The Charlestown Coalition News: 

Issue 56

April 2021


Charlestown Peace Park Clean-up


We had an incredible turnout at our Charlestown Peace Park community cleanup this past Earth Day. Thank you to Crystal Galvin and the Kennedy Center’s team for helping organize this event and for providing take-home planting kits!

Special thanks to the City of Boston's Love Your Block and Public Service team for providing the garden tools, Baby Boyle Bouquets for the beautiful flowers, to the Charlestown community, and to our special guests City-Councilor Lydia Edwards and Michelle Wu for showing up, digging in, and getting their hands dirty! 


Celebrating the Life of Steven Jones

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Join us at 6 pm on Friday, May 7th, at Eden St. Park to celebrate the life of Steven Jones.


The 8th Annual (Biodegradable) Balloon Release event celebrates the precious life of Steven Jones who died at the young age of 21 in a senseless act of gun violence here in Charlestown on May 7th, 2013. Steven was attempting to break up a fight in the community when he was tragically shot and killed.


Each year on the anniversary of his death, his friends and family gather together to remember his life and support one another as they release balloons in his memory.


Steven was known for his hilarious sense of humor, brave spirit, charisma, and unwavering love for his mother Susan Rawlinson. Steven touched so many young people and adults throughout the Charlestown Community, and his tragic loss unified so many. This annual event serves as a reminder of the tremendous impact he had and continues to have, as we continue to carry him in our hearts.


We will be providing biodegradable balloons.

Climate Resiliency in Charlestown


On April 29th, the Climate Ready Boston team held a virtual community Open House for residents of Charlestown and East Boston and those interested in learning more about the City of Boston's initiative. The meeting included information on the planning process for coastal flooding prevention and coastal resilience solutions for both neighborhoods.


Flooding and climate resiliency have become a key topic in these coastal towns over the last couple of years, and Peyton Siler Jones of Climate Ready Boston said the effort is now beginning its second phase of planning.


“In Phase 1 we really looked at specific areas of Charlestown, like Ryan Playground, Sullivan Square, and the Schrafft’s Center,” said Siler. “Phase 2 is similar, but for all the geography not covered in 2017. We’re about one-third of the way through the work. We’ve modeled flooding in the neighborhood and know which areas are vulnerable. We engaged our Community Advisory Board (CAB) -which includes a Charlestown Coalition staff member and Turn It Around youth leader- and we’re ready to start reaching out to start the process.”


Please check the website for updates and to learn more:

10th Race & Equity Discussion to be held at the Charlestown Peace Park

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Join us in person on May 13th for our 10th Race & Equity Discussion at the Charlestown Peace Park. This series explores important topics about the impact of race, policing in urban settings, and equity. It is open to all members of the Charlestown community and the general public. In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, this month's Race Dialogues will be focused on racism faced by the AAPI community.


This forum is being co-sponsored by the Charlestown Coalition, Turn It Around Youth Program, and City-Councilor Lydia Edwards and team.


*In the event of rain, this will become a virtual event and a Zoom link will be provided.

Highlighting Our Community Partnerships:

Charlestown YMCA

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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.


The Charlestown YMCA is a social service agency that serves the Charlestown community in many different areas -- healthy living, youth development programs, and social responsibility initiatives. They pride themselves on being a cornerstone non-profit in the community. Whether it’s aquatics or simply going to the gym, their goal is to keep the community resilient. They serve all ages through many different programs, most of which are at low or no cost.


The Charlestown Y and Turn It Around Charlestown have worked together on programming and event coordination. Some of the programs have included youth employment, life skills and career goal setting, open gym times, free teen nights, health fairs, and community service opportunities. The Charlestown Y has hosted several community events for the Coalition, including their annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament.


The Coalition and Charlestown YMCA look forward to their continued partnership, working more closely in 2021 around career development programs and other opportunities.  


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!

Trauma Response Team Updates

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During the month of April, our Trauma Response Team (TRT) members were trained in Psychological First Aid (PFA) by Dr. Robert Macy, a  world-renowned expert in trauma -- specifically the development and use of PFA during natural disasters, terrorist incidents, mass shootings and other forms of community violence. 


Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed approach that supports people immediately after an incident of trauma. We hope to provide community-wide PFA training to Charlestown in the future. If you would like to learn more about PFA or Dr. Macy, please refer to the links below. If you are interested in participating in PFA trainings in the future, please contact Phenice Zawatsky.

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And, we'd like to share some great news with you. The Charlestown Trauma Response Team was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Charlestown Community Impact Fund! We want to thank the Charlestown Community Impact Fund for this award which will allow our trauma team to continue to provide support to the community. We are so appreciative of this opportunity and look forward to continuing to serve and support the residents of Charlestown! 

Charlestown Family Support Circle Updates

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The Charlestown Coalition's Family Support Circle (FSC) Task Force continues to meet monthly on the first Tuesday of every month to acknowledge trends affecting the community and works collectively to support residents of Charlestown. As a result of our last meeting, Charlestown Resident Alliance, MGH Charlestown, and New Health Charlestown collaborated and organized vaccine clinics specifically for BHA residents. The first clinic took place on Friday, April 30th, and was a huge success. A special thanks to all involved in organizing these events. The next clinic is scheduled for May 15th, but BHA residents will need to register in advance on or before May 9th. Our next FSC meeting is scheduled for June 1st at noon.

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On the third Tuesday of every month, our FSC Task Force members are invited to discuss race and equity. This month we focused on the topic of privilege and the role it plays in our daily lives, and we participated in a “privilege activity.” During our next two race discussions, we hope to further examine the issue of privilege – how we can recognize it and potentially use it to support and benefit our community – as we create action steps for working toward a more equitable Charlestown. If you are interested in doing the privilege activity yourself or with your agencies, click here.


If you would like to share feedback, please contact Phenice Zawatsky. Our next race discussion is scheduled for May 18th at noon.


If you wish to receive email updates and community resources from the Charlestown Family Support Circle, sign up here.

Family Support Circle Intern says Goodbye


Since the fall, the Charlestown Coalition’s Family Support Circle (FSC) program has had the pleasure of working with intern Celia Geen. Celia has been a huge asset to the Charlestown community, helping with Turn It Around (TIA) events and attending weekly TIA meetings, co-facilitating a group at Charlestown High to support students, addressing the needs of students at the Charlestown Adult Learning center and managing a caseload of FSC Charlestown families. Celia has been a strong advocate for her families, ensuring that their voices are heard while working collaboratively with providers to address their needs. As a team member, she has brought a great sense of humor to our group, and she has been such a supportive member.


During a farewell lunch, we celebrated all that Celia’s contributed to the Coalition and TIA as her internship comes to an end. She will be missed dearly, but we know that there are great things in store for her in the future.


Thank you, Celia, for all your work this past year. We wish you all the best as you embark on your social worker career.


Upcoming Coalition Meetings


Steering Committee Meeting

June 29th

from 12 PM -1:30 PM.

Meetings are held virtually until further notice.

Contact Sarah Coughlin for more information.

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Trauma Response Team

May 18th & June 1st

from 5:30 PM -6:30 PM.

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact

Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

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Charlestown Family Support Task Force 

June 1st

from 11:30 PM -12:30 PM.

Provider Race Dialogue Discussion

May 18th

from 12 PM -1 PM.  

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact

Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

Where Are They Now?

Turn It Around Alumni

Guess Who? It's Terrell in 2017!

Find out what he is up to now and how

Turn It Around has impacted his life!

Read More

Turn It Around:

Youth of the Month

 "Congratulations to Turn It Around's April Youth of the Month, Hope Augusta. Even though Hope is one of our newer members, she’s quickly become an integral part of the Turn It Around family! She always shows up with a smile and a positive attitude. And as a Boston Arts Academy student, she showcased some of her skills by winning our inaugural Spoken Word Poetry Slam competition. We’re so lucky to have someone so talented on our team, and can’t wait for all the amazing things that are in store for Hope!"

-Mswati Hanks,

Youth Program Coordinator

Read More
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Voices of Recovery

Doug Bergeron is sharing his journey in recovery this month in an interview with the Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, Shannon Lundin.

Read Full Interview

To learn more about our programs, our staff, community partners, resources, upcoming events, Turn It Around, program impact, and more, click below:

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