Volume 3, Issue 8; August 2016
In This Issue:

I.     Save the Date!
II.    Bright Spot
V.    Around the City
VI.   Research
VII.  Useful Tools
Save the Date:savedate
Upcoming Network Connection Meetings:
RSVP ahead of time by clicking on the date below:

When: Evans Seminar Room (Room 112A), Boston University Medical Campus. 72 East Concord St. Boston, MA 02118

A meal and parking validation for the 710 Albany Garage will be provided.

3rd Annual Social Justice Mediation Institute (SJMI):
Are you interested in making a difference in your community?
Vital Village Network is hosting the 3rd annual SJMI in which participants who complete the 40-hour training will receive a Certificate that verifies their credential as a certified mediator! This training is FREE and open to all adults (18+)

When: October 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th and 16th, from 9am-5pm
Where: Roxbury Innovation Center -  2300 Washington St, Boston, MA 02119

Leadership Summit 2016:
Mark your calendars, the 2016 Vital Village Leadership Summit has officially been scheduled for December 13th and 14th at The Nonprofit Center at 89 South St in Boston!
Bright Spot:bright
Shavel'le Olivier Leads MFFC Vigorous Youth
"Whether pedaling through the streets or finding new ways to teach their peers how to cook with real food, the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition Vigorous Youth is setting out to change the food paradigm many of its members grew up with, and are fighting to change the future for new generations-starting now." 

Vigorous Youth, a youth organization that is working to increase food access and improve health outcomes, continues to progress under the incredible leadership of Shavel'le Olivier. The organization engages students with a distinctive, flexible model of service under the mission to make Mattapan one of the healthiest communities in Boston, with easy access to affordable and healthy food. Click here to learn more about MFFC and Vigorous Youth!
Certified Lactation Counselor Training
The last week of July, Vital Village hosted an amazing 40-hour Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) Training for 40 participants at Codman Square Health Center! In 
partnership with Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding, Vital Village and Brigham and  Women's  Hospital Center for Community Health and Health Equity were able to 
provide 23 scholarships to community residents, all of whom which have committed to spreading their knowledge and volunteering at Baby Café drop-in breastfeeding groups across the city on a weekly basis for 6 months. This is part of the Vital Village Network Breastfeeding Coalition's work to improve access to breastfeeding and social support services to families living in Boston's underserved neighborhoods. 
Group Well-Child Care Pays a Visit to BCM

Vital Village and Antonio Mendez hosted a visit to the Boston Children's Museum for 14 parents and children who have been active members of the Codman Square Health Center's Parent Advisory Committee. Over the past year, Dr. Lauren Graber and Morgan Brockington have been working with these moms on a 
monthly basis as part of an iterative process to create a community and trauma-informed curriculum for group 
well-child care. This group has been highly engaged and have offered feedback on the curriculum, as well as ways for the health center to better support its patients and the community. This field trip was our way of saying "thank you" to this group of dedicated parents, while giving the children an opportunity to play, learn from, and explore the museum.
Praising Parents:praisingparents
This month we're celebrating this awesome Dad who takes his young daughter's lead in this adorable workout routine. Being silly with with your child is fun for everyone involved!

Have a video that you
 think would be perfect 
for next month's 
Praising Parents? 
Share it with us at
Around the Network:network
Citywide Kindergarten Celebration at Boston Children's Museum
Countdown to Kindergarten hosts their 17th Annual Kindergarten Celebration: a special FREE event to welcome NEW Kindergarteners
and their families to Boston Public Schools! See the DW Goes to Kindergarten Play, tour the Museum's exhibits, meet Mayor Walsh and BPS Superintendent Dr. Chang, get answers to last minute school questions, get information about Community Resources, receive free Dental and Eye Screenings, and enjoy lots of free refreshments and goodies!

When: Tuesday August 30th, 4:30-7:30pm
Where: Boston Children's Museum - 300 Congress St. Boston, MA 02210

Farmers Market at Codman Square Health Center
National Health Center Week is August 7-16, and to celebrate, Codman Square Health Center is hosting the Codman Square Farmers Market on Saturday August 7th. Health Centers deliver high quality, cost effective, accessible care while serving as critical economic engines helping to power local economies. Did you know that one in every fifteen people living in the United States depends on services from Health Centers? Go Codman!

When: Saturday August 7th, 10am-3pm
Where: Codman Square Health Center, Codman Commons - 637 Washington St, Boston, MA 02124
DSNI Multicultural Festival
Get ready for colorful stage performances and activities as DSNI hosts its 28th annual Multicultural Festival! There will be traditional music and dance, martial arts, circus performances, sports and clinics, games, face painting, inflatable entertainment, and a wide array of food and crafts from the cultures of the Dudley Neighborhood: Cape Verdean, Latin, Afro-Carribean, African American, Asian, to name just a few.

When: Saturday August 13th, 1-6pm
Where: Mary Hannon Park
- Dudley Street and Howard Avenue. Boston, MA 02119
Around the City: city
Free Park Workouts
Feeling stressed this summer? Looking to get more active and spend more time outside? Work out with Upham's Square Health Center this summer at the Park FOR FREE!

For more information, contact Susan Kelliher
by email or call (617)288-0970 ext. 8822

When: July 14th- August 18th, Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-6:30pm
Where: 650 Dudley Street, Ray and Joan Roc Community Center Fields
ParkARTS Neighborhood
Concerts and Movies
This month, have fun with your child and family at an outdoor movie or concert in your local park!

Jazz at the Fort featuring Imagine Orchestra
When: Sunday August 7th, 5pm
Where: Highland Park - 980 Harrison Ave, Roxbury

When: Thursday August 25th, dusk
Where: Ramsay Park -1917 Washington St, Roxbury

Monsters University
When: Monday August 29th, dusk
Where: Harambee Park - 930 Blue Hill Ave, Dorchester
Children's Summer Festival
ParkSCIENCE's  Children's Festival is packed full of performing arts, science-related activities  like cool experiments using household ingredients, take-home art projects , face  painting, a visit from the Franklin Park Zoo, and much more. Be sure to check out the  interactive experiments and demonstrations that are both fun and educational!

When: Tuesday August 23rd, 10am-1pm
Where: Franklin Park, Dorchester
National Night Out in Roxbury and Dorchester
Each year, National Night Out attracts over 400 residents, youth, police officers, and community leaders - all in the name of peace. On Friday August 5th there will be two locations for the National Night Out, in Roxbury and in Dorchester! There will be free games, food, and a variety of family-friendly activities available.

When: Friday August 5th, 3-8pm
Where: Edna Bynoe Playground - Orchard Park Street. Roxbury, MA 02122

When: Friday August 5th, 5:30-8:30pm
Where: Town Field Park - 1565 Dorchester Ave. Dorchester, MA
* Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans will be in attendance! 

Ashmont/Peabody Square Farmers Market
The 8th season of the Ashmont Peabody Square Farmers Market is soon approaching. The ribbon cutting on opening day will be at 4pm and there will be many special guests. Volunteers welcome!

Shop local with SNAP, WIC, Senior Nutrition Coupons, credit card or just cash. Get double SNAP benefits with Boston Bounty Bucks. Vendors include Ancient Bakers,  Cedar Grove Gardens, Foxboro Cheese Co., home.stead bakery & cafe,  On The Dot Books & More, Lisa G. Creations (a local potter), and  Spring Brook Farm, and more!

For more information call 617-825-3846, or visit

When: Friday August 5th, 3-8pm
Where: Edna Bynoe Playground - Orchard Park Street. Roxbury, MA 02122
Early Voting in Boston
Two weeks ago, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city of Boston will be hosting twenty-seven "one-day" early voting sites. "For the first time Boston will be able to allow voters to cast their ballots early from October 24, 2016 through November 4, 2016 at 5:00 p.m., for the November 8 Election." This decision will allow city residents to vote at a time that is convenient for their work and family schedule. Read the full article on voting registration  HERE !  

Voting in your local and national elections is important for so many reasons, including making your voice heard!  Click here  to learn more about the importance of voting, and the voting process itself!

Research: Research
In 2015, Zero to Three, in collaboration with the Bezos Family Foundation, took to practice the understanding that to meet the needs of babies and toddlers, you need to care about, listen to and meet the needs of their parents. The partnership surveyed over 2,000 parents of young children in a com prehensive research effort that provides new insight into the challenges parents face, what they do and do not understand about early childhood development, and what they want and need to be the best parents possible. There is much to be learned from the survey results, such as the fact that 91% of parents describe parenting as their greatest joy, and 73% also describe it as their greatest challenge. 

Click here  to explore the many key insights from the National Survey!
Too ls:Tools
Whether it's prompted by a funding source or our motivation to improve, program evaluation is an important and often critical element of the work that we all do. It helps illustrate both our assets and our challenges, and enables us to develop and progress as a result. In order to conduct a successful program evaluation, you need to be able to select an evaluation tool that suits the project at hand, what resources you have available, and the assessment's purpose. Evaluating intangible, qualitative data can be difficult, but implementing tools such as focus groups, case studies or surveys can provide you with meaningful information on program success and future refinement. 

Click here to learn more about program evaluation tools, and to find appropriate tools for your next project!
The Scoop on Stats:stats
staying up to date with data measurement!
Declining Investment in Early Education and Care
The need to invest in the future of our children through quality early education has grown critical. Federal and MA spending for early education and care has been rapidly declining over the past 16 years, resulting in a "50% decrease in the state's commitment to its youngest scholars" *. Lower budgets have resulted in early education centers being unable to maintain quality of care, retain quality educators, and in many cases, unable to stay open. The number of early education and care programs in this state has decreased by almost 3,000 from 2011 to 2015 **. To add to this, MA early educators receive minimal support and are paid an average of $25,000, which is about $43,270 less than the average salary of kindergarten teachers ***. Improving outcomes for children is severely dependent on being able to recruit and retain skilled educators to sustain high quality programming. How can we better work together to stabilize and strengthen early education and care for our children?

* Bernstein J (2013). Declines in Spending on Early Education and Care in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
** Child Care Aware State Fact Sheets. Data from state Resource and Referral Agencies for Child Care Aware's yearly MA state survey.
*** Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (2013). The Massachusetts Career Ladder and Early Educator Compensation Reform.
*** Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Massachusetts. Available via:
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