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Bristol Area Lions Learn About Weymouth House Community Initiative and the Power of Partnering 04/07/2011

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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At a recent meeting, members of the Bristol Area Lions Club learned about the Weymouth House Community Initiative (WHCI) in Bristol from its new executive director, Jon Teel. Formerly a residence for troubled youth, Weymouth House is transforming into a center that will benefit the local community. Since Fall 2010, Bristol area citizens have formed a board, created a mission statement, and have begun to shape big ideas into programs that will strengthen and enhance the lives of the Bristol community.

According to Jon Teel, partnering with existing programs and agencies will maximize the attainability of WHCI’s goals. Assisting those struggling with energy concerns by helping them to weatherize their homes is one of the key focus areas, and Teel is talking with local agencies with which WHCI could collaborate in that regard. Teel also wants Weymouth House to offer educational enrichment for area youth, which is already happening in the form of a pilot after-school program working with students individually on homework, educational games, and activities to supplement their classroom education. The director envisions the development of vocational education classes and possibly even field trips as well. Promoting healthy living is another goal of Weymouth House, and that is being addressed through a Healthy Snack Pack Program for Kids. Proceeds from an on-site thrift shop support this weekend take-home snack initiative. Teel wants WHCI to enhance the lives of the elderly as well with regular programming and outreach. A weekly community lunch held at Weymouth House is a step toward that goal and a chance for all ages to socialize.

Funding such big ideas is a challenge, admits Jon Teel, but he hopes to see Weymouth House spaces and grounds rented by agencies, professional groups, meetings, classes, workshops, conferences or events to cover some of WHCI’s expenses.

As a new non-profit, WHCI is working to get to know the community it serves and will evolve, according to Teel, to fit the community best. He is actively seeking volunteers to help with the after-school program, with the weekly community lunch, with an anticipated community garden, with transportation for those in need and with a number of other specific projects. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Jon Teel by email at weymouthhouseinc@gmail.com or by phone at 330-8673.

In the business meeting that followed the Weymouth House presentation, members were reminded that the annual Elmer Tarr Roadside Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, April 22, and that more helpers are needed. All volunteers should meet at the Willing Workers Hall in New Harbor at 8:30 AM.

The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club takes place on Monday, April 18, when the Club’s own caterer David Atwater will give a presentation entitled, “The Life of Pie.” To make dinner reservations for that meeting, or to learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, please call 677-2095.

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