GLEANing hope for violence victims
The Lowell Sun
By Joel Kost
TYNGSBORO -- Five students from Greater Lowell Technical High School were honored by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan Thursday for their work on creating a logo, smartphone app, brochure, and other advertising materials for GLEAN, a new community-based organization dedicated to identifying and intercepting domestic violence in the Greater Lowell area.
Jonathan Shoemaker, David Fitzgerald, Josh Sullivan and Tyler White presented the items in the superintendent's office, explaining their work behind each one to their families and other members of GLEAN. The fifth student, Ashley Huard, was not able to attend.
The four students presented their material quickly and to the point, but each one made sure to say that what they were doing was helping a greater cause.
"It's nice to help out everybody who's actually in need," White said.
GLEAN, or Greater Lowell Evaluation Advocacy Network, was formed in 2012 and is a partnership of more than 20 public, private and non-profit agencies from the Lowell community, such as the Lowell Police Department and the Lowell Senior Center, and is modeled after the Greater Newburyport area's Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, the country's first domestic violence crisis center of its kind.
GLEAN's partnerships are not funded, so the students' work will serve as GLEAN's promotional items as it continues to gain momentum in educating the community about its goals and missions, something the network may not have been able to acquire.
"Sometimes people are quick to point out the things that you didn't do or don't do quite as well as you should, but this is a moment that you really should sit and think about the contribution that you made," Ryan said to the students.
"This is something we didn't have. This is a very unique contribution."
The students' work was overseen by graphics teacher Briana Burtsell, who was approached by the school's adjustment counselor Michael Chadwick last fall asking if her students would be interested in designing GLEAN's logo.
Sullivan's design of a sun with figures holding hands was ultimately chosen as the network's logo. The sun is mean to meant to represent the light GLEAN can shine on the community, he said, while the figures represent the community's collaboration.
"I was really trying to create something that would represent what a community is about," Sullivan said.
The students have been helping GLEAN design more promotional items since then, like t-shirts, posters, and an Android-based smart phone app.
They also led Take Back the Night in Lowell, holding a Glean Banner.
The smart phone app, which was demoed on a TV during the presentation, provides the user with more information about domestic violence and organizations that can be contacted. It also offers a quiz that asks the user yes-or-no questions about his or her relationship. No matter what answer the user answers yes, "One is too many," appears on the screen.
"It's meant to reinforce that this isn't something you should take lightly," Sullivan said.