Amidst the sheer busyness of community work, it’s important to remember what matters most —those trusting relationships that make it possible for citizens to work together toward common goals, what political scientists call social capital. A neighborhood leader asked me once: “Do you know what we like best about WAMS?” I shook my head no but thought he might mention one of the program vehicles we had created with our partner churches to turn around problem housing or get youth off the streets. Instead he continued: You people really believe in us and we’ve needed that more than anything. — Bob Bachelder, 2016 Master Mechanics Award Acceptance Speech.
WAMS was established in 1829 by Ichabod Washburn, the Congregational Church deacon, industrialist and philanthropist who was also a founder of Memorial Hospital, Mechanics Hall, and WPI. (Follow this Link for More information on WAMS’ History).
A proven advocate for comprehensive and integrated approaches to social problem solving including the renewal of inner city neighborhoods, today’s WAMS works with civic, public and private partners to raise and support civic and social awareness and to create program vehicles aimed at helping our community and the people who live here, overcome complex and interrelated personal and social challenges.
From developing the first Habitat for Humanity and AIDS housing programs in Massachusetts to championing the ‘housing first’ model and leading the regional effort to preserve Chapter 40B, WAMS has been a longtime leader and community partner in the effort to create stable and affordable housing for low-income residents.
As cities like Worcester attract public investment aimed at knowledge-based workers / more affluent urbanites, WAMS’ efforts also encompass a renewed commitment to finding credible strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic mobility for families and individuals. Key efforts to ensure that all who live here are positioned to contribute to and benefit from our community’s progress include: 1) the Summer CUBS program; and 2) the Sustainable Massachusetts Initiative.
WAMS is also committed to fostering social awareness and engagement among youth and all who lead them. Together with Worcester Fellowship, WAMS sponsors ReachOut Worcester, an 18 hour overnight immersion program that explores individual homelessness. In collaboration with Matthew25 and Habitat for Humanity, among others, WAMS sponsors Learn&Serve Worcester, a collection of opportunities for Worcester area youth and their leaders to make a hands-on difference in the lives of low-income families.
For more information on Who We Are, please see the remarks made by our Minister and President, Bob Bachelder, as he accepted the 2016 Master Mechanics Award at Mechanics Hall.