To improve the quality of life of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families by advocating for their needs and rights; providing services; educating the community; building a community of support; participating in coalitions with other advocates and searching for new resources and partnerships.
SMOC recently inaugurated a new outdoor mural at our headquarters in Framingham. The artist is Wellesley resident Alexander Golob. The mural is entitled "A Meditation on Community and Nature". Follow this link to the MetroWest Daily news where the artist shares some thoughts on the mural.
At this year’s Celebration of Learning we gathered to recognize those students that completed a full year in the ESL program and those that passed the rigorous HiSET (formerly GED) exam. We also celebrated the learning milestones of students continuing toward their educational and language proficiency goals. Congresswoman Katherine Clark was the keynote speaker and she spoke eloquently of the need for educational opportunities for all. Two graduates shared their heartwarming stories of success, as well. We congratulate this year’s graduates.
Recently, SMOC honored the tremendous accomplishments of two young men who completed SMOC’s Young Adult Residential Case Management (YARCM) Program. YARCM provides a sober environment and supportive case management for 18 to 24 year-olds in early recovery from substance abuse. These services help participants improve their interpersonal skills, access tools of recovery, and become economically self-sufficient. Both graduates shared inspiring and touching recollections of their time at YARCM, and of their future plans, with family, friends and other guests. We are all lifted up by their successes.
Staff, board members and friends came together to plant the seeds, remember Moses and enjoy the fellowship of the SMOC community. Watch for the sunflowers to bloom along Bishop Street in Framingham within the next few weeks.
We are now offering affordable rooms in the Greater Worcester area for Homeless Youth ages 18-24. The program includes intensive care management and rental assistance to help promote success in employment, stable medical and behavioral health, recovery supports, housing retention and improving overall quality of life. We have units available now in Worcester, as well as Spencer! Click here for application details.
SMOC's Serenity House, a residential substance abuse treatment program for women, and Hopkinton Organizing for Prevention, a community-wide collaboration in preventing substance abuse and use, celebrated community and recovery on a beautiful day this spring that was filled with inspiration and fellowship. The event was attended by Serenity graduates, participants and their families, community partners, volunteers, staff and board members. Tours of Serenity House and a brief speaking program with moving remarks by a Serenity graduate rounded out the day.
SMOC Financial Services held two events recently, one at SMOC’s Framingham Headquarters and the other at our Martin Luther King, Jr. Opportunity Center in Worcester, to celebrate the launch of our microloan fund/small business technical assistance program. Microloans will range from $1,000-$25,000 and outreach will focus on minority, low-income, immigrant, women, veterans and disabled entrepreneurs within the MetroWest and Worcester regions.
SMOC’s Women Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program hosted the federal regional USDA Administrator and WIC’s Regional Office Director and Policy Director for a tour of the USDA funded “Good Food Project”, a hands-on cooking instruction and nutrition education program located in WIC at our Framingham Headquarters. Julie Mason, a WIC nutritionist, demonstrated the art of cooking nutritious and delicious, quick and budget conscious meals.
Governor Baker visited SMOC on Jan 14th to announce the State's "Urban Agenda" Award to the Framingham Business Resource Alliance, a community collaboration led by SMOC. Together the partners will launch a one-stop microenterprise center at SMOC's Framingham headquarters. This initiative will boost the launch and growth of new businesses headed by downtown entrepreneurs, especially including immigrants, women, veterans and the disabled.
On November 9, we celebrated the graduation of 13 women who participated in the first ever Successful Women in Clean Energy training. This pilot program was funded by MassCEC with the goal of creating a strong, replicable program model. During the 5 weeks of training, participants were taught energy efficiency and conservation with a focus on solar, customer service skills, employment and life skills. Upon completion, graduates will be placed in 6 month fellowships with a goal of finding permanent jobs with competitive wages. Friends and family of the graduates were in attendance along with local officials, student mentors, program staff and representatives from MassCEC.
The Open House was held on Oct. 15 to celebrate the reconstruction of 10-12 Coburn Street in Framingham. The property was badly damaged by a fire last year (fortunately nobody was harmed). The new space will provide affordable supportive housing for two families. We would like to thank Mass Housing for providing financing for this project to supplement insurance proceeds. The ribbon cutting ceremony, pictured here, was attended by local officials, financing and construction partners, SMOC Board members and staff.
SMOC's history has been published by local author and Board member Hugo "Holly" Hollerorth. The book is called "Building a Culture of Care: The Ongoing Saga of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council." It is an in-depth look at the origins, history and evolution of the organization through the years. Pictured here are the author (center) with staff members Susan Gentili (left) and Darlene Assencoa (right).