Message from our Board Chair and Executive Director
Dear Friends of Pernet,
What better way to improve the life of a child than to have caring parents to lean on and learn from each day! This is what Pernet is all about: strengthening families to improve our community. Pernet’s services are invaluable as we move forward with our efforts to provide services in keeping with the needs of the vulnerable families who come to us with emergency needs in health care, nutrition, and household management.
In our daily work at Pernet we are reminded of the phrase: “There are two things we should give our children, one is roots and the other is wings”. A solid foundation of love and belonging, and the confidence and resources to grow a child into a well-adjusted and self-sufficient adult, is what it takes. At Pernet Family Health Service, this is what we strive to provide to all of our families.
An “Inflection Point” is a time of significant change in a situation, a turning point. In mathematical terms, it is a point of a curve at which a change in the direction of curvature occurs. Pernet Family Health Service is at that point. The past two years has been a time of growth internally in both the quality of our infrastructure and our provision of services. Like turning an ocean liner around, it takes time but it can be done.
Some of the advances made during the past year include revamping and expanding the Early Intervention Program and Family Support Services with more staff, more groups, and therefore, more revenue. Strengthening the infrastructure of the organization has been an initiative that has helped improve the quality of programming. The Youth Program and the Food Pantry have expanded. The appointment of staff to external Boards and Committees and Leadership Worcester, has increased the awareness of Pernet in the community.
Our funders have taken notice as well. Pernet has received capacity building grants. We have been successful in securing a HIPAA-compliant server and Sonic Wall from the Sills Family Foundation. They have awarded Pernet another capacity building grant for an electronic document management system which would be extremely difficult to afford.
The Greater Worcester Community Foundation nominated Pernet to apply for the Social Innovators Forum in order to receive a $10,000 grant and $135,000 worth of executive coaching, legal, graphic design and to be showcased in a national forum in May 2017. We made it to the second round of finalists and learned a lot in the application process.
The City of Worcester has granted Pernet funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for security and neighborhood beautification. A camera system and a keyless entry system have been installed to keep us secure in a neighborhood with its safety challenges. This funding also allowed Pernet to install attractive black iron fencing, which replaced the chain link fence that can make the statement, “Keep out!”
Because of this gift from the City, we were able to utilize other funds for urgently needed repairs. The Fuller Foundation granted Pernet funds for fencing. But since the CDBG funds covered the fencing, the Fuller Foundation allowed us to reallocate the grant to upgrade our emergency lighting/exits, repair the sprinkler system, repair the elevator, replace crumbling cement front steps and provide for much needed painting to the exterior of both buildings.
The United Way of Central Massachusetts acknowledged Pernet staff with an award at their Annual Meeting in May. So as you can see, this has been a banner year for Pernet! As funders provided Pernet with much needed funds for infrastructure, we were able to concentrate on the important services we provide to families in need.
Sincerely, Jack Woods, Board Chair Sheilah Dooley, Executive Director