By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services, Inc. (SYFS) is growing and relocated May 21 from within the Shrewsbury Campus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Worcester Foundation to 222 Maple Ave. – right next door.
“There is a lot happening at SYFS and this is a whole new opportunity for us to be able to do things we’ve never been able to do,” said Executive Director Christine Mowry.
SYFS has seen a surge in programming with initiatives addressing substance abuse, healthy relationships, adolescent mental health (in conjunction with Shrewsbury Public Schools), providing social emotional learning groups, and forming a new partnership with Al-Hamra Academy.
“Here we have a nice big group space, we have conference room where we can hold training, parent support groups and possibly some LBGTQ support groups,” Mowry said of the new location. “There are so many options that we have that we never had before.”
The new offices offer opportunities for growth in a facility that is ADA compliant which qualifies the agency to go after new sources of funding.
“The Board of Directors is very excited that the agency has been able to move into a larger and more efficient office,” said Board President Tom Kennedy. “The new location provides a much more professional and welcoming environment for staff, clients and visitors. We are grateful that the University of Massachusetts Medical School was able to make the property available for SYFS to lease.”
Mowry is very thankful to State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) who was instrumental in the negotiations with UMass. She also is very grateful for the generosity of agency sponsor, Alexi Bobolia of Aurora Exterior Painting, for taking the vacant building and doing the extensive repair work and painting to ready the offices for the move.
“At the May Town Meeting the annual contract between SYFS and the town was increased from $75,000 to $100,000; this additional revenue is very much appreciated,” Kennedy noted. “The board thanks Town Manager Kevin Mizikar, Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and the individual Town Meeting members for their continued support!”
The agency has a four-month waiting list, so the need in Shrewsbury is great and continues to rise. The move is timely and will help SYFS tackle the backlog.
“We really want the community to understand that we are a safety net for everybody, life can turn on a dime,” Mowry noted. “It’s really important that the community be aware of who we are and why we are here and that we are here for everyone.”
SYFS is hosting an open house to coincide with the Spirit of Shrewsbury weekend. The Community is invited to drop by for a visit Saturday, September 29, from 2 – 4 p.m.
To learn more, visit http://www.syfs-ma.org.