Tag Archives: Friendly House

Don’t forget! Please support in-city kids tomorrow! Donate or volunteer at the Friendly House Halloween Party!

Boo! It’s Chef Joey!


Please help the FRIENDLY HOUSE on Wall Street make this Halloween special for Worcester’s inner-city children!

Donate toys and CANDY for:

The Friendly House’s Annual Halloween Party

Tomorrow, Friday, October 30

4 pm – 7 pm

All donations can be brought to the Friendly House. All candy must be wrapped.

To volunteer, be there half hour early!

If you plan on taking your family to the Halloween party:

Children 12 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

From 4 – 4:30 pm the Friendly House party will be open to the younger children (4 years and under)

Have fun, kids! BE SAFE!

Halloween is fast approaching … All the kiddies will be prowlin’ for toys …

… and treats and parties!
Lilac looking for fun! – 10/18/2015


Please help the FRIENDLY HOUSE on Wall Street make this harvest and holiday season special for Worcester’s inner-city children!

Donate toys and CANDY for:

The Friendly House’s Annual Halloween Party
October 30

4 pm – 7 pm 

All donations can be brought to the Friendly House. All candy must be wrapped.

If you plan on taking your family to the Halloween party:
Children 12 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
From 4-4:30 pm on that day the Friendly House party will be open to the younger children (4 years and under)

Be there! HELP OUT!

Friendly House will begin registration for Thanksgiving Baskets TOMORROW, Monday, October 19!  
They are in need of:

canned fruits and vegetables
canned gravy

canned cranberry sauce

boxes and bags of stuffing

boxes of rice and rice mixes

Friendly House’s Annual Christmas Party will be Sunday, December 20

2 pm – 4 pm for children 12 and under. They must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  

The Friendly House is in need of new toys for kids of all ages!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

The I Too Mentor Program

Danielle Delgado and Melissa Richford

Danielle Delgado (left), Friendly House’s Director of Child, Youth and Family Programs and Melissa Richford, FH After School/Summer Camp Coordinator

By Danielle Delgado

We’ve always believed that being young was one of the easiest jobs you could have, but over the last several months this has proven to actually be one of the hardest jobs, when growing up in Worcester. The city has been plagued with a streak of youth violence which is killing community morale and has become painfully too close for comfort for many families and individuals this year. This violence has caused many organizations to stop and rethink their plans and collectively come up with ways we can better serve our youth, community and city.

The Friendly House is actively working on providing its youth with positive programs and activities which help to promote positive growth and development and have a focus on youth violence prevention. The newest of these programs is its I Too Mentor Program. The goal of this program is to prevent youth from engaging in risky behavior by providing them with a positive mentor who will engage them in a variety of positive activities and experiences, which will encourage them to reach their fullest potential.

The I Too Mentor Program matches up youth ages 13-17 with a one-on-one mentor who they can relate to. The mentors are successful individuals who have once lived the same lifestyle and had similar experiences to the youth they will now mentor. 

The pair (mentor/mentee) will be engaged in numerous structured and unstructured activities over the course of ten months. Some of these activities include: Retreats, Sporting Events, Civic engagement activities, Career Development and Volunteer opportunities. In addition to these activities the pair will also participate in one-on-one time and a Job Shadow Day.

Starting next month the I Too will serve youth from all over Worcester.

The program will primarily serve youth who are referred to the program from the Worcester Public School System, DCF and the Juvenile Court System but will be open to any youth who wants to be involved. The mentors for this program come from a variety of different backgrounds, experiences and careers. The strength of this program will come from the passion, dedication and experience of those who are involved.

Friendly House is still looking for individuals to get involved in this program (Mentors/Mentees/Donors). For more information on how to get involved in the I Too Mentor Program please call me – 508-755-4362 or email me at ddelgado@friendlyhousema.org

Wednesday and Thursday! Worcester Farmers’ Market Coupon Distribution Kickoff!


Elder Services of Worcester Area’s Nutrition Program and Friendly House wish to announce the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources Farmers’ Market Coupon Kick Off Events

Wednesday, July 22

10 am – 12noon

Worcester Youth Center
(Beaver Brook)
306 Chandler St.


Thursday, July 23

10 am – 12noon
Worcester Senior Center
128 Providence St.

As available, first come, first served.
Distribution will begin July 22, and coupons must be redeemed by October 31, 2015.

Eligibility requirements:

Recipients must be at least 60 years old
Must meet income requirement; be at or below  185% of Federal Poverty Line (Single$ 21,774.50 annual/ $1,814.54 month ; Couple $29,470.50 annual/ $2,455.88)

Picture ID, proof of address, and recipient signature required.

Outstanding! Friendly House youth tour colleges

Here are some pictures from our overnight college tour April 21st & 22nd in New York.


This experience included 7 participants, 2 staff & 2 volunteers. Some of the things we did during these two days:


·         Tour:
o   University of Connecticut

o   Brooklyn College
o   Queens



o  Time Square
o   Ripley’s Believe it or Not
o   Brooklyn Bridge
o   Brooklyn Barclay Center

283 298

·         Highlights:
o   Exploring NY using NY transportation (subway)

286– Danielle Delgado, Director of Child, Youth & Family Departments,Friendly House, Inc. 36 Wall St.

Dollars for local Latino scholars!






Student Jacob Vazquez with Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty

DSCF1028Student Styven Colon, Gordon Hargrove and student Jacqueline Campos Avalos

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

Three local teens of Latino origin were granted scholarships through the Friendly House yesterday after being chosen out of the many who applied for the funds to pursue their academic careers.

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty was on hand to speak to the students and congratulate them on their accomplishment for having been chosen out of the many who applied for these funds.

Each student received $500 in scholarship money that they can put towards tuition or books.

Each of the three have done well academically and are grateful for the opportunity to defray the expense ahead of them as they seek out a higher education for themselves, after they graduate from high school.

Jacob Vazquez hails from Puerto Rico and is a student at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury, a parochial school.

Styven Colon identifies as Dominican Republic, though he was actually born in Providence, Rhode Island, and moved to Worcester when he was only a year old. He spent his time in the Worcester Public Schools, from kindergarten through to the 12th grade at the new Worcester Technical High School on Skyline Drive.

Jacqueline Campos Avalos is a senior at South High School on Apricot Street and is a member of the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps there.

The award ceremony was attended by:

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty

Gordon Hargrove, the Executive Director of the Friendly House

Josefina Velez, the Director of Social Services for the Friendly House

John W. Rodriguez, Worcester School Department Guidance Counselor at the Worcester East Middle School, and Ms. Rosado from the Worcester School Department

A representative from the Worcester Police Department attended as well.

The Friendly House on Wall Street helps many people in the City of Worcester from all walks of life. This is only a small fragment of what the agency does for the people of Worcester. Gordon Hargrove is a tireless advocate for the less fortunate among our community and a true gentleman. He never says no when someone asks for help. Truly, we need more Gordon Hargrove’s in our society!

Congrats to our scholars! Continued success at college!

A summer like no other – the Friendly House Summer Gym & Swim Day Camp!

DSCN1884Danielle Delgado, the multi-talented director of Friendly House’s Child, Youth & Family Departments, and Gordon Hargrove, executive director of the Friendly House!

By Danielle Delgado, director of Child, Youth & Family Departments

Often as adults we will sit and reminisce about our childhood when our lives were worry-free! That priceless statement: “If I only knew then, what I know now.” No bills to pay, no major responsibilities and everything was great! Our days consisted of playing outside all day, beating the street lights home and potentially going to camps if we were lucky. We didn’t have to worry about things such as having a cell phone signal, cyber bulling or social media.

Friendly House, located at 36 Wall St., in Worcester’s Grafton Hill, recognizes that days like these are limited and wants to make sure our youth are able to enjoy every moment of their childhood. Friendly House has a rich history of offering youth programs for more than 30 years, which has helped to create lasting memories for thousands of people. 

These programs have helped to build leadership, social, emotional and academic skills. In addition, they have also helped to create healthier individuals through the various recreation programs and activities that are offered. Friendly House youth programs have been the foundation for many lifelong friendships, mentorships and extended families. It has also been the place where so many youth have been engaged in once in a lifetime opportunities.

One of the most seasoned and successful programs at Friendly  House is its Summer Gym & Swim Camp. This camp gives over 250 inner-city children an opportunity to explore nature, learn how to swim and create and build upon their individual and teams building skills, at various state parks during the course of the summer. Each year this program has grown tremendously in its capacity and its program offerings. The current Gym & Swim program consists of engaging 150 children a week in five program periods each day including: Recreation, Arts and Crafts, Swim, Education and Enrichment.

These activities are conducted at the 36 Wall Street location once a week and at various State Parks (rotating) three days a week, concluding with an experiential often hands-on field trip at the end of the week. All activities are lead and supervised by a very experienced, well trained summer camp staff. The summer camp curriculum often aligns with the Worcester Public School curriculum, helping to close the gap of the participants having any summer learning loss.

On an average summer morning at Friendly House, prior to walking into the building, you will see buses lined up outside, either dropping off the program participants or waiting to bring them off to their daily adventure. Once you walk into our facility you will hear the many excited voices of children singing songs during camp opening, voices counting off for a buddy check or the one lonely voice of the Camp Directors giving a camp welcome and instruction about the day’s activities.  The expressions on the children’s faces are priceless, filled with excitement and overjoyed. Looking around the room you would see the faces of our future leaders. There sits faces of diversity, triumph and determination. A room full of many youth whom have come from unimaginable circumstances, but for that moment, for that day and for that week they are poured into with love, encouragement and empowerment.

Throughout the day the children are engaged in variety of activities. These activities rang from sports and recreation, to health and nutrition. A multitude of community leaders, sports figures and authors come in to conduct workshops, sports clinics and readings throughout the summer.

In addition, the children participate in a variety of themed days and weeks including: International Day, Olympic Week, Author Week and Disney Day. The Friendly House Food program provides a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack for the participants each day.  The children leave the program each day fulfilled, tired yet excited for another day. The excitement from the fun filled day is reflected in the children’s lack of physical energy as they exist the building with their parents or to board the bus for their ride home. The bus rides home are a constant reminder of all the energy exerted both physical and mentally, as the bus monitors are continuously waking the children up when they have reached their designated bus stop!

Children are not the only ones who benefit from the great experiences the children are having at camp! The parents continuously express their gratitude for the experiences that their children are having at camp. The stories shared by the parents are deeply touching. They range from life changing experience the children have had (learning to swim & making new friends) to stories stating that they wouldn’t be able to work or ever offer these experiences to their children had it not been for Friendly House. One of the parents is quoted saying: “Friendly House Gym & Swim program has completely changed my child’s life in only six short weeks. My daughter cried every day when she went to school because she had no friends. She cried for a week leading up to camp because she was afraid to go. She has major anxiety and thought no one would like her or accept her. After only two days I could see the change in her attitude. She woke up Wednesday morning early and excited to go. She had made a friend and was looking forward to twin day with her. That day I cried. I knew that was her moment and it was mine.”  That was an experience of a mother last summer. That same child is already registered for all eight weeks of camp this summer!

These experiences and many more would not be possible without the fabulous funders and sponsor Friendly House gets each year. Funds that are raised each year allow us to scholarship (partial or full) over 40 participants each week at camp. There is over $10,000 given out in scholarship each summer with a waiting list of people to still receive funds.

Friendly House is grateful for sponsors such as the Hoche-Sofield Foundation, United Way and the City or Worcester Block Grant which help to support our Gym & Swim Summer Camp. We also receive countless donations from individuals and local organizations and agencies to assist with scholarship funding.  In addition, we partner with the Worcester Housing Authority and the Department of Children and Families through grants and contract to provide over 50% of our summer camp slots to individuals in their  care or in need.

Friendly House has been the foundation for many adults’ success and most memorable moments. We have been the agency that has been there for families and children when all else has failed. Our youth programs have help to build up trust, determination, character and strength in many promising adults and young adults of today.

We hope to continue this great work and be the agency that parents want to send their children to and donors want to fund! Every year we look forward to getting bigger and doing better!

The Friendly House youth programs soar!

By Danielle Delgado

The Friendly House Youth Programs have noticeably been pushing towards a bigger and brighter future. With more than 2,300 youth served during the FY 2014 by its youth programs, Friendly House is moving onward and upward!

Over the last three years many of its programs have almost doubled and parent engagement has been resurrected!

Friendly House has a rich history of serving the Grafton Hill neighborhood for more than 94 years. The agency had embedded community, family and service in all that is does. Most recently Friendly House was named Worcester’s Non-Profit of the Year.

Some of this year’s program highlights are from its numerous Family Events (most recently its Annual Christmas Party hosting more than 1,200 children and families), Youth Hoops Program and its After School Drop In Program.

The Friendly House basketball program started back in the early 1980s and quickly became one of the best programs in the central Massachusetts area. It started off with 20 or so children and has grown to more than 300 participants this year, with the program doubling in size over the past three seasons. We attract children from the inner city area of Worcester but also have participants from the other towns of the Central Massachusetts area. The participants range in ages starting at 2nd grade with 9th grade being the last year a player is eligible.

The main focus of the program is to give kids the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game of basketball while promoting sportsmanship, teamwork and the importance of education. We also try to stress the importance of these traits in all areas of life, not just basketball.

We strive for excellence and are moving towards continuing to grow the program each year. In recent seasons we have added an alumni basketball game where players from earlier seasons compete against each other. This year’s game is to be played on January 31st. New basketball hoops have also been installed a few seasons back and we continue to try to find ways to improve our program on a daily basis.

The After School Program has also been gaining momentum in the past few years. We have been adding new programs every year to help enhance the quality of the children’s experiences. This year we added an Arts program with collaborations from the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Center for Crafts, No Evil Project and Grafton St School. K-3Rd grade did self portraits with the Art Museum, 4th graders will be doing tile work with the Center for Crafts and the 5th and 6th graders will be going photo work with the No Evil Project.

The parent involvement support has been growing each year. Without parent involvement we wouldn’t be able to have success with events such as Family Pot Luck Dinners, Parent/Child Dance, Bake Sales etc. With the parents help we are able to make the program fun and unique for the children.

As in past years, the Afterschool participants also attend a program at WPI on Tuesdays and Thursdays in which the children get to experience different clubs and groups on the college campus. In addition, the children participate in the Little Buddies program which is collaboration with St. Francis Nursing Home.

There have been so many fabulous things happening at Friendly House over the past three years! We are hoping that 2015 continues to bless our agency, families and our community!!

Friendly House Christmas party photos …

… by Ron O’Clair

I arrived shortly after two o’clock, [Sunday], and the place was at overflow capacity, with people being asked to remain outside due to the gym being at capacity.

There was a police lieutenant posted outside directing traffic and manning the crosswalk.

I took photographs showing the overflow crowd.

As I was leaving there were still more parents and children heading to the party.

The place was mobbed. [Families had to be turned away, with a promise of a mini-party, including Christmas presents for the kids, on Monday.]

I asked [Executive Director] Gordon [Hargrove] if he had enough presents for all the children. He seemed to think he did.



Friendly House Executive Director Gordon Hargrove introduces the Friendly House Chorus to the audience. There were lots of music/dance groups to entertain party goers! The celebration, a decades-old tradition, was held in the gymnasium of the Friendly House (pictured below) on Wall Street.


Below: Worcester police officer directs traffic in the crosswalk to the Friendly House.