By SHERIDAN ROY
Living in Safe Alternatives (LISA), Inc.’s ongoing 2019 community collections calendar gives locals the opportunity to donate items that will support and empower youth ages 17-23 in child protection services throughout Connecticut.
Each month of the year, there is a theme for donations. During the month of March, “spring cleaning” items will be collected, including items such as sponges, brooms, cleaning and paper products, trash cans, trash bags, and mops. April’s theme is “exploration and transportation,” collecting items such as bus passes, Uber gift cards, passes for bowling, go-karts and fitness centers.
The monthly themed calendar was inspired by Lisa Crofton at the Positive Living Center in Southington who approached LISA, Inc. last year and said she wanted to host a monthly collection at her studio.
“Our team looked at the needs of our youth and at our budget to determine the specific theme of each month,” said LISA, Inc. member Liz Hyatt. “The variety of donation items offers people in the community options to contribute to our mission and benefit our youth. Every single donation helps fuel our efforts to provide for the young men and women in our care.”
Donated items are sorted and distributed to the youth at LISA, Inc.’s two residential programs, located in Plainville and Bristol, and those receiving services through the community based life skills program.
Plainville’s residential program, called “Lisa’s Wish,” is a supportive work, education and transition program serving young women ages 17 to 20, providing a safe, stable eight-bedroom apartment with staff located in adjacent areas of the program.
Bristol’s program offers supervised transitional apartments for young adults working towards independence and transition out of Department of Children and Families care.
“We are fortunate that people in the community are so generous and interested in playing a role in shaping the future for the young men and women in our care,” said Hyatt. Due to the nature of programs and confidentiality of the youth within the programs, there are limited opportunities for people to work directly with them. “The collections are a valuable way for people to provide support that makes a real difference and show the youth that they are cared for in the community.”
According to Hyatt, the donations also set a good example to youth about the importance of being contributing members of their communities and giving back.
“When they are independent, hopefully they will emulate what they have learned and give back to others in need,” said Hyatt.
Current donation collection sites include: LISA, Inc. at 200 Executive Blvd., Suite 4C, Southington; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices at 142 N. Main St., Southington; and the Positive Living Center at 132 Main St., second floor, Southington. For the month of March, Bloom Yoga Fitness Studios at 92 N Summit St., Southington, has elected to be a collection site, as well.
LISA, Inc. is working to expand donation drop off sites throughout Southington and into Plainville, Cheshire and Meriden. Any business interested in supporting the monthly calendar can contact Hyatt at EHyatt@lisainc. org for more information.
“We want to give people who want to give back an opportunity, an avenue, to have a positive impact on youth and their journey into adulthood,” said Hyatt. “The donations help provide a sense of belonging to our young people—that they are cared for and are an important part of our community.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.