Cigna Foundation Awards Grant to AHM Youth and Family Services

“A long-standing dream of the AHM board and staff is coming to life according to Executive Director, Tressa Giordano. AHM Youth and Family Services has received a three-year grant totaling $84,520 from the Cigna Foundation to start a new initiative called “Health Matters”. “Our board and staff are incredibly humbled to have been selected by the Cigna Foundation to help fund the Health Matters proposal.”

Last September, AHM’s Board of Directors approved a new three-year strategic plan, which incorporated a long-range vision introducing several new human service programs that will reach a wider audience of local residents. Throughout the entire strategic planning process, a call to action to expand services for all ages, not just children and teens was voiced by residents, town and school leaders, clergy, business leaders and other concerned citizens. One of the immediate changes even before this grant announcement was the expansion of mental health services for post-high school-age young adults who can now turn to AHM clinicians for help.

“The Cigna Foundation’s Healthier Communities grant opens a new chapter in the history of this public charity”, stated Board President Steve Fish. “Our board is incredibly proud that our staff took stock in the ideas presented in the strategic plan and turned those ideas into the Health Matters program.”

The primary goal of the AHM Health Matters Program, which will be rolled out this spring/summer is to engage children, teens, young adults, adults, and seniors from our towns in health engagement programming. Each program will promote what is referred to as protective factors. “With programming that builds protective factors, we can support a resilient community, helping people get through the highs and lows of life with a stronger support system,” according to AHM’s Clinical Director Megan Aldridge. Protective factors are:

  • traits that enhance well-being;
  • tools to avoid adverse emotions and behaviors;
  • mitigate or eliminate risks of substance abuse or pervasive mental health issues in youth, families, and communities, and;
  • serve as key defensive methods to make positive life choices, (physically and mentally).

Activities are designed to welcome all ages of residents. Each activity will promote wellness and help bring community members together in a fun, safe and welcoming environment. In Year One programs will include: Meditation and Mindfulness, Zumba F®, Family Paint Class, Vision Boards, Family Communication Workshops, Zentangle, Mandalas Painting, Stress and Anxiety Workshops, Community Nature Walks, African Drumming Circle, Youth After School Club, Community Service Events, Community Performing Arts Show. Activities will be time-limited in order to provide participants with a wide range of experiences. Efforts will be made to connect with local artists and other professionals to take part in this project.

AHM is a public charity that serves the towns of Andover, Columbia, Hebron, and Marlborough for over three decades.

The Cigna Foundation, established in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.