The Charlestown Coalition News: 
Issue 52
December 2020

2nd Annual Winter Clothing Giveback:
A Huge Success

Our Second Annual Winter Clothing Giveback in memory of John Collier Sr. was another huge success with 175 care kits that included socks, scarves, winter hats, masks, gloves, and toiletries handed out at the intersection of Mass Ave. & Melnea Cass Blvd. for people experiencing homelessness. It not only allowed our youth to help out their neighbors, but it gave them a harsh reality check on what being homeless during the winter in Boston looks like for some. We are so grateful for the Charlestown community, local businesses, and Collier family for making this event possible!

Coalition Joins the Conversation:
Climate Resilience & Open Space

As the needs of our community evolve, the Coalition's services continue to shift and expand. We are proud to be taking on new issues impacting the health of Charlestown residents--Climate Resilience & Open Space.

Coalition staff member Ginaya Greene Murray and Turn It Around Youth Leader Khalid Ali have been invited to join the Charlestown Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the Climate Ready Boston initiative. 

CAB members will be key partners in shaping an inclusive planning and design process. In collaboration with the CAB, the City hopes to create a plan that represents community-supported values that can be carried forward to equitable implementation to reduce flood risk in Charlestown.

An Unprecedented Year in Review

Check out our recent YouTube video: An Unprecedented Year in Review of Turn It Around.

Despite a global pandemic, these young people continued to inspire their community in 2020!

Visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to watch more of our videos:

Charlestown in Solidarity:
A Discussion on Race & Equity 
- 7th Meeting
Interested in joining the first Race & Equity Discussion of 2021? Together, we will continue to create a safe space where all are welcome to share and connect. Pre-register at

Family Support Circle:
A Special Thank You
The Family Support Circle (FSC) would like to extend a special thank you to the many organizations in our neighborhood serving youth and families. Thanks to the Kennedy Center, Harvest on Vine, the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club and the Charlestown Adult Learning Center for providing support to so many FSC families throughout the past year and especially during the holiday season. Their dedication and support continue to make a huge impact each and every day!


During the FSC's December 2019 Task Force meeting, the FSC learned that Charlestown High School (CHS) created an Amazon wish list for students and their families. Nearly all of the items on the wish list were purchased by Charlestown residents, CHS staff and members of the Charlestown Mother's Association network. Thank you CHS for making sure students and their families are always well supported! Thank you to all who donated including the Charlestown Mother's Association for your generosity.  


Another special thank you to Charlestown resident Joanne Ring and the Float Pool Nurses at the Brigham and Women's Hospital for providing gifts to five FSC families. Words cannot express how thankful and appreciative our families are for your generosity and kindness. 


"I want to thank all the members of our FSC Task Force for all you do to make the Charlestown community a better place for residents, children, youth and families. Your dedication and commitment are truly inspiring and give me hope for the future of Charlestown. I look forward to this next year and seeing what we can accomplish together," said Phenice Zawatsky, Family Support Circle Clinician.

Save the Harbor:
Job Opportunity
Save the Harbor is looking for a college-aged part-time staff member to help out with social media, outreach, and communications. 
We'd love to have someone who is detail oriented, positive, and from/very familiar with Boston to join the team from January to April. The position pays $14/hr., and we are looking for someone who can commit between 16-24 hours a week, depending on their availability. We specifically encourage women, people of color, and queer folks to apply.
Interviews will start the first week in January.
 Click here for the job description.

 Highlighting Our 
Community Partnerships:
(L-to-R, Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center student chess game, 
Turn It Around Youth Mentor, Stephon Clairze)

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 December, we'd like to highlight the Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center (CLLC). The Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center runs the local youth lacrosse program and a separate after-school Learning Center. Both programs are open to all Charlestown residents as well as those from surrounding areas. Their Lacrosse programs service K-8th grade students in the Spring. All of their Learning Center programs are offered free, or at cost, to Learning Center participants. For classes that carry a cost, and for lacrosse registration and fees, the CLLC offers scholarship support to anyone in need. 
As organizations that both are working with Charlestown youth, the CLLC has collaborated and discussed ideas, partnerships and programs with us to better serve the community. The most prominent connection between the Coalition and the CLLC has been their hiring of multiple Turn It Around (TIA) youth to serve as teen mentors to their younger Learning Center students!
During the Spring of 2018, the CLLC piloted a project, inviting one Charlestown teen, TIA member Stephon, to their Learning Center to serve as a mentor and tutor to their middle school students. After the two-month pilot program, Stephon transformed from being a timid tutor, unsure of how he might fit in or contribute to the CLLC, to developing his own rapport with the students. There was familiarity and comfort between them, and their shared learning space became a safe-haven. Students responded to Stephon's leadership, and the friendships he built with them were clear in their shared mannerisms and special handshakes. In the brief time Stephon was with the CLLC, they saw a marked increase in attendance through the end of the school year and in the fall, those students returned, and brought friends.

To meet the demand of their increased attendance, the CLLC has continuously added additional TIA teen mentors to their program and to their delight, have found that the benefit of multiple teen mentors has far exceeded their expectations. Over the past few years, Turn It Around members, Ibrahim, Oumar, Geno, Dylan, Max, Sierra, and Zaire were amongst their group of amazing teen mentors!
CLLC Director, Reed Catlin said, "With the help of the Turn It Around members, these teen mentors have enabled the Learning Center to become a more dynamic and fun place over the past few years, which has attracted even more students to our programming. For the CLLC, it is clear that our students are receiving a much richer experience with these teens around and providing extra educational and social support. We hope to continue this partnership long into the future and can't wait for the time when some of the younger Turn It Around members, who used to come to our center as middle school students, come back as teen mentors themselves!"
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:
  • February 23rd from 12 PM -1:30 PM.
Meetings are held virtually until further notice.
Contact Sarah Coughlin for more information.

Trauma Response Team: 
  • January 19th from 5:30 PM -6:30 PM. 
Charlestown Family Support Task Force: 
  • January 19th from 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 Mathewos in 2018! Find out what he is up to now and how Turn It Around has impacted his life!
Mathewos has always been a kind and helpful young man. When asked for his input or assistance within the group, he was always willing to help and contribute in positive ways. Although somewhat quiet, when he spoke, it was in an insightful manner and filled with wisdom. We know that he will go on to do great things and we're so grateful we had the chance to know him and help shape him into who he is today. We look forward to his next visit!

-Ginaya Greene Murray 
(Communication and Events Coordinator)

Turn It Around:
Youth of the Month

Zaire Richardson is December's Turn It Around Youth of The Month.
Zaire Richardson is our Youth of the Month for December, and the last YOM of 2020! Not only is she a mature and insightful voice at our weekly meetings, but in the past few weeks she attended Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meetings with the developers of the new BHA redevelopment including influential community members and local politicians. She occupies the only "youth" seat on the committee. Zaire was also a distinguished guest at City Councilor Lydia Edwards' birthday celebration, where she read a poem by Maya Angelou. Zaire has been one of our many bright spots in a really tough year, and we thank her by honoring her with this month's YOM award!

-Mswati Hanks 
(Youth Prevention Coordinator)

Voices of Recovery
Steven Considine
Steven Considine is sharing his 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:

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