Page 17 - Open Sky Annual Report 2020
P. 17

  Coping, Responding and Reimagining
The Expansion of Safe Homes to Fitchburg, Leominster and Gardner
Since 1995, the Safe Homes program has been serving the Worcester region, providing much needed supports and services for LGBTQIA+ youth. In 2019, we began the process of exploring the potential expansion of the model to the Fitchburg, Leominster and Gardner areas.
Fitchburg State University (FSU) had identified a need for services for this population in the north county area and was interested in supporting efforts that would help the community and potentially create a new pipeline of first-generation college students.
We received a planning grant for this project from Reliant Foundation and identified and assembled a group of stakeholders who met in November of 2020 at the invitation of FSU President Richard Lapidus to learn more about the model and to share information and expertise on the needs of youth in the region.
Program Coordinator Renn Duffey, a graduate of UMass Amherst and former attendee of Safe Homes, was hired
in June. Renn was able to recruit four Mass Service Alliance/ Commonwealth Corps interns who have been working to help with the development of the new program over the past 8 months.
Open Sky also partnered with LUK, Inc. on a grant application to the Heywood Hospital Charitable Foundation and received a grant to begin offering free behavioral health services for LGBTQIA+ youth residing in the Hospital’s service area.
In February of 2021, Safe Homes North began offering a Virtual Drop-In on Tuesday evenings, with a goal of moving to in-person services at a Drop-In at FSU once the College is fully open for in-person classes and other activities.
For more information on Safe Homes North, email
     Renn Duffey (They/Them) Program Coordinator
Terra Buck (She/They) MSA Intern
Diadora Finley-Abboud Taylor Glickman (He/Him) Alicia Sagastume (She/Her) (She/Her) MSA Intern MSA Intern
MSA Intern
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