The Charlestown Coalition News: 

Issue 70

June 2022


Welcome (back) Mel!

This month, Mel Soto joined the Coalition team as the Community Resource specialist. Mel is a social worker who was an intern with the coalition back in 2018. She rejoins us to provide support for the drop-in resource center at 76 Monument St and collaborate with many of our Charlestown partner organizations. Welcome back, Mel!

Recap: Bunker Hill Week

Monday: Charlestown March Against Drugs

Meet the Trauma Team Event- Javon Robinson and George Dighton, members of our trauma team, were out meeting residents to discuss their work in the community.  To learn more about the Charlestown Coalition Trauma Response Team Click here 

The Family Support Circle and the Turn It Around youth were out at the block party educating kids and youth about mindfulness and how to train your inner dragon. Kids were invited to make dragons with the intention of using their dragons when upset, teaching them regulation skills. If you are interested in learning more, creating a dragon with your kids or for yourself, please see the below activity.  Dragon Breaths

Sunday: Parade Day! Some of our youth walked in the parade with City Councilor Coletta.

Graduation Celebrations

We celebrated so many graduates this month! Our eighth grade graduates are Sue, Crystal, Emanuel, Aboubakar and Destany - Sue, Crystal and Des will be attending Charlestown High, Emanuel will be going to Seaport Acadedmy and Aboubakar is off to O'Bryant!

Our high school seniors Aida and Cristian have overcome so much during their time at Charlestown High. Aida will be working at the Franklin Zoo, Cristian will be attending Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology - Oumar (not pictured) will be attending Northeastern University.

We also got to celebrate some of our community partner graduates from the program at Charlestown Adult Education - Mike and Tony we are so proud of you and know that this is just the beginning! 

Healthy Alternatives Program End of Year Trip

Sarah and Mswati took youth from our Healthy Alternatives group at Charlestown High to one final activity for this school year. They went to TreeTop Adventures in Canton, MA where there were multiple “trails” on their rope courses - which were varying heights off the ground. This activity taught lessons in trust, perseverance, resiliency, and conquering your fears/limitations. This is a group we’re definitely going to miss over the summer!

Race & Equity Dialogues Highlight

Since May of 2020, The Coalition, in partnership with then-Councilor Lydia Edwards, held monthly race and equity circles to share and listen to one another, with many different community members and people who work in the community. This space is valuable in that it encourages our community members to come together and share their truths. We are so grateful for everyone’s vulnerability and story.

Thank you to Senator Edwards and Councilor Coletta for their unwavering dedication and support to creating these spaces.

Join us on Tuesday, July 19th at 5:30pm for our monthly Race & Equity Discussion. This series explores important topics about the impact of race, policing in urban settings, and equity. It is open to all members of the Charlestown community and the general public. Please note meetings are once again in person!


This forum is being co-sponsored by the Charlestown Coalition, Turn It Around Youth Program, Councilor Gigi Coletta and her team.

Trauma Response Team Availability

This month our trauma team responded to the Charlestown High School  graduation after hearing shots were fired close to the ceremony. Trauma team responders provided Psychological First Aid to graduates and their families. The following day, trauma team members, along with mental health providers at New Health Charlestown and MGH Charlestown provided Charlestown High School students and staff support. 

As a result of this incident, the Charlestown Coalition and Trauma Team are working with city officials and providers to advocate for more youth resources and supports to combat the increase in violence. 

We continue to support residents affected by this incident.  The Charlestown Coalition would like to reiterate that the Trauma Response Team is available for anyone in the community needing support. If you would like to reach out to the trauma team, please contact Phenice Zawatsky at 617-726-0058 during business hours and our trauma line after hours (5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.) at 617-643-0049. 

The Trauma Response Team would like to provide training and education to the community in the fall concerning relative topics such as trauma, Psychological First Aid, mental health, and suicide prevention. If you are interested in attending a future training, please feel free to email 

Community Trainings 

The Trauma Response Team works closely with the International Trauma Center and we would like to provide training and education to the community in the fall concerning relative topics such as trauma, Psychological First Aid, mental health, and suicide prevention. If you are interested in attending a future training, please feel free to email 

Friends of the Navy Yard Event: Honoring Lydia

This month, we attended an event hosted by Friends of the Navy Yard to honor the amazing Senator Lydia Edwards' time in Charlestown. This celebration included the announcement of the first-ever Lydia Edwards Scholarship, awarded to our lovely Aida Caraballo, a senior graduate from Charlestown High. Working with Lydia over the past few years has been nothing short of amazing - and we are so proud of her moving on to the Senate! We’ve welcomed Councilor Gigi Coletta with open arms and look forward to many more years of collaboration!

Community Partner Highlight:

We are so grateful for our community partners and could not do this work without them. This month we want to highlight our long-time partnership with the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club. Not only do we share an office space with their amazing staff, but we've collaborated with the club on many events, including the Turn It Around Basketball Tournament, Recovery Day BBQ and recently our Mental Health Awareness Fair. The Charlestown Boys and Girls club is an active member of our Charlestown Coalition Steering Committee and Family Support Circle Task Force. Jointly we increase access to supports and services. The club also supports many of our Turn It Around youths by providing summer and afterschool jobs, access to the teen center, education and tutoring services, and access to supportive adults who are always willing to lend an ear or hand . 

Mental Health Awareness Day 

First Turn it Around Basketball Tournament 

Additionally, they are a huge asset to the community, providing afterschool and summer programing, jobs for youth and exposure to many enrichment programs including music, art, dance, sports, swimming and so much more. The club was a tremendous resource to the community during the pandemic, providing families and youth food resources, gift cards, hygiene products, clothes, and activity kits. 

Many of the staff are former club members and/or long-time residents of Charlestown, who are committed to supporting their community and ensuring that children and youth thrive. We want to extend a huge thank you to the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club for all their hard work and support with our coalition and throughout the Charlestown community.

We also want to send a special thanks to Jessica Rubin, Club Social Worker who has been an essential part of the club for the last 14 years. Jessica is moving to Michigan and starting a new chapter in her life. We wish her all the best! Thank you Jessica, for your contribution to the Charlestown community, the coalition and most importantly all the youth and families you have supported throughout the years. 

Upcoming Coalition Meetings

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Trauma Response Team

August 2nd   at 5:30 PM

Meetings are held at Charlestown Adult Education. Contact

Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

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Charlestown Family Support Task Force 

August 2nd  at 12:00 PM

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

Where Are They Now?


Guess Who? It's Rey!

Find out what he has been up to and how TURN IT AROUND has impacted his life!


Youth of the Month

Our TURN IT AROUND Youth of the Month for June is Emanuel Robbins. Emanuel has been deserving of this honor for a while. He is such a huge help on anything and everything we do at TURN IT AROUND. He volunteers for all events, and is always a bright light at all TIA meetings. He also has a great sense of humor, and keeps the staff on their toes with his quick and witty comments and observations. Emanuel’s been an excellent addition to the group and we look forward to watching him grow for years to come!

-Mswati Hanks,

Youth Program Coordinator

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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