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FRAMINGHAM – A grant from the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation to South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) will allow additional improvements and programming to move forward at SMOC’s Framingham Community and Cultural Center.

Up to $250,000 will be disbursed by the charitable foundation over the next three years, which will be matched by an equal amount raised by SMOC.

“This is a longstanding and trusted community relationship at its best,” said SMOC CEO and President Susan Gentili. “Middlesex Savings Bank has supported our programming at FCCC since the start, and we are deeply grateful for their continued generosity. It is our intent to match that funding, so that families throughout MetroWest have access to high quality and affordable childcare, in addition to a wide variety of cultural and recreational programming.”

SMOC acquired the former Suburban Athletic and Child at 10 Roxanna Street in 2019, with a vision to create a transformative community hub with a special focus on reaching families in Framingham and surrounding towns that may have limited access to youth enrichment, recreational and cultural programs.

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The Center currently provides a comprehensive set of programming with the goal of reaching more than 3,000 families and individuals each year. With assistance from the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation grant, plans are underway to complete renovations to the childcare and youth classrooms.

The aquatic center will be updated, along with the basketball court and indoor and outdoor soccer fields. In addition to its Head Start, childcare and afterschool programs, the center has
partnered with Framingham State University to provide 36 pre-Kindergarten students with an innovative social emotional learning mentor program.

Another partnership with the prestigious Walnut School for the Arts allows up to 80 participants in SMOC’s childcare system to participate in dance and theater classes.

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In January, FCCC will launch an elite soccer academy, Inter-Milan Soccer Academy, which will be open to up to 400 youth, ages 4-17, in collaboration with Inter-Milan, a world-renowned professional soccer club.

Starting in 2022, a partnership with Girls, Inc. will provide 150 young girls with the opportunity to participate in an innovative, multi-year STEM and leadership program.

Finally, the Joan Brack Adult Learning Center, an important and longstanding SMOC program that offers free ESL and Hi-SET classes to adults seeking to improve their English language skills, or are preparing to earn a high school equivalency degree, will be relocated to the Center.

“Given the positive impact that this project will have on our community, it was only natural for Middlesex to become involved in helping to make it a reality,” said Dana Neshe, president of the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation. “The planned improvements and innovative programming at the FCCC will enhance the lives of our neighbors in meaningful ways. We are pleased to serve as a catalyst for the fundraising for the Center’s continued evolution.”

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.