Project Sunshine Receives Statewide Recognition
Danvers was recognized by the Massachusetts Municipal Association for the Project Sunshine program at their annual awards ceremony on Jan. 21.
The town of Danvers was an honored recipient of the Kenneth E. Pickard Municipal Innovation Award at the 33rd annual Massachusetts Municipal Association Awards ceremony held on Jan. 21 in Boston, on behalf of their innovation and creativity with the Project Sunshine Program.
Project Sunshine, a six-week summer program, was created in June to provide for the roughly 40 homeless school-aged children living in motels during the summer, who, without the program, wouldn't have had a place to play other than the motel parking lots.
The program, which offered games, sports, arts and crafts, and field trips had a slated budget of about $25,000, but was funded entirely through various town and communities efforts, as well as local business and resident donations.
Developed in a short period of time, about 72 hours of planning, Project Sunshine incorporated not only the Danvers Recreation Department, but also the Food Bank, an entity of the Danvers Community Council, who committed to providing breakfast, lunch and a morning snack for the children.
In a letter of congratulations, the Mass Municipal Association expressed they were "proud to honor the town of Danvers for the creativity and insight shown in establishing this outstanding program."
The MMA held its 2012 Annual Meeting and Trade Show at the Hynes Convention Center over the Jan. 21-22 weekend. Town Manager Wayne Marquis, alongside town officials attended workshops and the awards ceremony and champagne reception at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.
Marquis said the town's award application had been uniquely composed by Ann Freitas, who used videos, news clipping, and a "once upon a time" storyline to depict the program.
"We had a neat application that caught their eye," Marquis said. "We're very proud."
Two key sponsors of Project Sunshine, North Shore Bank and Eastern Bank, were also recently recognized at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner, for their donations to the program. Both banks were responsible for funding the program's transportation costs.