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Baker comes to Brockton Y announcing free memberships to foster families

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Enterprisenews.com, Marc Larocque
June 11, 2019

Lauren Baker, the wife of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, along with representatives of the nonprofit Wonderfund and DCF Commissioner Linda Spears, visited the Brockton YMCA on Tuesday to kick off a partnership benefiting kids and families involved in the foster care system.
 


BROCKTON – The first lady of Massachusetts was in Brockton on Tuesday, promoting a new partnership supporting children and families in the foster care system.

Lauren Baker, the wife of Gov. Charlie Baker, along with representatives of the Department of Children and Families, visited the YMCA to announce that the youth development organization is providing no-cost memberships to foster families at the Old Colony YMCA and all other YMCAs all across the state. The program is being made possible by a new partnership between the nonprofit Wonderfund of Massachusetts and the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs.

“We want to make sure we make it easy as possible for these children to take advantage of the many, many wonderful programs that the Y has to offer across the commonwealth,” said Baker, who is vice chairwoman of the Wonderfund. “It’s incredibly beneficial for every child to take part in a program at the Y, whether it’s camp, swimming lessons, basketball or whatever it is. There are so many options at the Y, and so many things that a child can do there that can benefit them. For the children that Wonderfund serves and DCF serves, these programs are even more important.”

There are about 11,000 children in foster care in Massachusetts, Baker said.

“We could not be more grateful to the YMCA ... for opening the Y to serve these children in a trauma-informed way, to give them programs and opportunities they desperately deserve, that will help give them a childhood every kid deserves,” Baker said.

To take advantage of the new program, DCF-approved foster parents are asked to contact their social worker and request the “YMCA Foster Child Access Letter,” according to the Old Colony YMCA. For more information, contact the Old Colony YMCA by phone at 508-583-2155, or by email at ymca@oldcolonyymca.org.

“Old Colony Y, along with YMCAs across the commonwealth, has been really excited to be a part of such an important initiative,” said Old Colony YMCA President and CEO Vincent Marturano. “It’s a great example of a public-private partnership that works for children and families, and we want to thank first lady Lauren Baker and DCF Commissioner Linda Spears for asking us to be a part of it. YMCAs have long been a place where families and communities grow stronger, and we were happy to join so many other organizations in supporting this effort.”

The Wonderfund of Massachusetts has offered other programming opportunities for foster children, including at the Museum of Science in Boston, Zoo New England, the Boch Center, the Boston Bruins PJ Drive, Edaville USA and the Cape Cod Children’s Museum.

“The YMCAs in Massachusetts are grateful to partner with Wonderfund and DCF in offering children in foster care access to our Ys,” said Peter Doliber, executive director for the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs. “Our desire to see every child reach their full potential matches perfectly with the mission of Wonderfund and DCF. It’s a great partnership that we know will have an impact for a lifetime.”