April 2021 @ MPDC
Mayor Janey visits Hibernian Hall!
MPDC is honored to have hosted Mayor Kim Janey on Monday, April 5 for the rollout of the City of Boston's Inclusive Recovery Plan for Tourism & Hospitality. "There are so many wonderful things that happen every single day with ordinary people right in our neighborhoods. And so to have this campaign really validate that, I think, is so powerful -- particularly as we focus on recovery, reopening, and renewal and making sure that is equitable as we come out of this pandemic and as we deal with structural racism and the wounds that still remain here," Janey said.

Thank you, Mayor Janey, for choosing Hibernian Hall for this historic moment!
MPDC Resource Development Updates
MPDC was honored to receive a second round of funding from the Boston Resiliency Fund last month, which will allow us to continue to sustain expanded food distribution efforts among families, older adults, and residents with disabilities.

We are also thrilled to announce continued support from John Hancock’s MLK Summer Scholars Program and the City of Boston’s Summer SuccessLink programs. Together these two grants will allow MPDC to provide summer employment to nearly 40 young people beginning in July!
MPDC is excited to partner with the Drawing Democracy Fund! Funding from this award will allow us to ensure Roxbury residents have a voice in the upcoming redistricting process following the 2020 Census, intending to achieve equitable representation.
In April, MPDC received a grant of $20,000 from NeighborWorks America in response to the impact of the pandemic and in support of MPDC's 2021 weekly Food Distribution Program where staff and volunteers distribute groceries and meals to residents experiencing food insecurity. We are grateful to NeighborWorks for recognizing and understanding the importance of this project; their grant will enable us to continue food distribution through the end of the year! 
Five Questions with Marlene DaCosta
MPDC is pleased to welcome Marlene DaCosta, Geriatric Trainer & Specialist, for the new Smith House Wellness Room. Recently, Kay Mathew sat down with Marlene to learn about the work ahead to
ensure The Smith House becomes an even healthier place to live. 

K: What is your role as the Geriatric Fitness Specialist at the Smith House?

M: The Geriatric Fitness Specialist is a new position at Smith House. My role is to oversee the fitness programming of the Smith House Fitness Center. In the beginning, I will be working one on one with the residents in the wellness space, learning what their goals are around achieving better health and quality of life. During that time, I will also orient the residents on how to use the equipment safely and teaching them about the different components of exercise. 

K: What are some of the initiatives or programs you are excited about?

M: I am excited about getting the residents engaged in activities beyond the fitness room that help instill a sense of community. Small group offerings such as walks or classes are good for that type of atmosphere where the participants can feel that they are having fun while accomplishing steps toward better health together.

K: Where is your favorite place to visit in Roxbury?

M: I don’t have a particular place to pinpoint. However, I am looking forward to exploring the neighborhood and discovering the different gems that Roxbury has to offer. There are a few restaurants that I have always wanted to try, and I look forward to doing that as the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

K: What do you like to do in your spare time?

M: I enjoy listening to podcasts/audiobooks, watching documentaries, spending time outdoors, and working out.

K: What do I hope for the future of Roxbury?

M: My hope for Roxbury is that it continues on the path to prioritizing the overall health of its residents. Your health is your wealth, and having good health sets the foundation for all other aspects of your life. I noticed some outdoor areas had been revamped to encourage more physical activity, such as playgrounds and outdoor athletic spaces. Also, the work that is being done by various community agencies (MDPC included) and their partnerships around wellness services for residents is very promising. 
Farewell, Ola!
Join MPDC in wishing Hibernian Hall Program Director Olawumi Akinwumi the best of luck in her new role as Deputy Director at ArtsBoston. Ola has been with MPDC for 6.5 years and has been a creative force for Arts & Culture programming at Hibernian Hall.

Good luck & we will miss you, Ola!
Don't miss out on being a Friend
MPDC invites you to be a part of the Hibernian Hall community. It is not too late to join or renew your membership for The Friends of Hibernian Hall, which helps sustain the diverse and high-quality arts programming offered throughout the year. To learn more, contact Kay Mathew. Your donation will honor the legacy of Hibernian Hall while giving you membership in the Friends of Hibernian Hall!
No Trauma, No Drama 2021 a success
On April 23rd, Front Line Youth (F.L.Y.) hosted its third installment of the youth-led trauma support forum, No Trauma, No Drama. The event was designed, planned, and executed by the team of youth ages 14 through 20.
The evening included youth performers, a live panel with mental health professionals, discussion breakout rooms moderated by youth, and a presentation of support resources from around the city.

"We need spaces like this - where I can be myself and share all my experiences in a format that is with my family at T.E. and other teens that have experienced trauma" – Kennedy Rhone, 17, Mattapan

Joined by over 75 attendees, the event highlighted the importance of community trauma supports and how to address the lasting effects of trauma through creative outlets. Youth poets Kayla Simpson and Jael Nunez delivered powerful conscious poems about their experiences while Emcees; ExoShakeem, and Seefour; were compelling with their dynamic performances. Event presenters Khalia Hamilton and Amani Gregory kept the crowd engaged with their poised, skillful public speaking.  
Front Line Youth (F.L.Y.) is a team of dynamic and insightful youth from MPDC's Youth Programs and Teen Empowerment formed in 2018 through a grant supported by Boston Children's Hospital.
Give your input on public art at
The Dewitt Playground
Team P.L.A.Y. is working on a public art project that will be in the newly renovated Dewitt Playground. Take a couple of minutes to look at the video presentation. Marlon Forrester, a local artist who used to play basketball on the Dewitt Court as a teen, will be working with Studio Luz to bring this public art display to life. Join the community meeting TONIGHT May 4th to discuss public art at The Dewitt Playground!
Tenacity in Roxbury!
For the last 22 years the Summer Tennis & Reading Program (STRP), jointly offered through a partnership with Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department, has provided an enriching learning environment for city youth, keeping minds and bodies active during the summer.

During July and August, this public-private partnership serves nearly 4,200 Boston youth ages 6-15 through programming held in many municipal parks and a few Department of Conservation and Recreation locations across the city. This dynamic program is offered free-of-charge on summer weekday mornings and afternoons.
MPDC welcomes Kuehn Fellow
MPDC is honored to be selected as a host organization for a fellowship by the Kuehn Charitable Foundation (KCF). The Fellowship is a two-year project management position in affordable housing real estate development and is paid for by KCF. Kuehn Fellows are highly qualified individuals graduating from graduate degree programs in the Greater Boston area with affordable housing career aspirations and have gone through a competitive selection process. For 2021, 6 Kuehn Fellows are being placed at six host organizations in the Greater Boston area.
As a result of the application and interview process, MPDC is excited to be matched with Kyle Miller! Kyle will be graduating from Harvard University this May with a Master's Degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Housing, Community, Economic Development, Real Estate, and Urban Development and a Master's Degree in Public Health with a concentration in Climate and Sustainability. Kyle's experience includes internships and fellowships at Commonwealth Land Trust, MassHousing, Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, and Economic Development South. 
Housing Navigator to
launch with MPDC listings
Over our 55-year history, MPDC can list many successes in delivering on a commitment to housing access. MPDC is proud to add being the FIRST housing owner to verify all our property listings on Housing Navigator, Massachusetts!
With a launch expected later in 2021, the Navigator will bring easy access to reliable, clear information online about affordable rental options across the state. Sign up for the Navigator's newsletter to get updates on their progress and live date

Apply for MPDC's 2021
Scholarship Program!
Each year, through the Ralph Smith, Danette Jones, and Haynes Family Scholarships, MPDC helps several deserving students from Roxbury offset their college education costs.

Several college-bound applicants from Roxbury are selected annually by MPDC to receive scholarships toward each recipient's college tuition and expenses. MPDC's college scholarship program was established by a bequest from Ralph Smith's estate, our co-founder and first Executive Director, and a gift made in honor of Danette Jones, our second Executive Director. These scholarships make a meaningful difference in the lives of our young residents.

Interested in learning more about MPDC's 2021 Scholarship Program?
Contact MPDC Youth Workforce Manager, Yhinny Matos  / 617.849.6236.
The deadline for applications is 5:00 pm on June 11th.
Celebrate MPDC's 55th Anniversary
with a donation in honor of
Green & Sustainable Month
In honor of MPDC's 55th Anniversary & Earth Day, MPDC celebrated its green & sustainable achievements all month long! Ten years ago, MPDC committed to green its entire portfolio. In 2010, first-time homeowners at 20 at Luma found their utility bills added up to zero, and in 2021 each multi-family building now bears solar panels. In between, retro-fits on several of our residential buildings created a measurable smaller carbon footprint, thereby protecting the environment. Incidentally, MPDC was designated a Green Network Organization of Neighborworks America, one of the first to be designated. MPDC is proud to continue to work towards green and sustainable goals, and your donation to MPDC can honor this green and sustainable work. Contact Kay Mathew or make a contribution here.
Thank you to our April 2021
Newsletter Contributors!
Bob Pezzini
Chavella Lee-Pacheco
Dwayne Watts
Eva Ackerman
Kay Mathew
Kelly Ransom
Leslie Stafford
Meghan Higgins
Olawumi Akinwumi
Yhinny Matos
Play writing LAB
Seeking local writers, actors, directors, & producers for
Hibernian Hall’s 2021 Play Writing LAB

WHEN: Thursday, May 13th to June 17th
6 pm to 9 pm

WHERE: On Zoom

A FREE six-week virtual learning experience presented by Hibernian Hall &
Beginners and seasoned writers ages 16+ are welcome to apply.
Space is limited to eight participants so register today!
Deadline for MPDC
Summer Youth Program
Summer 2021 Jobs Available For Youth Ages 14-19

DEADLINE: Saturday, May 15th
5 pm

SYEP serves youth who are primarily Boston residents ages 14-19 for 7 weeks during the summer and places them into meaningful, paid internship positions across Boston.
To learn more contact Yhinny Matos / 617.849.6236