Why Essex? Essex CHIPS

Interview with Eliza Kuchuk, Director of Youth Engagement  

Essex CHIPS is a non-profit organization that has been working to help youth and families in Essex, Essex Junction, and Westford since 1986.  CHIPS is best known for their Monday afternoon Tween Center and Tuesday-Thursday afternoon Teen Center, however, their full range of programs is much greater than this.   

Eliza was eager to highlight the upcoming expansion of the already popular school-based mentoring program, FriendCHIPS.  The program matches up students with adult volunteers who commit to spending one hour per week with the student, either at school or by participating in enriching activities.  FriendCHIPS is available only in the Essex Town schools, however, the program will expand to the Essex Junction and Westford Schools in the fall.  And of course, with the expansion of the program comes a renewed need for volunteers!  Please contact Eliza Kuchuk at eliza@ essexchips.org for more information about becoming a mentor.     

The Adventure Orientation Program is another unique offering at CHIPS.  This program offers the opportunity for incoming Essex High School freshman (from all sending towns) to go on a 4 –day, 3-night, backpacking trip through the Green Mountains of Vermont.  This helps students to develop leadership skills, gain confidence, and play an active role in their success before entering high school.

Essex CHIPS is located on the second floor of Lincoln Hall, at 2 Lincoln Street, right above the Village Offices and Senior Center.  This made for a very convenient short trek up the stairs for me to chat with Eliza.  Find out more about FriendCHIPS, Adventure Orientation Program, and everything the organization does for local youth and families on the web (https://www.essexchips.org/) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EssexCHIPS/).     

Why Essex? “Essex is a community that puts youth front and center. Whether it's by financially supporting youth programs, volunteering, or having youth on the CHIPS Board or involved with Voices for Education, it is clear that Essex values youth.” - Eliza Kuchuk

Why Essex? is a weekly(ish) column highlighting the people and places that make Essex an interesting and special place. Have an idea for the column? E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@ essexjunction.org.

Photo Credits: Essex CHIPS