The Charlestown Coalition News: 

Issue 53

January 2021


Charlestown in Solidarity:

Race & Equity Discussion Series


Recently, at our 7th community Race & Equity Discussion, Turn It Around Youth Leader Brandon posed an important question to the group: 


Considering the current climate of race and politics in this country, and with more and more Americans feeling divided, how has this personally affected you? And what can you do, within your circle of family, friends, and associates to create more unity and less division?


The question evoked strong emotion from the participants and provided a great opportunity for people to share their personal experiences.


This month’s discussion included representatives from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and folks from the probation department at the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Thank you to all who attended and shared. We hope others will join in and continue the healing and unifying dialogue these discussions allow.

Our next meeting is March 3rd at 6pm. Register here.

Black Excellence: Dialogue Series


Come check out DA Rollin’s community dialogue series on Wednesday Feb 10th at 6pm in honor of Black History Month. Turn It Around’s Youth Prevention Coordinator, Mswati Hanks, will be a panelist along with other influential community leaders across the County.

Climate Resiliency:

Community Advisory Board

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The City of Boston’s Climate Ready Boston team has launched the next neighborhood coastal resilience planning process for Charlestown. Charlestown Coalition’s Ginaya Greene Murray and Turn It Around Youth Leader, Khalid Ali, were invited to sit on the Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the Phase II study and attended the first CAB meeting on January 26th.


During Phase II, the team will analyze the timing and location of coastal flooding in the neighborhood and will work alongside the community to develop solutions and practical next steps to protect the neighborhood from the impact of coastal flooding.


The project will be developed through frequent conversations with people who live in Charlestown. The CAB will help guide the project, and the members will serve as organizers and leaders in shaping a process that makes it easy for everyone in Charlestown to give their ideas. The planning process is expected to continue through summer 2021.


The study is led by the City of Boston Office of Energy, Environment, and Open Space with a consultant team including Arcadis, Sasaki, Woods Hole Group, One Architecture, and Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH).

Please click here for updates on the process.

Peace Park Update


Turn It Around and Charlestown Coalition’s application to renovate the Peace Park reached a significant milestone recently -- the City’s Community Preservation Act Committee ranked the project among the highest of 39 others in the open space and parks category!


Supported by City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Representative Dan Ryan, our group

requested funds to transform the space into an irrigated, landscaped green area

with seating, new fencing, paving, and a quiet section to honor those lives

have been lost to overdose and community violence. There would be enough space

to safely host Peace Park and other important unifying community gatherings,

such as our monthly Race & Equity Discussions hosted by Councilor Edwards.


In a highly competitive round for 2021, the CPA Committee must make final recommendations to the Mayor and City Council who must approve project selections, due in the spring of 2021.


The applications’ conceptual design drew from input by neighborhood residents. The

grant would cover design and construction. Final designs will be developed by a Landscape Architect, qualified and experienced in urban settings, which would undergo City and Mass DOT (the landowner) reviews with neighborhood participation. The Charlestown Preservation Society, a 501(c)3 organization, will act as our fiscal sponsor and has experience in park planning at the Training Field and Preservation Park at Thompson Square. All in all, it's turning out to be a popular and exciting project for all involved! 

Please email Ginaya Greene Murray to become more involved in this project and to learn about the "Friends of the Peace Park".

Turn It Around Youth Leaders

Peer up with Seniors

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During the month of January, Turn It Around youth met with the Director of the Charlestown Golden Age Senior Center, Meaghan Murray, to discuss a potential pilot program. The TIA youth would make bi-weekly calls to local seniors, checking in with them to help alleviate some of the isolation and pandemic stress that many of our elders are feeling. We're very excited to get this program started as we know it will benefit our young people just as much as the seniors!

Community Input Needed:

Little Mystic


Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is leading a community-driven redesign process for the park areas around the Little Mystic Channel in Charlestown (under the Tobin Bridge). Their goal? To reduce the impact of heat in the summer and provide quality, inclusive places for families to experience nature, exercise, and socialize with neighbors. 


Learn more here.

New Health Vaccination Clinics

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As part of Phase 2 of the Commonwealths’ COVID-19 Rollout, NEW Health Charlestown will be providing vaccine to eligible patients and community residents in Charlestown who are 75 years and older. 

The Vaccination Clinic’s location is at 15 Tufts Street. The entrance is located behind the health center. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment please call 857-238-1141, leave your name with spelling, address, and your date of birth with a telephone number you can be reached, and a patient service representative will call you back to schedule the appointment.

Please note in order to schedule a vaccine appointment, you must be registered with Massachusetts General Brigham’s Hospital, if not, please call 866-211-6588 to register. Screening questions to assess your eligibility at the time of scheduling will be asked as well.

If adverse events occur following the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, they should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Information on how to submit a report to VAERS is available at VAERS - Report an Adverse Event ( Including, but not limited to;

• Severe anaphylaxis or allergic reaction

• Cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome

• Cases of COVID-19 that result in hospitalization or death

Highlighting Our Community Partnerships:

John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, Inc.


Our community partners are critical in helping us tackle the most difficult issues that the community faces. By enlisting multiple partners (residents, police, schools, healthcare, faith-based organizations, and the business community), we use a collective impact approach to problem solving. Our ultimate goal is to effect change and improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Charlestown.


For the month of January, we'd like to highlight the John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, Inc. The Kennedy Center is a multi-service nonprofit organization that provides high quality educational and social service programs for Charlestown residents. For nearly 60 years, the Center has provided critical safety nets for Charlestown's most vulnerable children, families, and seniors. Their mission is to provide individuals and families in need services, opportunities, and the tools they require to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Their programs are concentrated in three areas of service: Early Education, Community Services, and Senior Services Department. 

The Early Education department promotes healthy child development and education through Head Start, Universal Pre-k, Childcare, Afterschool Care, and remote learning support. The Senior Services team offer programs and services that promote the well-being, independence, and self-esteem of seniors in the community, including JFK Home Care services. The Community Services team provides emergency assistance, food security, family engagement programs including the Charlestown Family Engagement Network, Charlestown Farmer's market, and opportunities to engage in individual and community development. 

They have been working around the clock to protect the health and safety of our community while providing services and programming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The JFK CARES program offers FREE assistance and support for Charlestown residents impacted financially by COVID-19 through food, financial assistance, case management support, and resources. 

The Kennedy Center has been a major supporter of the Coalition since it was founded. They once served as our fiscal agent and helped form the original Steering Committee. Most recently, the JFK CARES team has been working closely with the Coalition's Charlestown Family Support Circle to support families.


After Turn It Around youth hosted a Peace Park voting survey station during the summer of 2020, Crystal Galvin, Director of Community Services said, "We are big fans of the TIA Youth and hope to welcome them back to the Charlestown Farmers Market in summer 2021." 

If you've partnered with us, we'd love to hear from you. Please send us an email with details of how we've worked together along with any photos (if you have them), and we will share on our social media platforms. Let's show the community what great collaborations we've had with amazing organizations like yours!

Charlestown Family Support Circle Updates

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Over the summer the Charlestown Family Support Circle (CFSC) Task Force began talking about race and equity.  As a result of these initial conversations, we have decided to continue the discussions with the group to examine our own biases, share our experiences with colleagues while also acknowledging and taking steps to address inequalities in the community. Our first meeting took place in January, and I was touched by my colleague's personal stories and their ability to be vulnerable. I also realized that we all have a lot to say about race and that these conversations are long overdue. I invite all the members of the task force to join the discussion on the third Tuesday of every month. Our next meeting is February 16th at 11:30 AM.  

 If you would like to learn more about the task force, please contact me at at 617-726-0058. Thank you, Phenice Zawatsky.

Upcoming Coalition Meetings


Steering Committee Meeting:

February 23rd

from 12 PM -1:30 PM.

Meetings are held virtually until further notice.

Contact Sarah Coughlin for more information.

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Trauma Response Team: 


from 5:30 PM -6:30 PM.

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact

Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

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Charlestown Family Support Task Force: 

Provider Race Dialogue Discussion

February 16

from 11:30 AM -12:30 PM.  

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact

Phnice Zawatsky to learn more.

Where Are They Now?

Turn It Around Alumni

Guess Who? It's Mageney in 2017!

Find out what she is up to now and how

Turn It Around has impacted her life!

Read More

Turn It Around:

Youth of the Month

"Our first Youth of the Month for 2021 is Aliyah Madden. Aliyah’s smile has the brightness and the energy of the sun!! Her personality and positivity light up any room she is present in. Recently, Aliyah and her family moved many miles away, and Aliyah is also attending a new school. But through all of the chaos of these changes in her life, Aliyah has stayed connected to her Turn It Around family, and still attends and participates in every meeting. Aliyah has proven what we’ve known all along; That family knows no boundaries!"

-Mswati Hanks,

Youth Program Coordinator

Read More
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Voices of Recovery

Shannon McMahon is sharing her journey in recovery this month in an interview with Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, Shannon Lundin.

Read Full Interview

To learn more about our programs, our staff, community partners, resources, upcoming events, Turn It Around, program impact, and more, click below:

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