Included in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget is an amendment sponsored by State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) for $200,000 toward the Methuen Youth and Community Center project.
Over the past year, DiZoglio has made the establishment of a formal youth and community center in the City of Methuen one of her top priorities, culminating in a 159-mile March Across Massachusetts this fall to raise awareness and support for the project. DiZoglio has noted that Methuen is among the few communities in the Merrimack Valley that does not have such a center like many surrounding cities and towns.
The local nonprofit Inspirational Ones, in collaboration with Methuen Public Schools and the City of Methuen, is initiating the project, creating and implementing a curriculum model to identify and expand outside-the-box learning experiences and career opportunities, with a focus on engaging underserved youth. An essential component of the project is participation by the Youth Advisory Council MY (Methuen Youth) Voice, whose members have been nominated by teachers and school staff and include representatives of that underserved population.
In October, the Methuen School Committee voted to approve the former Pleasant Valley School building on Pleasant Valley Street as the location for a Methuen Youth and Community Center.
“We still have quite a ways to go – however, these critical funds will bring us one step closer to making the dream of a Methuen Youth and Community Center a reality,” said DiZoglio. “Together, we will provide our youth with mentorship opportunities and social and emotional learning to inspire them to pursue their unique talents and reach their goals.”
Beyond this FY21 funding, DiZoglio earlier secured another $200,000 in state funds to initiate the program and $1 million in a recent economic development bill toward the capital campaign. The previous $200,000 is currently at work in coordination with MPS, while the $1 million bond and $200,000 secured in this current budget will need final release by the Baker Administration.
To learn more about the Methuen Youth and Community Center project, please visit https://www.facebook.com/MarchAcrossMass or www.InspirationalOnes.org by clicking on Youth Innovation Program.