Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster
Do you have dreams of becoming the next NBA super star? Watch out Lebron! Hoop Dreams Youth Venture can help to make your dream come true! A group of Venturers from the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts are planning to host 3-on-3 adult basketball tournaments throughout the year for the city of Fitchburg and Leominster, donating much of their proceeds to local non-profit organizations.
Leominster Park Savers
A group of young people at the Boys and Girls Club have a dream—to restore their local parks, keeping them clean and safe for their community. Leominster Park Savers United Way Youth Venture Team plans to make this dream a reality. This dynamic group of Venturers want to clean and revamp local parks in their Leominster community, including Carter Park, Barrett Park, Fournier Field, and Johnson St. Playground.
Teen Center Track
Teen Center Track Team was launched in March 2012 by Angela and Clever in order to share their passion for running, to teach their peers valuable leadership and team-building skills, and to encourage youth to be fit to help fight adolescent obesity. In 2008, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, and from 1980 to 2008, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese, increased from 5% to 18% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Teen Center Track Team plans to address adolescent obesity by recruiting over 20 participants from their Boys and Girls Club, educating their track team the importance of staying healthy and fit by eating right and exercising, holding track team practice 1-2 times a week, and attending 2-3 track meets per year. Venturers will host an annual car wash in the spring to fundraise and promote their Venture and have requested and confirmed donations from their Keystone Club (Teen Centers’ Leadership Group) and the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center Café. Both of these clubs have agreed to raise funds to support our Teen Center Track Team every year. This Venture will appoint new leaders every year by voting members to leadership positions based the members’ commitment and desire for the position.
The BGC Bakerz plan to have bake sales at the Boys and Girls Club every month, donating most of the profits (50-80%) to a different charity every year.
Café Cash is a bistro at the Boys & Girls Club, with the goal to provide healthy snacks to members of the Boys & Girls Club. All proceeds directly benefit the Club, and they plan on sponsoring the Robotics Team as well as taking on a variety of community service activities.
Chester Mossman Teen Center
Team Rainbow Sprinkles
Lead Venturer, Keira Tiffany, loves to bake everything from chocolate chip cookies to tiramisu. Team Rainbow Sprinkles was founded after Keira learned that she could bake all of her favorite goodies AND help her community. After recruiting fellow team members from the Chester Mossman Teen Center, who love to bake as much as herself, Team Rainbow Sprinkles decided that they would hold regular bake sales, donating at least 75-80% of their proceeds to Ginny’s Helping Hands.
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center
Kids Gone Green
Disgusted by the look of their community, this Venture will raise awareness about the importance of recycling to the residents of Fitchburg. In late July of 2010, the young people held a block party to kick off their Venture and engage their community. At the event, the youth distributed recycling bins and stickers to help facilitate the recycling process along with pamphlets and fliers informing why and how to recycle. They also collected all cans and bottles from the event showing attendees which types can be recycled.
House of Peace and Education (HOPE)
Project Helping Educate Little People (Project H.E.L.P.)
Youth have decided to help the special needs program at the Elm Street School. The young people, two 7th grade students (home-schooled) and one 8th grade (Gardner Middle School), have experience with the special needs programs either personally or through family members. Using a known contact at the school, the students plan to work with 3rd graders in the program. They will provide academic tutoring as well as games to further social interaction amongst the youth. The group hopes to meet with a current tutoring Venture to troubleshoot and find out ways to improve their Ventures and get to know them better.
Members of Double Pawz have a strong desire to help our furry friends. This United Way Youth Venture team would like to support local animal shelters by holding annual fundraisers, including a car wash/dog wash and a semi-formal middle school dance, donating 50-75% of their proceeds to a local animal shelter. Double Pawz recognizes the problems that their local animal shelters face, such as large debt due to costly veterinarian bills and overpopulation.
Lura A. White Elementary School
Fifth-grade students from Lura A. White Elementary love music and particularly enjoy the sweet sounds of acoustic guitar. Moreover, after learning of the United Way Youth Venture program, they have sought to expand their music program, purchasing guitars for fifth-grade students at Lura A. Elementary. Their vision is to ensure that every fifth-grade student at their elementary school has the opportunity to play an instrument. Venturers from the Guitar Project want to be able to organize performances for parents, students, and members of their community.
Longsjo Middle School
New Generation, Longsjo Middle School
A group of students from Longsjo Middle School love putting their creative minds to work making elaborate homemade cards. After learning that they could use artistic talents to help others, they founded the New Generation Youth Venture Team. This group of Venturers plans to make their fabulous cards to give to various facilities within their local community, including nursing homes and hospitals, as well as selling their cards as a way to fundraise.
McKay Arts Academy
FAA School Store
This team gives students at FAA an opportunity get school supplies, with a percentage of funds raised being donated to a local charity.
C-V.A.S.T. (Charlie, Vaseem, Andy, Sports Tutors)
This Youth Venture would like to incorporate their love of sports as well as their desire to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle, ultimately creating a program for elementary students who are part of the 21st Century program. C-V.A.S.T. will teach students basic basketball, baseball, soccer, and football basics, as well as discuss the importance of eating healthy and hydrating while being active. A healthy snack is offered to the students after each activity. To begin, C-V.A.S.T. will offer this sports/nutrition activity once a week.
Exploring Fitchburg’s Riches
Exploring Fitchburg’s Riches Venture was inspired after students from the Fitchburg Arts Academy recognized the need to spread awareness of the important landmarks and historical sites to see, right in their own community. For instance, this Venture team surveyed FAA students, discovering that many students had never been to the Fitchburg Historical Society, the Fitchburg Northern Watershed trail, and various parks that are located right in their own community. Exploring Fitchburg’s Riches wants to change this. Ultimately, this United Way Youth Venture team would like to promote the “exploration” of the many sites to see and things to do in the city that they call home, hoping to eventually make a brochure and a book with information about Fitchburg’s “riches”, available for the community.
F.A.A.B. (Fitchburg Arts Academy Bookworms)
The bookworms from this Youth Venture founded their idea after recognizing that reading for leisure is becoming a lost art. F.A.A.B. decided they would like to inspire their peers to want to read more often, for their own enjoyment. Ultimately, they plan to offer book drives and sales that will benefit young people throughout the Fitchburg community, encouraging literacy by increasing the city’s book collection and by contributing a portion of their profits to the Fitchburg Public Library or other community institutions.
CCZDFE Water Bottle Company
This “green” Youth Venture plans to promote the use of reusable water bottles as well as encourage their school and community to use other environmentally friendly products, such as reusable tote bags. In general, CCZDFE would like to inspire their community to “go green” in any way they can! This Venture team plans to hold a recycled art contest, sell reusable water bottles, tree saplings, reusable tote bags, and t-shirts to not only promote their Venture but also support “going green.”
This Venture plans to grow their own herbs in a garden and then dry them. They intend to sell them, with part of the proceeds going to charity, Fitchburg Arts Academy, and purchasing more items for the Venture, including bulbs, seeds, and supplies.
Guided Learning Café
The GL Café makes coffee, tea, hot chocolate and iced varieties for the faculties and staff at their school. The students had a Keurig in their classroom and, with the help of their Occupational Therapist, started forward chaining task analyses with the lower students. The students loved it and the teachers said they would gladly pay for coffee delivery during the day.
If you ask any of the 25+ members of Rocking Creations, there is nothing better than seeing a smile on the face of a child – especially if that child is decked out in a fabulous duct tape accessory! These young people have formed a coalition of 6thgraders determined to make and sell duct tape accessories, with proceeds going toward St. Jude’s Hospital. Additionally, the group plans to create a series of web videos explaining how to make wallets, pens and hair accessories with duct tape, and make the videos available to children who may be stuck in bed, in need of a new craft.
Memorial Middle School
ESP – Eco-School Project
The goal of the ESP program is to bring recycling into the Memorial Middle School so they can become an eco-friendly community, with the ultimate goal of students carrying this habit into their homes.
PATH – Peer Academic Tutoring Help
Peer tutoring program that helps children with both homework and school work and serves as a mentoring program.
MAAC (Memorial Arts and Ceramics) Misfits
The M.A.A.C. Misfits want to make ceramics a more accessible part of their middle school art curriculum. This Venture team discovered that there is not sufficient funding for their art teacher to purchase clay for any ceramic art classes during the day and as a result, they must pay to participate in an after-school program. Unfortunately, most students are unaware that this is available or they cannot join because of the cost, among other inconveniences. The M.A.A.C. Misfits would like to change this—allowing Memorial students to use clay as part of the art curriculum as well as helping improve their art program at the middle school, overall. Ultimately, this Venture team plans to sell various art that they construct themselves, including painted chairs, ceramics, and jewelry to be able to purchase wheels for their art classes.
Crocker Field United
This Venture would like to raise awareness and funds in order to sustain Crocker Field in Fitchburg.
Care 4 Children is a venture team at Memorial Middle School. Members of this Venture remember being in daycare and not having supplies to do activities. The ladies of this Venture took it upon themselves to raise funds to buy supplies for a local Fitchburg daycare center.
Little Blue Bookshop
The Little Blue Bookshop aims to address youth literacy head-on, by providing free and loaned gently used books at several community locations where families in need typically receive supports. Their model is particularly important for families who may not have books of their own and tend to be transient and unable to borrow from libraries. The Team holds regular book drives and maintains an informative website to raise awareness.
North Middlesex Regional High School
2006 – 2007
Working together with the Life Skills program at the school, as well as the Best Buddies program, these students renovate and improve a courtyard for all to enjoy. They plant flowers, vegetables, and herbs to sell in their Coffee Stop restaurant and to help fund future renovations.
2007 – 2008
This group of high school students helps raise awareness of teen dating violence through art displays. They create and paint large, mobile murals for display to help educate local youth on dating violence prevention.
2011 – 2012
Members of this Venture plan to create a literary journal that will include pieces of writing from a variety of genres to showcase creativity, talent, and potential from NM students.
The Outdoor Classroom
After traveling on a service trip to New Orleans, North Middlesex Regional High School junior Elisabeth was inspired by the Aquaponics program at Blair Grocery. As part of the program, students learned 80% of their Advanced Placement Biology coursework without opening a textbook! Elisabeth and her fellow Venturers, Therese, Sam, Casey, and Marissa, started The Outdoor Classroom Venture Team. The Team hopes to help their communities and bring an experiential learning opportunity to their school’s community garden, by combining Aquaponics and Vermicompost methods. Through further grant applications, fundraisers like “Taste the Rainbow” where participants receive a fruit or vegetable of every color and donating produce to the Pepperell Aid Community Home, these Venturers have set a goal to donate a ton – literally 2,000 pounds- of produce over the next ten years.
2012 – 2013
MLK Day of Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the MLK holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. Young people at North Middlesex Regional High School decided to answer this call to action by hosting the first MLK Day of Service in their district. Venture members recruited over 120 volunteers to help with services ranging from making soap to writing letters to those serving in Afghanistan. Because its first year was so successful, the MLK Day of Service Venture plans to continue hosting a series of volunteer opportunities during each forthcoming Martin Luther King holiday.
On a trip to New Orleans, members of Satellite Garden witnessed a local community’s effective and cost-efficient composting system and decided to create one of their own for their school’s already-existing community garden. In addition to the food available through the Community Garden, the Satellite Garden Team plans to grow organic flowers and micro greens to sell at local farmer’s markets as means to sustain their project.
Students at North Middlesex Regional High School noticed that one of the most underutilized facilities in most communities is the school kitchen and cafeteria. With this in mind, they decided to start Second Helpings, a soup kitchen available to any community member in need of a hot meal. Once a month, the team plans to host a soup kitchen with food gathered from their school’s community garden and plan to partner with local businesses in the future.
2012 – 2013
The Bright Lights Project
Following a service trip down to New Orleans, the students of the Bright Lights Project were inspired by Green Lights New Orleans, a group that puts energy-efficient light bulbs into homes in need. These Venturers decided to enact a similar program right here in North Central Massachusetts, teaming up with Unitil and MassSaves with the goal of raising awareness and increasing the number of homes with energy-efficient lights.
WHEAT Community Cafe
After years of volunteering at the WHEAT Community Cafe, a soup kitchen for the hungry, the Venturers knew something had to be done when Wheat’s unreliable stove would take an hour and a half just to boil a pot of water. To solve this issue they came up with the idea to create a community-wide cook-off to help fundraise for a new industrial-grade stove to help both the Wheat volunteers and the hungry they serve!
Habitat at North Middlesex
Inspired by the mission of Habitat for Humanity, the leaders of Habitat at North Middlesex have made it their goal to do whatever they can to help the local Habitat chapter. From directly volunteering at Habitat build sites and ReStore, to running donation drives to help the families, these Venturers are excited to help make their community better one house at a time.
Days For Girls
After learning in class about the many issues that girls in Africa face on a daily basis, the Venturers of Days for Girls decided they wanted to do whatever they could to make a difference. During their research, they found out about the non-profit, Days For Girls, a group that provides sustainable feminine hygiene and health solutions. This group will be running sewing classes and fundraisers to purchase the materials and make the kits that will be shared internationally to help girls around the world gain a sense of dignity and self-esteem.
Sizer School, A North Central Charter Essential School
2011 – 2012
Deryn Susman, who attends Sizer School, a North Central Charter Essential School in Fitchburg, started the United Way Youth Venture Team, Sizer Cubbies, after she learned of a mother and children who were forced to flee from their home, leaving all of their prized possessions behind. Deryn and her Venture Team were inspired to help traumatized families like these, providing them with free teddy bears, and holding an annual fundraiser to bring awareness and support to the important cause.
2012 – 2013
Toni and Roman from North Central Charter School teamed up to ‘Kinnect’ with the elderly in Massachusetts! Wii Kinnect Venture Team plans to visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help teach residents how to use the Wii and Kinnect gaming systems, providing the chance to bridge the intergenerational gap between young people and older populations, get exercise, and have fun! Venturers intend to host Wii tournaments at their school and in the community as a way to encourage participants to be involved in their Venture, and also help fund the expansion of their systems. With Toni’s organizational skills and Roman’s contacts from working and volunteering in nursing homes, this dynamic duo is sure to make ‘kinnections’ everywhere they go!
2013 – 2014
Clean Up Humanity
With the initial desire to help solve every problem in the world, the Venturers of Clean Up Humanity have worked hard to narrow their ambitious ideas into achievable SMART goals, ultimately deciding to raise awareness to help end the issue of domestic abuse right here in the area. Along with awareness campaigns, Clean Up Humanity will be fundraising for the YWCA to aid in their support of women and children who are looking for assistance from abusive homes and relationships.
2014 – 2015
The Green Team
The Green Team is a passionate group of students from Sizer that have taken environmental awareness to the next level. They coach their fellow classmates on how to eliminate waste, identify recyclables, and explain how composting will benefit the Sizer community. Their enthusiasm and excitement for this cause guarantees that Sizer will be a shining light in student engagement in the environment for years to come.