social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

Meet the Team: Inclusive Eats

Published by Leah Mulrenan on

Meet the 2024 YGPC Inclusive Eats team and their three volunteer coaches, Kristen Risley, John Madondo, and Michael Hart.

The Inclusive Eats Youth team aims to combat food insecurity by providing food pantries with healthy, nourishing, and culturally relevant foods in order to assist these younger people who might struggle to find access to sufficient food. They hope to utilize funds for organizing events, obtaining quality catering for events, purchasing a variety of ingredients, and purchasing gift cards for families.

Their coach Kristen Risley began her public health career working in domestic HIV/AIDS provider education and then implementing administrative and financial systems for public health initiatives in Ukraine and Liberia before working for many years on the implementation and optimization of smokers’ helplines. Kristen is committed to health equity and healthcare access and works at MGH on the implementation and optimization of services specifically for Medicaid patients focusing on systems change and the development of new programming.

Kristen wanted to get more involved in great programming happening in her town of Woburn. “I haven’t worked with youth since moving to the suburbs and was excited to see the YGPC opportunity,” shared Kristen.

Their coach John Madondo serves as the CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of MA. His passion has always been in working with and providing services to seniors, people with disabilities, those with complex medical problems, and people who are in underserved populations. John has over 25 years of leadership and clinical experience working with chronically ill or disabled populations. John worked for many years to improve healthcare and close healthcare gaps for those who are underprivileged.

John stated, “I really wanted to find a way to volunteer and use my experience and skills to develop young people and help them build a network beyond their immediate community.”

Inclusive Eat’s third coach is Michael Hart, a Software Entrepreneur with 16 years of Finance, Product Mgmt., and Operations leadership experience at both small and large companies. He received his degrees in Finance and Computer Science from Northeastern University. He is also a Planning Board Member in Everett. Michael is passionate about youth mentorship and community engagement, as he shared, “High school is a transformative time and I’m excited to offer help and guidance where I can.”

The goal of SCI’s Pitch Contest is to provide youth with the opportunity to decide how to strengthen their community while practicing valuable professional skills such as public speaking, project management, and community organizing. With the guidance and support of multiple professional volunteer coaches, each youth team will develop their project ideas and be in the driver’s seat of positive change. The youth teams will also have the opportunity to participate in skill-building workshops related to team collaboration, public speaking, and pitch development.

The Pitch program will culminate on April 6th, when SCI will host the in-person Pitch Event at the Microsoft NERD Center where $14,000 of grant funds will be awarded to at least 7 of our participating youth groups. Media are invited to attend the Pitch Event. Funded youth teams will have until November 2024 to complete their respective projects and submit a project impact report.

This project is supported by Kick It for a Cause, Winning Home, Inc., Social Equity Access Fund, Gail O’Rourke, founder, Benefact4, Enterprise Bank, the AmeriCorps Agency, Massachusetts Service Alliance, and a Massachusetts state budget line item, thanks to the advocacy of State Senator Cindy Friedman. Major support for SCI Woburn is provided by Cummings Properties.