Watertown Groups Start Mutual Aid Network so Neighbors Can Help Neighbors

The Watertown Community Foundation teamed with Wayside to launch new Watertown Mutual Aid Network, which will allow neighbors to assist neighbors in these difficult times. The Watertown Community Foundation and the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network sent out the following information:

Welcome to the Watertown Mutual Aid Network, funded by the Watertown Community Foundation in association with Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s  Multi-Service Center. Mutual aid is a way for Watertown neighbors to support each other, by delivering food, making weekly calls for social support, providing financial assistance, and in many other ways. By following this link, you will find information about how to use mutual aid, links to forms to offer help and request aid from your Watertown neighbors, and additional resources. Please reach out to Sophia, the Community Coordinator at Sophia_Suarez-Friedman@WaysideYouth.org or 617-744-9585 if you have any questions or wish to offer help or request aid over the phone (translation services are available). We hope that this resource will bring our community together during this difficult time.

Watertown Youth Coalition Seeks Community’s Input

The following information was provided by Watertown Youth Coalition:

WYC would like to hear from all Watertown residents about how we can best support you in taking responsibility for the wellness of our youth and community. Youth wellness is at the heart of community wellness. Please come share with us about your passions, concerns and ideas for welcoming, educating and supporting our wonderfully diverse community! Hot topics these days are vaping, youth substance misuse prevention, mental health, acceptance, racial justice and equity, LGBTQIA+ and social justice, intersectionality, legalization of marijuana, underage drinking, screen time, managing stress and supporting overall wellness. Which are most important to you?

Mental Health First Aid Course Offered by Wayside

The following information was provided by Wayside Youth & Family Support Network:

Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This 8-hour training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. It also explores skills to manage a mental health crisis until professionals arrive to take over. As a community, we are responsible for supporting those in need around us. This training teaches us how to better understand and support the needs of those in our community who may be struggling with their mental health.

Watertown Youth Coalition Hands Out Community Spirit Awards

The Community Spirit Awards recipients from left to right: Ellen Kolton, Carol Pennington, Deanne Galdston, Theresa McGuinness, Tina Loguidice, Lisa Bartlet, and Andy Short. (not pictured: John Straus, Barbara Beck, and Richard Arnold of the Watertown Board of Health). The following announcement was provided by Samantha Chan from the Watertown Youth Coalition:

On a beautiful Wednesday evening, June 12, 2019, the Watertown Youth Coalition and Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Multi-Service Center hosted their 12th annual Community Spirit Awards. This celebratory event honors individuals who are committed to the health and well-being of Watertown’s youth and families. The evening began with a dinner donated by various local restaurants, and was followed by a showcase of the WYC Peer Leaders projects, depicting the vaping epidemic affecting all schools nationwide.

Nominations Sought for Watertown Youth Coalition’s Community Spirit Awards

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Youth Coalition:

Watertown Youth Coalition and Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Multi-Service Center invite nominations for our 2019 Community Spirit Awards and welcome the community to our annual awards event to appreciate and honor the individuals in the community committed to the health and well-being of Watertown’s youth and families. This event is free and open to the public. Light dinner will be provided. To nominate someone, please fill out this form by June 1: http://bit.ly/2019communityspiritawards

*Individuals eligible for nomination are those who have:

● Served as a positive influence or mentor to a Watertown Youth Coalition member or to others in the community

● Had the courage to address challenging issues that affect youth and the community

● Actively taken steps to improve the Watertown community for youth and families (in big and small ways)

● Not received an award in the past 5 years

When: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 from 6:00–7:30 p.m.

Where: Arsenal Community Park, 458 Arsenal St., Watertown

Register here to confirm your attendance: http://bit.ly/2019communityspritawards

Funding is provided by the Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. About Watertown Youth Coalition:

Watertown Youth Coalition’s mission is to support the wellness and empowerment of Watertown youth by engaging young people, families, and the community.

Watertown Youth Coalition Organizes Town Hall Meeting, Thanks Supporters

The Youth Peer Leaders from Watertown High School helped organize the Well-Being of Watertown Youth Town Hall Meeting along with the Watertown Youth Coalition. The following piece was provided by Samantha Chan of the Watertown Youth Coalition:

On Wednesday evening, March 20, 2019, the Watertown Youth Coalition Peer Leaders had their theatrical debut in a skit called “Welcome to Rehab”, which was written as a collaboration between the Improbable Players and Peer Leaders, and directed by Andy Short. This impactful performance depicted what addiction to substances can look like for both teenagers and adults, and how it affects the important people in their lives. Following the act, the Peer Leaders facilitated discussions around substance use, racial equity, sexual and gender identity, and mental health. These topic areas were drawn from quotes of attendees of the 2018 Town Hall meeting.

Watertown Teens Tackle the Tough Issues at Recent Town Hall Meeting

Three of the Watertown Youth Peer Leaders act out a scene where the boy in the middle asks his friend for money so he can buy drugs from the student in front of him. The group spreads awareness of substance abuse and other issues facing teens. Showing that teens do care about more than video games and shopping, a group of Watertown High School students presented a Town Hall meeting about issues facing youth in Town: addiction, depression, racism, and sexual identity. The Watertown Youth Coalition’s Youth Peer Leaders helped organize the Well-Being of Watertown Youth Town Hall meeting, held at the Watertown Free Public Library on Wednesday. It was also sponsored by the Watertown Youth Coalition.