Erin Rosen-Watson is the director of her own nonprofit organization, Erin’s Helping Hands. With more than 500 volunteers, she has impacted thousands of needy children in Massachusetts. She has two ongoing projects and many one-time projects.
Her ongoing projects, Erin’s Afghans and The Essential Care Packet Project, have impacted more than 9,000 people. The afghan program has supplied 5,390 Afghans to children in need, and the care packet project has given more than 4,961 emergency placement bags to foster children and others in transition. Some of the one-time projects include: Winter Warmth – gave hundreds of hats and mittens to children in New Bedford, Spring Treasures – donated 30 gift baskets to teen moms for Mother’s Day, Backpacks are Cool for School – supplies 200 fully stocked backpacks to needy area school children, and the 3B;s-Blankets, Bears and Books – saw 1,618 handmade blankets, books and stuffed animals delivered to 51 emergency shelters.
As the director and creator of these projects, Erin has been involved in every aspect of their success. She has made blankets, gathered supplies, solicited donations, delivered the finished products, picked up and delivered materials for the projects. She has also written a newsletter, sent thank you notes and maintains her own website, www.massyouthincaction.com, to keep the public informed about every aspect of her project. Erin is personally responsible for both the quantity and quality of the donations and has never taken a salary or material compensation for her thousands of hours of community service.
Since the state of her project in October 2000, Erin has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children and volunteers. In many cases, through no fault of their own, these vulnerable children have found themselves in difficult situations and they need to know that they have not been forgotten. Directing this multi-generational project has created a community of people to help care for these children. Erin has spent hours with the elderly and learned the value of meaningful work in the elder years. She has mentored other youths as they helped with her projects or assisted them in setting goals for their won projects. Erin has lectured to church, school and other volunteer groups spreading the mission and message of Erin’s Helping Hands.
As a result of her volunteer service, Erin has been the recipient of the National Georgia Pacific Angel in Action Award, the Guardian Life Girls Going Places Scholarship, the Boston Celtic’s Heroes Among Us Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Paul Newman’s Cookin’ Up a Better World and citations from the Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives and the Department of Social Services.