This week for Patch Picks we asked asked readers to suggest which organizations in town make a difference in the community. The response was great and it shows that not only are there many wonderful organization filled with dedicated people working to help make Burlington a wonderful place to live for everyone, but that the community at large recognizes and supports the efforts these groups make. The response was wonderful to see and now we will share the results.
According to its official Web site, Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
Burlington Patch visitors noted that Burlington Rotary continually supports many valuable causes in town. It provides scholarships and hosts a dinner dance graduating seniors, helps organize fund-raising events, including the "Halloween Spooktacular" for the Burlington Food Pantry and provides fresh produce each month to the pantry. Burlington Rotary President John Mitchell wrote in, noting the organization supports the Special Olympics, Senior Citizen Dances, Interact Club at the Burlington High School, Relay for Life, The Boy Scouts, Pop Warner, Burlington Little League, Salvation Army, Socks for Veterans, Hanscom AFB military charities, Burlington Education Foundation, American Legion, Concerts on the Common, Burlington Pride Day among other organizations and causes.
People Helping People, Inc. is the non-profit, volunteer Burlington support program behind three worthwhile causes: the Burlington Community Pantry, the Burlington Covenant for Basic Needs and the Holiday Program. The group responds to the need in town to help those less fortunate or down on their luck with food, emergency fuel assistance, medicine and, most importantly, understanding and support. According to its Web site, the goal of People Helping People is to maintain a town wide effort to provide assistance for meeting the necessities of living.
As reader and member of the task force said "The Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force has been guiding healthy choices of our youth since 1982. Our volunteers come from the police department, schools, health department, recreation department, local businesses, clergy, parents and youth."
The goals of the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force include developing and implementing substance abuse prevention and intervention programs, promoting healthy life choices, reducing underage drinking and supporting and cooperating with community organizations in their endeavors to lower youth substance abuse risk. Currently the task force is rearing up for a in March to help parents talk to their children and teens about substance abuse.
Lahey Clinic's Community Benefit Program offers funding and support to community-based programs to help better the lives of members of the community. In recent years, they have focused on helping senior citizens, children and victims of domestic violence. In 2009, Lahey contributed more than $225,000 to support a wide variety of efforts by Community Health Area Network 15 members.
According to reader Pam Johnston, last year, Lahey provided significant funding to outside organizations including REACH (their emergency shelter program), The Domestic Violence Services Network, SAHELI (for inter-generational workshops) and MinuteMan Senior Services (workshops for elders at risk). Lahey Clinic also made a $5,000 donation to the Burlington Toys for Tots program last December after from a storage bin.
5. Burlington High School Post-Graduation Party.
As reader Karen Sullivan said, since 1991, parent-volunteers have organized an all-night party for the graduating seniors. The purpose is to offer a safe and fun environment for graduating seniors so they can spend a night with their friends and classmates without the fear of alcohol related problems that have plagued graduation parties across the country in the past. Sullivan said that on average 95 percent of graduating seniors attend the party, overseen by 140 volunteers, and since its inception there have been no alcohol related accidents in Burlington on graduation night.