The Charlestown Coalition News: 
Issue 49
September 2020

12th Annual Charlestown
Candlelight Vigil

For the past 11 years, during Recovery Month, we have held an annual candlelight vigil in Hayes Square to remember loved ones who have passed away due to addiction and overdose. For our 12th year, we decided to move the event to the Peace Park as it seemed like the most fitting place to bring the community together to grieve and heal collectively.  

The vigil opened with a prayer. Singing performances by Robin Tagliafero from Christian Assembly Church and Michael & Kaylie Webb from First Church in Charlestown followed with a beautiful reflection by the Coalition's Shannon Lundin and the heartfelt reading of 'We light this candle for you' by Ronald Doe. 

Attendees planted heart-shaped stakes and posted ribbons honoring their loved one's memory. Candles were lit as a slide show with more than 150 names and photos of lives lost too soon was shown. DJ Smokey Cain played meaningful and heartfelt music as we grieved and remembered together.
To read more about the vigil, click here.

Turn It Around Takes A Seat...
on the IAG Board

"We are so excited to lead here in Charlestown," said Councilor Edwards. "I'm not the least bit surprised that these young Townies demanded, and got, a seat at the table. They love Charlestown, their home, and are so honored to help design the future. I want to acknowledge the work of Turn It Around. That organization is doing such incredible work with our youth."

"When the BPDA welcomed students from Turn It Around last year, it was clear these young people were eager to contribute to their community," said Boston Planning & Development Agency Director Brian Golden. "I'm pleased to see that this enthusiasm has continued throughout the One Charlestown public process with the addition of a youth seat on the Impact Advisory Group. We believe that the voices and ideas of all residents should be incorporated during the public process and look forward to the important perspectives these young people will bring."
The Bunker Hill Redevelopment Impact Advisory Group (IAG) began meeting in September to review the project impact and discuss potential solutions to issues that could arise due to the extensive development. The Redevelopment is a partnership between Leggat McCall, the Corcoran Companies and Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and is a mixed-income development that will replace 1,010 public housing units within a 10-year phased project that includes 1,689 market-rate units. Retail options as well as open space and a new community center for residents to enjoy is also part of the plan.

To read more about the development and IAG, click here.

Charlestown in Solidarity:
A Discussion on Race & Equity 
- 4th Meeting

The fourth Race & Equity discussion at the Charlestown Peace Park once again attracted community members looking for a safe space to learn and share their experiences involving race, policing, and for this particular gathering during Recovery Month, addiction.
City-Councilor Edwards, posed the question, "How do you think race impacts addiction, treatment, and recovery?" to which Turn It Around Youth Leader Ibrahim responded that he hears a lot more white people say that they're in recovery than people of color.
The conversation also touched on the tragedy of Breonna Taylor's death. It was another meaningful dialogue that provided an opportunity to better understand and learn from one another's experiences.
We hope more neighbors join us as our series continues.

Ways to support the Coalition
and Turn It Around

Please visit our website to see all of the ways you can help sustain the work of the Charlestown Coalition and the youth of Turn It AroundWhether through a donation or volunteering your time to mentor a youth, there are many ways to get involved and help!
Your generosity and support make all the difference in how we tackle the important issues of poverty, violence, racism and helping to end the cycles of addiction.
For more information, please contact the Coalition directly.

Peace Park Community Meeting Update

Thirty residents joined our first virtual community meeting centered on the Peace Park Renovation Project and recent design voting results. We discussed the history of the park, our partnership with COGdesign, fundraising and grant applications, as well as the design development and community engagement. We also took the opportunity to answer questions, including those about the potential timeline of the project which could be well over a year from now depending on our access to funding. 
Another important topic discussed was the need for invested community members to help us form a "Friends of the Peace Park" committee. If you are interested in being more involved with the Peace Park, please contact Coalition Director, 
Sarah Coughlin.

Please subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop of the project's progress and reach out to Ginaya Greene Murray with any questions. For a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, please visit: 

Job Opportunities
The Kraft Center for Community Health at Mass General has two open positions to work on a new grant focused on increasing COVID-19 testing in vulnerable communities.
The John F. Kennedy Family Service Center is looking for a full-time JFK Community Services Case Manager, exempt position working closely with the Director of Community Services, Program Team, and Executive Director to promote the organization's mission and to help formalize JFK's COVID-19 Response. Under the supervision of the Director of Community Services, the Community Services Case Manager will be responsible for maintaining case management files, providing supportive services and referrals through individual visits and follow-up to enable clients to become more self-sufficient. 

The John F. Kennedy Family Service Center is also looking for a full-time Community Services Assistant, exempt position working closely with the Director of Community Services, Program Team, and Executive Director to promote the organization's mission and to help to formalize its fundraising and communications operations. Reporting to the Director of Community Services, the
Community Services Assistant will be an instrumental part of a small, hard-working team with exposure to all aspects of the organization's work. This position also acts as administrative support for the Director of Community Services. A high level of professionalism, flexibility, enthusiasm, project management, organizational skills, and attention to detail is required.

 Highlighting Our 
Community Partnerships:

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.
For the month of September, we'd like to highlight one of the most recognizable youth-serving organizations across the nation and our local "go-to", the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club. Our partnership with the Club has been one of the most crucial relationships we've established in this community. The Club is a haven for the youth and families of Charlestown and an asset to the community, Charlestown Coalition and the Turn It Around youth program. 
From the Coalition's inception, the Club has been right beside us, guiding and partnering with us to best serve the youth and families in Charlestown.
The Club staff are incredibly dedicated as many of them have grown-up as "Club Kids" later dedicating their lives to helping young people reach their full potential. Whether it's assisting us with youth employment, the Peace Park maintenance or generously giving us event tickets to enjoy, the Club has given-back to this community in ways that will impact us for generations to come.

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!

Upcoming Coalition Meetings
Steering Committee Meeting:
  • October 27th at 12 PM -1:30 PM.
Meetings are held virtually until further notice.
Contact Sarah Coughlin for more information.

Trauma Response Team: 
  • October 20th at 5:30 PM -6:30 PM. 
Charlestown Family Support Task Force: 
  • October 20th at 12 PM -1:00 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 Lataya in 2017! Find out what she is up to now and how Turn It Around has impacted her life!
Lataya has always been a bright light in the group. Her willingness to help and leadership skills made her an excellent example of what a Turn It Around member is. Whether she was helping in the kitchen, working an event, or volunteering within the community, Lataya was and is someone you can rely on. We know she is going to go on and continue doing the great things she always has!

-Ginaya Greene Murray 
(Communication and Events Coordinator)

Turn It Around:
Youth of the Month

Elizabeth Mirandais is September's Turn It Around Youth of The Month.
September's TURN IT AROUND Youth of the Month is Elizabeth Miranda. Lizzy has been a consistent presence at ALL of our meetings, events, and volunteer opportunities. She may be our youngest member right now, but you wouldn't know it by how confident and engaged she is with the group. Lizzy is another great young ambassador for the Turn It Around team. Because of kids like her, the program is in good hands for years to come!!

-Mswati Hanks 
(Youth Prevention Coordinator)

Voices of Recovery
Tina Oliveri
Tina Oliveri is sharing her journey in recovery this month 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:

View our videos on YouTube

Charlestown Coalition | MGH Center for Community Health Improvement  
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