A planning group met this week to map out our strategy for the 2016 Massachusetts Youth Count, which will take place during the first two weeks of May. Our next meeting will take place Wednesday, April 20, 10 am at PACE, 91 School St., Springfield.  Please join if you want to participate in planning for the count.  Westfield folks are connecting separately, led by Ann Lentini and Peter Miller.

There will be three parts to our strategy:

  1. Magnet events, advertised by posters and flyers

Schools, providers, and others will direct youth to go to events where they will receive food, gift cards, and connections to resources; youth will be asked to complete survey at event. Events will be scheduled at:

  • Gandara Family Resource Center (18 Gaucher St. Springfield, MA, 01109) – event to attract high school students
  • STCC – event at lunch time, to attract STCC students
  • Gandara Youth Development Center (306 Race St, Holyoke, MA 01040) – event to attract high school students
  • HCC – event at lunch time, on the campus, to attract HCC students
  • Westfield – TBD 
  1. Community/service providers asking youth to complete surveys

Agencies that may encounter youth and young adults who are unstably housed will be asked to request that those youth complete surveys, and will be given gift cards as incentives for youth. We are building out our contact lists for this part of the strategy–you can help by checking your town and letting us know who we are missing: Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, West Springfield, and Westfield. (Provide contact info to Gerry McCafferty).

  1. Outreach to youth at bus station, malls, library, places open 24 hours, etc. by volunteers and paid youth ambassadors

A combination of agency staff, volunteers and youth ambassadors will outreach to youth at locations where they would be expected to be. We expect that we will identify youth ambassadors through Gandara Shine, Roca, and other agencies, and they will be paid for their work.

Please contact Gerry McCafferty for more information.

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