Riverside Receives $900,000 Grant to Enhance Respite Care for Somerville and Cambridge Families

Funds will help increase respite services for families of youth
with mental health challenges

Dedham, MA — Riverside Community Care, a nonprofit leader in behavioral healthcare and human services, recently received a $900,000 grant through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to strengthen its capacity to support 100 caregivers and an estimated 150 youth with behavioral health challenges via a new innovative project, Caregivers SOAR (Sustainable Opportunities for Accessing Respite). The project will support and enhance services provided by Riverside’s long-standing community-based programs in Somerville and Cambridge.

The goal of the program 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 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.

To learn more about Riverside Community Care and the SOAR respite services, please contact Kimberly Martin, Assistant Vice President, Child & Family Services, at kmartin@riversidecc.org.

About Riverside Community Care
Riverside Community Care (www.riversidecc.org) makes a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities through innovative and compassionate behavioral healthcare and human services. A community-based non-profit organization, Riverside offers a wide range of mental healthcare, developmental and brain injury services, early childhood and youth programs, addiction treatment, trauma response, and more. And Riverside’s behavioral health consulting, screening, and suicide prevention programs are helping more than 3.5 million people around the globe.

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