High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
December 18, 2020
By Bill Doyle | CFP Correspondent
Attendance has plummeted at churches in the Diocese of Worcester due to the pandemic, but parishes have managed to collect just as many, or nearly as many, Christmas presents for those in need.
The state has limited attendance at places of worship to 40 percent of capacity to avoid spreading COVID-19 and many parishioners don’t feel comfortable attending Mass yet, people in the parishes said.
Attendance at Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Brigid parishes in Millbury, St. Columba Parish in Paxton, St. Matthew Parish in Southborough and St. Mark Parish in Sutton, has fallen off by as much as two-thirds from a year ago, but those churches have still collected the same number of Christmas presents as usual.
Deacon Ronald B. Buron oversees the Giving Tree program at Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Brigid with pastoral associate Deborah Blicharz. Deacon Buron and Father Daniel R. Mulcahy, the pastor, spoke about the need to give during their homilies, and the parishioners responded.
Deacon Buron estimated that attendance is only 35 percent of what it was before the pandemic, but all 340 gift tags – the same number as last year – were given out during the first weekend they were available. Parishioners indicated how many tags they wanted as masked staffers distributed them in ziplock sandwich bags.
“I was flabbergasted in a way that all the tags went,” Deacon Buron said. “Normally, when we have them hanging on the tree, it might take a couple of weeks for them all to go. But there were people taking multiple tags when we gave them out. It just warms your heart to know that there are still people out there who care.”
The toys and clothing were donated to the Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope in Worcester and the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society chapter. Both organizations received more gifts than they had requested because people donated gifts even if they hadn’t picked up tags.
After the parish ran out of gift tags, parishioners purchased gift cards for Pernet Family Health Service of Worcester, Why Me & Sherry’s House of Worcester and the Bethany House Ministries of Millis.
When Deacon Buron arrived at Sherry’s House, the sign out front read: “Desperate Need of Gift Cards.” He said that people at Sherry’s House and Pernet cried when he delivered the gift cards.
Mrs. Blicharz admitted she was concerned that the churches wouldn’t collect as many gifts as needed, but she is glad she was mistaken.
“It was very inspiring to have the response be so generous,” she said.
Because of the pandemic, St. Columba accepted only Kohl’s, Walmart and Target gift cards, not gifts, for Pernet, St. Peter Church and St. Andrew the Apostle Mission in Worcester.
Last year, St. Columba collected more than 250 gifts. Father David W. Cotter, parish administrator, estimated that Mass attendance was only about a third of last year, but Susan Stone, who oversees the Giving Tree program, said the parish still managed to collect 216 gift cards. Mrs. Stone said the gift cards were worth a total of $5,400, almost what the 250 gifts cost.
St. Columba promoted the giving program not only to those attending Mass, but to those watching the live-streamed Mass each Sunday, as well as via Flocknote and the church’s online bulletin.
“It makes me realize that even though there’s only a third of people in the church,” Father Cotter said, “the parish is still very lively and people are still very much aware of what’s going on in the parish and still participating. It also reminds me of the generosity of people.”
St. Matthew pastor Father James B. Flynn estimated that attendance has fallen to 30 to 40 percent of what it was before the pandemic, but parishioners continue to give. Karen Fournier has coordinated the church’s Giving Tree with Suzi McGourty for more than 20 years. Mrs. Fournier said the parish collected 175 gifts and 30 gift cards this year, the same as in past years.
St. Matthew collects gifts for families served by Pernet and Father Flynn said the church has also received more than $4,000 in gift cards for St. Jude Thaddeus Church in Waldron, Arkansas.
“I think people are more sensitive to the needs during COVID-19 because of the experience of seeing so many local people enduring hunger and homelessness,” Father Flynn said.
“I just think that people still want to give,” Mrs. Fournier said. “This time of year just naturally has people thinking about other people.”
Father Michael A. DiGeronimo, pastor at St. Mark’s, said attendance is about half of what it was before the pandemic, but parishioners will donate more than 300 gifts, the same as in past years.
“Especially in times of difficulty and stress,” Father DiGeronimo said, “we need to do charity more than ever. My approach was, ‘We’re going to do it. Now we’re going to figure out how and keep people safe.’”
Gift tags were spread out on tables at the church and hand sanitizer was available. Parishioners could pick them up after Mass or whenever the church was open.
St. Mark distributes gifts to local families and the Urban Missionaries. Father DiGeronimo said parishioners have continued to support not only the Giving Tree, but the church’s other ministries, including a nursing home in Haiti and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
96.1 WSRS for the 28th Annual “Feed Worcester County” Food Drive
Hosts: Christopher Zito “Zito” and Suzanne Lewis
The Holidays are hereIt's a tradition that most families look forward to every year. That moment that the family is gathered together eating a meal. Some families have pre-meal and post-meal traditions. 2020 brings a challenge to most traditions. It may be that some of them are cancelled, or the number of people at the dinner table will be greatly reduced. But the one thing that should stay is the tradition of being thankful for what we have.
Here at Pernet, one tradition that will stay is providing Thanksgiving meals for families and holiday gifts for children. The Little Sisters of the Assumption who started the work we do at Pernet 65 years ago sought to support the disadvantaged families and to revitalize the spirit of those degraded by poverty. Today that work continues and the pandemic makes it even more urgent. We are pleased o be able to provide 250 families in our community with holiday meals this year.
Pernet Holiday Gift List
This Holiday Season, please consider donating a gift for a child. These gifts go to children 0-17 years of age.
Below is a list for Pernet Holiday Gifts Program
You can also purchase items on the Amazon Gift Registry at https://amzn.to/31XMJPq Please drop off gifts by Wednesday 12/09/2020.
For more information please contact Yildiz Laza at 508-755-1228 or email@example.com
MASSACHUSETTS BANKERS ASSOCIATION CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
ANNOUNCES RECORD 2020 COMMUNITY GRANTS
BOSTON, Nov. 10, 2020 – The Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) announced today that the MBA Charitable Foundation has set a new record in its annual year-end community grant season.
In keeping with the Charitable Foundation’s annual community grants, MBA is announcing today that the Foundation will be granting an additional 49 grants, totaling $157,500. The Foundation, supported by MBA’s 130 member banks in Massachusetts and New England, is distributing the grants over eight geographic regions across the Commonwealth. Of the many well-deserving social service agencies, this year’s awards are given to organizations that are aiding in the battle of hunger; promoting academic, social and emotional growth and equality; alleviating homelessness, promoting skill development to close the opportunity divide; addressing domestic violence, women’s shelters and empowerment, and more.
Earlier this year, with the rise of the pandemic and in recognition of heightened focus on lifting communities through economic and social equality initiatives, MBA made special donations to the Mass COVID Relief Fund, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), and the 10point Coalition. Additionally, MBA launched a three-month social media campaign to acknowledge and highlight the hard work and dedication of many organizations that are committed in providing aid and relief to their community.
“On behalf of the entire Massachusetts banking community, we are thrilled to bring our collective strength to supporting organizations that are doing immense good in local communities across the Commonwealth,” said Peter G. Brown, Chairman of the MBA Charitable Foundation, and President and CEO of Dedham Savings, “As we see the impact of the Foundation’s support as well as the broader support from banks’ individual efforts, we are reminded that every gift-giving season amplifies the needs. As we recognize 49 organizations this year with the 2020 gifts, we do so with the knowledge and renewed focus that our work continues.”
Since its founding in 1996, the Foundation has provided gifts totaling approximately $2.8 million, which is symbolic of the more than $106 million in individual donations banks make on an annual basis to charitable non-profits and social agencies in communities throughout the Commonwealth.
Pernet Family Health is grateful for the $5,000 grant awarded.
The Massachusetts Bankers Association represents approximately 130 commercial, savings and co-operative FDIC-insured banks and savings and loan associations with 72,000 employees located in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England.
Many families in our community are facing food insecurity for the first time. We have discovered that the struggle to feed their loved ones will only intensify during the upcoming holidays. Due to the pandemic, many grocery stores are not able to hold their usual holiday food drives, which will inevitably reduce food donations for holiday meals at our local non-profits. The United Way of Central Massachusetts is partnering with Friendly House and Pernet Family Health to provide festive holiday meals for those in need.
Here’s How You Can Help Those In Need
Donate Via Credit Card Or Venmo
Donate Non-Perishable Food Items
Sign Up For Our Virtual Road Race!
Visit the event website for more details and link to register.
You know your child better than anyone. But even you have a few questions.COVID-19 is putting incredible pressure on families. You might be noticing your child is struggling in new ways, or that old problems are getting worse. Should you worry about your child’s behavioral health? HandHoldMA is here to help you figure that out.
Visit HandHoldMA.org for information and resources on:
Should I worry?Is your kid just being a kid, or is their behavior something to worry about? Learn about signs to look for and get suggestions on what to do next.
What can I do?Tips, tools, and strategies that have worked for other families, sorted by topic, and picked by Handhold. These are things you can learn about or do from home.
Who can help?Our top picks for community organizations and government resources that can help you locate the right mental health service for your child and family.
"My voice, our equal future."
Today, October 11, 2020, is internationally recognized as the "International Day of the Girl." It is celebrated annually to recognize the strength, power, contribution, and potential for girls worldwide. In 2020, the focus is involving girls and women in the dialogue and decision-making about their lives, their futures, and their bodies.
from the World Health Organization (WHO):
International Day of the Girl celebrates the importance, power, and potential of girls around the world.
It is also a day to highlight girls’ needs and the particular problems they can face, and drive efforts that meet these needs and fulfill their rights – not benevolently for them, but in partnership with them.
While much progress has been made in the last two decades to ensure every girl is able to grow and develop in good health, there is much still to do. For example, 12 million girls are married before age 18 each year. One in five girls globally has experienced sexual violence. In Eastern and Southern Africa, nearly 80% of new HIV infections among adolescents are among girls.
No decision for girls should be made without them The 2020 theme of International Day of the Girl is “My voice, our equal future.” This is a striking call to recognize girls’ inheritance of the still-unfinished Beijing Agenda, their expertise on the challenges they face especially for their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and their limitless capacity as change-makers.
To commemorate the day, WHO co-organized a virtual intergenerational dialogue between girl advocates and high-level leaders about putting girls and their rights at the centre of decision-making processes.
Lubinda, a 15-year old advocate from Zambia, captured the sentiment of the event: “If every child can be given the chance to express themselves and talk about issues that are affecting them, then we can have a wide range of voices being represented.”
“At the same time, we have to be equipped with the knowledge, because without it, we will not be able to participate [in international systems].”
*Photo credit (above): WHO
“ Success is no accident, It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do” Pele
When I met my little friend and her family in January I was not their service coordinator. She was referred to early intervention because she was not walking and was about 18 months old. She was however a whiz when it came to numbers and letters. Over a series of events I did in fact end up becoming her service coordinator. This transition took place just a couple of weeks prior to covid-19. At this very same time we had a gentle conversation about some concerns that her pediatrician had as well as some concerns of mine.
She was displaying some characteristics and behaviors that led us to believe that perhaps she had autism spectrum disorder. As anyone can imagine this was an extremely difficult thought for her family to process. Just as we were beginning to have this conversation, the covid-19 pandemic hit. Everything was on hold for a few weeks. Just as we were beginning to develop this relationship and I was welcomed into their home I was no longer able to go into their home. But this was not going to deter this amazing mom. She was doing everything that she could do for her child. With the coordination of early intervention, my friend’s family, and her pediatrician we were able to make the process happen so that she could have an evaluation at UMass. This evaluation was done via Zoom. Once she received a diagnosis of ASD the referral process happened so she could receive ABA services. We went from a 100% in person in home service model to completely virtual overnight. And in the midst of this and all of the chaos we were able to get this referral completed, give this family the support and services that they needed, and get services into place. All of this was done through technology. It's been a couple of months now that she has been receiving ABA services. Not only is she walking, she's putting sentences together and she is making excellent eye contact in initiating play. She responds to her name, she calls her parents by name, and has made extraordinary strides.
The journey that I've gone on with this family in particular has been the one that has stuck out to me the most during this pandemic. It can be very difficult to build a rapport with a family under the best of circumstances nevermind a family that is going through such a difficult diagnosis. It is even more difficult during a time when you are not able to physically be with the family. While there were definitely many days and nights I had no idea how we were ever going to service our kids through early intervention in this new format, I can honestly say that this particular experience was a success.
Pernet Family Health Service, Inc.