Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Essex Heritage Travel Program, ENHC Youth Employment Program, North Shore Elder Services, Teen Town Reunion Event


Essex Heritage Travel Program

Last week, a representative from Collette Travel was in Salem at the National Park Service Visitor Center to meet with a group of potential travelers. The group gathered to learn a little more about the Essex Heritage trip to the Northern National Parks. The trip scheduled for eight days in early August 2011 is now in the planning stage, and the Collette Vacations representative provided an overview of the trip with a slide presentation and answered questions from the group. My wife Marge and I along with friends have made a commitment to travel to Utah, Wyoming and Idaho next year, and after learning even more about the trip we are excited to join the trip. If any of you have any interest in receiving more information about this new initiative of Essex Heritage please contact Mary Williamson at 078 740 0444 or at maryw@essexheritage.org or you can certainly contact me at any time as well.

Essex Heritage Youth Employment Initiative

Over the last two years, Essex Heritage with financial support from our good friends at Eastern Bank has organized an innovative partnership with the National Park Service, the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, Essex Heritage and local youth. The program focused on the First Jobs program created by the North Shore Workforce Investment Board and in 2009 this partnership program put ten youths from Salem and Lynn to work at the National Park sites and then in 2010 doubled that number to twenty young men and women. The youngsters were hired to work for the summer in both the Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works Historic Sites, and they performed tasks as diverse as:

Gold leafing the NPS Custom House Sign
Building a fence at the Salem Site
Scanning archival photos
Working with Junior Ranger youth on the Friendship
Greeting visitors at the Regional Visitor Center

This was a program that not only provided much needed employment to North Shore teens, but successfully engaged underserved and diverse youth from the region’s urban centers. The program also used the heritage resources in Salem and Saugus to teach the participants about leadership and life skills. Essex Heritage is most hopeful that additional stimulus funding can be found in the summer of 2011 to continue and expand this program.

North Shore Elder Services Annual Meeting

On October 3, 2010, I attended the annual public meeting of the North Shore Elder Services. The meeting is one of the times each year when the public in invited to attend a presentation. The meeting was held at the very impressive McIntosh Building at Brooksby Village Retirement facility in Peabody. At the meeting I along with several others was formally announced as new members of the Board of Directors and in addition new officers were introduced along with recognition of retiring members. One of the retiring members was Don Thomas who has represented Danvers on the Board and it is his seat that I will be taking on the new board. Even though Don’s term is over, he has agreed to stay connected with NSES as he will now serve on a recently created Audit Committee. At the meeting several employees who were observing anniversaries were also recognized.

A presentation was provided by Dr. Rob Schreiber, Physician-in-Chief of Hebrew Senior Life who provided insight into changing medical conditions. He spoke in some detail on the high percentage of Medicare expenditures that are being spent on the care of chronic illnesses, and how that needs to change as we must all become much more in control of our own personal health issues. We must all pay much more attention to life style issues like diet, exercise and proper rest as a way to improve our health, and keep all of us particularly seniors out of hospitals and long term care facilities. Even with all of the growing expenditures on health care, life expectancies in this country are moving down, and that is a disturbing trend. He urged that the medical industry continue to look at innovative ways to improve health care in this country including the use of many of the initiatives espoused by organizations like North Shore Elder Services. It was pointed out that in this day and age people are certainly working longer in life and their continuing good health will be an important element of that plan. The presentation was most informative and in my new role, I continue to learn more about the changing character of health care in this country.

I would like to offer one additional comment on North Shore Elder Services (NSES) regarding public access. On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, NSES will be offering a free seminar as part of their At Your Side Medical Advocacy Program at their Sylvan Street, Danvers location from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. Dr. Mary Meade Ambrefe, Certified Geriatric Pharmacist will speak on the importance of medications, your responsibility, and how to work with your healthcare team. The seminar is free but reservations that can be made at 978 624-2227 or at atyourside@nseleder.org are required.

Salem Teen Town Reunion Program

On Saturday evening my wife and I and friends attended a most enjoyable event at the Salem YMCA. The event was created as a way to bring Salem residents both past and present together to celebrate a wonderful tradition that stretched over parts of five decades. For many years the Salem YMCA offered a social evening for teens in Salem in a safe and non-threatening environment. Young teen-aged men and woman from all parts of the city came together every Saturday evening to dance and socialize in a pleasant and secure facility operated by the YMCA. The event this last Saturday evening was for a wonderful cause, but first and foremost it was a great way for many of us who enjoyed the Teen Town opportunity even though it might have been for just a few years during a time in a local High school to gather again and renew old friendships. During the short time we all tried “to go home again” .last weekend we once again enjoyed old friends who many of us had not seen for many years. Thank you to the group at the YMCA who organized this event and brought so many of us back together again to renew memories and friendships.

I do not want to let the cause being promoted at the event go unreported, as the event allowed the YMCA to provide all of us in attendance with an overview of a planned campaign to turn the old Teen Town location into a performing arts facility. Ames Hall in the historic old YMCA building on the corner of Essex and Sewell Streets in Salem was first built in the very late 1800’s and is clearly in need of major facelift. The Co-Chairs of the fundraising effort, Dr. Nancy Harrington, the former President of Salem State University and David Ives, the CEO of North Shore International Insurance did a great job of outlining the plans associated with the campaign. We heard from Salem’s energetic and enthusiastic Mayor, Kimberly Driscoll who lent her commitment to the effort, but the highlight of the presentation came from two youngsters. A presentation of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from a current theatre show at the Y was unveiled, and the young Dorothy and Toto received a standing ovation from all gathered. I am certain that the campaign will be successful and if anyone wants to make a donation to the Ames Hall renovation, contact Debbie Amaral, Salem Y director, at 978-740-9622 or amarald@northshoreymca.org.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at www.essexheritage.org. We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. You can also contact me directly if you wish information on the August 2011 Travel opportunity to the Northern National Parks. I am signed up for the trip, and I hope that you will consider joining me on that trip. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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