Volume 3, Issue 2; February 2016
In This Issue:

I.      Save the Date!
II.     Bright Spot
III.    Praising Parents
VI.    90-Day Challenge
VII.   Research
VIII.  Useful Tools
Save the Date:savedate
Upcoming Network Connection Meeting!
RSVP ahead of time by clicking on the date below:

When & Where: 6:00-8:00pm. FGH Building, Boston Medical Center. 820 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, 02118. Childcare, dinner, and parking validation for the 710 Albany Garage will be provided.
Bright Spot:bright
Codman Academy -  A Source  of Inspiration
"The effects of trauma and chronic stress create an invisible  burden for children that makes it very difficult for them to be  healthy and live up to their academic potential. We must  address  these issues holistically in order to allow children to succeed."  -  Dr. Chan  

Last week, the front page of The Boston G lobe featured Codman Academy Charter Public School's integrative partnership with Codman Health Center. Further, it has served as inspiration for Facebook founding director Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in the creation of their own tuition-free private primary school for low-income students in East Palo Alto, California. The article follows a recently released guideline by the U.S.
 departments of Education and Health Services that proposed creating more  sch ool-based  health clinics or partnerships with  nonprofit community hospitals as a  strategy to boost young student well-being. Codman Academy's innovation is evident in a multitude of ways, including but not limited to its social justice mission, the trauma-informed design of its classrooms, and the way it builds student confidence through theater and dance classes. The partnership of a public school with a community health center exposes students to careers in health fields, which often have salaries that would allow the students to escape poverty later in life. Additionally, the close proximity of medical care reduces chronic absenteeism due to health-related problems. Read the article  HERE!
Praising Parents: parent
In response to feedback we received from Network partners, the Vital Village is introducing an exciting new piece to our newsletter. Each month we will highlight a different video praising great parents, and the wonderful, every-day interactions they have with their kids. Particularly as community residents and agencies working towards better outcomes for children and families, we are often inundated with information and opinions on parent engagement, the do's and don't's of parenting, poor parental decisions, etc. We hope that these videos help remind you of, and celebrate, all of the incredible parents out there.

Have a video that you
 think would be perfect 
for next month's 
Praising Parents? 
Share it with us  at
Around the Network:network
WinterActive Fun Fair
Join First Teacher this month for their 2nd Annual WinterActive Fun Fair! The event will feature fun, interactive activities for families with young children -- older siblings are welcome too! Get ready for live music, snacks, and tons of fun, maybe with the New England Aquarium too!

When: Saturday, Feb. 20, 1pm - 3:30pm
Where: St. Patrick's Church - 10 Magazine St. Roxbury, MA 02119

RSVP with your name, and the number of children you will be bringing (include ages too!) to (617)435-0042, or email
Family Gym at Northeastern
Looking for an easy, fun way to be active with your kids? Check out Family Gym (previously known as Open Gym), a FREE play program for families with children ages 3-8 to get up, out and moving together. No pre-registration is necessary! Please note, adult participation is required and adults must remain in the gym with their children at all times.

Family Gym will take place every Saturday from 2/6 to 4/16 from 10AM-11:30AM at their three sites: Dorchester, Roxbury and the South End!

BCM Affordable Family Fun on Friday
Join the Boston Children's Museum on the first Friday of February for a night of school readiness and Italian culture! Celebrate Italian Carnevale with face painting mask making, live music by Newpoli, puppet shows with Rick Goldin, and a skit by Pazzi Lazzi! The Children's Museum actually hosts school readiness nights the first Friday of every month, filling the Museum with story acting, science exploration, scissor skills, read-a-louds and more! Admission is always only $1 per person.

When: Friday Feb. 5th, 
Where: The Boston Children's Museum - 308 Congress St. Boston, MA

For questions or for more information, contact Antonio Mendez of BCM
Around the City: city
Social Determinants that Influence Emergency Preparedness
Social determinants of health and vulnerability among Boston communities lead to disproportionate exposure and impact from emergencies. In response, the DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness is offering a course focused on the knowledge needed to understand the needs of diverse communities while supporting response and recovery operations in the City of Boston after an emergency. 

Course faculty include Chief Resilience Officer Atyia Martin, and Dr.
Snehal Shah of the
Boston Public Health Commision

When: Thursday, Feb. 11, 6-8pm (check in at 5:30)
Where: 785 Albany St.
Boston, MA 0211
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with VietAID
Welcome to 2016, the year of the Monkey!  VietAID invites you to join them in celebrating the Lunar New Year (Tet). Tet is considered the biggest and most important festival for the Vietnamese people. This is a holiday bearing historical and cultural significance and is celebrated by time-honored traditions. VietAID annually hosts a Lunar New Year celebration, which always draws crowds of 250-300 people. This year will include traditional ceremonies, entertainment, children's games and, of course, food and drink.

When: Saturday, Feb. 20
11am - 2:30pm
Where: Vietnamese American Community Center. 42 Charles Street, Dorchester, MA 02122
Middle Eastern Refugee Solidarity Dinner
Join Dorchester People for Peace for an evening of delicious middle eastern food, activities for children, and speakers on the refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East. Speakers include Angela Kelly who recently delivered supplies to refugees in Greece, and  Jeff Klein, who will discuss political factors affecting the refugee crisis. 

$20 donations will be collected for Oxfam: an organization currently on the ground with refugees in Greece. 

When: Sunday, Feb. 28, 5:30pm
Where: First Parish Church - 10 Parish St, Dorchester, MA 02122

For more information, call Dorchester People for Peace at (617)698-0774.
Free Dental Services for Children: Annual Give Kids a Smile Event
Harvard School of Dental Medicine is offering free dental services for children ages 1-17 including dental cleanings, oral and orthodontic exams, referrals and more. Children can receive free athletic mouth-guards, and learn all about being a dentist through hands-on activities. To schedule an appointment call 617-432-1434, and select Option 1. For questions, visit the Facebook event page or email

When: Saturday, February 6. 9am-12pm
Where: Harvard Dental Center - 188 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Black History Month Film Series
The Lower Mills Branch of the Boston Public Library (BPL) is hosting a film series in honor of Black History Month. Read more about the Film Series and the movies chosen on the BPL calendar HERE!

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
1967, NR - 108 min
Friday, February 5, 1 p.m.
1989, R - 122 min
Friday, February 12, 1 p.m.
In the Heat of The Night
1967, NR - 109 min
Friday, February 19, 1 p.m.
Malcolm X
1992, PG-13 - 201 min
Friday, February 26, 1 p.m.

Where: Lower Mills Branch of BPL - 27 Richmond St, Dorchester, MA 02124

Notes from the 90-Day Challenge: challenge
The 90-Day Challenge is fully in motion, as our partners continue to pursue their aims to create positive, measurable change within the Codman Square, Dudley, and Mattapan communities.  Thank you to those who participated in our last 90-Day challenge call; it was a great success! As a result of the call, we were able to:

* Form new network connections
* Create an interview tool
* Provide suggestions for enhancing community engagement

We are eager to support you during your 90 Day Challenge and hope that you will join us for the next call on Wednesday, February 3rd from 12pm-1pm. Call in at  (855)708-2424.  Next, enter 43816 followed by the # key

February 7th marks Day 60
 of our challenge!
Research: Research
An MRI study published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals the ways in which poverty detrimentally affects brain development, and eventual academic achievement, in children. When analyzing the brains of children living below the federal poverty line, researchers found regional gray matter brain volumes 8-10% below the benchmark that is considered developmentally normal. In considering these findings, we are reminded of the critical need for early interventions such as preschool education: the importance of which was illustrated in the Perry Preschool Project. In a randomized controlled trial with at-risk African American children living in poverty, those who had attended high-quality preschool programs were later found to have had fewer teen pregnancies, lower arrest rates, higher incomes, and were more likely to graduate high school. These measures strongly indicate the effectiveness of preschool in improving health outcomes for children.

Click on the following links to learn more about the  MRI study and the  Perry Preschool Project
Too ls:Tools
Co-author of the book Measuring the Networked Nonprofit Beth Kanter is adamant that you don't need to be a trained statistician or graphic designer to measure and illustrate data for your nonprofit or agency. For very little effort and money, you can create incredible infographics, charts, and other visualizations. A clear and eye-catching visualization has the capacity to tell a compelling story about your work, or a recently discovered insight. From the Microsoft Office suite, to online tools such as PiktoChart and infog.ram, there are tons of inexpensive, accessible tools available. Choose the one that's right for your own skill-set and visualization needs, and you're ready to begin!

To read more about available data visualization tools, and to start work on illustrating your own data, click HERE!
The Scoop on Stats:stats
staying up to date with data measurement!
Social Justice Mediation Institute (SJMI) Comparative Competencies
Now several months following the 2015 Social Justice Mediation Institute (SJMI) training, we are afforded the hindsight to reflect productively on the event. The SJMI 2015 graduates were a diverse, engaged group of community leaders and residents, 80% of whom live in the neighborhoods our Network focuses on: Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester. Through peer-to-peer learning and expert facilitators, SJMI participants strengthened skills necessary to voice their needs and advance their standing in all facets of their lives: educational, professional and personal development, communal and medical. Statistical analyses of the surveys administered before and after SJMI strongly indicate the success of the program. In one question, participants were asked to rate their confidence in certain abilities on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being not at all confident, and 7 being very confident). Following the SJMI training, participants self-identified increased confidence in abilities such as recognizing their own strengths and talents, and serving as an advocate for themselves and their family. Certain competencies, such as the ability to help others solve problems using mediation, showed a 45% increase in self-identified confidence level.  By thinking reflectively and employing comparative analysis, we aim to effectively close the feedback loop.
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