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Caregivers SOAR (Sustainable Opportunities for Accessing Respite) Grant Enhances Respite Care

Riverside Receives $900,000 Grant Through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to Enhance Respite Care for Somerville and Cambridge Families

Riverside Community Care is proud to announce we have received a $900,000 grant through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to strengthen our capacity to support 100 caregivers and an estimated 150 youth with behavioral health challenges via our new innovative project, Caregivers SOAR (Sustainable Opportunities for Accessing Respite). The project will support and enhance services provided by our long-standing community-based programs in Somerville and Cambridge.

Led by Riverside’s Child and Family Services division (CFS), the goal is to keep youth in their homes and families together by creating sustainable, community-based respite opportunities for caregivers. The intent is to build on individual, family, and community strengths to help caregivers achieve positive goals and improve well-being. Respite care is an essential support strategy for families managing significant mental health challenges. It provides caregivers with the “breaks” needed to focus on their own mental health and manage the stress they face every day.

Riverside will increase caregiver and youth support with a variety of activities, including but not limited to:

  • Bi-weekly caregiver support groups
  • Health and well-being coaching for caregivers and youth
  • Development of a “Caregiver Respite Advisory Board” to assess caregiver needs
  • Weekly drop-in/coffee hours for caregivers to receive support and resources

These activities will help caregivers and youth establish and implement a comprehensive self-care plan and achieve the goals identified in their personalized caregiver plans.

Riverside will also provide year-round youth programming during out-of-school time including weekends, school vacations, and summer opportunities. Programming will be centered on fun, age-appropriate activities such as movie nights, community service projects, and collaborative crafting activities. Services are intended to amplify skill development for youth by improving social capabilities, promoting safe independence, and decreasing isolation. Youth programming will be developed in collaboration with community partners, including the Somerville Education Foundation, Prosperity for All student-run program, and the Dojo @ Somernova.

Additionally, the grant will be used to increase individual and community caregiver awareness and respite capacity through trainings and effective community partnerships. Virtual trainings for caregivers will address psychoeducation, self-care, budget management, and more with the goal of decreasing stress and increasing resiliency.

Supporting caregivers is central to Riverside’s work with children, adolescents, and young adults. We look forward to the opportunity to expand existing capacity and build additional sustainable community-based respite opportunities for caregivers.

Click the link for more information about our Child and Family Services.


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