Council Looks at Additional Snow Shoveling Program for Residents in Need

By Adam Swift

The Revere High School JROTC Snow Angels snow shoveling program has been a tremendous success over the last several years, so much so, that there is an extensive waiting list for those wishing to take part in the program.

Several city councillors are looking at ways to provide more snow shoveling help for the city’s senior and disabled populations.

At last week’s meeting, Councillors Robert Haas, III and Angela Guarino-Sawaya introduced a motion asking the mayor to consider establishing a teen shoveling program for seniors and the disabled through the city’s Youth Works program.

“The last few years, I have noticed that there has been an increase in the number of residents who have inquired about the Snow Angels wait list, and this is especially for disabled people or spouses of people who are disabled,” said Haas. “This winter, I saw that Somerville had kicked off a teen shoveling program that would link high school students and seniors based on geographical location for the entirety of the season.”

The students could receive either compensation or community service hours at the high school.

“Just the other day, after the motion was filed, I received an email from  a senior … and her husband is not in great shape, healthwise,” said Haas. “She had reached out and told me a couple of stories about how she had to do the brunt of the shoveling work, and she is also a senior.”

Haas said he believes an expanded snow shoveling program through the city would benefit students as well as the seniors who need help shoveling.

“This motion will work in conjunction with the Snow Angels,” said Guarino-Sawaya. “It would only open the opportunity for more elderly and disabled people to be helped faster, because that list is so long that we can’t get to everyone fast enough.”

The program would also help students interact with the elders and give them a sense of responsibility, Guarino-Sawaya said.

Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said he supported the motion and that it would give high school students an opportunity to earn their community service hours.  He said his one concern is that he didn’t want to see the program end up creating more work and responsibility for the high school’s JROTC program.

Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said the council attempted a similar motion a few years ago, but that it was difficult to find students who wanted to get involved.

She said working with the high school class advisors to highlight the community service hours aspect of the program could make it more successful.

Haas said he would like to see the program go through the city’s Youth Services department.

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