Volume 4, Issue 7; July 2017

The Vital Village Community Partnership on their recent trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 
Upcoming Events
August 2017: Pregnancy and Infant Loss scholarship 

We are offering 20 full scholarships for Q.U.I.L.T.'s 3-month online course, which includes modules on cultural competency, miscarriage and abortion, family support, introduction to memory-making and more! For more information or to enroll, please email us.     

August 8-10: Certified Lactation Educator Training 
The CLE Training teaches participants to offer breastfeeding classes, advocate for their communities, and offer culturally competent support.
To learn more about the VVN Boston Breastfeeding Coalition, please reach out here.  

Save the date: November 1-2, Annual Leadership Summit 

Please email if you'd like to be notified about these opportunities. More information to come! 
Summer Samples Series

Join us for a night of fun and food at the BMC Demo Kitchen, where we will be cooking some delicious food! There will be kid-friendly cooking activities and a tour of BMC's new rooftop garden!

When: August 7th, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Where: BMC Demo Kitchen, Yawkey 2nd Floor
RSVP here!

Vital Village is teaming up with the BMC Demo Kitchen to design a community-developed recipe book which we are hoping to share with our network once completed! Click on the link below to submit a recipe! Alternatively, you can email recipes to e . Feel free to submit as many recipes as you would like!
Bright Spots
Male Engagement Network (MEN) Launch
On June 10 th, the Male Engagement Network (MEN) officially launched at Breakfast IV Brothers! The MEN is a collaboration between Vital Village Network, Boston LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), and three Neighborhood Development Corporations (Codman Square NDC, Mattapan United, and Nuestra Comunidad NDC) to 'increase hope for men of color in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, in regards to Financial Stability, Anti-Displacement Advocacy, and Mental Well-Being. Look out for programs, activities, and events offered by all three of the NDC's throughout the rest of the summer! 

Village Voices  
Assets and Advocacy: An Interview with Kymberly Byrd

Kymberly Byrd has been the Project Manager for the Vital Village Network for the past two and a half years. In this interview, we discuss asset-based partnerships, how the Vital Village philosophy has impacted her own life, and how she hopes to carry the work forward in her Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University. 

"When I think about assets in my community I think about how many hours I've seen people volunteer, how I see people take care of their neighbors' children. I think about all of the motivation and gifts people have that I can't see immediately, but that ultimately will create our work."  

Read Kymberly's interview here
Boston Students Advocate for M7: Bay State Banner Article 

The Student Transportation Equity Coalition led a recent project to hold up student voices and promote free M7 bus passes for all students. Currently, BPS students who live within two miles of their high school are not eligible for free passes. 

"'Jaylean is one of my friends at school," Jones said. "To hear how she has to walk or have her boyfriend tap [his M7 bus pass] for her is disturbing.' 
Jones noted that his M7 pass enables him to participate in after-school activities, volunteer at the Museum of Science and hold down a part-time job."
Read the full story here. 
Around the Network 
Mattapan Hugs and Play Group New Location

Stop by for playtime, breastfeeding support, and shared community. 
When: Wednesdays, 11 am- 1 pm
Where: Mattapan Public Library

Click  here for more information!
Family Play Week
Parents/ car e givers and their children 0-5 years old will practice the power of play with science, technology,  engineering, math, music, and art activities, promoting a stronger, more connected community. This is a collaboration between Countdown for Kindergarten, First Teacher, Boston Children's Museum, and Dudley Public Library.

When: Session 2: July 17-21
To apply call 617.238.7275 or email

Vital Village is excited to offer a free texting service, in which users will receive information about  community resources  (Mondays), useful 
youth wellness tips  (Wednesdays), and  fun family activities  (Fridays). 

To subscribe, please  text KIDS  to  88588 . You can also join the Facebook page  here or check out the ma p here

To give feedback on what information you'd like to hear about or to share resources you know about, e-mail with the subject "CONtexts" or post on the Fa cebook page.       

VVCP, a group of de d icate d community  residents, recently started a Knitting and Crochet Social Group to create a space for self-care, learning new skills, and meeting new friends. Please join VVCP to make hats, scarves, baby blankets, and other crafty designs for Children's Services of Roxbury!   Contact  KT   for more information.

When: Sundays, 2-3:30 pm
Where: Dudley Cafe, 15 Warren St, Boston, MA 02119
Free Endicott College Course 
Join Smart from the Start for ENG99: Introduction to Academic Writing. Free tutoring and help w ith your college applications is also available. 

Time: Fridays from 9:30-12:30p
Dates: August 4-September 29 
Where: Endicott College Boston

To register, please contact Sandy Vaughn-Suazo at (857) 399-7205 and
Around the City 
Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series  
Enjoy free weekly fitness classes from now until August 31st. Learn more here.

Line dancing at Dorchester's Franklin Park, on Refectory Hill (6:30 p.m.) 

Full Body Fusion at Dorchester's Elmhurst Park (6:30 p.m.)

HIIT at Mother's Rest, in Dorchester's Four Corners (6 p.m.)
Free Fun Fridays
Every Friday this summer, there museums are opening up their doors to the public for free. Check the schedule here for specific dates and openings.
When: July 21st  
Where: Museums all over Boston, including the National Center for Afro-American Artists and the Museum of Fine Arts.  
7th Annual Mattapan on Wheels

Ride with family and friends on the Neponset Trail. Free helmets available.

When: July 22, 8 am 
Where: George H. Walker Playground - 528 Norfolk St
Register here 
A recent study from Dr. Houston et al. found that patients were more likely to control their blood pressure when they heard success stories told by people they could identify with. African-American patents living in Birmingham, AL were given interactive DVDs where real patients shared stories about how to interact with doctors, take medication consistently and maintain an exercise plan. 
To learn more about narrative story-telling in health promotion, click
FSG provides resources, and tool-kits for organizations working for social change. Their "Systems Thinking Toolkit" provides resources for actor mapping, appreciate inquiry, ecocyle mapping, and more!

To access the toolkit, register your email and then download a free copy.
The Scoop on Stats 
Stay up to date with data!
Boston Breastfeeding Coalition Group Attendance: May 18th - June 29th 2017 

The VVN Breastfeeding Coalition includes 9 drop-in support groups across Boston. Through a weekly check-in over text, we've been able to track how many parents and children come to each group. This graph shows how many kids and parents attended each group from May 18th 2017 to June 29th. The longstanding Mattapan Hugs n' Play group continues to be a very welcoming space, while we're excited to see our other groups build up their attendance! 

Source: Futu Chen and Zoe Miller (June 2017) "Group Attendance", Vital Village Network