WESTBOROUGH – The Westborough Civic Club recently donated $500 to the BORO Program, to help support social activities for the BORO’s students.
Civic Club members Tom Dwyer and Mark Lippitt got a tour of the program and the BORO Sugar Shack facility from BORO Program teacher Angelina McCarthy. Through that, they saw Westborough students hard at work.
“The Westborough Civic Club is very happy to support you and the work that you do for the community,” Dwyer said.
The club’s only fundraiser is its annual tree sale, which is currently being held at Hastings Elementary School.
The Civic Club takes a number of priorities into consideration when determining where to make donations. That includes considerations of whether a project or group benefits the town.
The club has funded a number of organizations and events, like Eagle Scout projects and the Westborough Turkey Trot.
The BORO Program is short for Bridging Over Right Opportunities. The program and the BORO Sugar Shack are operated through the Westborough Public Schools, training students ages 18 to 22 who have special needs to help them get jobs after high school. The program also teaches students independence.
According to McCarthy, helping students access social activities in the community was one of the areas where the BORO needed financial support.
“Really, our goal too is to get the students out there, teach them what’s available for clubs and activities within their community and help them access it,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said staff has been thinking of ways to help the students outside of the school day, such as holding cookie decorating events or karaoke nights. They were also considering a group trip to a trampoline park.
Those efforts will help the students work on their social skills, McCarthy said. They also serve as teaching moments on how to plan social events.
Staff recently took the students to Fun and Games in Framingham. But that cost $20 per student.
“That’s where my brainstorming and thinking came from. We’re trying to do more and more … and as it becomes more and more that becomes a financial burden on the families,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy and BORO Sugar Shack Manager Kristen Dadah-Wall reflected how the students have grown since the start of the program, particularly in confidence.
One student recently had his first real job interview in Westborough, McCarthy said.
Students are having and initiating more conversations with customers, Dadah-Wall said.
“We have a couple that have really almost come out of their shell a little bit in the last year and done more communicating with the public,” Dadah-Wall continued.