Volume 9 | May 2019
Notes on Connection From Around Westborough
Welcome to the May 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.
Recent Westborough Connects Events
We had a fabulous week of fun events around the community as part of Westborough Unplugs during National Screen-Free Week. Westborough Connects, Westborough Recreation and the Westborough Education Technology Fund teamed up with several partners to make this such a great week for all. Partners included:  Westborough Public Library, Rotary Club of Westborough, Westborough Youth & Family Services, Unplugged Adventures, Release Well-Being Center, Westborough Community Land Trust, David French Music, Board & Brush Creative Studio, Elsie Kaye Glassworks, Rebound Physical Therapy, MassBike  and  Nourse Farm .
We capped off Westborough Unplugs with a community picnic at Baystate Commons on Saturday evening. The weather didn't quite cooperate (story of this spring!), but many people still turned out for some music, trivia and outdoor fun! Thank you to the huge team of community members and businesses who made this possible. We look forward to planning next year's week.
More than 125 people attended Dr. Ruth Potee 's presentation, "The Physiology of Addiction: Effects of Drug-Taking Behavior on the Brain," co-hosted by Westborough Connects, Rotary Club of Westborough, Westborough Youth & Family Services and Westborough Public Schools.

Click HERE for the follow-up note from this event, which includes links to the Powerpoint presentation and information on next steps for our community.

The presentation was filled with important information about how substances impact the brain and the increased risk of addiction in youth. Dr. Potee presented it all in a digestible format and left the audience feeling empowered by knowledge.

Some of the key takeaways identified by presentation attendees include:

  • Learning about contributing factors of addiction.
  • Understanding that the developing brain plays a huge role in addiction - As a pediatric disease, youth are most at risk.
  • Delaying substance use (until at least age 24) dramatically reduces risk of addiction, even with other contributing factors associated with addiction.
  • Educating youth early and talking to them often about substances, addiction and their risk is critical.

Thanks to Westborough TV, you can also watch the entire presentation HERE. It will also be broadcast on Westborough TV's Education Channels (Verizon 26 and Charter 194) at 8pm on Sun,M,W,F through June 2nd.
Updates from Westborough Connects Committees
  • EXCITING NEWS!!: The Steering Committee met on May 13th and voted in the initial Westborough Connects Board of Directors. The board then voted to approve Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. These important steps pave the way for Westborough Connects to register with the state and IRS as a formal charitable organization. The first Westborough Connects Board of Directors meeting will be held on June 17th at 6:30pm in the Westborough Public Library meeting room. Board meetings are open to the public.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Committee: Diversity and Inclusion Committee- HERE are the notes from our last meeting. Your inputs matter. Please email your suggestions on topics discussed at our last meeting at westboroughconnects@gmail.com by May 28, 2019 and mark “For D& I Committee” in the subject line. We are very excited to announce that our MLK Day art exhibit has been moved to its new location at the Congregation B’nai Shalom. As a part of our efforts to make our programs accessible to all, we are happy to share that we have been working towards providing additional support for childcare facility at our events with our wonderful community partners. We are grateful to Westborough Youth and Family services, Westborough Public Schools and National Honor Society Students as well as the Best Buddies office for their support and help. Stay tuned for more details on our next Diversity and Inclusion Committee meeting. 
  • Programming Committee: The Programming Committee will meet on June 12th to begin looking ahead at programming and activities in the fall and beyond. The meeting will take place from 6:30-8:30pm at the Westborough Fire Station meeting room. Much of the programming over the past year originated from a similar meeting last June. Please click HERE to RSVP. We welcome your ideas and involvement.
  • Community Engagement Committee: The Community Engagement committee will host a mini "Volunteer Fair!" We are very excited to use our next meeting on May 28th (6:30-8pm, Westborough Public Library top floor meeting room) to focus on volunteer opportunities. Here's a sneak peek of our volunteer wish list. We invite anyone who is interested in getting involved by sharing their time, interest, or talents, to come by! Co-Chairs Kathy Ferrecchia & Kristin French will be able to answer questions and you will have an opportunity to sign up on the spot. We invite community members who are new to Westborough Connects or to Community Engagement to arrive at 6:30pm to learn more about the organization and the Community Engagement sub-committee. (Current members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion!) We will start the volunteering portion of the meeting at 7pm. Please RSVP for the meeting HERE.
We (always) welcome new members and volunteers. 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 - see above for information on the May 28th Community Engagement and the June 12th Programming 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 Board President, Maureen Amborsino (maureenconnects@gmail.com) or one of our Board Co-Vice Presidents, Kelley Petralia (kelley_click@hotmail.com) or Heena Suratwala (heena.ankurs@gmail.com) with questions.
Upcoming Community Events
PLEASE NOTE: A goal of this newsletter is to highlight free, community-focused events that are open to all and bring us together. We do our best to keep up with all the great things going on around town, but we need your help! Please reach out and let us know about any events that would be important to include! Email us at westboroughconnects@gmail.com. Thank you.
Throughout 2019, Congregation B'Nai Shalom is celebrating its 40th anniversary. On May 19th, the temple will host a community celebration for all residents of Westborough. This FREE event is open to all!

The event features food trucks (The Chubby Chickpea, The Melt Cheese Truck, Yummy Mummy Bakery and Uhlman's Ice Cream), music (Ellen Allard, Point 'n Swing Big Band, Shir Joy Chorus, 100th Town Chorus and oldsoul) and activities for all. Rain or shine!
Westborough Community Land Trust will host New England Wildflower Walk on May 19, 1:30-3:30pm at the Libbey/Wile Forest

Join WCLT on a search for beautiful wildflowers. Learn which are native and a little bit about the challenges these plants face. Feel free to bring your favorite wildflower book.

Meet at the Gilmore Pond Trail entrance, 19 Quick Farm Rd. Westborough; walk length approximately 2 miles on woodland trails. No reservations required.

Email events@westboroughlandtrust.org with questions. Trail maps: click HERE
Westborough Recreation is hosting its annual Sneaker Prom for youth community members with unique abilities, ages 10+. This FREE fun evening takes place May 31st from 7-9pm at the Westborough Senior Center.

The night will feature a DJ, photo booth and candy bar. Funky footwear is encouraged. There is no cost for this event, but pre-registration is required. Register HERE .

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This year's annual Memorial Day Parade will take place on Monday, May 27th. The parade begins on Baxter Street at 9am and ends in front of Town Hall around 11:15.

Nelson P. Ball is this year's Grand Marshall.

Set up your chair along the parade route and watch our local veterans, Gibbons Middle School band students and Westborough Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts march in this wonderful town tradition.
May is National Mental Health Month
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults (46.6 million) in the United States experience a mental health condition in a given year. Yet, even with its prominence in our lives and the lives of those we love, people suffering from mental illness must deal with persistent stigma which can often prevent them from seeking treatment.

For more information on NAMI, mental health and efforts to eliminate stigma, visit https://www.nami.org/. If you or a loved one suffer from mental health issues and need help, there are local resources here in Westborough. For more information, contact Westborough Youth & Family Services at 508-366-3090.

In honor of Mental Health Month, try to be a little more kind and patient with others. You never know what burdens they bear.
CONNECTion Spotlight
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Check out these recent and upcoming examples of (and opportunities for) connection from some great organizations in our town.

  • The Friends of the Westborough Public Library could use some volunteer support for its upcoming book sale, taking place this weekend (5/17-5/19) at the library. There are many open slots and it is an easy way to get involved and support the library. Click HERE to view the available volunteer opportunities.
  • The Westborough Youth Commission has an open slot for an adult community member. The Youth Commission is a nine member volunteer board appointed by the Board of Selectmen to identify and advocate for the needs of youth and families in Westborough. They guide the operation of Westborough Youth and Family Services. Click HERE for more information. If you are interested or want to learn more, contact Cara Presley, Director of Westborough Youth & Family Services, at 508-366-3090.
  • Westborough 351, a youth service organization also known as Westborough Service Learning Initiative, recently completed its 5th annual Spring Greening drive to benefit Cradles to Crayons and Westborough youth. Through their efforts and the generosity of the broader community, the drive collected 101 bags of good condition donations that will be distributed to those in need in Westborough. And, 297 bags of donations sent to Cradles to Crayons which will land in the hands of kids all over the state. Nice work Westborough and Westborough 351!
  • The Westborough Senior Center has free passes available for Westborough senior citizens for all town athletic events, musical events and plays at the Westborough High School during the 2018-2019 school year. Stop in or call the Senior Center at 508-366-3000.
Noteworthy Articles & Resources
  • During our two recent speaker presentations, both Lynn Lyons and Dr. Ruth Potee highlighted an article from the Atlantic - "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" The article points to emerging research and observations about the impact of smartphone use on youth and society. It's heavy, but worth a read. Click HERE for the article.
  • While it may not seem like it, spring is here and nice weather will (eventually) be upon us. Time to get outside and enjoy the season! As a recent Greater Good Magazine article points out, research shows being in nature is good for our health! Click HERE to read the article and find out why.
  • We just love this feel-good video on Optimism from A Foundation for a Better Life. It's quick and worth a watch!
  • Are you a grandparent or relative raising a child under the age of 18 in Massachusetts with no parent present? If so, the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren wants to hear from you. They are conducting a survey to learn more about the roles of grandparents and other relatives who are raising children under the age of 18 in Massachusetts with no parent present. This survey will help the Commission improve services and promote more resources for grandparents, relative caregivers, and the children in their care. Click HERE to participate.
  • The Westborough Fire Department conducts FREE Home Fire Safety Visits. Most residents do not take advantage of this service. Call 508-389-2300 to schedule a visit to your home.
" I can change the world, with my own two hands. Make a better place, with my own two hands. Make a kinder place...with my own two hands ."
 - Ben Harper
About Westborough Connects