Volume 3, Issue 12; December 2016
Vital Village Network Leadership Summit
Are you interested in making a difference in your community?

The  Leadership Summit
The Leadership Summit will ta ke place December 13th-14th at the Nonprofit Center -  89 South Street in Boston. Tuesday's session will engage with restorative justice . Wednesday's session will focus on how we are connected by H.O.P.E.  (Health and Healing, Opportunities, and Partnerships for Child Enrichment) 

Day 1- Restorative Justice
Restorative justice is a practice growing in popularity as communities seeks conflict resolution techniques that focus on healing instead of punishment. This will be a 1/2 day workshop featuring a design-thinking session and 90-day challenge planning session. Workshop leaders include: Carolyn Boyles-Watson and Janet Connors.  Call to action lunch presentation by Josette Williams and Marisa Luse. (SOLD OUT- wait-list only)

Day 2- Connected by H.O.P.E.  
This workshop seeks to shift the conversation by highlighting the assets of our communities that are often overlooked and celebrating our many successes as we work collaboratively to improve the places where we live, work, and play. 

Please join us for a series of presentations and workshops on mindfulness, healing and art, trauma-informed strategies, safe and supportive school environments, alternative discipline strategies, asset-based data dashboards, leadership development, and hope and wellness among fathers and men of color.  Let's continue to foster hope and generate solutions to the issues affecting our community.  (LIMITED space available)

The Restorative Justice workshop (Day 1) is now full and the main session (Day 2) is also nearing capacity, so be sure to register soon! 

Go to to register or e-mail Kymberly at with any questions!

Read the Blog! Building a Network of Community Mediators
What does it mean to listen? Too often, we catch the words but not the story, not the underlying meaning. This October, twenty residents came together for the third annual Social Justice Mediation Institute, a 40-hour training led by Leah Wing and Deepika Marya, to learn a new way to listen. 

The SJMI class of 2016 came together from a range of relevant experiences including after-school programs, child support courts, and advocacy work. Some came to promote social justice in addition to peace, while others wanted to improve the communities where they live and to increase their effectiveness at work.

Read more here.
Special Announcement - What has the Vital Village Community Partnership been up to lately?  Specialevent

VVCP is collecting gifts to share with children this December who might not otherwise
 receive  presents . If you would like to donate or distribute gifts, please e-mail  KT at k or Josette at

The Vital Village Community Partnership , 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 them on Sundays from 2-3:30 pm at First Teacher to make hats, scarves, baby blankets, and other crafty designs for guests at Children's Services of Roxbury! Contact KT for more information.
Bright Spots bright
New Baby Cafe at Maverick Landing!

The Maverick Landing Baby Group opened in November! We are so excited to bring the Breastfeeding Coalition to another neighborhood in Boston! Our group leaders speak English, Portuguese, and Spanish, though of course all are welcome.
All of our breastfeeding support groups, including Maverick Landing, are now able to offer kid-packs (a backpack with clothing basics inside) and diapers to families undergoing financial stress, through our new partnership with Cradles to Crayons! If you know a mom who might benefit, please direct her to our website
Village Voices
Marisa Luse
Roxbury Community Champion and Coleman and Caiana's Mama, Cagen's wife & Arts Advocate, Community Connector

1) Where are you from? 

Roxbury, MA
My neighborhood is the reason I am an social justice activist, advocate and artist.  Roxbury is where my value system was shaped, where I developed my voice and where opportunities always led my back to the importance of family and community.  
2) Where are you at?
I am currently the Campus Engagement Coordinator and Special Assistant to the Director of Partnerships and Programs at Northeastern Crossing.  For nearly 20 years, my commitment to social justice, family empowerment, and resiliency are key values that helped me shape, brand, and implement sustainable, community-bridging programming, events, and services that thousands of residents attend or access regularly.  As a family engagement champion, I serve as a Parent Ambassador for the Boston Children's Museum, a Roxbury Community Champion for the Vital Village Community Partnership, First Teacher Advisory Board member, Co-chair for Parents for Paige Academy, and Boston Association for Childbirth Education & Nursing Mothers' Council board member, and creator of the Roxbury Family Network.
3) Where are you going? 
I want to work on creating a healthier and happier environment for families to live, stay and thrive in Roxbury. I want the pride that Roxbury families feel to translate into sustainable action and change. I want Roxbury parents and families leading the charge or at the table on issues impacting their community. In order to do so, I want to combine my social services background working with children, youth and families to continue my education in holistic health and family nursing. 
4) Who moves you? 
My family motivates and inspires me.  My daughter gave me the gift of motherhood at a very important time in my life.  The birth of my son, nearly three years ago, helped make our family stronger and better for each other.  And, my husband supports me unconditionally.  
Contact Info:  
Marisa Luse
CONtexts CONtexts

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

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 Facebook page.
Praising Parents  praisingparents
Little moments together can be very important for a child- and for their parent.
Listen to a Dad and his two-year old sing and play together to the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down."  Watch here.

Mario Loiseau and his daughter, Mabou

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

All Things Animals! 

Do you and your child enjoy learning about animals and being creative together? Come visit Boston Children's Museum to draw, paint, or collage your own animal in the All Things Animals! exhibit! Don't forget $1 Fridays!

When : Mondays 6-7:30 pm
Where : Boston Children's Museum
Zumba! With Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition

Join Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition for dancing and fun in their weekly Zumba class. Ingrid, the instructor, will lead the class in learning new fun moves and being healthy together! Bring a towel and some water. Contact Eva for more information at

When: Fridays 6-7 pm
Where: ABCD Mattapan- 
535 River St; Mattapan, MA

Afro Flow Yoga

Join Northeastern Crossing for Afro Flow Yoga, exercise, and time with friends! The class is free and open to all. 

When: Wednesday, December 14, 12:30-1:30 pm
Where: Northeastern Crossing

Also happening at Northeastern Crossing this December: 

AAUW Salary Negotiation Workshop: December 6, 5:30-7:30 pm

The #SecretSauce of Getting Healthy: December 14, 1:45-3 pm

Holiday Open House Party: December 14, 5:30-7 pm
Around the City city1
Dudley Poetry Club
"Using language for artistic expression offers us possibilities to heal, connect, entertain, educate, enlighten and challenge ourselves and our audiences. Come join us in our second year of this collaborative and supportive workshop where we share and explore various styles, forms and voices, including our own. The Fall workshop will be facilitated by local poet and professor, Brionne Janae."

When : Mondays 6-7:30 pm
Where : Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library- 
65 Warren Street; Roxbury, MA 02119

Picturing Frederick Douglass: The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century

Visit the Museum of African American History's exhibit on  Frederick Douglass, "tracing Douglass's visual journey from self-emancipated man to firebrand abolitionist and elder statesman. The exhibit narrates a photographic autobiography across a half-century of history. Come hear about Douglass' plan to present positive and accurate images of African Americans that contradict negative stereotypes of black life often seen in the 19th century."

When: December 2016 
Where: Museum of African American History- 46 Joy Street; Boston, MA
Family Gym

Do you have children ages 3-8? Would you be interested in going to a free play program with other families? Check out Family Gym, a program offered on Saturdays in the fall and spring!

  1. BCYF Blackstone Community Center
  2. BCYF Holland Community Center
  3. BCYF Madison Park Community Center
Saturdays 10-11 am
Oct. 8- Dec. 3
Feb. 4- Apr. 15

Boston Education Action Network
"The Boston Education Action Network (BEAN) - a committed group of Boston educators and community members - will be hosting a meeting on December 10, 2016 for people who care about creating an equitable education for our students."

Be a part of the discussion on challenges and opportunities in our communities to help decide where we should act!
Boston Education Action Network
Issues Assembly
When: Saturday, December 10, 2016
9-9:45 AM (house meeting)
9:45 AM-12 PM (issues assembly)
Where: TechBoston Academy
9 Peacevale Rd; Dorchester, MA 
RSVP here
On-site parking available.
Phenomenal Moms
"Join in a supportive, family friendly atmosphere as we learn about the laws around school discipline and your rights. Be part of a movement to empower parents to use their voices to move change forward for our children and communities."

To learn more about the work of Phenomenal Moms, e-mail Latoya.


Click here to learn more about mediation and if it might be the right choice for you from the ABA.*

* Emery, R.E., Laumann-Billings, L., Waldron, M., Sbarra, D.A., and Dillon, P. (2001). Child custody mediation and litigation: Custody, contact, and co-parenting 12 years after initial dispute resolution. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 323-332.

The Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas created the Community Tool Box to share tools in an accessible and useful way. Their chapter on conflict resolution provides steps to solving a conflict (including communication, brainstorming, mediation, and alternatives), a checklist to use when practicing conflict resolution, and a guide of further resources to learn more about conflict resolution.

Click here to read the chapter.
The Scoop on Stats stats
staying up to date with data measurement!

Figure 1. Differences in confidence before and after the Social Justice Mediation Institute
How does the study of mediation impact our everyday lives, workplaces, and larger communities?

During the 2016 Social Justice Mediation Institute, hosted by Vital Village Network, participants rated their confidence in abilities such as "recognizing my strengths and talents" and "managing my emotions." Over the course of the 40-hour training, the average confidence levels reported increased for each of the items shown in the bar chart above. 

Are you interested in learning more about mediation?
Please email Dominique at for more information! 
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