We’ve been celebrating Stimulus’ first year anniversary with a series of events in different parts of the state.
The focus of the celebration was on how Stimulus has impacted and changed lives. I accompanied Governor Patrick to Bedford, Melrose and Allston to hear stories first hand from people across the Commonwealth. As the Governor said in our visit to Allston, there are so many misconceptions about the Stimulus program and the numbers are so confusing, but there are “faces” behind all these initiatives. Everyone has a story and every story is compelling.
The faces we saw in those three visits were varied — by age, by race, by background, everything — but they all were all eager to have their stories heard. Dennis Condo, who works in weatherization for A&M Contracting in Peabody described to the packed room at Reveal Imaging in Bedford how the ARRA-funded weatherization projects means he has steady work for the first time in years. Quincy firefighter Steve Chencharik told everyone what it was like to get rehired thanks to Stimulus funds after being laid off.
Sixteen-year old Domingo Quiroz described the impact of the Stimulus-funded afterschool program at the North Shore Community Action Program on his plans for the future. The best part of that day was when Domingo explained to the Governor that as part of his program he learned to put together his resume. He then boldly took his resume out of his bag and handed it right to the Governor, just in case the Governor might want it, he said. It was tremendous.
Dara Etienne, a very cute fourth grader at the Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School, told a crowded room in the Joseph E. Smith Community Health Center in Allston what it was like for her to excel on her test scores thanks to the Stimulus-funded tutoring she was receiving. Flossie Parker, an elderly woman who participates in the Stimulus-funded Foster Grandparent Program through Boston ABCD had tears in her eyes as she thanked the Governor for making it possible for her to work with kids.
I don’t think there was a dry eye in that room as the Governor addressed Derek Lilly, who, thanks to help from a Boston ABCD stimulus-funded job developer, got a job at Roxbury Technology. Derek had been describing what it feels like to be able to buy sneakers for his son and be a role model for him. “When you talk about what you do for your son, that’s what this is all about,” the Governor told him.
I couldn’t agree more, Governor. That is what Stimulus is all about. It’s about helping people like Derek find a way to make a life for themselves, especially through getting a good job.
You can see Derek tell his story here.
There are so many more stories. I wish I could tell them all. Check back here often – I’ll be sharing as many as I can over the next few weeks.
Do you have a Stimulus story? Let me know in the comments.
Tags: after school programs, Allston, arra, Bedford, community service, deval patrick, governor patrick, mass gov, mass governor, massachusetts, Melrose, recovery, reinvestment, stimulus, weatherization