Supporting Our Youth Task Force

VOICES OF THE VILLAGE
Sponsored by the Greater Hyannis Civic Association
GreatHyannis@aol.com

VOICES OF THE VILLAGE – MARKETING TASK FORCE

One outcome of the first “Voices of Village” meeting, sponsored by the Greater Hyannis Civic Association, was the creation of a “Marketing Hyannis Task Force” whose goal is to think though ways to improve the image of Hyannis, the heart of Cape Cod, and make recommendations designed to accomplish that mission. Made up of 21 volunteers representing the Hyannis business community, town government, non-profit institutions and residents, the group has now met twice and has begun laying out ideas and common sense implementation marketing strategies.

One central theme of the Task Force was to recognize the reality that everyone can help fight negative community stereotypes and untruths and to also recognize that there are issues in our Town that cannot and should not be ignored. The group concluded that the best way to refute negative stories is to actively work to resolve or at least diminish real issues, whether it is crime, drug abuse, homelessness or poverty. We were heartened by the creation of four equally active groups which will aggressively tackle those neighborhood concerns. And, while the Marketing Task Force is under no illusion that making progress on any of these issues will be fast or easy progress is already underway.

It is not just Town government or social service agencies which must act, it is everyone. Property owners must keep their rental units in good repair, tenants need to respect their neighbors, homeowners should organize their neighborhoods into crime watches, if needed. Everyone needs to be observant and report suspicious activity to the police or the appropriate town regulatory agencies. Our Town government needs to be proactive. It needs to appropriately fund and staff critical services and, importantly, aggressively work with neighborhoods to respond to real or perceived issues. Social service and housing agencies need to continue to provide essential drug treatment and mental health services and, when possible, develop employment opportunities and training for their clients. In sum, it does not take too many bad stories to denigrate the reputation of our community and it takes a concerted, broad-based effort to repair the damage.

And, there is another, more positive story to tell about Hyannis. A short term task for the group is to work with the Greater Hyannis Civic Association to assist it in developing the communication tools needed to be, along with others, an effective voice for the village. We have much to be proud of and we need to work together to get the word out to everyone willing to listen.

The Task Force itself will identify short term marketing projects aimed at improving our image, in concert with established organizations. We also intend to develop an overarching marketing theme for Hyannis which we will try to have adopted by every organization having a stake in our economy or in our quality of life. If you have additional ideas, please send them in an e-mail to the Greater Hyannis Civic Association, at greathyannis@aol.com

VOICES OF THE VILLAGE
Sponsored by the Greater Hyannis Civic Association
GreatHyannis@aol.com

Voices of the Village – Neighborhood Task Force

The Neighborhood Task Force was created as one of the Voices of the Village priority task forces. Its goal is to develop a feeling of community in our neighborhoods and to work with others in dealing with the street people and the camps. It is a group of 21 individuals co-chaired by Jeanne Stevens and Patti Richards. Sue Eastman and Lili Seely serve as the co-secretaries. The group meets regularly at the First Federated Church on Main St in Hyannis.

Police Chief Paul MacDonald and Deputy Chief Craig Tamash met with the task force to provide an understanding on neighborhood watches and what makes them successful. They focused on the need for the neighbors to know each other and to have some events together (perhaps 3-4 times per year) for a neighborhood watch program to really work. Mark Ells and the GIS staff provided maps of Hyannis to facilitate the identification of natural neighborhoods. After much discussion on how to begin a neighborhood watch group, the task force is developing a how to guide to create a neighborhood feeling that includes a watch component. Recognizing that all neighborhoods are slightly different, the plan will be fine-tuned each time it is used. A neighborhood has been identified for a pilot program and the task force will develop its plan throughout the summer.

At another meeting, Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy, and Rick Brigham from the Noah Shelter met with the task force to explain the new coalition between the two organizations. Key elements of the integration are the requirement for new residents of Noah to have a health assessment done by Duffy in order to remain a resident of Noah. Duffy is also providing additional case management services to the residents of Noah via their mobile van. Both organizations indicated that they are focusing on their service area of Cape Cod and the Islands and helping those not from the area return to their area of origin. Some brainstorming was done to develop an approach to help a neighborhood currently troubled by street people during the day when the shelter is closed. One of the members of the Neighborhood Task Force will be working with the neighborhood and Noah to address the neighborhood concerns.

Creating a sense of community is also a critical part of neighborhood development. This task force is spearheading the plan for a Voices of the Village float for the Town of Barnstable 4th of July parade. It will be an opportunity for all the task forces to come together and celebrate Hyannis. A special place in Hyannis will be represented on the float. The float will join with the Decorate Your Bike Contest and Parade sponsored by the Greater Hyannis Civic Association.

If you are interested in joining the task force, working on the float or the bike parade or for further information on the Voices of the Village, please contact the Voices of the Village Coordinating Committee at GreatHyannis@aol.com

Voices of the Village – Supporting Our Youth Task Force

The Greater Hyannis Civic Association’s Supporting Our Youth Taskforce (HySoy for short) has been meeting weekly since the large Voice of the Village meeting in April of this year. With active membership at about twenty-five people and many more willing to provide mentoring assistance, the group is diverse and strong in its strengths. Members include former or current educators and principals, pastors, business people, parents and grandparents. Each member has committed to supporting Hyannis youth through both existing programs and through the creation of new initiatives.

Members have joined subcommittees to work on various areas of supporting our youth:

1. Mentoring

During weekly meetings we have met with guest speakers and current members who have developed and implemented successful mentoring programs. Members have met with Barnstable School District personnel at the district and school level to determine what programs already exist, how we can support these and if there is an age group that needs more services. The committee feels we can best help with mentoring in a few different areas:

1. Support the newly formed leadership partnership between Barnstable High School students and HYCC students in grades 4 – 6

2. Designing a proposal that will continue the important connection of caring between Hyannis West staff and students and alumni in grades 4 – 7 through a student-to-student mentoring program

3. Supporting adult/child mentoring through the schools

4. Providing summer reading times for students in grades 4 through 7 during July and August on Mondays through Thursdays at the Hyannis Public Library (11am-12pm) and at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center’s United Cultures Resource Room (4-5pm)

5. Providing drop-in homework assistance at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center’s United Cultures Resource Room beginning in the Fall 2011 from 2:30-5:30pm.

6. Providing interdenominational faith-based youth group and mentoring opportunities for children and families that would like type of program

The mentoring committee is working diligently to develop proposals and action plans to execute the above ideas in an organized and purposeful manner. They have developed a mission statement that reads: The purpose of our task force is the empowering of our youth to make right choices.  We will help them to reach to be the best they can be; to achieve their potential and discover their strengths; to build their self-esteem by knowing that we in the community care about them.

2. Childhood Enrichment Opportunities (CEO)

This committee has worked on developing ideas for supporting youth through extracurricular opportunities that might not be possible due to financial constraints. As of right now, committee members are developing strategies and proposals to identify camps, lessons, sports and musical activities that children might like to join and are working on different ways to obtain sponsorships for children to attend these activities. They have developed a letter to prospective business donors and have started to design a protocol for accepting monetary and in-kind donations for children in need. In addition, they are working on a simple form for parents to fill out to apply for a sponsorship. Members are also looking into developing a calendar listing of child and family friendly events in Hyannis and have begun to compile a listing of all services and programs available to Hyannis families. Once the proposals are finalized and approved, the committee would like to begin contacting extracurricular activities, businesses and families to begin the process of matching children and activities.

As a whole group the taskforce has met with Jan Barton from Barnstable’s Smart, Safe and Sober and heard a short presentation about the benefits of this program. Members have been encouraged to join in helping BeS3 mission to help young people make good choices. In addition, we are working to support the Hyannis Youth and Community Center, including the United Cultures Resource Room. Ingrid Muzy Murray from the Barnstable Human Rights Commission will be presenting about our taskforce at one of their meetings and hopefully we can support their work and receive valuable insight and support from the commissioners.

Overall, the taskforce has been very busy learning about many great programs for Hyannis youth and also pinpointing where we can support and strengthen areas of need. We currently meet every Tuesday at 6pm at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center’s United Cultures Resource Room and everyone is always welcome. We are always looking for new members and are recruiting volunteers to help with summer reading. Please contact Moira Bundschuh, co-chair at moirabundschuh@gmail.com for more information or to volunteer.   For general questions on the Voices of the Village, please contact the coordinating committee at GreatHyannis@aol.com.