Category: News & Events

New Bedford program helps children get ready for preschool, learn through play

“NEW BEDFORD — PACE Head Start in New Bedford has added a new parent-child program to help families get ready for preschool and enhance their children’s learning at home through play.

The Playing on Purpose or “POP” program started with a series of four morning sessions in August. Ten children attended from seven families.

They met their teachers and visited the classrooms. Parents got a chance to learn about how simple games, like building with blocks or acting out a book, can be opportunities for learning, said Jill Fox, Head Start director at People Acting in Community Endeavors (PACE).

“It’s just a really good way to kind of embed learning,” she said.

Plus, none of the children who attended the August sessions cried on the first day of school, she said.

The POP program was developed by Kelly Rodriguez, a social worker and early childhood mental health consultant. She works with PACE regularly.

Rodriguez said children learn best through play, and the program helps parents use play to enhance their children’s social and emotional development. Sessions address relationship building, emotional literacy, self regulation and problem solving.

“We see a lot of children that are struggling with challenging behaviors,” she said.

Fox said families were invited to follow-up sessions during the school year, and two more sessions remain.

The work was funded with a $5,000 grant from Southcoast Health. Although PACE is not applying for a grant for the program for next year because it is pursuing funding for other things, the organization plans to continue the POP program within its budget, Fox said.”

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After uncertainty, Massachusetts gets heating assistance funds

“Despite threats that funding would be eliminated in President Donald Trump’s preliminary budget, the state’s home heating program will continue to keep low-income families warm this year, just as temperatures are beginning to drop.

“Now that it’s getting colder, we’re getting busier, and we expect that,” said Garth Patterson, project director for the fuel assistance program at the Fall River-based Citizens for Citizens, a community action agency that serves several cities and towns in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Federal funding for LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, was uncertain for much of the year after Trump’s preliminary budget blueprint called for eliminating the program. The program, which provided states with more than $3.4 billion last year, is the primary source of funding for local fuel assistance programs. The programs provide financial assistance to help low-income families heat their homes in the winter. Last year, fuel assistance programs helped more than 190,000 households.”

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Tuition-free college course guides students back to classrooms

“NEW BEDFORD — Back to school takes on a different connotation this time of year for Mark Santow.

August allows the chairman of the history department at UMass Dartmouth to prepare for his day-job teaching responsibilities. It’s also a time to recruit those who “got knocked off their academic track for whatever reason,” back into the classroom.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I do in my life,” Santow said. “I certainly like being a professor at UMass and I am proud of that work, but Clemente has certainly made me a better teacher.”

The Clemente Course along with PACE, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and UMass Dartmouth are partnering for the 13th year to provide tuition free college-level instruction to economically disadvantaged people.

The courses, which also provide transportation and childcare, allows students to earn up to six college credits.”

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To read more, check out this article on SouthcoastToday here.

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Walk for Hunger approaches 50-year milestone

“BOSTON — With sturdy walking shoes and big hearts, an expected crowd of 35,000 will gather in Boston on May 7 to walk 20 miles in support of the country’s largest single-day fundraiser for hunger relief.

“I have so much respect for people who come and walk,” said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread, the nonprofit organization that organizes the annual Boston Walk for Hunger. “I think it’s just marvelous. It’s a very diverse crowd with a lot of young people, and it’s really inspirational. The walk is an extraordinary picture of strangers who come out and walk and raise money for people they don’t even know.”

This year’s event will be the 49th Walk for Hunger. Parker hopes it will raise $2.7 million to help fund food pantries, urban garden projects and other programs that help provide for people in need across Massachusetts. Funds from the annual walk help support more than 300 local programs in nearly 100 Massachusetts communities.”

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Head Start gets state grant

“NEW BEDFORD — People Acting in Community Endeavors Inc. will receive a Head Start State Supplemental Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) for Fiscal Year 2018, Rep. Antonio Cabral announced. Cabral said in a news release that PACE is set to receive $211,700 to support its Head Start program and respective workforce development initiatives. PACE Head Start provides families with a wide range of services including early childhood education, family support and engagement opportunities, and health services.

“This EEC grant will directly improve the PACE Head Start program, ultimately benefiting the many families served throughout the Greater New Bedford area,” said Cabral in a statement. “Investments in staff are critical to delivering high-quality educational services.”

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PACE Head Start Accepting Applications for Current School Year

PACE Head Start is currently accepting applications for vacancies in their current school year which will be in session until May, 2017. Head Start provides a free family-centered school readiness program for approximately 292 children ages 3-5 from income eligible families living in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, and Acushnet.

Head Start children benefit from an individualized early education curriculum which supports their growth in a variety of learning domains and prepares them for kindergarten. The program’s comprehensive approach to learning includes a creative education curriculum, comprehensive health services, parent education, meaningful family engagement and support services. Part and full day preschool options are available at Head Start. Children are free to explore, experiment, socialize, problem solve, master new skills and gain self confidence while guided by qualified early childhood professionals in a classroom environment.

All children enrolled at PACE Head Start receive nutritious meals and snacks. Free busing services are available to and from school. A small fee based on family income is charged to parents whose children are enrolled in the full day option. Child care vouchers are accepted for full day services. Ten percent of enrollment opportunities are reserved for children with special needs.

For more information and an application, call PACE Head Start Family Services Office at 508-999-1286 or 508-984-3557, or visit us at

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Sign up for state health insurance at New Bedford library event today

“NEW BEDFORD — Find out more about health insurance options and sign up before the Jan. 31 deadline at a forum at the city’s main library today.

The Massachusetts Health Connector will join Fishing Partnership Support Services and People Acting in Community Endeavors (PACE) at the New Bedford Main Library, 613 Pleasant St., from noon to 3 p.m., Friday, for an event to help residents get health insurance coverage.

The event will feature representatives from the Health Connector and Archipelago Strategies Group, as well as Fishing Partnership and PACE, which are certified navigator organizations working to conduct multilingual outreach and enrollment. Those without insurance will be able to sign up at the event.

Spanish, Portuguese and English language assistance will be provided at the event, and light food and refreshments will be served.”

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Health insurance help for New Bedford area residents

“NEW BEDFORD — On January 27 the Massachusetts Health Connector will join Fishing Partnership Support Services and People Acting in Community Endeavors (PACE) at the New Bedford Free Public Library, 613 Pleasant St., between noon and 3 p.m. for an event to get residents covered with health insurance in advance of the January 31 Open Enrollment deadline.

The event will feature representatives from the Health Connector and Archipelago Strategies Group, as well as Fishing Partnership and PACE, including Health Connector Senior Outreach Coordinator Sarah Buonopane and Fishing Partnership Director of Community Health Lauren King. These are certified navigator organizations working to conduct multilingual outreach and enrollment for residents seeking assistance.

Spanish, Portuguese and English language assistance will be provided at the event and light food and refreshments will be served. Media should arrive at 1:30 for the program.”

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Early Head Start to focus on infants of addicted parents

“New Bedford has a Head Start program for ages 3 to 5 run by the community organization PACE, or People Acting in Community Endeavors. In about 18 months, PACE plans to open its own Early Head Start program by converting 19 existing preschool slots to accommodate eight infants and toddlers, PACE Head Start Director Jill Fox said. The PACE program will be in a classroom, whereas the Meeting Street program will be in individual homes.

PACE also plans to collaborate with Meeting Street to provide preschool for eligible children once they turn 3, she said.”

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PACE Seeking Candidates for Board of Directors


PACE is seeking candidates for the PACE Board of Directors. Candidates will be elected to serve as Low Income representatives through a new election process during the month of March. Candidates must be residents of the City of New Bedford, be at least 18 years old and submit a candidate profile before February 15, 2017. The election of candidates to the PACE Board will occur during the month of March as PACE clients and other low income City residents will be voting at the Main Office of PACE at 166 William Street during regular business hours. Any low income resident of New Bedford is eligible to vote in this new election process and may request a ballot any time during regular business hours during the month of March. Proof of low income status is required for low income voters who are not clients of a PACE program.

Low Income Board representatives are eligible for a $25 stipend for each Board meeting attended to cover transportation and child care costs.

Candidate Profile forms can be obtained at the Main Office of PACE, at 166 William Street during regular business hours. Proof of residency of New Bedford is required.

Completed Candidate Profiles must be received by the PACE Election Committee, located at 166 William Street, New Bedford by 4 PM on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

All qualified candidates for election will be placed on a ballot with their Candidate Profile. Candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to serve on the PACE Board.

People Acting In Community Endeavors Inc., (PACE) The Community Action Agency for the Greater New Bedford Area, is entering its thirty fifth year of service to the community. The Agency serves the towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester as well as the city of New Bedford.

PACE, as it is known today, was incorporated on May 2, 1982, as a private Not For Profit Organization. The community selected the Board of Directors, with the mission of establishing an organization that would advocate for low-income people and aggressively seek out funding to reduce the problems that the low-income population in New Bedford. The Board oversees the work of the Agency and charts its course for the future.

PACE offers FREE services to the community through its Programs including:

  • Housing Search for the homeless or tenancy issues.
  • Fuel Assistance for payment assistance associated with home heating bills
  • Emergency Food Bank
  • Head Start for income eligible families for early care educational instruction
  • Child Care Works for educational development and Child Care Services
  • The Family Center for parent and family support services
  • Youth Build for “at risk youth” focusing on educational and community service
  • Health Access Services for the uninsured
  • Tax Assistance Program through VITA
  • The Clemente Course in the Humanities
  • Grassroots support for other community organizations
  • PACE Community Housing Corp., which was created for smaller housing development projects and home ownership opportunities for low-income people

PACE employs a staff of 165 in addition to over 100 volunteers, and serves more than 40,000 clients who seek PACE services yearly with an annual budget in excess of $65,000,000.00.

According to Bruce Morell, PACE Executive Director: “The Board of Directors has developed a new process to elect representative of the low income population to serve on our Board of Directors. Board members with direct contact to the people we serve, or who are recipients of a PACE service themselves, are valuable in providing direction and feedback about the services we provide in the community. This election process should be very exciting as we expect that there will be many low income individuals voting for their own representatives to the Board. PACE Board Members serve their community and the Agency with pride and distinction with a real commitment to the clients who put their trust in the Organization to assist them with their needs. We are very proud of our Board of Directors”.

Elections will be held month long in March 2017 at the PACE Main Office at 166 William Street, New Bedford during regular business hours.


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