to-person. Currently, there is no available vaccine or curative treatment, so the best preventative strategy is to avoid exposure.
  • So far, children appear to be much less affected by COVID-19, which was also seen after other coronavirus outbreaks.
  • Children with pre-existing illnesses may have different risk, so you should discuss this with your child’s medical team.
  • To reduce the spread of the virus, a variety of approaches will be used, including keeping those who are sick away from others and promoting healthy hygiene strategies. Additional recommendations for ways to contain the virus’s spread could include canceling of events that attract large numbers of people; closing schools, public transit or businesses; and required quarantine, which is the separation and restriction of movement of people who might have been exposed to the virus.


Preparing your Family for a Potential Infectious Disease Outbreak

  • Being prepared is one of the best ways to lessen the impact of an infectious disease outbreak like COVID-19 on your family. Here are some steps that you can take to be better prepared:

Information & Communication

  • Identify how you will keep up with the rapidly changing information on COVID-19.
    • In rapidly changing health events and outbreaks such as COVID-19, there can be large amounts of incorrect or partially correct information that can add to your stress and confusion as a parent/caregiver. Identify a few trusted sources of health information.

The NCTSN relied on the CDC resources to create this document. Get the most up-to-date and accurate information at:


CDC: information on children and COVID 2019:  and 2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx


Plan how you want to discuss COVID-19 with your family. Be sure to include:

  • What the current disease outbreak is
  • How it is contracted
  • What are the possible dangers
  • Protective steps being taken in the community/nation/global community
  • Protective steps everyone in the family can take
  • Hold your family discussion in a comfortable place and encourage family members to ask questions. Consider having a separate discussion with young children in order to use language they can understand and to address specific fears or misconceptions they may have.
  • Create a list of community resources that will be helpful during an outbreak. Make sure you know their emergency telephone numbers, websites, and official social media accounts. These may include: your family’s schools, doctors, public health authorities, social services, community mental health center, and crisis hotlines.
  • Develop a plan for maintaining contact with friends and family members via telephone and internet in the event that isolation or quarantine is recommended.
  • Check in with your children’s school about potential homeschool and distance learning opportunities that may be offered during a school closure. Also, if your child receives additional services at school, ask how these will be handled during a closure (e.g., meals, therapeutic services).

Reducing Your Family’s Risk: Hygiene, Medical Care & Supplies

Have all family members practice preventive behaviors including:

  • Regularly washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (length of the A-B-C song) or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when sick.
  • Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or with the bend/crook of the arm when coughing or sneezing.

Keep basic health supplies on hand (e.g., soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, and a thermometer).

Make sure you have a supply of medications taken regularly.

If your child takes medication for a chronic condition, talk with your child’s medical provider about plans to get a supply at home that will last through any period of home isolation for your family.

Have your family work together to gather items that might be needed during an outbreak. These include drinking water, nonperishable food, and cash. Be sure to include activities, books, and games for children in case a lengthy time at home is recommended. Remember to include batteries in your item list if those are needed for certain activities and games.


Coping with the Stress of an Infectious Disease Outbreak like COVID-19

Even if your family is prepared, an outbreak can be very stressful. To help your family cope with this stress, following these recommendations can help:

Information & Communication

  • Keep updated about what is happening with the outbreak and additional recommendations by getting information from credible media outlets, local public health authorities, and updates from public health websites (e.g., CDC).
  • Seek support and continued connections from friends and family by talking to them on the telephone, texting, or communicating through email or social media. Schools may have additional ways to stay in contact with educators and classmates.
  • Although you need to stay informed, minimize exposure to media outlets or social media that might promote fear or panic. Be particularly aware of (and limit) how much media coverage or social media time your children are exposed to about the outbreak.
  • E-mail and texting may be the best ways to stay in contact with others during an outbreak, as the Internet may have the most sensational media coverage and may be spreading rumors. Check in regularly with your children about what they have viewed on the Internet and clarify any misinformation.
  • Focus on supporting children by encouraging questions and helping them understand the current situation.
    • Talk about their feelings and validate these Help them express their feelings through drawing or other activities
    • Clarify misinformation or misunderstandings about how the virus is spread and that not every respiratory disease is COVID-19
    • Provide comfort and a bit of extra patience
    • Check back in with your children on a regular basis or when the situation changes

NOTE: During an outbreak, stigma and rejection can occur against individuals who live in affected communities, against health-care workers, and individuals with other illnesses.

Scheduling & Activities

  • Even if your family is isolated or quarantined, realize this will be temporary.
  • Keep your family’s schedule consistent when it comes to bedtimes, meals, and exercise.
  • Make time to do things at home that have made you and your family feel better in other stressful situations, such as reading, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, exercising, or engaging in religious activities (prayer, participating in services on the Internet).
  • Have children participate in distance learning opportunities that may be offered by their schools or other institutions/organizations.
  • Recognize that feelings such as loneliness, boredom, fear of contracting disease, anxiety, stress, and panic are normal reactions to a stressful situation such as a disease outbreak.
  • Help your family engage in fun and meaningful activities consistent with your family and cultural values.

Hygiene & Medical Care

  • Find ways to encourage proper hygiene and health promoting behavior with your children (create drawings to remember family routines; sing a song for length needed to wash hands like the A-B-C or Happy Birthday song, twice). Include them in household jobs or activities so they feel a sense of accomplishment. Provide praise and encouragement for engaging in household jobs and good hygiene.
  • Reassure your children that you will take them to the pediatrician and get medical care if needed. Explain, however, that not every cough or sneeze means that they or others have COVID-19.

Self Care & Coping

  • Modify your daily activities to meet the current reality of the situation and focus on what you can accomplish.
  • Shift expectations and priorities to focus more on what gives you meaning, purpose, or fulfillment.
  • Give yourself small breaks from the stress of the situation.
  • Attempt to control self-defeating statements and replace them with more helpful thoughts. Here’s a helpful checklist for identifying unhealthy thoughts and coping with them:
  • Remember, you are a role model for your children. How you handle this stressful situation can affect how your children manage their worries.
  • If your family has experienced a serious illness or the death of a loved one, find ways to support each other, including: Reach out to your friends and family, talking to them about the death of your loved one. Use telephone, email, or social media to communicate if necessary.
  • Find ways to honor the death of your loved one. Some activities may be done as a family, while additional activities may done individually.
  • Seek religious/spiritual help or professional counseling for support. This may be available online or by telephone during an outbreak.

Helping Children Cope

Your children may respond differently to an outbreak depending on their age. Below are some reactions according to age group and the best ways you can respond:

Age Group- Preschool:

  • Reactions
    • Fear of being alone, bad dreams
    • Speech difficulties
    • Loss of bladder/bowel control, constipation, bed-wetting
    • Change in appetite
    • Increased temper tantrums, whining, or clinging behaviors
  • How to help
    • Patience and tolerance
    • Provide reassurance (verbal and physical)
    • Encourage expression through play, reenactment, story-telling
    • Allow short-term changes in sleep arrangements
    • Plan calming, comforting activities before bedtime
    • Maintain regular family routines
    • Avoid media exposure

School-Age (ages 6-12):

  • Reactions
    • Irritability, whining, aggressive behavior
    • Clinging, nightmares
    • Sleep/appetite disturbance
    • Physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches
    • Withdrawal from peers, loss of interest
    • Competition for parents’ attention
    • Forgetfulness about chores and new information learned at school
  • How to help
    • Patience, tolerance, and reassurance
    • Play sessions and staying in touch with friends through telephone and Internet
    • Regular exercise and stretching
    • Engage in educational activities (workbooks, educational games)
    • Participate in structured household chores
    • Set gentle but firm limits
    • Discuss the current outbreak and encourage questions. Include what is being done in the family and community
    • Encourage expression through play and conversation
    • Help family create ideas for enhancing health promotion behaviors and maintaining family routines
    • Limit media exposure, talking about what they have seen/heard including at school
    • Address any stigma or discrimination occurring and clarify misinformation

Adolescent (ages 13-18):

  • Reactions:
    • Physical symptoms (headaches, rashes, etc.)
    • Sleep/appetite disturbance
    • Agitation or decrease in energy, apathy
    • Ignoring health promotion behaviors
    • Isolating from peers and loved ones
    • Concerns about stigma and injustices
    • Avoiding/cutting school
  • How to help
    • Patience, tolerance, and reassurance
    • Encourage continuation of routines
    • Encourage discussion of outbreak experience with peers, family (but do not force)
    • Stay in touch with friends through telephone, Internet, video games
    • Participate in family routines, including chores, supporting younger siblings, and planning strategies to enhance health promotion behaviors
    • Limit media exposure, talking about what they have seen/heard including at school
    • Discuss and address stigma, prejudice and potential injustices occurring during

Seeking Additional Help

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with the outbreak and want to seek outside help, there are ways to get that help. For example:

  • Get support regarding your anxiety or stress by speaking to a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUS 66746.
  • Contact your physician or your insurance company (if they have a consultation line) to ask health-related questions or to seek mental health support.
  • Learn more ways to help your family. Additional resources can be accessed at:

Merrimack Valley Magazine Article March Mill City Mentors
Merrimack Valley Magazine Article March Mill City Mentors

Lasting Legacy – Mill City Mentors

community profile

m e r r i m a c k  v a l l e y  m a g a z i n e     March |  April 2020

text and photos by Deborah A. Venuti


page 18     

When Nathan Timm was 9 years old, he and his twin brother, Nick, were recommended to be matched with mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell (now Mill City Mentors). Their living situation at the time, according to Nate, was “not the best.” Originally from the Lowell-Dracut area, the boys lacked positive male role models. They often went without food or proper clothing. Nate was matched with a big brother named Tim, who saw the void at home and strove to fill in the gaps in his life. Tim helped provide clothes and food. He made sure the brothers had lunch money for school and introduced them to his  own  family. He spent time with them, took them places and encouraged them to be their best.

Eventually, the lives of the two brothers improved. A family friend took them into her home. With the support of Tim and his family, the boys completed high school and were accepted into colleges.  Nate graduated  from Fitchburg  State University in 2014 with a degree in business management and is currently a systems analyst. Nick graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2015 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and Southern New Hampshire University in 2018 with an MBA.

Mill City Mentors (MCM) is a mentoring program of Community Teamwork in Lowell. Formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell, th e nonprofit organization was rebranded last year. It is designed to assist youths in 17 Greater Lowell communities: Ashby, Ayer, Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton , Lowell, Pelham , Pepperell, Shirley, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro and Westford.

MCM serves about 40 families a year and focuses on children and young adults ages 7 to 22. These individuals are at-risk, facing adversity and in need of support. They often have behavioral issues or are homeless. They can be referred to the program by families, support agencies, school principals or guidance counselors. Recently, MCM has begun moving from traditional referrals to site-based school programs. This change allows mentors to be accessible on-site once a week and to engage with more children of different ages and genders.

Ed Banks, the program coordinator for Mill City Mentors, joined the MCM team in May 2019. Ed connects youths with­ mentors, and also acts as mentor-match support. Mill City Mentors is partially funded and supported by Mass Mentoring Partnership and the United Way. In 2019, the Mass Mentoring Partnership gave MCM the opportunity to have an  AmeriCorps  ambassador of mentoring, Kyle Cregg, on-site.  Cregg works with Banks and Bridget Quinn, the director of volunteer services, on marketing, rebranding and fundraising.

Nate, now 26, has been involved with the organization for,- 7 years and is a mentor himself. Nick is also involved with MCM and is a member of the charity  golf  fundraising  committee. Rather than spending money on the individuals they are assisting, mentors are instead encouraged to give their time. Nate and Josh, the boy he is mentoring, go bowling, play at the  arcades,  take their dogs to the dog park, or just hang out at  home  and  play video games. Nate often sees his longtime big brother, Tim, for breakfast. Josh’s mother sent mvm a photo of Tim, Nate and Josh , a legacy of support and empowerment.

Get involved!
Mentors are everyday people who want to have fun and make a difference in the life of a child or young adult.
For information on how to become a mentor or how to refer an individual from Greater Lowell, go to
or email Bridget Quinn at



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Baker-Polito Administration Awards $14.6 Million in Skills Grants to Educational Institutions Across the Commonwealth ~ Including $182,572 to YouthBuild Lowell at Community Teamwork Inc.

GLOUCESTER — Community Teamwork’s YouthBuild of Greater Lowell Program received a Skills Capital Grant in the amount of $182,572. This will allow YouthBuild’s Culinary Arts vocational program to purchase a catering van and expand the program by 50 percent and improve the quality of its program for at-risk youth who participate.

A successful Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant requires strong partnership with both area employers and the workforce development system.  YouthBuild Lowell was strongly supported in its’ application for this grant by two of its Employer partners, Aramark, which operates kitchens and food services for UMass Lowell, Tewksbury Hospital, and the Lowell Public Schools; and Stones Hospitality Group, which operates Cobblestones and Moonstones restaurants.  Additionally the MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board and the MassHire Greater Lowell Career Center supported the application to continue to assist YouthBuild Lowell to expand and increase the quality of its youth occupational skills training program.

YouthBuild’s Program Manager, Siobhan Sheehan said, “YouthBuild Lowell is very appreciative of this grant award which supports our efforts to expand our programming, and helps us grow our social enterprise efforts through catering, in addition to our culinary occupational skills training program.  We will serve more at-risk youth in a state of the art vocational kitchen with this equipment grant.”

The program is a 10-month vocational training program which offers education, training, work experience, and life skills training that maximize the likelihood that participants will be employed in the culinary industry. Students earn HiSet, OSHA 10, Allergen Awareness, the nationally recognized Hospitality/Culinary NRAEF Restaurant Ready credential, and Serv Safe Manager’s certification.

YouthBuild is one of the 54 educational institutions that Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced Tuesday as recipients of the Skills Capital Grants which totaled $14.6 million. The Skill Grants are used to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. Also in attendance at the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) were Education Secretary James Peyser, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.

The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that exhibit partnerships with local businesses, as well as support curriculum and credentials with industry demand to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state.

About YouthBuild of Greater Lowell

 Community Teamwork’s YouthBuild program offers a path forward to independence and self-sufficiency to these at-risk youth by providing career pathways and alternative education for those who do not succeed in traditional educational settings. They can chose between two tracks: Construction and Culinary Arts. All of YouthBuild students are low-income and in need of a High School Equivalency (HiSet) and comprehensive support to address their barriers to employment. Mentoring and strong adult role models within the program are critical.

About the Skills Capital Grants awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet

The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which was created in 2015 to bring together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development to align education, economic development and workforce policies in order to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in every region of the Commonwealth.

Program and Event Contact:

Siobhan Sheehan, Program Director, YouthBuild


Media Contact:

Julia Ripa, Communications and Marketing Manager



PICTURE CREDIT: Credit for the picture should be attributed to Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office.


Request for Proposals for Professional Audit Services ~ Fiscal Year Ending 6/30/2020

Request for Proposals

Professional Audit Services

Community Teamwork, Inc. is requesting proposals from licensed Certified Public Accounting firms to audit its financial statements for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. Specifications with instructions for applicants for annual audit services are available upon request from: Phyllis Marion, Purchasing Coordinator, Community Teamwork, Inc. 155 Merrimack Street 2nd Floor, Lowell, MA 01852; 978-654-5656

All required submissions must be received by March 31, 2020 by 4:00 PM. Community Teamwork, Inc. reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals not deemed in the best interest of Community Teamwork, Inc. This notice is provided for informational purposes only, applicants shall be subject in all respects to the terms and conditions contained in the actual request for proposals. CTI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.