January 2020 @ MPDC
Hibernian Hall hoppin' with civic engagement events!
On January 9th, Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia held her inaugural celebration at Hibernian Hall . Councilor Mejia is the first Afro-Latina woman to be elected onto the Boston City Council. She rejoiced with her family, friends, and over 200 supporters. The night was filled with love, excitement, and support from City and State officials in attendance. Congratulations, Julia!
On January 11th, MPDC welcomed Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and the Congressional Black Caucus for their 'State of Black America Tour' visit to District 7. The two-day tour concluded with a town hall-style conversation on the Punitive, Unfair, School-Based Harm that is Overt and Unresponsive to Trauma (PUSHOUT) Act with over 260 community members at Hibernian Hall.
A joyful January at
The Dewitt Center
The Wellness Collaborative Inc. held 'Beyond Soul Food ,' a free public event at The Dewitt Center, which focused on critical topics using a community-based participatory format. Participants discussed alimentation food , botanical medicine , and the impact of the environment on health and well-being . The Wellness Collaborative, Inc., founded by three black women, is a social and educational enterprise that provides an innovative solution to eliminating health care disparities in African American communities experiencing disproportionate impact.
The Dewitt Center closed out 2019 & celebrated the holidays with a party for their teen members organized and staffed by Dewitt Center interns and youth volunteers. The evening included video game tournaments in the Teen Room, board games in the Tech Lab, a five on five basketball tournament in the gym, and a photo booth . At the end of the party, the teens unwrapped gifts of new supplies for their enjoyment at The Dewitt Center, including PlayStation 4 games, board games, and new basketballs.
Empowering Generations of Leaders welcomed 2020 with 'Envisioning 2020,' a vision board making party at The Dewitt Center. This goal-setting event encouraged participants to create a visualization of their goals using poster boards and magazine clippings. Each attendee created a board with images to inspire them throughout the new year.
On January 8th, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, in partnership with The Boston Foundation and the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association , facilitated panel conversations on affordable housing at The Dewitt Center. The goal of the event was to discuss building political will for housing policies that meet many housing needs including, affordable rental housing , homeownership opportunities , walkable neighborhoods , and addressing displacement . Many gathered to continue the conversation on the affordable housing crisis and aimed to collectively take action to the next level and unlock the potential solutions. Leslie Reid, MPDC CEO, sat on the panel and discussed MPDC’s origins and current work as an example of how housing production can be driven by members of the community .
Stay connected by following The
Dewitt Center Facebook & Instagram pages!
Updates from MPDC's Real Estate Team
2451 Washington Street is an exciting   MPDC home-ownership project  in Nubian Square that includes 16 new construction, mixed-income housing units . Construction of these  future homes for families  began in September 2018 and is 66% completed with a projected May opening. The development comprises 3 one-bedroom 8 two-bedroom , and   5 three-bedroom  units and features contemporary designs along with parking.  Four units are dedicated to households earning 80 percent of  area median income  (AMI),   3 units at 100 percent of AMI ,  and  9 units priced at market rates . We are working with the Boston Fair Housing Commission to complete the lottery for the seven affordable units, for which 1,400 families applied.
In October of last year, the construction crew working at 2451 Washington St came across a 5' gravestone for Herman Mann (cousin of Horace Mann ) from 1833.
MPDC staff called the City of Boston Archaeology Program staff and a forensic anthropologist visited the site to determine if a gravesite was uncovered. They were on-site for the remainder of the excavations finding evidence that the gravestone was located inside a filled-in basement, not a cemetery.
The stone was donated to the City's Archaeology Program and is presently being stored at the City Archaeology Laboratory .
Thank you, Friends and Supporters!
MPDC wants to thank its 2019 supporters and donors; our work is richer, broader, and more effective because of you. We hope you continue your support in 2020!

How can YOU support
MPDC in 2020?

-Become a Friend of Hibernian Hall where your membership supports arts and culture in Nubian Square and provides benefits in the form of special receptions and reduced-price tickets.

-Make a donation to the impactful work of The Dewitt Center , where young people and the entire community have the opportunity to learn, participate in recreational activities and come together for essential neighborhood discussions.

-Contribute an annual or monthly donation to the overall work of MPDC to achieve health equity, public safety, positive youth development, and access to affordable homes for residents of Roxbury. 

You can always donate online or send your contribution to
MPDC, 184 Dudley Street Roxbury, MA 02119. 
Thank you!
Dewitt Center Program Spotlight:
Boston City-Wide Strings Orchestra
The Boston City-Wide String Orchestra (BCWSO) is a multigenerational orchestra for string players who live in the greater Boston area. The purpose of the BCWSO program is to provide instrumental music lessons for those who desire to play but cannot afford the tuition and instruments. The BCWSO meets twice a week at The Dewitt Center and provides one on one 30-minute string lessons, including violin, cello, and bass. The group publicly performs four to five times per season. The BCWSO recently performed at Roxbury String Fest sponsored by The Celebrity Series at Hibernian Hall.

For more information on BCWSO, contact Erica Davis / 617.275.7709.
Winter Immersion Project
at Hibernian Hall
From January 2nd to 5th, The Winter Immersion Project began the new year with workshops instructed by the Boston Dance Theater . The four-day dance workshop was designed to be a rigorous training experience for motivated dancers , ages 16 and older, within a professional contemporary dance company environment. Throughout the course, they housed 30 students who took the daily classes taught by company members.
Stay connected by following Hibernian Hall!
Partnerships abound at MPDC
Earlier this month, Liberty Mutual announced the first round of recipients of a $5 million investment in ending youth homelessness in Boston, and MPDC is honored to share that we have been selected as one of their awardees! This award will support MPDC’s Opportunity Employment Program , which provides youth between the ages of 16 and 24 without a high school degree with workforce training, HiSET classes, mental health services, and mentoring. The award will also allow MPDC to partner with Metro Housing Boston to provide individualized housing search support as well as workshops designed to proactively educate youth on the housing system to prevent homelessness from becoming a reality in the first place. Thank you, Liberty Mutual, for your investment in young people in Boston!
We would also like to say thank you to the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation for their investment in MPDC’s 2020 Kid’s Garden Club . Support from the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation will help MPDC grow this popular initiative, which provides children with hands-on gardening, nutrition education, and team-building skills all at MPDC’s Hope Community Garden.

Do you know a child between the ages of 2-11 that you would be interested in registering for Kid’s Garden Club?
Please complete this short form by March 15th or contact Leslie Stafford / 617.849.6231 for more information.
MPDC was thrilled to get to know its new partner, Life Science Cares (LSC)! MPDC attended the ' Partner Pitch ' event on Wednesday, January 22, where Katrina Conrad , MPDC’s Workforce Diversity Project Manager, had the chance to “ pitch” MPDC’s work and share how LSC members can get involved .

MPDC looks forward to working with Life Science Cares in 2020!
Meet 2019 MPDC Scholarship Recipient:
Mohamed Abanoor
My name is Mohamed Abanoor and I cannot believe that I am nearly done with my freshman year at Gallaudet University , where I am majoring in Government and minoring in Criminal Justice .

Last semester, there were many unforgettable moments! I was very fortunate to have my government professors advocate for me to serve as an intern on Capitol Hill. My professors and Gallaudet University President Cordano encouraged me to apply for the internship with U.S. Senate. I was hesitant but, a month later, I found out that the U.S. Senate’s office appointed me for an internship this Spring . I am thrilled to take my experience to the next level for a life-changing experience for me to learn the government behind the scene in Capitol Hill!

In 2019, I received a scholarship from Madison Park Development Corporation and it has significantly lightened my financial burden. This scholarship has allowed me to focus more on the most crucial aspect of school: learning. MPDC's generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to my community . I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as MPDC helped me.
I cannot wait to represent MPDC on Capitol Hill!
Each year, through the  Ralph Smith, Danette Jones , and  Haynes Family Scholarships , MPDC helps  several deserving students   from Roxbury  offset the cost of their college education .

Several college-bound applicants from Roxbury are selected annually by MPDC to receive scholarships ranging from   $250 to $3,500  toward each recipient’s  college tuition and expenses . MPDC’s college scholarship program was established by a bequest from the estate of Ralph Smith, 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 .
Are you interested in learning more about
Contact MPDC Youth Workforce Manager, Yhinny Matos   / 617.849.6236
Bringing the Opportunities Industrialization Center back to Roxbury
Madison Park Development Corporation, in collaboration with Opportunities Industrialization Center – Rhode Island (OIC) , will welcome alumni and friends back to Hibernian Hall for The OIC-Greater Boston Reunion celebration on April 18th from
3 pm to 7 pm.

OIC, a nonprofit agency specializing in job training for disadvantaged communities across the nation, operated its Greater Boston training facility inside of Hibernian Hall from 1968 to 1980. Trainees received instruction in auto repair, keypunch, electrical, and other entry-level skills.

At the reunion, MPDC will kick-off its first Pilot Construction Workforce Program, Madison’s Train 2 Trade – in partnership with  Madison Park Vocational Technical High School  and honor two community champions (Greg Mumford of Youth Build-Boston and Kenell Broomstein, IBEW) with the Chuck Turner Visionary Award.

MPDC staff plays a starring role in Bodega Makeover
MPDC's Health Equity & Wellness Organizer, Leslie Stafford , participated in The Bodega Makeover Project . Leslie was instrumental in MPDC's ' Rethink your Drink ' initiative in Roxbury bodegas and supermarkets. Leslie is always focused on access to healthier food in Roxbury! She recently worked with The Bodega Makeover Project to promote healthier options, and to tell the stories of Hispanic/Urban communities that have less access to healthy food , while simultaneously connecting families and communities. Please check out the awesome video about the project. Thank you to Evelyn Brito , Executive Producer of The Bodega Makeover Project, for including MPDC!
A jolly January for MPDC Youth
MPDC Youth Leaders had a tremendous January full of events! MPDC youth attended events with elected officials including, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley , Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia , Senator Ed Markey , and State Representative Nika Elugardo . MPDC youth leaders Naesoj, Lance, and Yohanna, attended Julia Mejia’s inauguration at Hibernian Hall and will be serving as interns in her office this Spring at Boston City Hall.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, seventeen MPDC Youth Leaders attended the Museum of Fine Art’s "Ancient Nubia Now " exhibit. The exhibition features magnificent jewelry, pottery, sculpture, metalwork, and more from the MFA’s collection of ancient Nubian art. Through a majestic display of art and objects, “Ancient Nubia Now” confronts past misinterpretations and offers new ways of understanding Nubia’s history and contemporary relevance.
MPDC Staff Spotlight:
5 Questions with Eva Ackerman
As a way for our community to learn more about our staff members, we have started the '5 Questions' series. These monthly interviews in our newsletters feature five random questions with an MPDC staff member.
This month we are chatting with Civic Engagement Fellow,

 1. What role does the Civic Engagement Fellow play at MPDC?
E : The Civic Engagement Fellow is a one year position, specifically to work with the Civic Engagement team on the 2020 Census. I have been placed at MPDC through JOIN: Jewish Organizing Institute & Network .

2. What are some Civic Engagement initiatives in 2020 that you are excited about?

E : I am looking forward to ensuring that everyone in Roxbury is counted in the 2020 Census ! I am also excited to support the Madison-Whittier Coalition as they continue to push for community participation in city planning.
3. Where is your favorite place to visit in Roxbury?
E : I’ve always been a fan of the Haley House’s cookies; I’m excited about their relaunch!
4. What do you like to do in your spare time?
E : I enjoy reading, swimming, and hiking. I also spend a good chunk of time advocating for open discourse on Israel/Palestine in Jewish institutions.
5. What do you hope for the future of Roxbury?
E : I want members of the Roxbury community to continue to build power and shape the future of Roxbury – and for public officials to make those demands a reality.
What I Didn't Know About College Series
Join the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority for this exciting series!

WHEN:  February 5, 12, 26
6:30 pm - 7:30 p m

(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

February 5th- FASFA and Financial Aid
February 12th – College Application Process
February 26th – 1st Year College Forum
Food Distribution @ The Smith House
This food distribution takes place every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday at The Smith House.

WHEN:  Friday, February 7 & 21
6:30 pm - 7:30 p m

WHERE:  The Smith House
(757 Shawmut Avenue, 12th floor, Roxbury)

Join MPDC & Lovin' Spoonfuls for a healthy food distribution at The Smith House.
NEW DATE: Mel King Institute Training:
Introduction to Census Data
Learn all about the 2020 U.S. Census !

NEW DATE:  Friday, February 14
1:00 pm - 4:00 p m

(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

This introductory-level, hands-on workshop will help you learn about some of the latest online tools available to help you assemble, analyze, and present data from the U.S. Census for your community.
Registration is required.
This food pantry takes place every 3rd Saturday at The Dewitt Center.

WHEN:  Saturday, February 15
10:00 am - 1:00 p m

(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

Rice, beans, canned goods, fruit, and more available every month at the food pantry. All are welcome!
Business 101: Commercial Space
Join the City of Boston's Department of Economic Development for a 5-part workshop!

WHEN:  Tuesdays, February 24 to March 16
5:30 pm - 8:00 p m

(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

Are you thinking it’s time to look for a commercial space? Congratulations! The City of Boston understands this is a big responsibility and a large step forward for you and your business. Whether you’re ready to expand your home-based business or looking for a space for a brand new concept, this series aims to arm you with the information you need to begin this exciting process.
Madison Park Village - Village In Progress Monthly Meeting
This monthly community meeting for MPV takes place every 4th Tuesday at The Smith House.

WHEN:  Tuesday, February 25
6:00 pm - 7:30 p m

WHERE:  The Smith House
(757 Shawmut Avenue, 12th floor, Roxbury)

Join MPDC & Village in Progress (VIP) for a monthly community meeting to discuss events, activities, resources, public safety updates, and more.
Orchard Gardens - Village In Progress Monthly Meeting
This monthly community meeting for Orchard Gardens takes place every 4th Thursday.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 27
6:00 pm - 7:30 p m

WHERE:  25 Ambrose Street, 2nd Floor, Roxbury

Join MPDC & Village in Progress (VIP) for a monthly community meeting to discuss events, activities, resources, public safety updates, and more.
Still I Rise: 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
Boston Children's Chorus ' annual concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 27
7:00 p m

  WHERE:  Hibernian Hall
(184 Dudley Street, Roxbury)

This annual concert shines a light on the struggle to be seen and recognized. Maya Angelou’s anthemic poem reminds us of our hidden power to transcend boundaries. Featuring selections from composers like Duke Ellington, Melanie DeMore, and Stephen Sondheim, this performance at Hibernian Hall will inspire you to rise and reach for your sky.
The Dewitt Center is a Polling Location!
Get out the vote at The Dewitt Center!

WHEN:  Tuesday, March 3
7:00 a m - 8:00pm

  WHERE:  The Dewitt Center
(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

The Dewitt Center is a polling place for the Presidential Primary Election.
Donuts with Your Delegation
Save the date for MPDC & Nuestra 's annual round-table with local elected officials!

WHEN:  Thursday, March 12
8:30 am - 11:00 am

  WHERE: The Smith House
(757 Shawmut Ave, 12th Floor, Roxbury)

Join us to advocate with Roxbury local and state elected officials.
We want to hear from YOU!

MPDC Holiday Hours
Madison Park Development Corporation offices, The Dewitt Center & Hibernian Hall will be 
Closed: Monday, February 17, 2020
MPDC offices & Hibernian Hall closed:
Monday, February 24, 2020 for our annual staff retreat
We apologize for any inconvenience.