Volume 7 | March 2019
Notes on Connection From Around Westborough
Welcome to the March 2019 Westborough Connects newsletter. The goal of this periodic communication is to shine a spotlight on the positive things going on in our community, including upcoming/recent events from Westborough Connects and other Westborough community organizations, interesting interviews with local people, examples of "connection" across our community, and noteworthy resources in Westborough and beyond. We welcome your input and would love to highlight the things that matter to you , so please send ideas/comments to WestboroughConnects@gmail.com.
Support for our Muslim Neighbors
Last week's mosque attacks in New Zealand are still fresh in our minds and we will never make sense of such an awful act of hate. As we work with community organizations and faith leaders to figure out broad support that would reach our Muslim neighbors, we have some suggestions to share now:

Letters of support for our Muslim friends and neighbors
As we learned from the Circle of Friendship and Solidarity Shabbat in November, reaching out with our words can make a positive impact. Please participate in this show of support by writing messages in the form of paper letters or cards, offering thoughts of support, friendship and kindness for Westborough residents of the Islamic faith. Drop-off boxes will be located at the Westborough Public Library. You may also email westboroughconnects@gmail.com to arrange pick up of the letters.

Attend movie screening of the Sultan and the Saint
This Sunday, March 24th at 6:30pm, Southborough Neighbors for Peace will host a special viewing of the Sultan and the Saint, followed by a conversation on interfaith desires for peace in the world . The film is about the unlikely friendship between the Sultan of Egypt and St. Francis of Assisi. Westborough residents are welcome and we hope you will join us there .
Upcoming Events from Westborough Connects
REGISTER NOW! Westborough Connects, in partnership with Rotary Club of Westborough, Westborough Youth & Family Services and Westborough Public Schools, is co-hosting this important community event to start a discussion about substance use disorder - including the impact of substances on youth brain development, what we can do as a community to educate ourselves, and how we can support each other.

This is a first step in what we expect will be a continuing conversation and effort to address the needs of our community.

Please come and be part of it. Registration is requested. Free on-site professional babysitting available (pre-registration required for childcare).

No judgement. Meeting each other where we are and moving forward together.

NOTE: We could use some additional volunteers for this event. Please sign up HERE to help make this event a success.
REGISTRATION OPEN! On April 3rd, Lynn Lyons will present Managing Anxiety at School and Home: Strategies to Interrupt the Worry Cycle. This free event is designed for parents, grandparents, educators and caregivers.

As a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist with a practice in Concord, NH, Lynn Lyons travels the world giving presentations on anxiety. She is particularly interested in "breaking the generational cycle of worry in families." Lynn is a sought-after expert on this topic and we are thrilled she will be in Westborough to present to our community.

Westborough Connects and Westborough Youth & Family Services are co-hosting this event. Additional financial support came from Westborough Civic Club, Middlesex Savings Bank, Gibbons Parent Group, Hastings Parent Group and Westborough SEPAC. Registration is requested . Free on-site professional babysitting is available (pre-registration is required).
Let's Celebrate Kindness in our Community!
What IS Westborough Kindness Week? It is a time to shine a spotlight on the good, and inspire people to spread kindness through their own actions. 

In partnership with other Westborough organizations and individuals, we seek to create small events and initiatives throughout the week that will promote community bonding around kindness and have a lasting impact. This aligns with the Westborough Connects mission of building a more connected and kind community where everyone feels like they belong .

We are grateful to the Westborough Interfaith Clergy Association for directing the 2019 Westborough Interfaith Thanksgiving Service offering to Kindness Week. Their generosity enabled us to plan some exciting activities for this inaugural event! Thank you, also, to SPARK Kindness for sponsoring our Kickoff to Kindness speaker, Megan Murphy, founder of the Kindness Rocks Project.

For more information, including details on the Kickoff to Kindness Week event on Sunday, April 7th, please visit the Westborough Connects website HERE.
SPARK Kindness , our network partner, is also celebrating their first-ever Kindness Week . On Monday, April 8th, they will host a very special event, "The Kindness Connection: Our Stories Unite Us," 7-8:30pm at Morse Library Institute in Natick. Thomas Melville, Executive News Director at WBUR , will host the evening and share inspiration from WBUR's Kind World program. And, Westborough is invited !! Check out the flyer HERE and their "call for stories" from the community. Be sure to check it out as soon as possible as the deadline for story submission is March 29th.
Additional spring programming from Westborough Connects, details to follow:

  • Dr. Ruth Potee presents The Physiology of Addiction: Effects of Drug-Taking Behavior on the Brain, April 25th at Westborough High School. This program is in partnership with Westborough Rotary, Youth & Family Services and Westborough Public Schools.

  • Westborough Unplugs, April 29th-May 5th. Westborough Recreation, Westborough Connects, and Westborough Youth and Family Services are bringing National Screen-Free Week to Westborough! During the week of April 29th we'll encourage people to "unplug" in any capacity that is best for them. We are hoping people make an effort to really reconnect and explore the community and just unplug for the week. We wouldn't have you do this alone, so we have partnered with some great businesses and other organizations to offer some really fun, low cost or free activities to do during the week.
Updates from Westborough Connects
  • Steering Committee: The Steering Committee meeting originally scheduled for April 8th has been postponed to May 13th from 6:30-8:30pm. The focus of this meeting will be to vote on previously drafted and reviewed By-laws and Articles of Incorporation as well as to elect an initial Board of Directors for Westborough Connects. If you are interested or want to learn more, please email Maureen Ambrosino at maureenconnects@gmail.com.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Committee: The Diversity and Inclusion Committee meeting was held on February 14, 2019. We discussed areas of need that were identified at our last meeting and ideas for future programming and efforts to include all members of our community in our work. The notes of the meeting will be shared soon. We are also happy to share that the MLK Community Art exhibit was featured at Town Meeting and has now travelled to its next location at Mill Pond School.
  • Programming Committee: Programming Committee members are very busy planning the upcoming sprint events. We welcome input and need volunteers to make these awesome programs happen! If you're interested in helping with one or more of them OR if you would like to be added to the Programming Committee mailing list, please click HERE.
  • Community Engagement Committee: The Community Engagement Committee continues to meet with individuals and organizations in the community to learn more about the great things in our community as well as to talk about the mission of Westborough Connects. We are also looking ahead to scheduling our spring meeting (stay tuned for a date!) to further our work on some of the communications needs we identified in our January meeting. We are happily looking for your involvement and talents! If you like to write; are savvy with technology/social media/communications; are fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi/Indian/Urdu, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, French; enjoy building relationships; or simply love meeting new people, please reach out to us at westboroughconnects@gmail.com. There are many ways to get involved.
We are still forming and welcome new members!! Interested in Westborough Connects, but you haven't signed up or aren't sure how you want to be involved? Here are some options:
  • Subscribe to our mailing list to receive our newsletters, invitations and information.
  • Attend one of the upcoming committee meetings.
  • Join one of our committees. Click here for a description of our current committees and here to sign up for one of them.
  • Contact our Steering Committee Chair, Maureen Amborsino (maureenconnects@gmail.com) or one of our Steering Committee Co Vice-Chairs, Kelley Petralia (kelley_click@hotmail.com) or Heena Suratwala (heena.ankurs@gmail.com) with questions.
Upcoming Community Events
**If you know of a free community event you think we should include here, we want to hear about it!**

 As part of its Westborough Reads Together program, Westborough Public Library will host Westborough Folklore: Past & Present on March 31st from 2-4pm.

Local History Librarian, Anthony Vaver, has gathered together the most popular folktales from the archives of the Westborough Center for History and Culture for audience members to read aloud to each other. The tales involve Native American spirits, eccentric characters, hidden treasure, murder, and even ghosts. Some of the stories date back to before Westborough became a town, while others are from more recent times.
Free Show: Raptors, Masters of the Sky
March 23rd
Two Shows: 9:30am & 11am
Location: Knights of Columbus Hall, 17 Willow Street

Come get up close and personal with live eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls from around Massachusetts and around the world! Bring the family and plan to arrive early as seating is limited.  Presented by Tom Ricardi of Mass Birds of Prey Rehab Facility. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Westborough Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the Westborough Newcomers Club.
The Westborough Senior Center is hosting a PLANNING FOR MEDICARE FREE PROGRAM on Wednesday, April 10th, at 6:30pm, 4 Rogers Road.

Planning for Medicare will be presented by Susan Flanagan, Senior Plan Consultant for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The program is geared towards individuals approaching Medicare eligibility. Topics covered will include health insurance information outside of employer sponsored coverage, explanation of Medicare, the Medicare enrollment timeline, Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans and programs available to early retirees and COBRA. She will also explain Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Bill LaPrade from SHINE will also be available to answer additional questions. This is NOT a sales meeting!

All are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served. To reserve your seat or if you have questions, please call 508-366-3000.
CONNECTion Spotlight

This CONNECTion Spotlight features several examples of the wonderful work of the children in our community:

  • It's been several months since Gabriel Bol Deng, one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan," came to Westborough with his message of hope. But, his impact on the students of Mill Pond School remains. Check out this Community Advocate article on a recent student-led drive to support Gabriel's foundation.
  • Last month, we featured the Westborough Public Schools Service Learning Initiative. The group is launching their annual Spring Greening donation drive from March 25th-April 5th to benefit local MA children. Collection bins will be at each of the schools in town and you may contact them at westboroughspringgreening@gmail.com for information on how to donate outside of the schools.
  • The Westborough Girl Scouts held another successful textile recycling event last weekend. So if you missed this one, be on the look out for a future one.
Noteworthy Articles & Resources
  • Read this inspirational story about how one community came together to help out a small business owner in a time of personal need.
  • Listen to the TED Radio Hour How Can Kindness Disarm Hate? (~11 minutes) to hear how speaker, author and social activist Ozlem Cekic seeks to counter hate by reaching out and building bridges.
"Imagine what our real neighbors would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person."
- Mister Rogers
About Westborough Connects