Youth Sports League Grants Available to Make Sure All Watertown Children Can Play

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Community Foundation:

With the announcement of The Watertown Community Foundation’s (WCF) Youth Sports League Grant Program, WCF aims to serve Watertown youth from pre-k through high school, their families, and the volunteer coaches who run the leagues. Many children cannot participate in organized sports due to the cost and many coaches assume the added burden of paying players’ fees themselves. The goal is to allow greater participation in team sports of all kinds for all youth regardless of their ability to pay. “WCF is committed to helping every Watertown child that is interested have the experience of playing a team sport” said WCF board member Bob Airasian, the driving force behind the program. “The Youth Sports League Grant Program will provide financial support to youth sports leagues to reduce costs as barriers to participation. We couldn’t have done this on our own and are incredibly thankful for the support from The Bilezikian Family Foundation and NESN.”

“Youth sports leagues teach children athletic and social skills, foster community among families, and attract and retain families in Watertown.

Watertown Scouts Collecting Items for Watertown Food Pantry

Watertown Scouts collected 2.5 tons of food in the fall, and will be having another food drive in March. Watertown Scout Troop 30 provided the following announcement:

The 2.5 tons of food collected by scouts in November has gone to meet an unprecedented need in our community, so scouts are asking you again to help. March 20, 12:30-3 p.m., scouts are collecting shelf-stable food items for the Watertown Food Pantry at 80 Mt. Auburn St. 

Scouting for Food has become a tradition for Scouts in Watertown. Both Troop 30 (age 10-17) and Pack 30 (age 5-10) scouts have made the food drive part of their Thanksgiving tradition, collecting enough food that it’s measured in tons.

Watertown Target Seeks Places to Volunteer

Employees from Watertown’s Target store volunteer in the community, and they seek placed to lend a hand. The following announcement was sent out by Watertown Target:

Hi Everyone! Target’s goal each month is to volunteer out in the community and give back. We are looking to fill up our calendar for the year and wanted to reach out and see if anyone was looking for volunteers in any way. March is Women’s month and we would love to tie that into a volunteer event in some way if we could.

Citizens Bank & NECN Honoring Non-Profit Groups That Close Social Equity Gaps

The following information was provided by Citizens Bank and NECN:

Citizens and NECN announced that they will be accepting applications under the bank’s Champions in Action®program from local non-profit organizations that are focused on closing Social Equity & Inclusion gaps within local communities through education, advocacy and relevant programming. The winner for the second half of 2021 will be announced in July. 

Organizations selected for inclusion in the program will receive financial, volunteer and public relations support to help further extend their reach and impact. Areas of focus for the program change twice-yearly. Eligible nonprofits typically work in collaboration with partners, neighborhood groups, schools, or other organizations to address issues related to the chosen focus area that affect local communities. The non-profit applying for the award should include specific and measurable goals for their program.

Watertown Restaurant First Awardee of Group Looking to Save Local Eateries

Watertown’s Donohue’s Bar & Grill received the first grant from the Step Up to the Table Foundation, a group looking to save local restaurants during COVID-19. Donohue’s was nominated by Josh Vernon, who sent in a letter talking about how much the restaurant has given back to the community since it opened in 1998, particularly to the Watertown Boys & Girls Club. “When you mention Donohue’s to anyone from the Watertown area, they think of family and a wonderful place to gather together for all reasons JD would never ask for help, so as a friend and customer I felt he deserved this nomination so he can continue giving back to his community and supporting his staff,” Vernon wrote in his nomination. Like restaurants across Massachusetts, Donohue’s has faced many hurdles during the pandemic, from being closed in the early days of COVID, to continued reduction of capacity and other restrictions. See a video, below, posted by the Step Up to the Table Foundation when it told owner JD Donohue about the grant:

Fundraising Effort Started to Help Watertown High Grad Fight Cancer

A screenshot of the GoFundMe campaign for 1995 Watertown High grad Christine Aragon Lagos. A GoFundMe campaign was started to help a 1995 Watertown High School grad who is undergoing cancer treatments. The campaign for Christine Aragon Lagos, was started by classmate Amanda Holmes, and seeks to raise $10,000. On the campaign page Holmes wrote:

“Christine Aragon Lagos was a classmate of mine at Watertown High School, Class of 1995. Recently, I was informed that Christine has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer (lung, bones, brain).

UPDATE: Dozens of Pairs of Shoes Donated by Watertown Native, Rec. Dept. Will Distribute

Watertown native Robert Marra with Peter Centola, who was Marra’s fold coach at WHS and is now Director of Watertown’s Recreation Department. Marra donated 60 pairs of shoes to the Town, which will give them away to residents. (Updated Jan. 13, 2021 at 8:45 a.m.)

Watertown residents can get a free pair of shoes thanks to a Watertown native who wanted to help his hometown. Robert Marra works and lives in Ashland now, but he grew up in Town.

Groups Helping Residents During Pandemic the Focus of Watertown Cable Show

Guests Jan Singer of the Watertown Community Foundation (top left) and Sophia Suarez-Friedman of Watertown Mutual Aid (bottom right) joined Inside Watertown co-hosts Charlie Breitrose (top right) and Bob Airasian (bottom left). Two organizations that have been helping Watertown residents weather the COVID-19 pandemic were highlighted on the most recent episode of Watertown Cable’s Inside Watertown. The guests on the Zoom edition of Inside Watertown were Sophia Suarez-Friedman, the Town’s Social Services Resource Specialist at Wayside Youth & Family Support Network and coordinator of Watertown Mutual Aid; and Jan Singer, executive director of the Watertown Community Foundation. Co-hosts Charlie Breitrose and Bob Airasian talked with Suarez-Friedman and Singer about some of the many initiatives that have started during the pandemic. Mutual Aid is one, which pairs residents who want to help neighbors in need of assistance.