The Charlestown Coalition News: 
Issue 47
July 2020

Charlestown in Solidarity:
A Discussion on Race & Equity 
- Part 2

On Friday, July 24th, the Charlestown Coalition and our Turn It Around youth program, in collaboration with Councilor Lydia Edwards, hosted the second conversation about policing, racial inequities and Black Lives Matter at the Charlestown Peace Park.
As a follow-up to June's Race & Equity Discussion, the groups have decided to hold monthly conversations about personal experiences and to connect with the community and the Boston Police. 
During both events, we witnessed transformative conversations taking place and common ground emerging. It gives us hope knowing our community wants positive change for all and is willing to engage in these challenging dialogues. We hope to see more of our neighbors at our next gathering.

To read more, click here.

Turn It Around and Civic Engagement
Civic Engagement has been one of the most crucial themes for our youth group Turn It Around, especially during these unprecedented times. When youth become more active in the community through service, voter registration, education and engagement, positive changes happen.
We sat down (virtually, of course) with City Councilor Michelle Wu and Administrative Director Brianna Millor to discuss their thoughts on what civic engagement means to our communities and how to better equip our youth to become more active.
Michelle Wu has been a voice for accessibility, transparency, and community engagement in Boston  for years. She was first elected to the Boston City Council in November of 2013 at the age of 28 and is the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January of 2016, she was elected president of the City Council by unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President. Brianna Millor serves in a public sector seat representing Boston City Councilor-at-Large Michelle Wu, where she works as an administrative director. Millor joined the ABCD Board of Directors in 2019 and serves on the ABCD Neighborhood Programs/Planning & Evaluation (NPPE) Committee.
We are pleased that these City influencers will be joining us during a very important Turn It Around meeting this month!

Congratulations Class of 2020!

Our long-awaited Class of 2020 graduation celebration took place this month, and it was incredibly meaningful to finally celebrate together. It was a combination of a graduation party and family reunion! We have such an amazing group of young people, and it was our honor to acknowledge their successes.

Watch our full length graduation video and subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

Peace Park Update

Based on last month's Community Peace Park Survey data, our professional design team, COGdesignwas able to put together a "word cloud" that included the most common words and themes that appeared in the survey results. The larger the word, the more frequently it appeared. The team will use this graphic as a stepping stone in creating their schematic drawings. 

As we continue to work alongside COG, we will keep the community informed and involved. Our next step is to present schematic drawings for community members to view and vote on. Please be sure to check our social media and our newsletters for more information.

 Highlighting Our 
Community Partnerships:
(Drug Court Graduates with Charlestown Court Staff, the Charlestown Coalition and Honorable Judge McCormick)

Our community partners are critical in helping us tackle the most difficult issues that the community faces. By enlisting multiple partners (residents, police, schools, healthcare, faith based organizations, and the business community), we use a collective impact approach to problem solving. Our ultimate goal is to effect change and improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Charlestown.
This month, we'd like to highlight the Charlestown Division, Boston Municipal Court, a vital partner to our work. We would also like to wish a happy retirement to Judge Lawrence McCormick who presided there until this past July.
A bit of history - In 2012, The Charlestown Coalition joined Charlestown Probation, the BMC Court Coordinator, MGH and Judge McCormick to begin the process of developing the Charlestown Specialized Drug Court. A year later, the ChART Program (Charlestown Addiction Recovery Treatment) was established.
ChART created a team approach model to direct and coordinate treatment plans. ChART is a logical extension of the community's mission to support successful treatment for those with substance use disorders. Without Judge McCormick's leadership, collaboration of the Coalition and the probation officers' dedication to the community, the Charlestown Drug Court would not be what it is today.
Judge Lawrence McCormick has served as First Justice of the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court since 2010 and later as a recall judge until his retirement on July 8th, 2020.
"He created an atmosphere of justice and compassion while he served the Charlestown community and presided over a Drug Court that resulted in many lives saved and changed," said Michelle Williams Chief Probation Officer.

Shannon Lundin, Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, said, "Over the past 2 years especially, I have witnessed such a powerful change in Judge McCormick in the way he looks at and treats addiction. Judge McCormick has played a vital role in my own personal recovery and in my career. I am so sad to see him go, but I am honored and proud to have had the opportunity to work with him and learn from him for as long as I did. We all wish him well on his retirement."
Though it is a bittersweet farewell, we wish Judge McCormick all the best in the future and thank him for his service to the Charlestown community. We look forward to continue working with the Charlestown Division, Boston Municipal Court and being a force of positive life transformation.
If you've partnered with us, we'd love to hear from you. Please send us an email with details of how we've worked together along with any photos (if you have them), and we will share on our social media platforms. Let's show the community what great collaborations we've had with amazing organizations like yours!

ChART Celebration
On July 8th, a virtual celebration was held for participants who had recently completed the Charlestown ChART Specialized Drug Session at the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department. 
CHART is a specialized court session which assists individuals on probation who have been diagnosed with chronic Substance Use Disorders. These individuals voluntarily participate in court-stipulated drug treatment and supervision as an alternative to incarceration.
Our thanks to the collaborative effort from so many providers and court officers who work tirelessly to make this program a success. We are so inspired by Rebekah, Luis, and Alfred's commitment, determination, and tenacity. We wish them all the best as they continue along their journeys. 

"Through drug court, I have been shown a peaceful way to live clean and sober." Luis Vasquez   

"You can't stay sober on yesterday's sobriety." Alfred Jones

"i understood myself only after I destroyed myself and only in the process of fixing myself did I know who I really was". Rebekah Cole

Where Are They Now?
Turn It Around Alumni

Guess Who? It's Edwina White in 2016! Find out what she is up to now and how Turn It Around has impacted her life!
During her time with Turn It Around, Edwina was an active member of her community. She participated in clothing drives for the homeless, the Charlestown Coalition's annual Take Back Day and numerous community events. She was viewed by staff and peers as quiet but wise, resilient, self-motivated and most of all a trusted and loyal friend. We are very proud of Edwina and wish her all the success with her future.

-Phenice Zawatsky 
(Family Support Circle Clinician)

Turn It Around:
Youth of the Month

Aboubakar Nimaka is June's Turn It Around Youth of The Month.
Turn It Around's Youth of the Month is Aboubakar Nimaka. Aboubakar is always positive and energetic and attends every activity we do. He is a fixture at our weekly workouts and Wednesday yoga sessions. He's also one of the first to volunteer to help out when needed. As one of the youngest members of Turn It Around, Aboubakar is setting the bar high for everyone else in this group. Congratulations Aboubakar!!

-Mswati Hanks 
(Youth Prevention Coordinator)

Voices of Recovery
Maura O'Neil 
Maura O'Neil is sharing her journey in recovery with us this month in an interview with Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, Shannon Lundin.

Click below for the full interview.

Get Connected, Stay Informed
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