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Safe Homes North to host Commonwealth Corp Members

May 2021

Read the article on the Sentinel & Enterprise website. 

FITCHBURG — Safe Homes North has been selected as one of 17 Commonwealth Corps host site partners for the 2021-2022 program year, according to an announcement from the organization.

Administered by the Massachusetts Service Alliance, the Commonwealth Corps is a state-funded service internship program that engages Massachusetts residents of all ages, backgrounds, and identities in service to strengthen communities, address critical community needs, and increase volunteerism. Serving a 10.5-month term, interns will receive a semi-monthly stipend, according to the organization.

Safe Homes North will host three Commonwealth Corps members to assist professional staff in the operation of a LGBTQIA+ youth drop-in center. Interns will have a role in developing programming and supporting youth, as well as in creating content for social media and other marketing efforts, according to the organization.

Safe Homes, a program of Open Sky Community Services, has been offering services for LGBTQIA+ youth in Worcester and Central Massachusetts since 1995. Safe Homes North, which opened in February, 2021, is an expansion of the Safe Homes program to the Fitchburg/Leominster region and will be located at Fitchburg State University.

The Safe Homes North drop-in center operates weekly on Tuesday evenings from 6:30–8:30 p.m. The program is currently virtual, but in-person drop-ins at Fitchburg State University are anticipated, pending state and local guidance, according to the organization.

“The internship with Safe Homes North is a great way to gain professional skills that will support you in future positions,” said Program Coordinator Renn Duffey. “Working with a diverse team of motivated professionals, interns have the chance to provide life-changing supports for young LGBTQIA+ individuals.”

“This service year has been a wonderful experience! I have learned so much about the youth and community I serve,” said 2020-2021 intern Diadora Abboud. “I have made countless memories and strong friendships with my team members and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity.”

From August 2021 through June 2022, Commonwealth Corps members across the state will serve in a full-time or half-time capacity in the focus areas of Economic Opportunity/Workforce Development, Education, Health/Nutrition, or Youth Development/Youth Violence Prevention. The program has a dual focus on both members’ impact in their organizations and communities, as well as their own professional growth and development.

“We are very proud to be able to provide Commonwealth Corps members to 17 worthy organizations next year because we know their ability to meet their mission will be greatly enhanced by their members,” said Emily Haber, CEO of MSA.

Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Three service positions are available with Safe Homes North and applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis, so immediate applications are encouraged.

Email Program Coordinator Renn Duffey with any questions at renn.duffey@openskycs.org.