The Charlestown Coalition News: 

Issue 55

March 2021


City Council Vote on Peace Park

 Renovation Project

In February of 2021, the Boston Community Preservation Committee (CPC) approved a recommendation of $500,000 in funds for the Charlestown Peace Park Renovation Project. The grant would fund design and capital improvements, including site preparation, paving, lighting, built features, furnishings and water access to the park.

On March 31st, the City Council held their final hearing to vote on the CPC recommendations in allocating Twenty-Five Million Five Hundred Thousand Three Hundred Seventy-Four Dollars ($25,500,374.00) from the Fiscal Year 2021 Preservation Fund revenues for community preservation projects. The CPC recommended $13,617,850.00 in affordable housing projects, $5,598,569.00 in historic preservation projects and $6,283,955.00 in recreational use and open space projects of which $500,000.00 would fund the Charlestown Peace Park Renovation. To our excitement and delight, the vote was unanimous! The Charlestown Peace Park will receive the full CPC recommended amount.

During the hearing, we heard testimony in support of the recommended projects, overreaching priorities of the Community Preservation Program as well as an overview about the administrative process and the procedures of the City's Community Preservation Program. The committee also received written testimony in advance of the hearing expressing support for the projects.

Sammy Quintan, A Turn It Around youth leader, represented the project in several meetings and submitted his testimony. "My name is Samuel Quintin and I am 15 years old. I am a student at Madison Park High school and a Turn It Around youth leader. Me and my peers at Turn It Around have been maintaining the Peace Park for two years now, and we have used this space for peace, race & equity, and overdose awareness events as a way to unify and educate the Charlestown community. Turn It Around has worked with the landscape design group, COGdesign, and residents to create a plan to improve the Peace Park. My peers and I at Turn It Around would greatly appreciate it if we were to be granted the full amount we requested to fund this important project. Considering the fact that the Peace Park needs a complete renovation, I can assure you that every dollar will go toward creating a space where everyone is welcome no matter their race, gender, or economic status. I appreciate your time in listening. Thank you.”

If you are interested in being more involved and want to learn more about the Peace Park, please contact Ginaya Greene Murray.

Charlestown Addiction Recovery and Treatment

Court (ChART) Changes It's Name

The Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) and its Probation Department, which established the Charlestown Addiction Recovery Treatment (ChART) Program also known as "Drug Court", in partnership with the Charlestown Coalition, will be changing it's name to Recovery Court.

Research has shown that the words we use to describe Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) and recovery have a significant impact on how people are viewed and treated. We can all reduce stigma and help ensure more effective treatment by simply changing our language. It starts with something that seems small, but actually makes a huge difference.


We know that addiction is a chronic, treatable disorder and when provided compassionate and effective individualized treatment, the majority will attain full sustained remission and make full recoveries, but the words we use matter! 


"I prefer the term “Recovery Court” to “Drug Court.” I am a firm believer in calling things what they are. “Drug Courts” should not be about drugs they should be about Recovery," said Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, Shannon Lundin.


Charlestown Recovery Court Team meeting before the Recovery Court Session. 

The Charlestown Recovery Court Team is made up of Charlestown probation

attorneys, recovery court coordinator, recovery coaches, the program manager of Addiction and Recovery Services from the Charlestown Coalition, and the Charlestown Recovery Court. It currently has 10 active participants overseen by First Justice Judge Lisa Grant who is also in favor of the name change.

Aging Adult and Youth Mentor Pilot

 Program Expansion

Thanks to Bunker Hill Associates, Turn It Around (TIA) is thrilled to announce that we've been selected as a 2021 recipient of their generous community grant to expand our Aging Adult & Youth Mentor Pilot Program!

Participants will continue to communicate with a paired intergenerational mentor on a bi-weekly basis either by video or audio calls and will collaborate on fun socially-distant projects, play virtual games, and get to know one another with the goal of developing a genuine interest in the well-being of one another and that of their age group. The relationships established through these partnerships will address concerns of social isolation by increasing communication and reduce further ramifications of the pandemic by creating a broader network of support.


Intergenerational initiatives like this program will bring these age groups together to participate in activities and cultural exchanges that may not have occurred otherwise. By developing and engaging youth and aging adults in this pilot mentorship, the Charlestown Coalition hopes to unite these generations to create a more connected and empathetic community that fosters relationship building and drives a greater sense of unity and shared understanding throughout Charlestown. In addition to deepening healthy relationships between the youth and older adults, participants may also collaborate on ideas and form solutions to community issues that impact the health of residents, including ways to alleviate the negative effects of Covid-19.

Thank you Bunker Hill Associates for helping to strengthen and unite our community by funding this incredible initiative!

Climate Resiliency in Charlestown


On March 18th, the Climate Resiliency Community Advisory Board met to discuss next steps to engage the community in the planning process of coastal flooding prevention in Charlestown.


Turn It Around youth leader Khalid showed initiative by handing out City of Boston fliers in the Navy Yard as well as the Bunker Hill Housing Development showing ways that residents could get involved. He also asked important questions and gave insightful suggestions to move this project forward during the community advisory meeting. Khalid's question, "Is there a way we could raise the coastal borders to keep flooding to a minimum?" sparked a very deliberate conversation in thinking about strategies to prevent extensive water damage due to coastal flooding.


The project is led by the City of Boston Office of Energy, Environment, and Open Space with a consultant team including Arcadis, Sasaki, Woods Hole Group, One Architecture, and Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH).


Please check the website for updates and to learn more:

Turn It Around Team-up

with Kennedy Center for Earth Day

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With spring arriving, it's time to get our Peace Park cleaned-up and beautified! Thanks to the Kennedy Center for partnering with us -- on April 22nd, we'll be hosting an Earth Day celebration. Join us from 4:30pm-6:30pm for cleaning and planting and to pick up a home planting kit!  

Turn It Around Welcomes New Members!


On December 3rd, Turn It Around held their first open orientation for community youth to learn more about the program and potentially join. Since then, we've welcomed more than 10 new members including:

  • Alphy Vasquez
  • Julie Cyprien
  • Ana Renta
  • Karen Romero
  • Caiden Collier
  • Kevon Dulin
  • Giacomo Cincotti
  • Kyla Vitale
  • Hidalee Holguin
  • Makai Vicente
  • John Basabe
  • Valentina Tirado

With over 40 youth involved, we're excited for what this new crop of young leaders will bring to our community, and we will keep you up to date on all of their activities. Learn more about the group and read their bios here.


Highlighting Our Community Partnerships:

Lovin' Spoonfuls


Our community partners are critical in helping us tackle the most difficult issues that the community faces. By enlisting multiple partners (residents, police, schools, healthcare, faith-based organizations, and the business community), we use a collective impact approach to problem solving. Our ultimate goal is to effect change and improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Charlestown.


Lovin' Spoonfuls is the first organization of its kind in Massachusetts and the largest food rescue agency in New England. Established in 2010, Lovin’ Spoonfuls serves over 40 cities and towns in Greater Boston, MetroWest and Hampden County, and works with more than 75 vendor and 180 non-profit partners. They are committed to increasing awareness on topics related to wasted food and hunger, as well as working with the communities we serve to empower people to feed themselves and their families.

In 2020, the Coalition partnered with Lovin' Spoonfuls to combat food insecurity in Charlestown during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lovin' Spoonfuls rescues perishable food that would otherwise be discarded from grocery stores, wholesalers, farms, and farmers’ markets across Massachusetts. They distribute food, same-day, to a network of non-profits which serve people facing food insecurity. Together, we've kept good food out of landfills and are still helping to feed our neighbors.


If you've partnered with us, we'd love to hear from you. Please send us an email with details of how we've worked together along with any photos (if you have them), and we will share on our social media platforms. Let's show the community what great collaborations we've had with amazing organizations like yours!

Trauma Response Team Incident


On March 20th, a fatal act of gun violence occurred in Charlestown. As a result of the tragic incident, the Charlestown Coalition's Trauma Response Team (TRT) reached out to the local community with trauma informed resources to ensure that people have access to supports during this difficult time. TRT members Michael "Smokey" Cain and George Dighton were there to help. We thank them both for their dedication and support of the community during this time.


If you or someone you know was impacted by this event or another trauma, please feel free to reach out to our trauma team at 617-725-0058 during the day (9AM-5PM) and 617-648-0449 after hours (5PM to 9PM).  

Charlestown Family Support Circle Updates

The Family Support Circle is halfway through its discussion series on race and equity. There is still time to join the conversation and offer your thoughts, perspectives, and life experiences. These discussions are meant to support dialogue on race which can be uncomfortable, but presents an opportunity to learn from one another, understand hidden biases and work towards creating change within the task force, as well as the larger community. 

By the end of the series, the task force will come up with strategies that will be added to their work plans to address the inequities in the community. All are welcome to attend! For those that are unable to attend due to scheduling and/or would like to create discussion groups throughout their networks, please feel free to review questions below from our last three race and equity discussions.  

  • January Discussion Questions: 

When were you first aware of your race? What do you remember from your

childhood about how you made sense of human difference? If you have kids, is it

different for them today than your own experiences? 

  • February Discussion Questions:

What stereotypes influenced the way you see yourself or how others see you? How

have stereotypes impacted your race framework?  What aspect of your race and

ethnic identity make you proud?  Have you ever experienced a situation where your

racial or ethnic identity seemed to contribute to a problem or uncomfortable


  • March Discussion Questions: 

What does the America Dream mean to you and do you think it’s achievable for



If you wish to receive email updates and community resources from the Charlestown Family Support Circle, sign up here.

Job Opportunity

Looking for a rewarding career in healthcare? The Charlestown Healthcare Center is hiring a Community Health Worker. Click here to read the full job description.

Upcoming Coalition Meetings


Steering Committee Meeting

April 27th

from 12 PM -1:30 PM.

Meetings are held virtually until further notice.

Contact Sarah Coughlin for more information.

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Trauma Response Team

April 6th & 20th

from 5:30 PM -6:30 PM.

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact

Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

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Charlestown Family Support Task Force 

April 6th

from 11:30 PM -12:30 PM.

Provider Race Dialogue Discussion

April 20th

from 12 PM -1 PM.  

Meetings are held virtually until further notice. Contact

Phenice Zawatsky to learn more.

Where Are They Now?

Turn It Around Alumni

Guess Who? It's Stanley in 2016!

Find out what he is up to now and how

Turn It Around has impacted his life!

Read More

Turn It Around:

Youth of the Month

"Turn It Around’s Youth of the Month for March is Ibrahim Balde! Ibrahim is a senior at Snowden International High School and is one of TIA’s more mature, and positive influences on all of our members, especially those new to the program. We are very proud to announce that Ibrahim has earned a full academic scholarship to Northeastern University! Ibrahim is also waiting to hear back from Ivy League schools Brown and Dartmouth, as well as others. Ibrahim is the epitome of what dedication and hard work look like, and we are so lucky to count him as a member of Turn It Around!"

-Mswati Hanks,

Youth Program Coordinator

Read More
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Voices of Recovery

Marisa Patalano is sharing her journey in recovery this month in an interview with Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services, Shannon Lundin.

Read Full Interview

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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