Q: How does the Wellesley Youth Commission define "youth" as a population?
A: The Wellesley Youth Commission defines the population of youth we serve as high school and middle school age adolescents. The Youth Commission serves all youth in this age range whether they attend public or private school or no longer attend school.
Q: How many employees does the Wellesley Youth Commission have and what is the structure of the department?
A: The Wellesley Youth Commission has a full time Youth Director, Maura Renzella. The Youth Director is the only full time employee. Adults are hired on a per-diem basis to staff events and to assist the Youth Director in running programs and services.
Q: Does the Youth Commission provide any clinical services?
A: The Wellesley Youth Commission does not provide any clinical services. However, the Youth Commission works closely with mental health professionals and social workers from a variety of local organizations to offer psycho-educational programming and to provide referrals when necessary.
Q: What other organizations and agencies does the Youth Commission collaborate with in order to serve the town's youth?
A: The Youth Commission is very fortunate to have close working relationships with many town departments and boards as well as with several local agencies, volunteer organizations, and businesses. A few of the groups the Youth Commission works closely with are:
• The Interfaith Community for Action in Wellesley (ICAW)
• Wellesley Board of Health
• Wellesley Fire Department
• Wellesley Police Department
• Wellesley Recreation Department
Q: Why is The Place held in houses of worship? Is The Place religiously affiliated?
A: The Place is hosted at different locations each month. The Wellesley Youth Commission does not have its own space in which to host social events for teens. However, the Youth Commission is very fortunate to have the support of the Interfaith Community for Action in Wellesley (ICAW), a faith-based organization that encourages understanding among various congregations and within the community as a whole. ICAW member organizations rotate hosting The Place at different locations. The Place has NO religious affiliation and all high school age teens are welcome.
Q: Does the Youth Commission plan to have its own space in which to hold events and programs in the future?
A: The Youth Commission would like to have dedicated space in which to offer programs and services for Wellesley's youth. The Wellesley Youth Commission believes that the existence of facilities in which adolescents may interact with one another in a safe and positive social environment is critical to the Youth Commission's mission of ensuring that Wellesley's youth feel connected to their community. Having a dedicated space where Wellesley's teens would feel welcome and feel that they belong is one of the Youth Commission's goals. Until that goal is realized, the Youth Commission will continue to work closely with other community organizations, such as the Interfaith Community for Action in Wellesley (ICAW), to utilize space as it is available.
Q: How do the services of the Wellesley Youth Commission and the Wellesley Recreation Department differ?
A: The Wellesley Youth Commission and the Wellesley Recreation Department often work closely together to ensure the needs of Wellesley's youth and their families are being met. However, there are two key differences between the town departments. First, the Wellesley Youth Commission is exclusively focused on serving adolescents. Teenagers, finding themselves in transition from childhood to adulthood, often do not take advantage of traditional programming offered to either children or adults. The Youth Commission seeks to provide programs and services that appeal to the unique interests and needs of local teens. The Wellesley Recreation Department serves a broader population and is widely recognized and praised as a leader in providing recreational programming for Wellesley citizens of all ages. Second, the programming focus differs between
the two departments. While some of the Youth Commission's programs and services include recreational activities for teens, programs also include psycho-educational discussion groups, service learning opportunities, court-based programs for juvenile offenders, and employment services.
Q: How is the Wellesley Youth Commission funded?
A: The Youth Commission's primary source of funding is the Town of Wellesley. The Youth Commission is a town board appointed and funded by the Board of Selectmen. In addition, the Youth Commission receives some donations from private citizens, area businesses, and local charitable organizations. If you are interested in making a donation to the Wellesley Youth Commission, please contact Maura Renzella, Youth Director, at 781-446-6274.