Westborough Connects Encourages Community Reconnection


Ava Nolin-Halpern '24, Executive Producer

Throughout the past four years, local nonprofit organization Westborough Connects has hosted Westborough Unplugs as part of a national Screen-Free Week in May. Through this initiative, the organization partners with other groups to put on several events, all of which have the goal of “Disconnecting to Reconnect” within the community of Westborough.

Westborough Connects executive director of three years, Kelley Petralia, shared the background of some of these events, which include: charity dog walks, bike rides around town, and a challenge for kids to get off their phones for a week where they can win a prize. In the past two weeks an abundance of teenagers have made an effort to attend these events and start to make a change for the better of the community.

As most know, many children and teenagers especially are glued to their phones, some are even addicted to technology. With phones and technology as a main focus in teenagers’ lives, along with implementing it in new curriculums, it has started to result in an overwhelming number of conflicts. Petrailia shared a quote from Catherine Price, an author and science journalist: “Our lives are what we pay attention to.” With teenagers having their heads down looking at their phones 24/7, they are unable to experience things first hand.

Along with the effects of technology, social media can form false social standards and high expectations of what teenagers should look like, which can have an unhealthy toll on one’s mental health and the way people treat one another. Social media can also glorifies the use of illegal substances. Teenagers are highly influence by almost everything they come across on their phones. Westborough Connects is looking to recenter people of all ages into what they could be doing for the benefit of their mental health and physical well being.

How to get involved
If you are looking for a way to stay connected to people, that isn’t through a phone or computer, consider getting involved with the Westborough Connects events that happen almost monthly. To contact Westborough Connects, go to: https://www.westboroughconnects.org/or search “Westborough Connects” on Facebook to follow their page.