By Nour Habib, Marketing Specialist
As the marketing specialist at Monadnock United Way, I dabble a little in all aspects of the work our team here does. That means that I get to hear a lot about the impactful work happening across the Monadnock region.
One initiative that I am particularly excited about is the Monadnock Region Afterschool Collective (MRAC), which is made up of seven programs that offer afterschool enrichment opportunities for children. MRAC will receive $150,000 from MUW in 2019.
Some of the money will allow the programs to offer joint field trips and other enrichment opportunities for students that the individual programs would not have been able to afford had they been operating on their own.
But the biggest chunk of the money will go toward much-needed professional development for staff, said Beth Baldwin, the executive director of the program backing MRAC.
The goal of the collective is to support the learning and growth of children in their care by reducing non-appropriate behaviors.
Baldwin said schools are seeing more behavior problems from students. These trauma-induced behaviors, as those in the field refer to them, can be caused by a variety of situations, such as multiple relocations or parents who struggle with substance misuse. And while schools may have counselors or other professionals to work with students, afterschool programs often don’t have the same resources to deal with the problems that carry over.
The funding MRAC will receive will allow each of the seven programs in the collective to get training and coaching from the professionals at Monadnock Family Services (MFS). Behavior experts will visit each of the respective programs to observe students, then provide staff with the tools they need to deal with specific behaviors.
Baldwin said this training will be incredibly beneficial to the staff and, in turn, the children.
I look forward to checking back in with the MRAC programs next year to hear how these opportunities are allowing them to provide their children with the highest-quality afterschool experiences. And then I look forward to sharing it with all of you!
MRAC comprises the following programs: ACCESS Winchester Afterschool Program; Hinsdale Afterschool Program; Keene Family YMCA School's Out Program (plus Chesterfield site); Project Keep (sites at Symonds, Fuller and Franklin Schools in Keene); Project Edventure Marlborough Afterschool; ACES 93, Afterschool Program (sites at Mt. Caesar and Cutler Schools in Swanzey, Troy Elementary, and Emerson Elementary in Fitzwilliam); Hillsboro-Deering Before and Afterschool.