The Coalition News: 
Issue 6
February 2017
MLK Day Activity

On Thursday January 19th, six members of Turn it Around (EJ Slater, Geno Feeley, Shahad Faraj, Mageney Omar, Steven Wilson, and Kaltuma Mohamed) led a lesson in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Boys and Girls Club. Members of the Club's elementary school after school program, Friendship Club, learned about racism, segregation, the Civil Rights Movement, and MLK's life. During a simulation exercise, some members were given stickers and then only those with stickers received fun erasers.  

This activity was intended to help the Friendship Club kids understand that throughout our nation's history, some people have been treated as less than, simply because of their race-a factor that should be as inconsequential as a sticker.  

The children were encouraged to express their feelings throughout the activity, as well as after. Some of the words they used to describe their reactions included "segregation separated people," "sad, mad, unfair," and "your race doesn't mean you should be treated differently." 
Turn it Around instructors (from left) Shahad, EJ and Geno, reading to the Friendship Club kids.
Following the activity, one member of Turn it Around reviewed age-appropriate definitions for race, racism, segregation and another read Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier's children's book, Martin's Big Words. The children then had a discussion about some of the words that MLK used to describe his feelings and to generate change.

The participants were betw een 8 and 10 years old. Younger members (5-7 years old) simultaneously listened to Martin's Big Words and completed an art project where they drew and wrote their dreams for themselves on one side of a cloud, and their dreams for the world,  on the other.

All in all, the lesson was an extremely positive experience for Turn it Around members, Boys and Girls Club participants, and Coalition staff alike. The six teen volunteers underwent two hours of training in racial justice and youth engagement in order to prepare for the activity. 

The Coalition hopes to use this experience as a "pilot" lesson to hopefully implement this curriculum in the local elementary schools as an annual Martin Luther King day activity. If you're interested in learning more, please contact our Prevention & Education Program Coordinator, Olivia Larkin.

Turn it Around 
Basketball Tournament 2017
Saturday April 8th:  The Charlestown Coalition and Turn it Around will be hosting our third annual 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament.

The tournament will be take place at the Charlestown Community Center from 10 - 4 pm on Saturday. A pasta dinner and community activity will be held the evening before, on Friday April 7th from 6 - 8 pm, at the Charlestown YMCA. All Charlestown youth currently in 5th-12th grade are welcome to participate! Parental consent is required for all under 18. 

To register, download  this form  and return in one of the following ways:
2. Drop off to one of the following individuals:
  • Olivia Larkin, Charlestown Coalition 
  • Mr. Washington, Charlestown High School
  • Mimi Wrenn or Pete Washington, Charlestown Community Center
  • Boys and Girls Club: front desk of either building
  • Chris Ellison, YMCA

Attention local businesses and residents!

Help us to make the tournament a success for all of Charlestown's youth! We're looking for local businesses to sponsor teams, donate raffle prizes, and/or food. If you are interested in donating please reach out to Project Coordinator, Krista Matthews ( 781-835-0470) .

Voices of Recovery:
Meet Alex
Alex telling his story to the students at Edwards Middle School this past Prevention Month (Oct. 2016).

Straight Outta Charlestown:
 Turn it Around Youth of the Month!
This month, the Charlestown Coalition has selected long-term member, Mageney Omar, as our Turn it Around Youth of the Month. Mageney was chosen for her extraordinary and exceptional sense of responsibility, respect, maturity, and kindness. She is truly a model Turn it Around member, BPS student, and Charlestown youth. Congrats Mageney! We're so lucky to have you in Turn it Around.
- Olivia Larkin, Prevention & Education Coordinator

Now let's hear from Mageney herself!

My name is Mageney Omar, and I am a 16 year old ju nior at the O'Bryant School.  I moved to Charlestown about two years ago and I didn't have much knowledge about the community's drug problem. 

After moving here, a friend told me about Turn it Around and all of the things they were doing for the community such as holding events to bring people together and educating them about the  dangers of substance use disorders. After hearing all of the positive messages, I decided to join.

My goal, career-wise, is to be somewhere in health care, and therefore I think that educating others about  drugs and other substances is important, which is exactly what Turn it Around is doing. Within heath care, I want to work with little kids s omewhere in pediatrics, either clinically or through medical research.  

Because of my involvement in Turn it Around, I was given the opportunity to participate in MGH's Youth Scholars program at the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center's Pediatrics Department this past summer.

My goal for Turn It Around is for it to expand beyond Charlestown, and be both a group like this, which is
facilitated by adults, as well as one that is run by teens. 

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Charlestown Coalition, MGH Center for Community Health Improvement  | 617-726-6684  |
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