North Andover Youth & Recreation Services is Soofa's first recreation center partner. We sat down with Rick Gorman to learn more about his work and the value that Soofa provides for the youth.
What inspired you to take on on your role as Executive Director for North Andover Youth & Recreation Services? What do you like most about it?
I have been Executive Director of North Andover Youth & Recreation Services for 28 years. This position allowed me to design and implement innovative and effective programming for the youth of North Andover. I was also able to sell the community on building a youth center which opened in 2000. I absolutely love being a change agent for youth.
Tell us about North Andover and the Youth Center? What do you love about it? What is one thing everyone should know about it?
North Andover is a community of 30,000 25 miles north of Boston. It is a great town to raise a family. Our schools are wonderful and the community is very committed to its youth and its seniors. North Andover was one of the first municipalities that committed to build a youth center.
If you have a free afternoon in North Andover what do you like to do?
When I have a free afternoon, which is not very often, I love to exercise, listen to music and read.
Why did you choose Soofa? What does it mean for you and for North Andover?
We were lucky to be chosen as the inaugural site for the Soofa because of need and when you work with kids they are always powering up their phones, iPads etc. It has been a great success as kids use it constantly and love it — at times there is a line.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to launch your Soofa Bench? How did you progress past this?
Biggest challenge was to make sure people knew what it was and what it did. For a number of weeks everyone asked what is it? What is a Soofa bench. We showed it a lot on our social media pages and before long people knew what a Soofa bench was.
What do people like the most about the Soofa Bench?
People like that they can charge up without going into a building.
What was the experience like when you told community members about their new bench?
Reaction was great once they knew what it was. I look out my window and I will see cars stop and use it, and also, being next to a popular playground with moms and kids has generated a different population to use it.
If you had one wish to improve North Andover, what would it be?
North Andover does a great job with long range planning and I am excited to see what this town looks like and offers over the next 25 years. North Andover is a great place to live and work in.
Are you interested in featuring your early adopter story with us? Drop Oliver Madden a line: firstname.lastname@example.org