By Shaunna Cullen
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart recently surprised YWCA New Britain’s House of Teens with a $5,000 grant to support their program.
Mayor Stewart said she has historically donated this money to the House of Teens (H.O.T.) because she believes the program really makes a difference for young women in the New Britain community. The H.O.T. offers teen girls a comfortable, safe, and positive place to call their own. It is an afterschool program designed for high school girls that offers a variety of activities focused on enhancing healthy lifestyles, and helping them gain the confidence and independence they need to reach their goals.
The money for the grant came from the Mayor’s Charitable Trophy Fund that began under former mayor Tim Stewart. The fund was started through proceeds from a golf tournament to help fill small funding gaps to local nonprofits. It gives money to programs that demonstrate a positive impact on youth and the community.
“I am so thrilled to once again be able to ensure this amazing program is maintained and supported!” said Mayor Stewart.
In addition to the grant, Mayor Stewart shows her support by spending time with the teens. She has invited them to City Hall to present their PhotoVoice advocacy presentations and provided feedback and advice. She also takes time to visit the teens at the YWCA and lead girl-talk sessions. Sometimes she visits to just relax with them on the beanbags in the H.O.T. room.
School Age Program Coordinator, Mallory Deprey said that it’s nice to be acknowledged as a provider of an essential program in the community. “Mayor Stewart is a wonderful role model and mentor for our young women at the YWCA. She gives them an opportunity to share their projects with her and helps them develop presentation skills in a professional setting. Her young, vibrant personality also allows for her to hang out in the teen room, chat with the girls, and show them that it is okay to be themselves.”
Thank you, Mayor Stewart, for your support of YWCA New Britain and the House of Teens!