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LISTEN: UMass Medical School partnership with Worcester schools benefits students

For more than two decades, UMass Medical School has worked closely with the Worcester Public Schools to help students in the city who need academic and social support.

“Ten percent of students who attend Worcester Public Schools are homeless,” said Maura Mahoney, LISCW, manager of social emotional learning at Worcester Public Schools, during a new podcast interview for Voices of UMassMed. “If there’s a field trip and it costs whatever it costs, there are some students who will intentionally not make it. They can’t go on the trip because they don’t have enough money.”

Mahoney and Kola Akindele, JD, assistant vice chancellor for city and communication relations in the Office of Community and Government Relations at UMMS, sat down for the interview after a press conference at North High in September. At the event, UMass Medical School awarded classroom enrichment mini-grants totaling $38,000 to 27 teachers in the Worcester Public Schools North Quadrant, thanks to the generosity of the school’s employees and students. Through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employees Charitable Campaign (COMECC), the UMMS community can donate to the North Quadrant Support Services initiative. The charitable campaign starts Nov. 5.

“We can’t have kids come to school hungry. We can’t have kids missing school due to unclean clothes. We have to do something about it,” Akindele said. “We have to find ways to address issues that hinder academic success.”

Learn more in the new podcast about the history of the UMMS-Worcester schools partnership, why UMMS remains invested in the students, and why even the smallest investment opens up new doors for students and improves their daily lives. Subscribe to the full podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes by searching Voices of UMassMed. You can also listen on our website: