What is SYC?
SYC is an after school program that was created ten years ago by Maureen Jackman. It has grown from an idea and a grant into a program that today serves over 250 Somersworth kids over the course of the school year and also into the summer.
The program not only offers structured events for the kids that attend but also meets a need within our community for affordable extended after school care. The program, which in my opinion and many others in the city, is a much needed resource was in danger of closing this year due to lack of funding.
For the past ten years the program has been funded with the help of a grant that was set to expire at the end of this school year. This would have essential left the kids that attend nowhere to go after school. The good news is Maureen Jackman, who is the executive director of the program knew this and began the process of reapplying for an available grant early.
I’m glad to be able to say that the result of many people’s hard work is the Somersworth Youth Connection program has received the grant they applied for and will be funded for the next five years. Not only that of the twelve programs in the state that applied, only five were given the grant but it gets better. Somersworth Youth Connection was awarded top marks among the five programs that were successful in securing the funding and that says a lot about the program that can be found right here in our city. I for one think that’s something to be proud of.
What Does The Grant Mean For SYC?
I sat down and talked to Executive Director Maureen Jackman for a few minutes. She was beaming from ear to ear as she told me a little more about what the funding would mean to the kids that take past in the program.
According to Maureen, this funding means that they will be able to expand the program that already encompasses so much. Both she and her staff hope that SYC prepares the students for a future filled with opportunities for the future as well as college and various career opportunities.
I know first hand that the program fosters connectivity with the larger community having witnessed some of the programs myself. For example I was at Idlehurst school this past January when the Cocheco Valley Humane Society were presented with 12 animal beds that the kids had created themselves.
The time when the program joined forces with Dina Gagnon of The Gathering Place and took part in a summer program filled with crafts. A visit to the Summersworth Historical Museum. The list goes on and on and on. Without SYC these kids would likely be on the streets of Somersworth. Instead, they are in a program that aims to teach healthy lifestyle with positive choices that will carry them way past their time in the program.
I asked Maureen what the community as a whole could do to support the program and her answers were loud and clear. ” Somersworth can help by volunteering at events, or by simply making a donation to the program. All are welcome and encouraged to share their ideas and time to help enrich the lives of these kids and connect them with the rich history and culture that is Somersworth.”
She went on to say that, “We understand the needs of working families and that they don’t always have the resources to expose their children to all that SYC can offer.”
Get Involved With Somersworth Youth Connection
I’m so glad that SYC will be a part of the fabric of the community for at least another five years. This is a much needed program and one that without it many of the youth would simply fall through the cracks. Instead these kids are given a chance to participate in the community in which they live. I, for one, don’t think that can ever be a bad thing.
If you would like to help Maureen and the staff of the SYC you can contact Maureen at mjackman@sau5org They are always looking for community volunteers that can help build on the program that is already in place and doing such a great job.