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The Yankee Express

36th annual Valley Friendship Tour at the Whitin Mill

Sep 08, 2021 03:23PM ● By Chuck Tashjian
WORCESTER -  In 2020, COVID-19 forced Open Sky Community Services’ signature fundraising event, the Valley Friendship Tour, to go virtual. Although last year’s Tour proved to be successful, raising close to $150,000, Open Sky recently announced that the 36th Valley Friendship Tour is being planned as an in-person event. Scheduled for Saturday, September 11 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, the Tour will return to the Alternatives Whitin Mill, 50 Douglas Road in Whitinsville. In light of the current rising rates of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant, plans are being made to help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
The Valley Friendship Tour is an opportunity to gather friends, family and co-workers for a day of fun and exercise in the beautiful and historic Blackstone Valley. Participants of all ages and abilities can travel along one of three non-competitive routes: a one-mile walk titled the “Golden Mile”, a 5K walk/run, or a 30-mile bicycle ride. After completing their route, participants enjoy a complimentary lunch on the Dennis H. Rice Community Plaza at the Whitin Mill, kid-friendly activities, raffles and live music. Since it began over three decades ago, the Tour has raised over $3 million in support of individuals and families in Central Mass.
For 33 years, the Valley Friendship Tour was the signature fundraising event for Alternatives Unlimited. In 2018, Alternatives affiliated with The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, another well respected non-profit with a long history in Central Massachusetts, to form Open Sky Community Services.
Open Sky has over 100 programs through the region and serves more than 4,900 individuals each year. The organization provides services and programs for youth, adults and familiesexperiencing mental health challenges, intellectual/developmental disabilities, autism, brain injury, substance use disorders, homelessness or other complex challenges.
Sr. Director of Advancement and Marketing Karen Goldenberg is looking forward to welcoming participants back to the Whitin Mill. Goldenberg is also pleased by the support from area businesses who have signed on as sponsors, led by Champion Sponsors MSG Staffing and The Shop at Whitinsville.
Both teams and individuals are welcome to register; pre-registration is $30 while registration the day of is $35. For more information, or to register online, visit
About Open Sky 
Community Services
Open Sky was formed through the 2018 affiliation of Alternatives Unlimited and The Bridge of Central Massachusetts. With over 100 programs throughout Central Massachusetts, the organization provides services and supports to more than 4,900 adults, young adults and youth with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, brain injury, substance use disorders, homelessness or other complex challenges. Open Sky also provides services and supports for LGBTQIA+ youth through its Safe Homes program, as well as expert training for human service professionals and school personnel on evidence-based practices and best practice treatment models through the Bridge Training Institute.
For more information about Open Sky, visit