Announcing the first ever YLC Student Council Reps!

Congratulations to Diamond, Anyshja, John Lucas, and Franlys! After an impressive campaign run, these four middle school student have been selected as our Youth Leadership Corps student council representatives. They will be meeting regularly to help staff plan activities and events for  the YLC such as Fun Fridays throughout the academic year. It is our hope that this representative structure will provide more youth voice and participation across programming. This is just one step that we have taken so that our young people can begin to envision themselves as young civic leaders. 

By Megan Doe, YLC Coordinator

Bringing Together Teens and Alum for Long-term Success

On January 5, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs hosted its annual winter alumni gathering. The event has two goals: to create a space for graduates of SSYP who have gone off to college or careers to reconnect with each other and to offer those graduates continuing support as they take these next steps in their lives.  The event has also become a time for our current teens, the Counselors-in-Training and Organizers working for SSYP, to meet and learn from our alums. 

Last year, the winter event included a panel of graduates who talked about their experiences following high school and alumni shared advice with teens about how to overcome a variety of obstacles. This year, the event had three different parts; all were designed to provide teens and alumni with resources of support toward long-term success. 

First, our currently employed teen staff met with Gabe Baldwin, a teacher of mindfulness techniques. This was the initial session in a series of workshops promoting mindfulness, emotional regulation, and active listening.  Through this series, teens will build the skills to take care of themselves as they navigate the challenges that present themselves in both high school and beyond. 

At the same time teens were practicing mindfulness, graduates were talking about the growing alumni program SSYP is rolling out this spring. In addition to ongoing support for FAFSA renewals, college transfer applications, and scholarship forms, SSYP is launching a new professional networking program. This network will help connect our alumni with  people who are working in the fields our graduates are interested in pursuing. Following this announcement, alumni talked with each other, sharing stories and resources. It was wonderful to hear young adults speaking about their successes in a wide range of experiences and offering strategies and tips for overcoming the challenges they have faced. They learned from one another and gave feedback to SSYP about additional ways we might offer support. 

Then, the teens and alum joined together, forming small groups to foster discussions of the hopes for and fears about life after twelfth grade.  It was moving to witness the openness of both groups: the teens were willing to learn and alumni were sharing their experiences with honesty and wisdom. The event reaffirmed how committed our teens and alums are to SSYP and each other. There was that deep feeling of community and family that is so often mentioned as a key quality of SSYP.  We look forward to seeing what develops next!

SSYP is recruiting current professionals from different fields to be part of that support network for alum. If you are willing to meet with students during the spring to talk about your job and answer questions, please contact Jeremy at jeremy@ssypboston.org

By Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory, Sr. Manager of College Access & Success

 

Fourth Annual Vigil to Honor Victims of Gun Violence

In September 2014, beloved St. Stephen’s Youth Programs community member Jorge Fuentes was shot and killed while walking his dog in front of his house in Dorchester. Just a dozen weeks later, an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut was attacked by a domestic terrorist toting an assault weapon. These senseless deaths left their communities reeling in shock and sadness- and with a new resolve to address the problem of gun violence in all of its forms across the country.

Every year, on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence honors the victims of that massacre, of gun deaths across the country since that day, and those shot and killed in Massachusetts in the past year. Every year, members of the B-PEACE for Jorge campaign attend to light candles to honor, in particular, the memory of Jorge, and also the new names added in the past year which inevitably include people who have touched the lives of people in our community.

This year, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs teen organizer Victoria Omoregie spoke at the vigil, kicking off a powerful lineup of anti gun violence advocates that included Imam , Boston’s Director of Public Safety Dan Mulhern and Attorney General Maura Healey. She talked about growing up in Dorchester, and told a story of a shooting that happened in a park in her neighborhood that caught a toddler in the crossfire of a shootout. After that day, her family started driving to a far away park in a wealthier and whiter neighborhood where that kind of violence was unthinkable,and then eventually stopped going to the parks altogether and began playing video games inside their home instead.


The speakers following Victoria echoed her message that all people should be safe in our city, “safe, regardless of their race or gender or immigration status or religion or sexual orientation. I want people to be safe from gun violence, and from all kinds of violence, in their schools, parks and neighborhoods.” With a new presidential administration poised to take office, the well-being of our most vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors is uncertain. We know and feel it is more important than ever to join together with our whole community and and Commonwealth and country to heed the words of Mother Jones who said, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

By Sarah O'Connor, B-PEACE Organizer

Life of a JCIT

My name is Bella Vidaña and I am the JCIT Program Coordinator. I believe that the JCIT program is a hidden gem at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs. Our JCITs, which stands for Junior Counselors-in-Training, are a group of ninth graders who have dedicated every day of the week to leadership development, peer mentoring, civic engagement and self-expression in a variety of ways. We are located on the top floor of St. Augustine and St. Martin in a space that feels more like a living room and home than it does a temporary, two-hour, hangout space. It has become a safe haven for many, including myself.

Within these walls we speak of current events, our passions, what we like and what we do not like, who we are and what we strive to be. We speak of diversity, our differences and our commonalities. We speak of how we can continue to be a better global citizen both in the local communities around us and the communities that may be far but dear to our hearts, including our home countries. And last but not least, we have created a space where everyone feels comfortable enough to be themselves.

How have we created this type of space, you ask? We have created this space by implementing and participating in activities that encourage a deeper knowledge of the topics mentioned above that may not be discussed in schools or at the home. Most recently, the JCITs participated in an activity called Take a Stand. As I read aloud a number of statements that involved race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, differently abled, and religion, the ninth graders had the choice to move to four different corners labeled Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. They were then given the opportunity to vocally express why they were standing in the corners they chose if they felt comfortable sharing. Through this activity they were provided the chance to think and discuss topics that they may have never thought about or discussed. They were also given a chance to stand up for social and global issues they believe in, which I have found to be one of the most vital parts of youth development.

From the start of program on September 26th until now, I have seen a growth in my ninth graders that I appreciate an endless amount. We are a small army of around eight but we are fierce and we will only get stronger from here on out. If you are reading this and you are a ninth grader or know of a ninth grader that you think will benefit from this program, we will welcome you or them with open arms and lots of smiles and laughs.

If you would like to learn more about the JCIT Program at St. Stephen’s, contact JCIT Program Coordinator, Bella Vidaña, at bella@ssypboston.org.

By Bella Vidaña, JCIT Coordinator

Advent Action: #SalsaShutDown with Cosecha and St. Stephen's

On Saturday December 3, nearly 300 people--including many Episcopalians from St. Stephen's Boston and Episcopal City Mission--gathered near Downtown Crossing to show their support for immigrants and immigrant rights. The #SalsaShutDown action was organized by Cosecha, a movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The SalsaShutDown action was a kickoff of the MigrantBoycott effort which will demonstrate the economic power of immigrants, both as workers and consumers in the United States. But mostly today was about the joy of dancing and bringing some of that energy to the holiday shopping scene.

The day began in Sproat Hall at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts with a reflection led by the Rev. Marisa Egerstrom. She showed the early-arriving Episcopalians how political action is also spiritual action.  Together, we linked the efforts of Cosecha with the story of Advent and the ways in which Mary and Joseph were also migrants in their homeland, facing oppression under the powers of the Roman Empire. Then, we all received salsa dancing lessons and practiced our steps before exiting in small groups to gather at local stores to show off our newly developed dance skills. All of this was to bring attention to immigrant rights and protection, especially as we face uncertainty of how federal policies may change under a new administration. 

For the Episcopalians who were part of the action, it felt like we were taking well-organized steps (to a salsa beat) toward building the Kingdom of God. 

To see video and other photos of the day, check out Cosecha's Facebook Live video. And to get connected to the next action like this, contact Marisa for more information marisa@ststephensbos.org

By Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs

  SSYP Teen Organizers at #SalsaShutDown

SSYP Teen Organizers at #SalsaShutDown

  Pre-action salsa lesson in Sproat Hall at the Cathedral of St. Paul

Pre-action salsa lesson in Sproat Hall at the Cathedral of St. Paul

  Cosecha and Diomass leaders show unity in Downtown Crossing

Cosecha and Diomass leaders show unity in Downtown Crossing

  SSYP Teen Organizers lead the upbeat chanting of "no music, no music" to keep the beat and dancing going even when the sound system is shut down

SSYP Teen Organizers lead the upbeat chanting of "no music, no music" to keep the beat and dancing going even when the sound system is shut down

  St. Stephen's leaders show their style at Primark

St. Stephen's leaders show their style at Primark

SSYP Alumna makes it BIG!

Among the programs of SSYP is our College Access and Success Program. In addition to supporting our teens who are in high school make a solid plan for their post-graduation lives, we also continue to offer mentoring and support to alumni once they are IN college (or another type of program).

One of our alumna, Perla Fernandez, graduated from BPS's Urban Science Academy in 2010. She and we were SO excited when she was accepted into and began attending Wheelock College, as the college has excellent justice-focused academic programs and we could continue to see her since she was right here in Boston! 

In 2014, Perla returned to St. Stephen's as part of one of her Wheelock classes, to serve as an Ubuntu Arts student facilitator.  She helped a team of SSYP teens  learn about the South African philosophy of Ubuntu. Perla served as a mentor for this group of youth by creating a safe space and leading discussions about discrimination, violence, peace, and social justice. Together, they created art [see attached] in response to their learning and feelings that was displayed at Wheelock College’s Towne Art Gallery AND qualified to be displayed at the State House for the annual Violence Transformed exhibit.

And now, that same piece of art will be going to the National Museum of Afro American Artists for an exhibit later this month!!  Congratulations, Perla, for this recognition of your project and for your upcoming graduation from UMass Boston with a Master's degree in Elementary Education! We are so proud of you and your hard work! 

Special thanks to Wheelock Professor Ann E. Tobey, of the Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Program, for this information and for your dedicated commitment to running the Ubuntu Arts program every year! 

By Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs

BRIDGE Scholars Retreat, Advance Understanding, and Share Friendsgiving

Part of St. Stephen's Youth Programs is the programming we do with teens. One component of that effort is our BRIDGE Scholars Program; these are opportunities to Build Relationships and Invest in Domestic and Global Experiennces (credit to James Eddy for the acronym!).  This includes trips to North Carolina for the week of April vacation to rebuild homes or to Honduras to get to know the young people who live at El Hogar.


This past weekend the Teen Team embarked on the first annual BRIDGE Scholar teen retreat. The group traveled to Cape Cod where they focused on relationship building, reflection, and trying new things. For one reflection, everyone completed the Enneagram personality type indicator.  This afforded all of us with an opportunity to better understand the lens with which we see the world and the ways in which our personalities are uniquely wired for communication and relationship styles. Working in personality groups, we spent time walking along the beach and finding objects and images that represented the most important aspects of our personalities. 


Later in the day, teens and staff prepared their favorite dishes from family Thanksgiving traditions and created their own "Friendsgiving". The group shared what we are grateful for and enjoyed an abundance of homemade food. For many teens, the most valuable part of the retreat was getting away from the city and having the time and space to bond with their peers and deepen their relationships. 
 

By Kasey Boston, Director of Youth Development

Arts and Action in Ramsay Park

 Teen organizers perform spoken word poetry and dance

Teen organizers perform spoken word poetry and dance

In the last week of their work in Boston for this B-SAFE summer, the teen community organizers created an event in Ramsay Park that brought together Lenox neighborhood residents (where St. A&M is located), state and city officials, Boston artists, local youth, and various neighborhood organizations for an evening of arts in the park. The community organizers shared a collaborative and original spoken word and dance piece called "We Want To Be Heard" before Anna Meyer and Dancers performed their work "Invisible Imprints of Racism" under the lights of the basketball court. The new mural the organizers painted in the first week of B-SAFE greeted people as they walked into the park. People who had participated in the previous week's peace walk showed up wearing their B-PEACE for Jorge buttons and purple shirts to eat hot dogs and drink lemonade as kids covered the sidewalk in chalk art and stray basketballs and baseballs rolled around their feet. 

 Teen organizers work on a mural in Ramsay Park.

Teen organizers work on a mural in Ramsay Park.

What do spoken word, murals and barbecues have to do with building power to transform a neighborhood steeped in a history of street violence and structural violence into a community where peace, justice and equity win? 

We brought people together, around food and art, to share an experience of what could be possible in the Lenox neighborhood. We know its possible because it happens in other parks in other neighborhoods, and because we made it happen in Ramsay, even if just for one night. And the hundreds of people who showed up built the case for each other, for their neighbors, and for the administrators of city and state governance that what happens in Ramsay Park and in the Lenox neighborhood matters. All the people there that night demonstrated clearly with their presence (in the 90 degree heat!) and their attention (even the basketball games paused to watch) and their applause that they are invested in the future of Ramsay Park, and this is how we build the power we need to decide what that future is like. 

City Parks and Rec staff was also at the event to begin collecting input from people about what to prioritize in the upcoming renovation of Ramsay Park. The community process for the redesign will begin in the fall, and Ramsay Park is slated for a major makeover in the coming year. Facilitating resident input for this process- with an eye toward building sustained neighborhood power to hold ground amidst the development swelling around the park- will be a major focus of SSYP's Lenox neighborhood organizing in the fall. 

By Sarah O'Connor, Lenox Community Organizer

Sarah started working with SSYP in the fall of 2014 as a Jewish Organizing Initiative and Network (JOIN) fellow. Sarah works with young people to organize for issues that affect youth across the city of Boston, like funding for public education and teen jobs, and on local neighborhood anti-violence campaigns. Sarah believes that a city that works for the young people in the SSYP family is a city that works well for everyone.

Employing Teens Aplenty

 JCITs arriving for their first day at Thompson Island

JCITs arriving for their first day at Thompson Island

The streets of Boston are bombarded with purple-shirt-wearing teenagers as 160 of them make their way to work. Our highest youth employment numbers ever come through our partnerships with the Department of Youth Employment and Engagement, ABCD, the Attorney General's Office, the Chelsea Collaborative, and St. Stephen's Youth Programs funding. 

Not only do the 160 teens participate in a fun, active and safe place to work but are also provided with 20+ hours of professional development and job training. This week, the teens learned about the effects of trauma on young people and the deep need to use the 8-Steps, the B-SAFE way of behavioral management, in order for children to feel safe, big and connected. In the training portion of the week the teens had to opportunity to learn about the Cycle of Socialization and reflect on their self identity.   

 ebecca Jackson training the teen group at Church of the Holy Spirit.

ebecca Jackson training the teen group at Church of the Holy Spirit.

By Kasey Boston, Director of Youth Employment and Leadership.

Kasey is in her 4th summer with B-SAFE and joined our team after completing her masters degree in International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Kasey works with St. Stephen's Youth Programs year round and focuses on building professional development and life skills with teens. Kasey works to create service-learning opportunities for all young people and hopes to begin traveling abroad with teens this year.  

Reach Beyond 2016: Celebrating Our Seniors' Success

By Jen Cusack, Director of Leadership Giving

Last Thursday night at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, St. Stephen's Youth Programs brought over 130 people together to celebrate our 31 seniors on their successful high school graduation. We enjoyed a night of tasty food, getting to know each other, listening, and learning with our fantastic St. Stephen's seniors! 

Featured speakers included State Representative Byron Rushing; Student Speakers Tahnaree Evans and Alex Maizonett; Mentor Blake Sims; Alumni Speaker Pedro Cardoso; and SSYP Staff Tim Crellin, Liz Steinhauser, Kasey Boston and Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory. The event included a gallery of gorgeous senior portraits taken by former SSYP staffer Meg McDermott and featured on our Facebook page.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors, including our Lead Sponsor, the Plymouth Rock Foundation, and the following local business donors: El Centro Mexican Restaurant, Foodie's Market, Haley House, IBA Center for the Arts, Mana Escondido Cafe, Mela Modern Indian Cusine, Olympia Flowers, and Stephi's on Tremont.

We hope you'll plan to join us for next year's Reach Beyond in May 2017!

If you'd like to learn more, sponsor Reach Beyond 2017, or be a mentor to one of our teens, please contact Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory at jeremy@ststephensbos.org.

 

Teen Organizing Team Testifies to Top Priorities

By Sarah O'Connor, Lenox Community and B-PEACE Teen Organizer

Senior Teen Organizer Tahnaree Evans testified in front of the Boston City Council about urgent civic priorities: investment of city resources for safer parks, fully funded and high quality public schools, and economic opportunities for teens! It was a hearing called by City Councillor Andrea Campbell, who represents Tahanree's neighborhood in Dorchester, to explore the network of youth programs in Boston that are working to reduce neighborhood violence. Tahnaree spoke powerfully about the ways that St. Stephen's Youth Programs is striving to create circles of care around each young people we serve, meeting their day-to-day needs and helping them to feel safe, big, and connected. She talked about her own experience as a Counselor-in-Training, mentoring younger students and helping  them grow and thrive. Tahnaree is now employed as a community organizer, fighting for justice and equity in the distribution of resources and opportunities for young people across the city. The teen organizing team (all 20 members!) were there to support her, and they finished the City Hall experience with a stop by the election division to register new voters. 

Sisters on the Slopes!

By Sandy Quispe, B-READY Lead Counselor

On Saturday February 27th, girls from St. Stephen's YLC (Youth Leadership Corps) and S2POT Programs hit the slopes!  Thanks to Youth Enrichment Services, eleven girls and four women went on a ski trip. Youth Enrichment Services (YES) is a non-profit organization which provides affordable and exciting sports-based youth programs and leadership development for Boston children and teens.  During the week, the girls were able to go to the South End YES facility to learn about what YES does, where we were going, and get fitted with all of their gear (snowboard/skis, boots, snow pants, jackets, etc.) 

This is a trip that has been happening over the years and our girls love it! We met early on Saturday at YES. The girls got on a bus that took them to Cranmore where Olympian Julia Ford was attending a ski race. The girls met Julia Ford, asked her questions about her career, and even got to take a picture with her! 

YES placed the girls into small groups  to teach them the basics before allowing them to hit the bunny slopes. Most of the girls tried skiing or snowboarding for the first time ever. Despite a couple of falls, everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and came home on the bus proud, exhausted, and in one piece.  We cannot WAIT for next year's trip!

JCRC's ReachOut! Program Reaches Out to Middle Schoolers

By Maggie Needham, Academic Coordinator and Lead Counselor

 

Twice a week, when our B-READY elementary schoolers get picked up at 6:00pm, St. Stephen’s offers Academic Nights, a space for teens and middle schoolers to spend time on their homework with staff members and volunteer tutors.

Many of our all-star volunteers during Academic Nights come from the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). JCRC’s ReachOut! program connects young Jewish professionals who want to get involved in social justice issues to organizations like St. Stephen’s Youth Programs, and they have made a huge impact on our Academic Nights.

Since January, we’ve been implementing a new system for our JCRC volunteers to work with our middle schoolers during Academic Nights. Rather than having the volunteers be available to any students who want help, we have paired up each of our JCRC volunteers with a specific group of three or four middle schoolers who regularly attend Academic Nights.

This system allows students and volunteers to build ongoing relationships from one week to the next and creates continuity of support. The middle schoolers can now expect the same volunteer to be there, each week, to check up on them and their homework. This consistency helps to hold both our students and our volunteers accountable to each other. It also gives the students a key, expected person they can turn to every week for help.

We are grateful for our partnership with JCRC and can already see how our students and volunteers are growing during Academic Nights!

 Volunteers from JCRC's ReachOut! program do homework with middle school students

Volunteers from JCRC's ReachOut! program do homework with middle school students

 JCRC volunteers are matched with students for the whole semester, creating continuity in relationships

JCRC volunteers are matched with students for the whole semester, creating continuity in relationships

Sharing the Story of Our School Partnership

St. Stephen’s Youth Programs was honored to share the story of our partnership with the Blackstone Innovation School at the New England Providence All Our Children Conference.  All Our Children is a national network of school- church partnerships, of which St. Stephen’s is a founding member.

Our story began in 2010, when Blackstone’s test scores were in the lowest 5% of the state’s and the school started the Turnaround process.  At our after-school program, we saw that our Blackstone students were struggling in reading.  When we learned the Blackstone lacked a functional library, we could not overlook the opportunity for partnership.  Today, the Blackstone Library, which is entirely staffed by volunteers, welcomes 19 classes on a weekly basis.  Other school partners, such as City Year and Big Sisters, Big Brothers use the space as well.


In addition to sharing our story, our conference session focused on building relationships with the leaders in the room.  Fifteen church and school leaders come from New Bedford, Salem, Lynn, and the Cape as well as New Hampshire and Connecticut to learn from our partnership and share their own successes and struggles.  Across geographic areas, participants stated that their motivation for entering into a partnership with a public school was to provide the resources the school can’t prioritize.  With increasing emphasis on standardized test scores, schools do not have the in-house resources to provide programming in reading, physical activity, and the arts. This is where community partners, both faith- based and secular, can step in.

By Maureen Burns, School and Community Organizer

 Maureen Burns presents the story of St. Stephen's Youth Programs Partnership with the Blackstone Innovation School

Maureen Burns presents the story of St. Stephen's Youth Programs Partnership with the Blackstone Innovation School

Teens Organize for a Fair Economy

The teen organizing team recently collected a total of 149 signatures for the Fair Share amendment petition!

The teen organizers covered Dudley Square; the South End from Lenox Street to Blackstone Square (including the sidewalks and Silver Line routes in between); Mass Ave, Back Bay and Forest Hills T stops; Downtown Crossing and the Boston Common; and the Southwest Corridor from Camden Street to Copley Square. 

They had hundreds of conversations with people about the need for increasing state revenue to improve our K-12 schools, rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, make college affordable, and invest in fast and reliable public transportation. 149 people were happy to sign on to the petition to amend the Massachusetts state constitution in order to create an additional tax of 4% on income that exceeds one million dollars per year. 

Raise Up MA (the organization that brought you the increased minimum wage in 2014) met its signature collection goal, with over 157,000 signatures. The next step is for the petition to go to a Joint Session of the Legislature and be approved by 25 percent of legislators (50 votes) before the end of formal sessions on July 31, 2016. The petition will then need a second approval by 25 percent of legislators in a Joint Session before the end of formal sessions on July 31, 2018 to appear on the ballot on November 6, 2018.

 St. Stephen's teens collected 149 signatures for the Raise Up MASsachusetts Fair Share Amendment  Photo Credit: Jon Feinberg, Neighbor to Neighbor (Lynn)

St. Stephen's teens collected 149 signatures for the Raise Up MASsachusetts Fair Share Amendment
Photo Credit: Jon Feinberg, Neighbor to Neighbor (Lynn)

Mayor Spotlights SSYP Teen Organizing

In his State Of The City address last night, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh unveiled plans to to renovate Ramsay Park, thanks to the efforts of SSYP's teen organizers. The Park is one of the few green spaces in the Lenox neighborhood, which is home to one of our year-round program sites. Despite its potential to be a family-friendly recreation space, it has long been an epicenter of drug use and violence in the neighborhood. SSYP's teen organizers came together last winter to plan the park's transformation as part of the B-PEACE for Jorge anti-violence initiative. (Read the Boston Herald Article, which includes video footage, here.) 

The teens' efforts spurred the formation of a coalition, Friends of Ramsay Park, that fosters greater collaboration between community organizations. Teen organizers led cleanup days, painted murals, planted bulbs, planned summer evening athletic programming and created family events. Their efforts to make the six acres safer have engaged city and law enforcement officials in dialogues about larger neighborhood issues including gang activity, homelessness, addiction, and mistrust of law enforcement. Noting that he "grew up in his neighborhood's parks" the Mayor said he is committed to improving parks throughout the city.

SSYP's Lenox Neighborhood Organizer, Sarah O'Connor who attended the Mayor's speech along with teen organizers and Director of Youth Programs, Liz Steinhauser commented, "We are thrilled that Ramsay Park is getting the kind of resources and attention from the city that the neighborhood deserves! This has been a community-wide effort that would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of many individuals and organizations including (but not limited to) Vibrant Boston, Northeastern University, Washington Gateway Main Streets, D-4 of the Boston Police Department, the Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin and the City of Boston Department of Youth Engagement and Employment. Thanks again to everyone for being part of this exciting new chapter in the story of Ramsay Park." 

To find out how to get involved, please contact  Sarah O'Connor.  Read press coverage:

 

 

 

Fall Cleanup In Ramsay Park

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OCTOBER 27, 2015 12:15 PM

On Saturday, October 24th, the Friends of Ramsay Park spent the morning giving the park a thorough fall cleaning. Neighbors from the South End and Lower Roxbury were joined by Northeastern students (as part of the Northeastern Center for Community Service’s NU Service Day), Washington Gateway Main Streets, teens from Vibrant Boston, and members of the South End Community Church and Emmanuel Gospel Center (as part of the Unite Boston BostonServes day). They raked up dozens of bags of leaves, picked up trash, and planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs around the tennis courts and the airplane statue that commemorates Captain David Ramsay. The day concluded with a performance by the Praise and Worship team from People’s Baptist Church, lead by the rockstar Reverend David Wright of the Black Ministerial Alliance.

Posted by Sarah O'Conner

Teens Meet Retired Red Sox Pitching Great Pedro Martinez

Pedro M and Franklin.jpg
  GLOBE PHOTO: LUIS CLEMENTE (SON OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE) AND BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH AT THE UNVEILING CEREMONY (ALSO THAT’S FELIX ARROYO SR. IN THE BACK)

GLOBE PHOTO: LUIS CLEMENTE (SON OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE) AND BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH AT THE UNVEILING CEREMONY (ALSO THAT’S FELIX ARROYO SR. IN THE BACK)

Haynes-IMG_9061.jpg

 

 

On November 19th, a group of of young people had the opportunity to go to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute to be part of a public conversation with Pedro Martinez. The 8-time All Star, 3-time Cy Young Award winner, and newly inducted Baseball Hall of Famer dominated opponents from the mound for the Red Sox from 1998-2004. He was part of the 2004 World Series Championship team which delivered a stunning come-from-behind victory 86 years in the making.

In an interview prior to the event, Pedro talked about how proud he was to be a part of Boston’s Latino community; “I am Lynn, I am Jamaica Plain, I am Lawrence, I am Providence, I am Roxbury. The best moments of my career happened in Boston and I will always carry them in my heart,” he said.

During the conversation with Boston Public School students, he talked about growing up thinking he would either become a pediatrician or a baseball player. Despite the discouragment he received from people who thought he was too small (he’s 5’9″ by generous measure) to ever make it to the major leagues, he went on to become one of the most dominant pitchers ever to play the game, an especially remarkable feat in an era of rampant abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. He advised the young people in the audience to take advantage of growing up in America, which he called “the land of opportunity.”

One young person immediately started reading “Pedro,” Pedro Martinez’s autobiography (that he got at the event) and was enthralled in learning all about Pedro’s childhood in Manoguayabo, outside of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. A St. Stephen’s Youth Programs alum talked about meeting Pedro as a lifetime-best experience.

In other relevant baseball news from November 19, a bust of Puerto Rican hero Roberto Clemente was installed adjacent to the Blackstone School in the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Square in the South End Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955-1972, winning 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards, batting over .300 for 13 consecutive seasons, and amassing over 3,000 hits throughout his career. He was killed in an airplane crash in 1972 while on a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua and became the first Latin American player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.

Posted by Teen Organizer, Dominick Jackson

Read the Globe coverage here:  

 HTTPS://WWW.BOSTONGLOBE.COM/METRO/2015/11/19/ROBERTO-CLEMENTE-STATUE-UNVEILED-SOUTH-END/M9WKRFMYLF62Z2HF3QEJGP/STORY.HTML

Teen Organizers Volunteer in the Lenox Neighborhood

Spending a Saturday afternoon at the Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin seemed perfect with Thanksgiving right around the corner. The teen organizers were there to do community service in the Lenox neighborhood, where we have focused our organizing efforts on Ramsay Park. We helped Crosstown Church volunteers cook and serve a community Thanksgiving meal. Meeting new people was fantastic. Also, the joy of being able to dance with my friends and to feel like part of a community was an amazing way to spend my Saturday afternoon. Not to mention, the food (especially the green beans), was delicious and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Posted by Teen Organizer Tahnaree Evans

B-PEACE Teen Organizers part of neighborhood peace walk

OCTOBER 29, 2015 11:23 AM

B-PEACE for Jorge teen organizers joined about 30 people from local churches (including many clergy), police officers, and community members in front of Grant A.M.E. Church for a neighborhood walk for peace to end to street violence. The route crossed Washington Street and wound through Ramsay Park, where B-PEACE teen organizers have been involved in a campaign to increase neighborhood safety.  “I was proud to walk through Ramsay Park, because people were noticing the art we had created over the summer. The point of the mural and the tiles was to make people feel safer in Ramsay Park.” said B-PEACE teen organizer Tahnaree Evans.

Law enforcement officers and members of the clergy introduced themselves to residents in the Lenox-Camden housing development and lead prayers for peace and an end to violence in the neighborhood. "These walks bring everyone together," said neighborhood resident and B-PEACE organizer Jhanel Potts. "A lot of people feel some type of way about the cops. Cops were there and nothing bad happened, no one got arrested, so people felt more like they could trust cops. And get the sense that not all cops are bad and we can trust some of them." B-PEACE organizer Dominick Jackson agreed, "It was awesome to see people I haven't seen in a long time and to see that lots of people I know care about my neighborhood. And that we were talking about the problem of violence in the community and people had to listen."

Clergy and law enforcement are teaming up to organize a series of walks in neighborhoods throughout the city in response to the uptick in violence this summer, with the goal of strengthening community-police relationships so everyone can be on the team working to reduce neighborhood violence.

POSTED BY the Teen Community Organizing Team