Volume 4, Issue 4; April 2017
In This Issue:

II. Bright Spots
III. Village Voices
IV. Special Announcement
IX. Research
2017 Call for Innovations           Save
We are excited to announce our 2017 Call for Innovations! We will be awarding grants of up to $5,000 to support collaborations in our three focus areas: 1) prenatal opportunity (supporting families from preconception to early childhood); 2) innovations in education for children 0-8; and 3) peer-to-peer advocacy. Projects must be focused on children and families in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Mattapan.
E-mail with additional questions or to request an application!
Save the Date -  April Network Connection Meeting - Special Event

Why do we share our stories? In the busy day-to-day of life, it can be difficult to pause, reflect, and truly listen to those around us. Yet, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, focusing on being more present with one another, we may begin to recognize the connections among us.  SaveNext Monday, Playback Theatre for Social Change and Red Sage Stories will host a special performance at our April network connection meeting. Red Sage Stories is "a Dorchester/ Roxbury performing arts ensemble of poets, dancers, and bilingual actors".  In using playback theater, the troupe aims to listen to audience members' stories and to honor them, showing that their voices have been heard. Please join us to share your story, reflecting on how our childhood experiences have impacted how we approach our work.
To learn more about Red Sage Stories, see here:

When:Monday, April 10th, 6:00 pm-8:00pm
Where: Boston Medical Center, Evans Seminar Room
Click here to  RSVP
Bright Spots bright
Kymberly Byrd co-authors "Community Health Improvement and the Community Psychology Competencies"
Vital Village's very own Kymberly Byrd has recently published a paper in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice. This article highlighted the work of several communities involved in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's SCALE initiative. The publication explores the core competencies that community psychologists can bring to public health partnerships - ecological perspectives, empowerment, sociocultural and cross-cultural competence, community inclusion and partnership, and an ethical reflective practice. 

We are so proud of your work, Kymberly, and so excited for your next chapter at Vanderbilt University's Community Research and Action PhD program!   
Suzeth L. Dunn-Dyer's Interview with "Common Ground"

As Director of Orchard Gardens Resident Services, Suzeth works with ar ou nd 2,000 families to support positive transformation in this community. Suzeth talks about the  Violence-Youth Prevention program, the Northeastern Dream mentor program and the Strengthening Families program. 

Click here to watch Suzette's interview beginning at 21:41. 

"We piloted the healing circle... so we really engaged our families, our parents to create a space for people that they knew, just to have a conversation, about matters that really mattered to this community." 
Breastfeeding "Pop-Ups" at Copley Library and Haley House 
The VVN Breastfeeding Coalition is trying a new strategy to connect with parents - "pop-up" breastfeeding events. On March 1st and 10th, we joined parents at the Copley library for their Baby Dance Party and Toddler play-groups to talk to more parents about breastfeeding and our nine drop-in support groups. 

If you're interested in hosting us for a one-time, pop-up event or a know of a location in Roxbury, Dorchester or Mattapan where parents to young infants spend time, please reach out to 
Book signing for "Pre-Father Care: Prenatal Care for Fathers"  
This month, Charles Daniels, Jr., our dear friend, Vital Village partner, and the CEO/Founder of Fathers' Uplift, celebrated the release of his book "Pre-Father Care: Prenatal Care for Fathers."
Pre-Father Care: Prenatal Care for Fathers features many stories from the fathers that we've worked with over the past few years. Those stories, as well as the personal experiences of Charles, served as the inspiration for the book. The book is available now in paperback, hardcover, and e-book format on Amazon and from other book retailers.
This is a great tool for anyone working in mental health or parent engagement services, or preparing to be a father themselves. Congratulations, Charles! Your Vital Village Network family is so proud of you. 
Vital Village Blog Village
It Takes a Village: Using Service Learning to Increase Breastfeeding Support in Boston
By Morgan Brockington 

At the beginning of the new year, the Boston Breastfeeding Coalition began to think about the best ways to make this model sustainable and what other training opportunities we could provide. We decided that another Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) training would be the perfect complement to the CLC training last summer. ROSE is an organization that was founded to address breastfeeding disparities to improve health equity among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support. With a focus on increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, ROSE seeks to normalize breastfeeding by providing resources and networking opportunities for individuals and communities.... 

To read more, click 
VVCP, a group of dedicated 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 guests at Children's Services of Roxbury! Contact  KT  
for more information.

WhenSundays, 2-3:30 pm
Where: Dudley Cafe, Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St, Roxbury
CONtexts CONtexts
What would happen if you texted KIDS to 8-8-5-8-8? 
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.       
Praising Parents  praisingparents
In this lovely article from the Washington Post, six parents reflect on what they love best about the ir children who have autism.This Autism Awareness Month, let's  take some time to highlight the strengths, joys and assets of the many families in our communities who have children on the autism spectrum. 

"Charlotte isn't valuable because her tolerance for riding in a car has increased or she's learned to initiate play with preferred peers. Charlotte has always been valuable, whether she's melting down in the corner of the classroom or quietly working on her reading."

Click here to read the full article.  

Have an interview or a video that you  think would be perfect  for next month's  Praising Parents?  Share it with us at 
Around the Network network
Father's Uplift POWER Gala 

Join Father's Uplift for their annual blue tie event, as they work to support child, paternal health, and male engagement. This year's POWER gala will combat homelessness among fathers by raising funds to create, "Boston's first residential and community safe haven for men and their families." 

When: Sunday, June 18th 
Where: Hyatt Regency, 575 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA 02139

Flash Rhyme Mob  

Join over 1,000 children in joyfully chanting nursery rhymes at several locations all over Boston. Countdown to Kindergarten hosts this annual event, as part of their ongoing efforts to, "support parents as their child's first teachers."  

Please email Josette Williams at

When: Thursday, April 27th 
Locations across Boston
The Transportation Coalition Meeting 

Come to this month's transportation coalition meeting to discuss student access to the MBTA and plan for a youth photovoice project. 

When: Thursday, April 13th 
5:30 pm 
Where: TBD
To become involved in the Transportation Coalition, please reach out to 
with the Dudley Square Neighborhood Initiative.  

Around the City city1
DotOUT's Annual Spring Thang 

DotOut's hosts an free annual brunch for the LGBTQ community in Dorchester to meet-up and brainstorm for the coming year with DotOUT. Whether you're a long-term member or just curious about DotOUT's role in Dorchester, please feel free to drop by. 

Register  here

When : April 1st, 11:30am-1:30pm 
Where : The Blarney Stone, 1505 Dorchester Avenue, Boston MA 02122
MBTA Public Meeting on the Mattapan Trolley

The MBTA will be talking with community residents about their current plans and investments in the historic Presidential Conference Car Fleet, for the Mattapan-Ashmont Trolley Line. 

Learn more  here
6:30-8:30pm, April 3rd 
Mattapan Public Library 

6:30-8:30pm, April 13th
Milton High School Auditorium 

6:30-8:30pm, April 21st 
Lower Mills Branch Public Library
Your Neighborhood, 
Your Health 

The ABCD Solutions Series want to work with community residents in Mattapan to re-design neighborhoods to promote health and thriving. 

Learn more  here

When: April 4th, 3:00-5:00pm 
Where: ABCD Melnea Cass Room, 3rd floor 
Boston Education Justice Alliance monthly meeting

Parent, students, educators and community organizations are welcome to join BEJA as they discuss how to create higher quality, more equitable schools in Boston. BEJA believes that Boston needs, "fully funded schools, no more disruptive schools closings and consolidations," and more. 

Come share your voice on the topics that matter most to you and your family!

Learn more  here 

When: April 6th, 6:00-7:30 pm 
Where: Boston Public Library - Mattapan 

DotHouse Walking Club

Looking to get in shape in a casual, social environment? Join the Dorchester Walking Club for its weekly Friday walking hour. Enjoy cheerful music and the level indoor surface. All are welcome!   
"Your choice, your pace, your health!"
Learn more here

When: Apr 14 12:00pm- 1:00pm
Where: 1353 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester House Gymnasium

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Workshop 

Join the Commission on the Status of Grandparents raising Grandchildren for a three-hour workshop and informational panel on the disease of addiction led by Lynn Girton and Ilene Mitchel. Breakfast, tea and coffee will be provided.    

When: April 12th,  9:30am-12:30am

Where: 136 H Street, South Boston Neighborhood House

Screening of Paper Tigers 

Come see Paper Tigers, a documentary about a Wisconsin school's effor ts to support children who have experience trauma. Councilor Pressley of Boston will host a Q&A  session following the screening. To buy an 11$ ticket, click  here .

When: Thursday, May 4th,  5:30-7:45PM
Where: Regal Fenway Stadium 13 & RPX,  201 Brookline Ave
Boston, MA 02115

As women navigate their experiences of pregnancy, labor and the post-partum period, they may see a range of medical practitioners. Depending on the model, an Ob/Gyn or a midwife may lead the care initiative, or they may collaborate. This review by the Cochrane Institute analyzed 15 studies that made comparisons between "mid-wife led continuous care" and other forms of care in which a doctor is involved. Women under this model received fewer biomedical interventions (like epidurals, episiotomies, forceps-assisted births and vacuum assisted births).  Interestingly, while the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth increased, there was no difference in the number of Cesarean sections overall. This meta-analysis only considered studies that enrolled women with low-risk pregnancies who did not have serious pre-existing health concerns. However, for women without these concerns, midwife-led continuity care may provide greater benefits without observed risks.  

*  Sandall, Jane. Soltani, Hora. Gates, Simon. Shennan, Andrew and Devane, Declan. (2016) Midwife-led continuity models of care versus other models of care for child-bearing women. The Cochrane Institute. 
Looking to support fathers throughout the entirety of their parenting journey? Charles C. Daniels Jr. wrote Pre-Father Care: Prenatal Care for Fathers as a guidebook for individuals and organizations. Daniels' work hosts a range of reflective exercises, personal stories and advice for practitioners. 

To learn more and purchase Pre-Father Care, please click  here
The Scoop on Stats stats
staying up to date with data measurement!

According to the School of Social Policy & Practice at UPenn, New York neighborhoods with cultural resources may be safer and healthier.

Communities with cultural resources do better....Our research clearly demonstrated that sections of the City are doing well on a number of dimensions of well-being, in spite of significant economic challenges." - Mark Stern 

Stern, Mark. Seifert, Susan. (2017) The Social Wellbeing of New York City's Neighborhoods: The Contribution of Culture and the Arts.The Reinvestment Fund.  

Job Postings
Families First Program Manager 
Families First is hiring a Program Manager for its Power of Parenting Program, through which "parents participate in twelve weeks of comprehensive programming held at a partner site in their neighborhood and four weeks of online complementary learning." The Program Manager will recruit for, coordinate and deliver the Power of Parenting program at several locations around Boston.  

For more detailed description of the position, please click  here
Smart from the Start Education Coordinator and Program Facilitator 
Smart from the Start is hiring a Spanish-speaking Education Coordinator and a Program Facilitator for their work to support families, engage communities and prepare children for school. Smart from the Start offers,"home visiting, parenting education and support, adult education, information and referrals to vital services," among other fun, educational resources. 

Anyone interested can contact:

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