The latest Wellesley, Mass., community news:
Longtime trails volunteer honored
Miguel Lessing, who recently retired after 17 years of service to the Wellesley Trails Committee, has been honored by the group with a plaque on a bench along the Cochituate Aqueduct trail alongside Morses Pond (you can see the plaque in person on the trail near the Russell Road parking area).
Lessing chaired the committee for 8 years, and volunteer efforts ranged from leading guided walks to trail cleanups and design. He’s also contributed to the town through other volunteer efforts, including with the Council on Aging.
Trails Committee Vice Chair Denny Nackoney spoke during a brief ceremony at the bench, recounting some of the projects completed during Lessing’s tenure with the group. These included extending the Charles River Path along the river to Weston, permitting of the Sudbury Aqueduct for the Sudbury Path, and filling in the missing link on the Brook Path through the Hunnewell playing fields. Lessing also put great effort into helping the town identify trail crossings in need of safety markings.
Nackoney ended his words with this: “So Miguel, we just want to thank you for your leadership and dedication to Wellesley Trails. May you enjoy this bench and walking Wellesley Trails. And I know if you see any trail problems, you will report them immediately. Another big tree down over the aqueduct!”
As a member of the Trails Committee myself, I’ve enjoyed and appreciated Miguel’s approach of blending creativity, efficiency, and humor in getting things done. Ever an on-the-go guy, Miguel definitely deserves to take a break or two by resting on this bench with his plaque on it.
School Supplies Drive has begun
Kids Backing Kids, a nonprofit launched about a year ago by a Wellesley family, is already gearing up for the start of next school year by organizing a drive to provide more than 200 students with backpacks filled with supplies.
The cost of a new backpack and supplies can be daunting for families, but having the materials—from 3-ring binders to pencils and index cards—can get kids off on the right foot to have a strong school experience.
Kids Backing Kids is coordinating with Wellesley Public Schools and Wellesley Housing Authority on this year’s School Supplies Drive. Last year, more than 150 school backpacks were delivered, and the need is even greater this year, according to the organization.
You can help by sponsoring students in one of two ways:
- Kids Backing Kids will provide you with a list of school supplies and a backpack for each student that you sponsor. Purchase the supplies (about $60 to $75 per student) and put them into the backpack(s). A volunteer will pick up the backpack(s) on Aug. 25-26 (or earlier, if you won’t be around on those dates).
- Sponsor one or more students by donating online ($75 per student, although any amount will help). A volunteer will do the shopping and stuff the backpack(s) on your behalf.
Contact Kids Backing Kids for more info, including if you want to volunteer with the outfit.
Housing grant deadline approaches
Newton-Wellesley Hospital is inviting local nonprofit organizations to submit proposals seeking to address housing insecurity and housing inequities in the communities surrounding the hospital. Newton-Wellesley points to the well-documented relationship between safe, secure, and affordable housing and health.
Beginning in October, Newton-Wellesley Hospital will invest $1.9 million in programming designed to address housing insecurity at both an individual level and a policy or systems level, with more than $486,000 in funding available in the first year of the grant and $475,000 available annually for three additional years.
Newton-Wellesley is seeking to award a single grant to a community-based organization or collaborative of organizations focused on addressing housing insecurity within NWH’s primary service area. The target population is individuals or families facing issues of housing insecurity, with a focus on communities of color and immigrant communities. Grant applicants are expected to propose a multi-faceted approach to housing insecurity, including addressing immediate issues, reducing the impact on mental health, and increasing economic independence.
The deadline for proposals is 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Visit www.nwh.org/grants to view the request for proposals. Submit any questions to NWHgrants@partners.org by Friday, July 16.