The Charlestown Coalition News: 
Issue 43
March 2020
Community Bands Together
Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
As we continue to adjust to the surreal changes in our lives and community, I am reminded how interconnected we are and of the incredible resilience and generosity that exists in the Charlestown community. Organizations have pulled together in true Charlestown fashion during this time of crisis and uncertainty:
  • The Boys and Girls Club through their dedicated leaders and staff continue to go above and beyond for their members offering resources and transformative connection.
  • The Kennedy Center, Community Center, and Harvest on Vine are working tirelessly to address the food insecurity issues that have increased dramatically during these times.
  • The YMCA is helping residents access remote fitness classes to keep our bodies moving.
  • The dedicated staff of the Edwards Middle School, Charlestown High School, Warren Prescott, Harvard Kent, and the Adult Learning Center continue to reach out to students and families to mitigate the effects of disrupted education.
  • The MGH Charlestown Healthcare Center and NEW Health Charlestown staff are working fearlessly to adapt their clinical services to safely and effectively engage patients and ensure access to medical, behavioral health, and addiction treatment.
  • The recovery community continues to band together to keep each other alive and safe.  
  • The generosity of the Mothers Association, Bunker Hill Association , and Center for Community Health Improvement , and countless others has been lifesaving for so many during this time.
As a coalition aimed at addressing social determinants of health, we know the collective impact of health equity. Every day, our core belief about community health becomes more universally undeniable:
The health of every individual in this community affects the health of us all.
The community and societal consequence of not only our individual decisions and behavior, but also the structures that create and sustain gross inequities are more evident than ever. When families do not have financial security, are denied access to medical care, are forced to live in overcrowded homes or on the streets, and do not have access to food and basic necessities, it impacts us all.
My hope is that through COVID-19 we re-evaluate our priorities as individuals, a community and a society. I hope that we come out of this with a greater appreciation for the sacredness of our relationships with others, an unveiling of what truly matters, and that we gain a newfound appreciation for how precious each moment we have here is. I hope that when this crisis nears an end, together we continue with the indisputable recognition of the collective impact of health disparities and that we gain momentum as we fight for health equity and systemic change. I have never been more proud to work in Charlestown, and I am confident that as a community, we will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
Thinking of you all and hoping you stay healthy and safe as we ride this out together,

Charlestown Coalition Director, Sarah Coughlin

How the Coalition is Operating
During the Coronavirus Crisis
With so much need within the community, now more than ever, the Coalition is quickly shifting gears to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our youth and families. To maintain the safety of clients, community members, and staff, the Coalition office is currently closed. But we are working harder than ever to see that every Charlestown resident has their basic needs met and is receiving the much-needed services to sustain physical and mental well-being. Let us know of any families that are in need, help us identify gaps in services, and work with us on developing ideas about how to best address these needs as a community. 
Below is a list of our programs and services, updated to reflect how the Coalition is operating during the current crisis. 

The Charlestown Family Support Circle (CFSC) assists Charlestown youth and families by connecting them to resources and supports in their community. We provide short term counseling, case management and care coordination services to residents to support families and increase access to services. The program also works with Charlestown providers, through the CFSC task force, to improve care coordination, taking a holistic approach to providing families support and care. We will continue to work remotely/safely with youth, families and members of the community in need of support during this time. If you need assistance or would like to get more involved in the task force, please feel free to contact Phenice at (339) 707-0654 or by email at .


In response to the long-term exposure to trauma throughout the community, the Coalition's Trauma Response Team began meeting in July 2016. The Trauma Response Team consists of Charlestown residents, staff from the Charlestown Adult Learning Center, one MGH Mental Health Clinician and staff from the Charlestown Coalition. As a collective, the group meets monthly to discuss both personal and community trauma and learn strategies to respond to such trauma. To date the group participated in a number of trauma 
response meetings and trainings in order to prepare for their roles as trauma responders. The group has helped a number of residents by supporting those in recovery, residents experiencing trauma, intervened to minimize incidents of violence and provided support to those in the community who have lost a loved one. In addition, the group plays a vital role with the coalition by participating in yearly events that provide education, support and access to services for so many in the community. The Trauma Response Team continues to meet weekly during the pandemic and they are available to support residents in the community. If you need assistance or would like to learn more about our Trauma Response Team, contact at (339) 707-0654.

Special thanks to Lisa Solomon  PHD, a Clinical Psychologist specialist  who serves as our Clinical Consultant for the Trauma Response Team. Lisa  has been an instrumental part of the group's success by providing us clinical guidance and creating a safe and trusted space where members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. She reminds each of us that our experiences are important and have helped shape who we are today. Lisa is also a very kind and caring person who often reminds us to take care of ourselves, and we appreciate her dedication to everyone in the community.
Shannon Lundin, Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, will continue to reach out to individuals struggling with substance use disorders in the community via phone or virtual meetings and assist with connecting people to appropriate levels of care during the COVID-19 crisis. Contact Shannon at (617)-320-9058 or .
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charlestown Grasp Group will not be able to meet in person. However, we are dedicated to making sure that all who are part of the Charlestown Grasp Group get the support they need during these challenging times. 
Grasp Group will be meeting virtually via Zoom - If interested please reach out to Shannon Lundin at or 617-320-9058.

The Charlestown Addiction Recovery Treatment Program (ChART), also known as Drug Court which operates out of the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court, provides an alternative to individuals with substance use disorders. 
Given the increasing rates of confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, courts across the country have suspended operations. Massachusetts courts are opened for emergency matters but closed to the public. 
The ChART Treatment Team is committed to supporting all Drug Court participants the best we can during this time of uncertainty. 
ChART Treatment Team members have been working urgently to brainstorm alternatives to help participants maintain their recovery. 
  • Team Members will use remote technology to conduct team meetings to track the status of clients.
  • Team members will provide participants with information on how to stay safe and healthy, access to virtual meeting, groups and other essential resources. 
  • Team members will use remote technology and tele-services to stay in contact with participants. 
Maintaining the safety and health of our participants is our main priority, and the court will serve as a source of information and 
support to participants and staff. 
We would like to give special thanks to the Honorable Lawrence E. McCormick, Charlestown Probation Department, North Suffolk Mental Health Association, Attorney Edward Walker, ADA Nina Juitt, and Kevin Rainsford for continuing to support our high-risk population. 

Turn It Around
Thursday youth programming will be conducted virtually via Zoom until further notice. Mswati Hanks, Turn It Around's Program Coordinator, will be staying in touch with our 
young people to assess group member and family needs. Contact Mswati at (646)-247-6208 or .
We are happy to continue our Healthy Alternatives to Substance Use with the students at Charlestown High School. We are currently meeting weekly via Zoom. We are specifically focused on teaching them coping skills to help them stay mentally and physically healthy during this challenging time. We are also connecting with their teachers, making sure they are getting the educational support they need, as well as connecting them and their families to resources.

Resources for the Charlestown Community During COVID-19
We've compiled a Resource Packet  to help community members navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Please check back frequently as this resource will be updated as new information is released.

Click here  to view the Charlestown Coalition's Community Resource Flyer that includes a list of helpful hotline phone numbers and a checklist to prepare and protect families in case of a COVID-19 outbreak at home.

Peace Park Updates

Although our attention has focused on assisting our Charlestown community during COVID-19, we have continued our unwavering dedication to the Charlestown Peace Park. Future plans for the park are now in place, and we want the community to share in the process of redesigning this meaningful space. 

The Charlestown Peace Park has been selected by  COGdesign, a pro bono landscape design service that works with under-resourced community groups throughout eastern Massachusetts, to create a blueprint for desired changes. They deliver final schematic drawings - a master plan - to clients and along with a rough cost estimate of the project. Their goal is to create together beautiful, resilient green spaces that meet neighborhood needs.

Our original plan included community meetings where residents could express their opinions and concerns and ask the design team questions in person. Now that we are unable to congregate in large groups, we're creating an online survey to keep the process moving. We will notify everyone once the survey is finalized. We will also continue to provide updates in our Newsletter and on social media, so please check back. Thank you for your patience and cooperation in making Charlestown a brighter place to be!

Turn It Around's
Art Inspired by "Coronavirus"

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, our youth group, Turn It Around is stepping up and turning this surreal time into a campaign for creativity. This group of young leaders is launching a social media campaign to help shift our focus from the fear and panic many people are feeling. And, though they understand the severity of this crisis, they also want to remain hopeful and find creative outlets to deal with the overwhelming stress. If you're on social media, please like and share their hilarious Tiktok videos, poetry, music videos and photos. We're in this together and together we will get through it!
Check out some of the youth entries below!

Find us online to view more art submissions: @Turnitaroundctn

6th Annual Turn It Around
Basketball Tournament Postponed

The 6th Annual Turn It Around Basketball Tournament has been postponed. We will send out an updated flyer once a new date has been confirmed. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to another awesome event in the future. In the meantime, check out last year's highlights on our  YouTube Channel!

FREE Recovery Activity Resources
Save the date, Recovery Community! Come to the First Church in Charlestown's parking lot on April 14th to receive your FREE adult activity book and colored pencils! Staying busy with healthy activities is a great way to get through the COVID-19 pandemic! 
*Please mind the 6-foot rule for social distancing to #stopthespread

Turn It Around :
Youth of the Month

Brianna Colon-Arroyo is March's Turn It Around Youth of The Month.
March's Turn It Around Youth of the Month is Brianna Colon-Arroyo. During this time of fear and uncertainty, Brianna has been a shining light for everyone at Turn It Around. She is constantly lifting up the other members when they are down and inspiring countless others with her artistic and vocal talents (check her out on our YouTube Channel!). Brianna's exactly what the doctor ordered for us to deal with the Coronavirus!

-Mswati Hanks 
(Youth Prevention Coordinator)

Voices of Recovery
Alison Goodliss
Alison Goodliss is sharing her journey in recovery in an interview with Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, Shannon Lundin.

Click below for the full interview.

Get Connected, Stay Informed
To learn more about our programs, our staff, community partners, resources, upcoming events, 
Turn It Around , program impact, and more, click the button below:

Charlestown Coalition  | MGH Center for Community Health Improvement  
617-726-0059 |

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