October 2020
Monthly News & Updates
ABCD Elder Services Provides Foster Grandparent Volunteers with Technology Training
If you entered any ABCD Foster Grandparent volunteer station before the COVID-19 pandemic you would’ve seen the faces of kids light up as they showed the volunteers their art, books and other materials. Foster Grandparents help many of the kids feel at ease while also being important to the learning environment. But, with the pandemic and remote learning, the way Foster Grandparents participate in the classroom has had to be restructured.

As one of the most at risk populations, ABCD Foster Grandparents are learning new ways to volunteer and stay safe. Volunteers are participating in technology training that will help them carry out the services they would typically do at their in-person volunteer station. They will learn how to attend Zoom meetings, participate in video chats, utilize Google Classroom, and create tutoring videos for their stations. Once they complete their training and the technology is implemented, Foster Grandparents volunteers will receive iPads to use for volunteer services. 
 
ABCD Elder Services, which runs the ABCD Foster Grandparents program, continues to work with the Americorps Seniors administration, the National Foster Grandparent Program Directors Board(NAFGPD) and other AmeriCorps Senior programs to redesign the work of the volunteers.

To learn more about ABCD Elder Services and Foster Grandparents, click the button below.
The Newest Cucina in the North End
Due to the limits on gatherings as a result of COVID-19, the ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) cannot presently offer monthly celebrations and weekly Friday meals at its community drop-in center. However, thanks to a generous grant from the Department of Neighborhood Development’s Partner for Non-Profits program, along with a state earmark for FY2020 made possible from the advocacy of Senator Joe Boncore, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, and Representative Jay Livingstone, the center now boasts of a gleaming, top-of-the -line, brand-new kitchen! The space has new cabinetry, stainless steel food prep counters, a deep sink, new dishwasher and microwave, stunning floor, and much more, all meeting Serv Safe compliance standards. Staff and volunteers are eager to start preparing home-cooked multicourse meals, but alas, will have to await city and state guidelines on when it will be again safe to do so.

Meanwhile, the NE/WE NSC will still put the kitchen to good use to individually package and store food for the meal delivery program and food pantry respectively. The site currently offers three monthly meals, two of which are donated by the North End Rehabilitation and Health Care Center on Fulton Street in the North End and General Manger Richie Zapato of Pizzeria Regina’s on Thacher Street. The NE/WE NSC additionally is the recipient of an Enhancement grant from the Age Strong Commission to fund a third monthly meal, and is offering the opportunity to restaurant supporters of its annual funding event to cater the meal. Staff has been making the rounds of the building in the North End and West End, including the Ausonia Apartments, Michelangelo Apartments, and the Amy Lowell Apartments, to get hot lunches to residents. Stay tuned as the center adds other buildings to the rotation. The NE/WE NSC looks forward to bringing the congregate meal program back bigger and better than ever, so in the interim, please remember to socially distance and to wear your masks, so that that day comes sooner rather than later!  
ABCD Winter Programs Gearing Up in a New Way to Help Families
Since our clients’ needs continue, ABCD’s signature winter give-back programs are happening this year despite the challenges of the pandemic. To keep everyone healthy and safe, and to minimize contact we are shifting how we run Adopt A Family, the Toy Drive, and the Winter Weather Gear Drive. 

Adopt A Family will still support the needs of families, but this year we will be using online wish lists so that donors can shop for the family they are matched with and the gifts can be delivered directly to them. For more information about Adopt A Family, click here

The Toy Drive will use the strength of donors' generosity to bring holiday joy to children and support small local toy retailers. Clients will receive $40 gift cards for each child under the age of 12. These gift cards can be used to order toys through local retailers and have them delivered in time for the holidays. For more information about the Toy Drive, click here.

To support the Winter Weather Gear Drive, you can make an appointment to drop off coats, hats, gloves, scarves, warm socks, and boots to the ABCD Roxbury/North Dorchester Neighborhood Opportunity Center at 565 Warren St, Boston, MA 02121. Appointments are important to maintain social distancing, and can be made Monday through Friday from 10-3pm by calling 617-442-5900. 
ABCD East Boston APAC Brings East Boston Families Together for a Virtual Paint Night
Times are truly different. Although we can’t gather together the way we used to, there are still opportunities to do group activities virtually. The ABCD East Boston APAC, for the 4th year straight, hosted its annual Paint Night for families who live in East Boston. Open to anyone 7 years old or older, the event was a fun time for families and neighbors to connect virtually. All painting supplies were provided by the APAC. 14 people participated. 

The paint night was part of Eastie Week which is an annual weeklong celebration of East Boston culture. During the celebration, different organizations, including ABCD, hosted free events for the community.
ABCD In the News
Spotlight
Mass General Hospital Awards $375,000 Grant to ABCD Health Services
Navigating the world of medical services can be confusing, especially when your providers may not understand your culture, language, or experience. To help overcome that divide, community health workers (CHWs) support community members increased wellness through promotion, prevention, and rehabilitation. Often, CHWs serve as the bridge between community members and their health care providers helping community members. CHWs can support members navigate complex services and advocate for themselves with their health care providers.

As part of the 2020 Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement Determination of Need grant making process, ABCD Health Services was awarded a 3-year grant totaling $375,000 for the CHW Behavioral Health Integration Project (CBIP). A collaboration between ABCD, National Association of Social Workers MA, Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers, Boston University School of Social Work Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health, and Health Leads - CBIP both trains CHWs in behavioral health and works with stakeholders to create upstream change. 

ABCD and its partners will train six groups of CHWs in the three years of the grant. Up to 90 CHWs will complete the training. The training uses an intensive curriculum that addresses common mental illnesses and substance use disorders, assessment skills, and strategies and guidance for CHWs on coaching clients through access barriers, treatment literacy, and behavioral health service navigation.

The systems change goals are focused on improving the integration of CHWs into behavioral health and primary care teams at community health centers, by developing and disseminating guidelines, tools and strategies around the roles of behavioral health clinicians and CHWs in behavioral health and primary care settings. Additionally, the project aims to understand and improve the partnership between CHWs and social workers, two roles with a shared mission. 

The ABCD Health Services team is excited to take on this important work, leveraging decades of experience and expertise in health services training of the ABCD Family Planning Institute. This grant will bring new resources and opportunities to the communities ABCD serves. 

Many thanks to Mass General Hospital! 
ABCD Videos
ABCD Executive Vice President & COO Sharon Scott-Chandler talks with SummerWorks Youth Karen Mai

ABCD's YEA! Program Goes Virtual

More Information
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Visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Elections Division webpage to find your polling place.
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