The Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN), the newest program of May Institute’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, is May’s first Employee Resource Group. These groups offer employees with shared interests a space to collaborate and plan exciting events. WIN is open to all May employees interested in gender equity and continuing to move May forward as a powerful women-led organization.
Father Bill’s MainSpring is a nonprofit organization doing great work in Brockton, Mass. Their mission is “to end and prevent homelessness in Southern Massachusetts with programs that provide emergency and permanent housing and help people obtain skills, jobs, housing, and services. We help people who are struggling with homelessness, or are at risk of homelessness, to achieve self-sufficiency.”
For over 10 years, the May Center School for Brain Injury and Neurobehavioral Disorders in Brockton has expanded its remarkable partnership with Father Bill’s. Our students volunteer at The Table at Father Bill’s MainSpring every Friday. The Table is a community lunch program, also known as the soup kitchen. They serve meals to men, women, and children six days a week.
Our students work three-hour shifts setting up, restocking condiments, cleaning tables, and serving during all three sittings. Not only are our students serving the public, but they are also serving Youth Protocol and Work Express. These work and volunteer experiences develop and strengthen skills that will help the students live more independently, which results in the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. All our students volunteer under the supervision of a Transitional Education Specialist.
During our initial WIN meeting at the school, Avelina Amado, Transitional Specialist and the lead of our Brockton WIN committee, mentioned the school’s Fun Fridays which include volunteering at Father Bill’s MainSpring. “Our students are amazing! They give up so much and work hard at the soup kitchen, and the best part is they do it with smiles on their faces.” She thought it would be a great idea for staff to fill those volunteer positions and experience firsthand what the students do every Friday. The WIN committee expressed enthusiastic interest and the desire to volunteer, especially within the Brockton community.
When the email went out looking for volunteers, it was amazing how many WIN members responded immediately. Our staff was able to partake in this three-day event during the school’s vacation week. Many of the staff knew that the students volunteered but did not know exactly what it entailed. Altogether, 15 staff participated. “I think they have even more respect for our students after having worked shifts at Father Bill’s.” said Avelina Amado, School Operations Coordinator.
WIN is already planning another partnership with Father Bill’s, and this time, our staff will make bagged lunches. All bagged lunches will include a sandwich, drink, chip, cookies, and fruit. Our goal is to have our team make 100 bagged lunches. We are counting on staff to donate the items needed!
Below you’ll find the names and titles of the staff who volunteered at Father Bill’s.
Andrea Potoczny-Gray, Executive Director
Joan Phillips, Director Family Services
Linda Bulman, Training Coordinator
Margarette St.Martin, Assistant Residential Director
Jennifer Derderian, Clinical Director
Jill Fitzgerald-Sugrue, Director Nursing
Thiphaphorn Lail, Teacher
Jacqueline Andrade, Teacher
Matthew Soares, Teacher
Jennifer Clark, Teacher
Linda Marani, Administrative Assistant
Avelina Amado, Transitional Education Specialist
Whitney Kleinert, Program Director
Julia Burgess, Senior Director, Strategic and Corporate Communications
Jennifer Zarcone, Sr. Vice President of Adult Clinical Services & Training
See the Flickr album of photos.