Posted by Ray Bastarache on Apr 16, 2018
Lynn Vocational Technical Institute’s SkillsUSA leadership teamAt a recent meeting of the Lynn Rotary Club,, members heard a most impressive presentation from the SkillsUSA leadership team at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. The students presented their year long, community service project, “The Welcome Home Project”. Erick Martinez, Erick Hernandez and Club President David Barrios each shared in detail, accompanied by a slide presentation, how the project came about and how club members rallied the entire LVTI student body of some 800 students to get behind the initiative. The aim of the project was to celebrate and aid in Lynn’s accomplishment of being the first Massachusetts city to effectively end veteran homelessness.
"The Welcome Home Project” helped a number of veterans' families as they transitioned to new housing offered by the city in June,” explained Club President David Barrios. He noted the cooperation SkillsUSA received from the Lynn Shelter Association and Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development, to name just two. “Our original budget to help veterans and their families, based on our data, was around $6000. Once the entire school got behind the project, we asked each student and teacher to personally raise $22 each. At the end, we raised over $10,000.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that this project surely raised awareness of veterans’ many needs in our community,” said faculty moderator and LVTI teacher Jason McCuish, who accompanied the students along with his assistant Claire Price. “By doing this project, the SkillsUSA Chapter uplifted the quality of life for veterans in the city of Lynn.” Price recalled an emotional episode at Walmart when the students were at the register with some $400 in clothing and personal hygiene items, when a man waiting patiently behind them, asked what the delay was. Price apologized and told him how the students had raised money to assist veterans in Lynn. The man proudly responded that he was a veteran and to use their hard-earned money to purchase additional items as he would pay for what they had already selected in their shopping baskets.

Following the presentation, Lynn President Steve Upton, a former Lynn Public School administrator, commended the SkillsUSA students, McCuish, Price and the entire Lynn Tech family. “I can’t tell you how impressed I am with all of you,” he beamed. “What you’ve done is what makes Lynn a special community."