Born in part from The Winchendon School’s service learning project “Food Justice,” HEAL Winchendon is a partnership made up of community residents, youth leaders and eight key organizations: Heywood Hospital, Community Health Network for North Central MA, GFA Federal Credit Union, Growing Places, The Winchendon School, Three Pyramids, the Town of Winchendon, and Winchendon Community Action Council.
Several Winchendon School service-learning groups have integrated into HEAL Winchendon. They strive to provide access to healthy food, economic empowerment, and social inclusion throughout Winchendon.
An articulated service-learning program goes beyond completing community service requirements for graduation. It’s the difference between learning to fix the root cause of issues rather than volunteering for a cause. While volunteerism is a vital role and volunteers may be needed for a service-learning project – volunteerism doesn’t change root causes.
HEAL Winchendon challenges existing inequalities of wealth and power to reduce poverty for families and the Town of Winchendon as a whole.
Without an in-town grocery store, HEAL Winchendon started a local produce project. The local produce project strives to provide local produce through meal kits and community gardens. In addition, a mobile market will serve as a farmers market in the summer and a produce delivery service in the winter.
HEAL Winchendon offers financial coaching to residents to gain the skills of managing financial resources, building credit, and having access to affordable financial products. Partnering with small businesses, another mission is to encourage residents to buy local. Buying local helps promote patronage and awareness.
HEAL Winchendon provides circle groups, youth changemakers, and diversity and inclusion training for social inclusions throughout Winchendon. The circle groups will be hosted monthly for residents. Youth changemakers are composed of a group of diverse youth residents in Winchendon to help them create the community they wish to see in the future. We are excited to see members of The Winchendon School continue to make change through these projects. Finally, all HEAL Winchendon leaders attend diversity and inclusion training to ensure continued steps are taken to make the Town of Winchendon an inclusive community.
Learn more about these amazing efforts at http://healwinchendon.org.
To take a deeper look at service-learning and how it provides leadership opportunities and more college possibilities, read Seven Tips to Find the Right High School Service Learning Program.