Week of May 31, 2007

Help a teacher help children
Alderman-at-large, Paul Brodeur, tells the Free Press that Amanda Marenco, a teacher at Melrose Day Care Center (MDCC), will be taking a leave of absence from MDCC to teach English to children in Costa Rica.

Traveling with World Endeavors, a non-profit organization, Marenco would like to arrive in Costa Rica with school supplies that are desperately needed there. To that end, she has arranged for a “School Supplies Drive,” which begins next Tuesday, June 4 and runs through Wednesday, June 13.

Supply items most needed include: notebooks; construction paper; rulers; world maps; children’s books written in Spanish; colored pencils; crayons, markers; colored chalk; and watercolors. 

Those wishing to donate to Marenco’s “School Supplies Drive” should select from among these items and drop them off at donation boxes set up outside the City Clerks Office and the Aldermanic Chamber at Melrose City Hall.

For more information, call Marenco at MDCC at 781-662-6539.   ‘There’s nothing to do’
These four words can make parents fume, but, in reality they’re often true for out-of-school, out-of-the-routine middle-school-age kids.

To that end, the Melrose Alliance Against Violence (MAAV) is creating a free brochure for middle school-aged youth and their families to let them know what’s going on in the city for them to do.

“The goal is to provide information about safe, fun activities that middle school youth will want to do,” said Andrea Nykiel, the Massachusetts Promise Youth Leadership fellow at the Melrose/Malden YMCAs. Nykiel also co-coordinates the Common Ground Teen Center in Melrose with fellow coordinator Bert Stoker.

“Around the time youth are 16 or 17, they are off getting jobs, but for those youth who are between 13-15 there seems to be a gap of things to do,” Nykiel said. “We know there are opportunities out there for these young adolescents, but we need the community’s help to create a guide to prove it.”

Nykiel is looking for information about sports; recreation programs; community service opportunities; fun places to visit; religious groups; support groups/programs; certification classes; and more to include in the brochure. She said the resources listed will also include youth sports leagues, environmental programs, school clubs and/or teams, karate classes, life-guarding trainings, and more.

“Use the brochure for free advertising for your organizations!” she said. For the brochure, Nykiel will need the following: program name; a contact name; contact information (phone number and/or email address); cost of the program, if any; location, dates and times program is held; and how students can sign up.

“Our goal is to have this brochure out by the end of the school year,” Nykiel said this week. “We also hope to have it online eventually so that when information changes we can update our site.”

To add your information to the MAAV Youth Resource Brochure, contact Nykiel at 781-324-7680 x235 or anykiel@ymcamalden.org.

  Summer kick-off at Common Ground

In other news from Andrea Nykiel, the Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is sponsoring the Second annual Summer Kick-Off Event at the Common Ground Teen Center, which is in the lower level of the Hope Alliance Church, located at the corner of Green Street and the Lynn Fells Parkway.

Nykiel said Common Ground is celebrating a successful year and is planning the kick off to begin another great year and a even better summer. At the event, which will be held on Friday, June 8, from 7-9:30 p.m., there will be new equipment, a DJ, a hip-hop dance instructor and prizes. Weather permitting Nykiel said organizers also hope to have an outdoor skateboarding demonstration.

But the Common Ground Teen Center, which remains open every Friday evening in the summer, doesn’t run on fun and games alone. In fact, donations of the following items are needed: board games; paper plates, napkins and plastic cups; computers for networking games; pool sticks; and gift certificates.

Nykiel, also said the group is always looking for new, energetic volunteers to spend some time at the center. Contact Nykiel at 781-324-7680 x235 or anykiel@ymcamalden.org, or contact Volunteer Coordinator Ed Schmitt at 781-662-0802; or Bert Stoker at 781-223-7401.