Updates from our Portfolio OrganizationsUTEC’s mission and promise is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disconnected young people to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. Today, the organization serves youth in Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill, MA, and is nationally recognized as a model agency serving justice-involved young adults. In response to the pandemic, UTEC shifted their programming to be fully offsite, and since July, they have adjusted to a hybrid model - where programs are offered onsite and/or remote. UTEC’s team stayed connected through technology and proactively worked with young adults to develop goals that center on mental health, parenting, and social-emotional learning. The organizing team continued to advocate for their expungement campaign virtually.
UTEC, a 2008 Social Innovator
UTEC’s Streetworker program invests time with young people in correctional facilities, so for the few months that visitors weren’t allowed, they witnessed many of the incarcerated young people suffering from social isolation. UTEC street workers have made sure to stay in touch with these incarcerated young people through phone calls and letters, responding to any of their concerns.
UTEC's food services social enterprise program shifted all operations to regularly deliver meals and grocery boxes to young adults and their families as well as to the families of incarcerated young adults. Since the young adults have returned onsite, they launched an emergency food assistance program, preparing and distributing over 2,000 free, nutritious, culturally appropriate meals across the region every week. The young adults in the program also have access to a new educational curriculum, including culinary skills classes and a kitchen & bath class in woodworking.
Through UTEC’s dedicated outreach and a strong network of supporters, the organization has been able to work with more youth violence intervention nonprofit organizations across the state. In partnership with the MA Department of Public Health and Health Resources in Action (HRiA), UTEC expanded its Gun Violence Prevention Training Center for Excellence from 10 nonprofits to support 15 organizations! Although crime has plummeted in Massachusetts, UTEC is committed to anti-violence work and equipping community-based organizations who continue violence intervention.
UTEC is grateful to have received COVID-19 relief funding, along with the support of donors to sustain the work moving forward. With their social enterprises operating at a limited capacity and generating less revenue, UTEC will need philanthropic partners to step up and help fund their workforce development programs. Currently, the organization is fundraising for Phase 2 of the UTEC Family Fund, which has a goal of $500,000 by December 31, 2020. This funding will cover expenses such as young adult stipends, necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), and sanitation, contribute to kitchen operations for the Madd Love Meals program and provide UTEC with the resources to address the evolving barriers in young adults' lives.
Social Issue Talk Series
Next Wednesday, November 18, from 3:00-4:00 pm come and hear from Mary Dubon, MD, Attending Physician, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, and Attending Physician, Sports Medicine Division, Boston Children's Hospital openly discuss the topic "Promoting Physical Activity for Youth with Disabilities." Anna Johannes, a 2012 Paralympian bronze medalist and a lead coach of the ASNE swim team, will also be on-screen to share her experiences as both an athlete and advocate.