Volume 3, Issue 1; January 2016
In This Issue:

I.     Save the Date!
II.    Bright Spot
VI.   Research
VII.  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, Evans Seminar Room (Rm 112A). Evans Building, BU Medical Campus. 88 East Newton St, Boston, MA, 02118
Chi ldcare, dinne r, and pa rking validation for the 71 0 Alban y Garage will be provided.
Bright Spot:bright
Father's Uplift Holiday Party
Last month, the Vital Village Network supported our partner, Father's Uplift, in hosting a Holiday Party for over 90 parents and 75 children. Families celebrated over holiday-themed games, crafts, face-painting, balloon animals, dinner and dessert. Together we reached out to the community and collected nearly 150 gifts for the kids! Parents at the Holiday Party all received The Polar Express books to read to their children. A big thank you goes out to our Network volunteers, without whom this amazing celebration of single fathers and families would not have been possible: Jeri Robinson, Antoinette Hughes and her two nieces, Sean Pinnick (our Santa!), Elizabeth Asefa, Amber Boyd, Rosalyn Johnson, Jasmin Taylor, Tanya Jackson, and all of the men from Father's Uplift. We also would like to thank our incredibly generous sponsors and donors: The Boston Children's Museum, Magic Beans, BMC Grow Clinic, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Target - Watertown, and Cradles to Crayons.
Around the Network:network
BPS First Registration Period for Kindergarten
The first registration period for BPS kindergarten started off Monday, January 4th and continues through the 29th of 2016! Keep in mind that school assignments are made after each registration period ends, using a lottery system, so it doesn't matter when you register within a particular period -- it's not first-come first-served and everyone has the same opportunities as long as they register within the earliest period. 

When: January 4 - 29
Where: Pre-Register online, and finish the process at a BPS Welcome Center near you!

Learn more about BPS registration using this helpful "Ready, Set, Go" guide!
Reverse  College Fair
Do you know of, or work with, high school students interested in learning more about options after high school? DSNI's Reverse College Fair is a great way for youth to be inspired, motivated and to get information by and from other young people like them who have gone on to do great things after High School. 

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments provided.

When: Tuesday, January 12th, 6-8pm
Where: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative - 504 Dudley St. Roxbury, MA 02119

RSVP with Liz Miranda at [email protected], or call (617)442-9670 x210
Japanese New Year
Join the Boston Children's Museum as they celebrate the Year of the Monkey at this year's Oshogatsu, or Japanese New Year celebration.

Festivities will include live Taiko Drumming, Shishi-Mai Lion Dance, Chado tea ceremony demonstrations, Giant origami making, Omikuji fortune telling, Japanese New Year games, and more! Participate in Mochi-tsuki - Rice-Pounding Ceremony and pound this year's mochi rice to bring a lot of new year's good luck for the Year 2016!

When: Saturday, January 24th, 11am - 4pm
Where: Boston Children's Museum - 308 Congress St. Boston, MA 02210

Boston Fathers & Family Network Workshop 
In this "Fathers and Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development" Workshop , practitioners learn to combine research in parenting and child development with evidence based strategies on engaging fathers. Participants discuss father inclusion when teaching nurturing parenting behavior, helping parents develop appropriate expectations and learning how to recognize and respond to each child's specific needs. 

Click HERE to register, and to learn more!
For questions, contact Tom Blackler at [email protected] or (617)502-8752

When: Friday, January 15, 10am - 12pm
Where: The Children's Trust - 55 Court Street. 4th Floor. Boston, MA. 02108
Around the City: city
Free Tax Preparation
For Families Who Earned Less Than $54K in 2015, get your taxes prepared for free! If eligible, you will also be able to receive tax benefits. This program is brought to you by the Boston Tax Help Coalition, and goes on beginning Wednesday January 20, 2016 through April 15, 2016. 

Find out here if you, or someone you know, qualifies!

When: Mondays & Wednesdays from 4-8pm, as well as Saturdays from 9am-1pm
Where: Codman Square Wellness & Fitness Center - 450 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA 02124
Dorchester Winter Farmers Market
Check out the Dorchester Winter Farmers Market tomorrow morning, and every Saturday thereafter!
Vendors include: Oakdale Farm, Riverdale Farm, Laszlo Farm, Red's Best Fish, Ancient Bakers, A Touch of Silva, Beauty N Simplicity, and Clara's Bean.

You can use your SNAP EBT cards and get up to $10 of farm fresh food FREE through Boston Bounty Bucks.

When: January 9 to March 19, Saturdays 10am - 1pm
Where: Great Hall, 6 Norfolk St, Dorchester, MA

For questions, contact Jerry Samy!
Town Meeting on BPS
Are you concerned for how your child and neighborhood will be impacted by changes to Boston Public Schools? Wondering how you can work together to advocate for solutions that work for ALL students? Join Boston Education Justice Alliance for a town hall meeting! All parents, students, teachers, and community members are invited to attend!

Meeting Agenda:
- The Boston Compact and Enroll Boston
- School Closures
- The impact of the charter school ballot initiative
- Democracy and transparency
- Improving our schools!

When: January 14, 6-8pm
Where: Madison Park High School: 75 Malcolm X Blvd
Beyond Ferguson: Social Injustice and the Health of the Public
The BU School of Public Health hosts a symposium this February exploring how we as a society can create conditions by which people are treated fairly by the criminal justice system. It will focus on the intersection of race, criminal justice and public health. The format will be a combination of keynotes; dialogue with a member of the affected community and the legal system; and a panel discussion to address sources of social supports and to develop an action agenda to address the identified issues. Register here!

Featured Speakers:
Cornell William BrooksPresident and CEO of the NAACP
Mary BassettCommissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Click here to read Dr. Bassett's recent article of incredible importance: "#BlackLivesMatter - A Challenge to the Medical and Public Health Communities"

When: Wednesday, Febr. 3, 8:30am -3pm
Where: BU School of Public Health Instructional Building - 72 East Concord St. Hiebert Lounge. Boston, MA. 02118.
Community Talks: Why Mentoring Matters
Silver Lining Mentoring empowers youth in foster care to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. Join them this month for a conversation on mentoring and how you can change the lives of youth in foster care.

To RSVP, call (617)391-9066 or email [email protected]

When: Tuesday, January 19, 5-6pm
Where: South End Public Library. 685 Tremont St. Boston, MA. 02118

Learn more about the organization Silver Lining Mentoring HERE!
Notes from the 90-Day Challenge: challenge
Get ready, get set... GO!   The 90-Day Challenge officially launched at the end of the Vital Village Network's 2015 Leadership Summit. As individuals, or in collaboration with a team, summit participants set aims to create positive, measurable change within the Codman Square, Dudley, and Mattapan communities. The Challenge incorporates five key steps: set aim, develop an improvement plan, build collaboration, measure growth, and share success. Throughout the process, the Vital Village Core Team supports our twenty-one Network's pledges through a group message board hosted on BigTent, monthly Network Connection Meetings, and bi-weekly group conference calls, encouraging individual meetings as well.
January 8th marks Day 30
 of our challenge!
Research: Research
For many of the families we work with as a Network, opportunities for direct parent-child play time is limited because of financial, work, and other familial factors. This makes the quality of child play-time even more important. Though electronic toys often appear educational and stimulating, studies support that books and more traditional toys encourage more parent-child verbal interactions. These conversations build a foundation for the child's literacy skills, serve as a source of socio-emotional development, teach the child essential social skills, and even give parents a window into their child's developmental stage and struggles.
Read the full article here!
Too ls:Tools
Currently children consume 3 times more sugar than the maximum recommended daily intake: making children more vulnerable to long term problems such as tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This month marks the start of a new campaign, Change4Life, encouraging parents to take control of their children's sugar intake, and to get "sugar smart". To achieve this end, a new Sugar Smart app has been launched to help parents see how much sugar there is in everyday food and drink. The free app works by scanning the barcode of products and revealing the amount of total sugar it contains in cubes and grams.

To learn more about getting "sugar smart", and download the app HERE!
The Scoop on Stats:stats
staying up to date with data measurement!
        Social Isolation                 Low-to-No Income                People of Color
Hot Spots of Vulnerability
Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Boston Atyia Martin served as the Keynote Speaker at the Vital Village Network 2015 Leadership Summit. Martin captivated the audience with a dialogue on social determinants of vulnerability in our city. Further, she discussed the ways in which the interaction of multiple social factors intensifies post-incident outcomes such as displacement, illness, loss of employment and violence. Three social factors in particular are strongly correlated with heightened vulnerability: social isolation, low-to-no income, and people of color. The neighborhoods consistently the highest concentrations of people experiencing these factors prove to be the very neighborhoods we work with: Mattapan, Roxbury, and South Dorchester. Through the hot spot analysis maps illustrated above (hot spots highlighted in red), we see this geographic concentration first hand. What are the implications of these findings for our work? How can we begin to consider the social factors people may be facing in the communities we engage? 

Learn more about social determinants of vulnerability 
and the hot spot analysis maps  HERE.
Stay Connected
88 East Newton St. · Vose Hall, 5th Floor ·  Boston, MA · [email protected] · 617.414.3674