The Charlestown Coalition News: 

Issue 57

May 2021


Coalition Seeks Landscape Architect for Peace Park Project

The Charlestown Peace Park was an abandoned urban park three years ago with empty plant beds, run-down park furniture, and peeling paint on the fencing. Owned by the MA Department of Transportation, maintenance and upkeep were minimal. Seeking a place to honor and memorialize those impacted by violence and substance use disorders, the Charlestown Coalition’s youth program, Turn It Around, began reclaiming the park in 2018. The teens, most of whom attend Charlestown High School and live in the nearby housing developments, regularly picked up litter, raked leaves, planted flowers, and did what they could to keep the park looking tidy.


A recent grant from the City of Boston’s Community Preservation program and an MoU from MA DOT, current l owners, offers the Charlestown Coalition, Turn It Around, and community members a unique opportunity to fully design and rebuild this special park.


Currently, we are looking for a landscape architect (or firm) to address all project needs, including survey work, drainage, lighting, utility, engineering, and landscape design, with a short- and long-term maintenance plan at project completion. The architect will assess and evaluate all existing site conditions with respect to the conceptual design and will work with stakeholders' programming needs and any neighborhood concerns to complete the project.


If you or someone you know may be interested, review our Request for Proposal.

The Mass Ave. Project: A Voice for the Unheard


On May 12th, The Charlestown Coalition and Turn It Around joined The Mass Ave Project, South End Roxbury Community Partnership, local organizations, and many members of the recovery community for a rally at the statehouse. We sought to have our voices heard about the lack of humane response for those suffering from addiction and homelessness in the area of Mass and Cass.


The number of people suffering from addiction and without homes has steadily grown since the Long Island Bridge closed in 2014, centralizing emergency addiction care to the specific neighborhood cross-section. The pandemic has exasperated the situation.


The rally started at Boston Medical Center and proceeded to the State House steps, drawing attention to the dire conditions of the Roxbury and South End neighborhoods.

Boston Bulldogs 2021

Virtual 5k

Run for Recovery and Tribute


The Boston Bulldogs Club promotes wellness and recovery through programs and activities, community outreach, partnerships, and awareness and education campaigns -- an integrated journey to discover the kind-hearted warrior and true potential within each of us.


The annual Run for Recovery & Tribute celebrates wellness and recovery and honors those who have been lost to addiction. On May 15th, members of the Charlestown community, including Coalition staff member Shannon Lundin and longtime friend Nicole Matson, participated in the Boston Bulldogs Virtual 5K Run on Team Remembering Neil (In memory of Matson’s brother Neil who was lost to addiction almost 2 years ago).


Team Remembering Neil had 25+ members who raised over $3,000 in Neil’s memory.


Healthy Alternatives Program Concludes


The third week of May marked the end of our Healthy Alternatives program at Charlestown High School, which is co-facilitated by Coalition Director Sarah Coughlin and Youth Program Coordinator Mswati Hanks. The Healthy Alternatives program helps young people avoid school suspensions while teaching alternative methods to cope with life’s pressures and provides some tools to effectively manage stress.


As a celebratory closing, we ended the year with a 2-mile hike at Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, MA. It was a gorgeous day, with breathtaking views. At the top of the climb, the entire group ate together and reflected on the past year and how much they have grown. The group shared what they appreciated about each member during the closing circle. This year was especially tough because the group had to meet virtually every week, so to conclude with an in-person meeting was the perfect ending!

Celebrating the Life of Steven Jones


This year's 8th annual (biodegradable) balloon release in memory of Steven Jones was a testament to our neighborhood’s strength and resilience.


Family, childhood friends, neighbors, and even strangers, gathered at Charlestown's Eden Street Park to celebrate the young man's life and recall cherished memories together.


Steven's mother, Sue Rawlinson, was amazed by the amount of support and ongoing impact her son's life continues to have within the community, and the Charlestown Coalition feels honored to be part of such a special event.

11th Race & Equity Discussion

at the Charlestown Peace Park

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Join us on Tuesday, June 8th, for our 11th Race & Equity Discussion at the Charlestown Peace Park. 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.


This forum is being co-sponsored by the Charlestown Coalition, Turn It Around Youth Program, and City-Councilor Lydia Edwards and the team.


*In the event of rain, this will become a virtual event and a Zoom link will be provided.

Celebrating Shannon's 17 years in Recovery


Turn It Around youth were given the honor to give Charlestown Coalition staff member, Shannon Lundin, this year’s medallion marking her 17 years of sobriety in recovery!


In preparation, Shannon shared her inspiring story with the youth--a story that many families in Charlestown can relate to and one the teens found to be filled with hope and inspiration.

Click here to learn more about Shannon’s journey in recovery.


I woke up 17 years without putting a drink, drug, or any mind-altering substance in my body. I have been made new and set free through the One and Only God - Jesus!


This journey has not been easy, but I fought and worked really hard, I did things I didn’t want to do, I did things I was afraid to do. For me, the pain of staying the same became much greater than the pain of change.


This all didn’t happen overnight. I went through a lot of pain, blood, sweat, and tears but it was all worth it. You get what you put in, this life wasn’t handed to me. It was no accident, it was God’s plan for me all along, but it still took hard work, gratitude, being positive, perseverance, falling down and getting back up, humility and sacrifice.


With God anything is possible, if He did it for me - He can do it for you. The key is you do what you can do, and He will do what you can’t do. - Shannon Lundin-White


Highlighting Our Community Partnerships:

Charlestown BCYF


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.


Our May Community Partner is the Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) Charlestown Community Center. Since 2002, Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) has functioned as the City's youth and human services headquarters, combining the services once provided by Boston Community Centers, the Boston 2:00-6:00 After School Initiative, the Mayor's Office of Community Partnerships, and the Recreation Division of the City's Parks and Recreation Department under one roof. 


The BCYF  supports children, youth, individuals, and families through a wide range of programs and services. They manage 36 facilities, including the Charlestown Community Center. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for Boston residents by partnering with community center councils, agencies, and businesses to support neighborhood needs. They offer affordable programs for residents of all ages across the City. Their goal is to provide quality programs that enrich the lives of residents and meet the needs of the community with programs focused around:

·   Arts

·   Community and civic engagement

·   Education

·   Sports, fitness, recreation, and health.


The Charlestown Community Center has been an asset to Turn It Around (TIA) youth in many ways. Similar to TIA, the local center helps youth prepare for school, work, and life. Their teen programs aim to foster self-worth, belonging and membership, responsibility, and autonomy, physical and mental health, civic and social ability, and intellectual ability, all of which align with TIA's mission.


Some of the ways the community center has supported Turn It Around is by hosting our annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament, assisting with our annual Recovery BBQ, and providing a safe and teen-friendly place for the youth in our community. We look forward to our continued partnership with the community center and hope to host many more events there in the future.


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!

Meet the Trauma Response Team

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Trauma Response Team members in photo include *L-R, Tina Goodnow, Phenice Zawatsky, Mswati Hanks, Shannon Lundin, Sean Boyle, Lisa Solomon, Sarah Coughlin, Javon Robinson - members not in photo, Michael Cain, George Dighton, Susan Rawlinson, and Lori D'Alleva

Charlestown Family Support Circle Updates

The Coalition's Family Support Circle (FSC) program would like to acknowledge that May is Mental Health Awareness month. We recognize that many people may be struggling with mental illness that often goes untreated, due to a lack of awareness, access to care, and stigma. As we recover from the pandemic, acknowledging that things are not what they use to be, our mental health is more important than ever. Here are some resources and steps you can take to support yourself, your family, and your community. 

Remember you are not alone and people are willing and able to help you, your friends, and family, through challenging times. The Family Support Circle is a local resource in Charlestown that helps youth and families gain access to mental health care and other supportive services to ensure that families thrive. 

For more information about the Family Support Circle or to refer someone to the program, please contact Phenice Zawatsky at 617 838-6522 or by email at

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NEW Health Vaccine Information


The Vaccination Clinic’s location is at 15 Tufts Street. The entrance is located behind the health center. 


If you would like to schedule an appointment please call 857-238-1141, leave your name with spelling, address, and your date of birth with a telephone number you can be reached, and a patient service representative will call you back to schedule the appointment.


Please note in order to schedule a vaccine appointment, you must be registered with Massachusetts General Brigham. If not, please call 866-211-6588 to register. Screening questions to assess your eligibility at the time of scheduling will be asked as well.

If adverse events occur following the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, they should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Information on how to submit a report to VAERS is available at VAERS - Report an Adverse Event ( Including, but not limited to;

• Severe anaphylaxis or allergic reaction

• Cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome

• Cases of COVID-19 that result in hospitalization or death

Funding Opportunity


A new round of funding is available through Boston Children’s Collaboration for Community Health to support community-based projects and programs.

Click here to apply.

Funding is for three years in the following areas:  

•  Birth to Five Child Health and Development

•  Family Economic Stability and Opportunity

•  Family Housing Stability

•  Healthy Living 

Current partners and new applicants are welcome to apply. There is a two-step application process. Interested applicants need to submit a Letter of Intent by Friday, June 4. Applicants will be notified by Wednesday, July 7 if their organization is invited to submit a Full Proposal. Proposals will be due by Friday, August 6. More details can be found at

Information session materials and recordings have been posted for each initiative and funding opportunity.

Birth to Five Child Health and Development Initiative

Family Economic Stability Opportunity Initiative

Family Housing Stability Initiative

Healthy Living Initiative

 Please email if you have questions.

Upcoming Coalition Meetings


Steering Committee Meeting

June 29th

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

July 6th

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 

July 6th

from 11:30 PM -12:30 PM.

Provider Race Dialogue Discussion

June 15th

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 Ariana in 2018!

Find out what Ari is up to now and how

Turn It Around has impacted this young person's life!

Read More

Turn It Around:

Youth of the Month

May‘s Turn It Around you for the month is Josviel Diaz! Josviel has been such a welcome addition back to the group. During the pandemic, and the school year, it had been tough for Josviel to join our weekly group, virtually. But for the past month and a half Josviel has been engaged and coming regularly again. And at last week‘s Turn It Around team building challenge, Josviel was even voted his team‘s MVP by his peers! We’re so happy to have him back!

-Mswati Hanks,

Youth Program Coordinator

Read More
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Voices of Recovery

Muffie Milito is sharing her journey in recovery this month in an interview with the 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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