Introducing one of our inaugural ambassadors, Betsy Kirtland (RHHS ‘12)! Betsy has advocated for two organizations during her tenure with the Foundation. For her first year of advocacy, Betsy applied for a grant on behalf of the Mystic Learning Center (MLC) in Boston, MA, and for the last three years she has applied for grants on behalf of Circle Camp at Fleur de Lis in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. According to Betsy, “both of these organizations are funded primarily from small-scale grant organizations like the Ascienzo Family Foundation. With assistance from the AFF, they have been able to support more children and provide more and better resources for them.”
Betsy’s advocacy started while a student at Tufts University, when she was volunteering for an after school program that paired Tufts students with kids at the MLC. The MLC aims to enhance the educational, emotional, and social development of kids who live in the Mystic Public Housing Development and surrounding neighborhoods in East Somerville. The Foundation’s first grant provided funds for field-trips and club activity supplies. It also helped fund the stipends for Junior Staff members, who themselves had benefited from the MLC’s programs and were now in leadership roles. Thanks to Betsy’s great advocacy during the first year, our partnership continued with the MLC over the next year as well. Directors Nick and Sophie, along with Betsy, got to meet with the MLC Director, Florence Bergman, back in the spring of 2017 to hear more about the organization and how our grant was helping out.
For the past three years, Betsy has worked on grants for Circle Camp, a week-long tuition-free summer camp for young girls who have lost a parent. Circle provides a space where these campers can be themselves and grieve, but also just the chance to be kids and have fun. Betsy is passionate about working with kids and “helping create environments where they feel safe, understood, and relaxed.” Betsy herself has volunteered as a counselor at Circle for three years. She has shared more about her experience previously on our blog- head on over to read more!
Betsy is currently a bridge engineer in Boston, and will be returning to Circle Camp this summer as a counselor.