Diana was born and raised in Methuen, MA, raised by a hardworking single mom. As a youth in Methuen, Diana and her peers struggled to find a place of belonging and support after the school day would end. She watched as many of her friends started to struggle with mental health, substance use issues, depression, suicidal ideations, and subsequently demonstrate behavioral issues in and out of the classroom as there were not many local opportunities for mentorship, social emotional supports, or activities to engage youth. 20 years later, many of those same gaps remain.
Now as a Senator, realizing the lack of state and federal funding available to support youth especially now during the pandemic - Diana is working to raise awareness and funds in support of programming to assist underserved local students and their families in the community who are falling through the gaps.
Diana points to the fact that Methuen is still one of the only local communities that does not have a youth center to support the social, emotional, mental health, and physical activity for youth along with offering a safe environment for them to go after school.
In the fall of 2019, Senator DiZoglio partnered with local non profit, Inspirational Ones and Methuen Public Schools Superintendent Brandi Kwong who committed to creating a Youth Innovation Program for the community.
The mission of the Youth Innovation Program (YIP) is to create a cohesive program for youth (ages 12-25) that builds knowledge, skills, and resources that adequately prepares young people for a fulfilling future beyond school.
This Program is being advised and guided by a Youth Advisory Council, youth from the local communities range from Middle School- High School, that have named themselves MY (Methuen Youth) Voice!
This Advisory Council has begun working with Inspirational Ones to develop programming for the youth that they feel is needed and want to support them.
This October, Diana DiZoglio, has committed to March Across Massachusetts to help raise awareness around and funds for this initiative and the need to prioritize investing in the next generation.
Now more than ever, we see the importance of hearing the voices of the youth and be able to provide guidance, support, and mentoring to the youth that one day could be leading us.
During Covid these young people are experiencing isolation and negative impacts on physical and mental health. Some students are struggling even more lacking sufficient social emotional supports at home or even living with abusive family member dealing with domestic violence. They need our help and support now more than ever.
March across MA for Merrimack Valley Youth is open to all to participate in virtually to help the cause and raise awareness and funds for the initiative.
If you would like to support financially, the organization is asking for both corporate and individual sponsors - can be per mile or a one time sponsorship to "Inspirational Ones", you can donate here.
If you would like to join the March Virtually, and walk part of the way with Diana, you may sign up here.
Every mile counts and every dollar counts for those who may want to join the walk virtually and walk a few miles to help the cause and get sponsorships.
While Diana already secured $200k for this initiative that is presently under way in coordination with Methuen Public Schools, there is $1 million in funding that she secured in a recent bond bill that requires the governor's approval to be released.
We think it really helps our case over the next couple of years in our quest to secure that funding if we come to the table with some matching funds. That's how the stadium got built, and that's how the crosswalk at Merrimack College got built. It was through public private partnerships.
We've appropriated funds for Methuen's Youth in the State Senate, and now it's time to work toward getting it authorized by the governor by coming to the table with some of our own private funds demonstrating community support.
This is one project that needs a lot of financial support at this time so was selected as the organization for this particular march - but the overall goal and hope is to also raise awareness around the need to support youth development and supports across the Merrimack Valley and all of Massachusetts. Hence the March across MA.