Play these three workshops designed to simulate how and why affordable homes are built in Chelsea!
Build a Building
Build a Building
Did you know you can help alleviate the sting of poverty in the lives of hundreds of working families? Many of the people that we serve face a number of challenges- from having limited English proficiency, not being able to afford tax preparation, to simply finding tax filing overwhelming.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers work together to aid low-income households file their taxes free of charge- helping filers save an average of $176 in unnecessary filing fees (meaning the taxpayer gets to keep all of their refund). Volunteers also help to maximize refunds by ensuring taxpayers claim the Earned Income Tax credit (up to $6,431 per household), and other beneficial tax credits. Last year, volunteers at TND helped bring over $600,000 in tax refunds to the community. You can do the same! Volunteer and help people claim these important tax credits! Your work will empower others to care for their families and withstand unexpected economic changes that help reduce poverty - and you can do this all while boosting your resume!
There are many ways you can help. In addition to tax preparers, we also need greeters, people scheduling appointments and answering the phone. Each role is vital, and we'll train you.
If you're you interested in tax preparation but worried about learning tax law or making a mistake on someone's taxes, relax, we've got you. VITA volunteers are protected under the volunteer protection act. You'll attend a training on tax law and learn to use the tax software. In the first couple of weeks, we'll pair you with an experienced volunteer, and after you finish each return, someone will thoroughly check all of your work. There will also always be a site coordinator and other experienced volunteers to help answer any questions you may have.
Whichever role you choose, we will help you with what you will need to fulfill that role, or we can help you find the one that's right for you. If you’re interested in being a part of a group of people using their skills to lend a hand to others, click here.
Costa Park in the Shirley Avenue neighborhood is shining a little brighter after a revitalization project that added murals, fixed up the playground and planted new greenery around the much-loved community space. The project, co-sponsored by Republic Services, the City of Revere and The Neighborhood Developers, drew dozens of volunteers who live and work in Revere to the park on Saturday, June 8.
Republic Services General Manager Kurt Lavery was joined by company employees and family members who helped in the days leading up to the project day as well as on the day itself. “This is a special day for Republic Services, for The Neighborhood Developers and for all of our community partners,” Lavery said. “We are proud to join you in this rebuilding day project to achieve a safe, clean and welcoming Costa Park.”
The park is one of the busiest in Revere with hundreds of children and adults using the playground each week. Due to its heavy use, the city park needed some TLC to keep it in tip top condition. The playground’s rubber surfacing was worn away in many places, some playground and park equipment was broken, and the park’s murals and art installations no longer shined.
A planning committee composed of neighborhood children and adults had been working since late winter to plan the park improvements. Kyla Alterman, a community organizer for The Neighborhood Developers, worked with residents. “Each improvement that you see in the park was the result of engaged children and adults who showed up at design meetings. They helped select our new ball hoops, balance beam, and accessibility swing,” Alterman said. “We painted a hopscotch on the ground after dozens of children drew pictures of one as an element they wanted to see most in the park. Community members also selected the painted butterflies that will be installed on the park’s fence, came up with the idea to collect plastic caps to make murals, and to paint a welcome mural at the entrance of the park.”
During the event, a shiny new Republic Services truck was positioned just outside the park’s entrance. The company, which has a local division in Revere, is one of the nation’s largest trash and recycling haulers with 14 million customers. In his remarks, Lavery, the general manager, said, “This past year, our Foundation launched a substantial company-wide charitable giving program we call the National Neighborhood Promise. And, through this program with partners like The Neighborhood Developers, Republic is committed to helping rebuild, revitalize and restore neighborhoods just like here in Costa Park. Our goal is to help build stronger, more unified neighborhoods. And through our programs and volunteer projects we believe we can – with each of you – make a meaningful difference in the communities where we live and work.”
Republic Services has 200 employees working out of the company’s Revere facility picking up recycling and trash from regional residential and commercial customers, including the residential properties of The Neighborhood Developers that are home to more than 1,100 children and adults in Chelsea and Revere.
Mayor Brian Arrigo and City Councilor Ira Novoselsky were on hand to thank Republic Services, The Neighborhood Developers, community residents and city employees who helped to make the day productive and fun. Qin Li, a mother of two who regularly enjoys the park with her children, told the Mayor that she is recruiting volunteers to join a Friends of Costa Park group. “Our goal is to keep the park clean, and to use the park for organized activities,” she said.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino proclaimed Tuesday, April 2nd, to be National Service Recognition Day for Chelsea. The City Manager brought seven Chelsea-based AmeriCorps volunteers to City Hall to celebrate their hard work and dedication to bettering the community.
“Chelsea is in a very fortunate situation where a lot of great nonprofits partner to help make the lives of our residents better,” offered City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “And that’s fundamentally what the City’s role is, to improve the lives of the residents. Thank you for being part of that.”
Three of the volunteers recognized on Tuesday serve the CONNECT program at The Neighborhood Developers: Damon Major, Laura Bither, and Evie Heffernan. CONNECT is a partnership of five organizations that together help people solve housing problems, find better jobs, take the next step in their education, and fix their personal finances.
Two of the celebrated volunteers, Sage Loomis and Sophia Ordonez, are part of the Healthy Chelsea Coalition, where they design and deliver programming about nutrition in Chelsea schools. Convened and managed by MGH, Healthy Chelsea is a community coalition focused on improving the overall health of Chelsea residents.
One volunteer, Sam Moser, is teaching English as a Second Language as part of the Chelsea Collaborative’s menu of workforce development services. The Collaborative works to meet the basic needs of Chelsea residents, foster leadership and citizenship, and change systems for greater equity and justice.
Every year, the AmeriCorps program places thousands of volunteers in thousands of communities throughout the nation to bolster civic, neighborhood, and faith-based organizations. For more information, see https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps.
This holiday season TND residents received toys from Marine Corps Toys for Tots organization. This was the first year our TND children participated in this program. It was a success put on through our resident service departments from The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Communidad as well our property manager Winn Residential. This team effort brought the holiday spirit of giving into our properties.
Resident Service received 256 toys from Toys for tots and roughly 160 children were able to pick up their toys that same week! It was a week filled with joy, excitement and smiles. Luckily the children were on winter break so they got to come into our offices and pick up their own toys. The excitement of parents also filled the room that day, some families had worried they would not have a toy for their children for the holidays. They were very surprised and thankful that TND was able to organize this event.
National Neighborhood Promise™ Grants Awarded to Eight Local Neighborhood Revitalization Organizations
PHOENIX, Dec. 3, 2018 (from press release) -- The newly established Republic Services Charitable Foundation has announced the recipients of its first-ever companywide charitable giving program called National Neighborhood Promise™. National Neighborhood Promise grants are designed to deliver critical funding to nonprofit organizations leading neighborhood revitalization projects across the country.
"For the first time, our more than 35,000 employees across the country are coming together on a national level to focus our charitable giving efforts more strategically, making significant and lasting impacts on the neighborhoods that need it most," said President and CEO Don Slager. "We're excited about this important step in Republic Services' growth and look forward to making an even bigger difference in the communities we serve."
Through National Neighborhood Promise, the Republic Services Charitable Foundation partners with select 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to directly support neighborhood revitalization projects and programs within the United States, including Puerto Rico. These partnerships strengthen the neighborhoods in which Republic's employees live and work.
In 2018, the Foundation is funding projects with eight partners in local communities, with grants ranging from $40,000-$250,000:
Avenue Community Development Corp. (Houston, TX)
Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities (Davenport, IA)
The Neighborhood Developers, Inc. (Chelsea, MA)
Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services (Corvallis, OR)
The selected projects include critical home repairs, community cleanups and park revitalizations. Republic Services employees in each of the eight communities will offer volunteer time in addition to the grant funding and in-kind products and services. The projects in total are estimated to impact more than 100,000 residents.
Grant recipients for 2019 will be announced early next year.
For more information about the Republic Services Charitable Foundation and the National Neighborhood Promise program, please visit RepublicServices.com/giving.
About Republic Services
Republic Services, Inc. is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal. Through its subsidiaries, Republic's collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make responsive waste disposal effortless for its 14 million customers. We'll handle it from here.®, the brand's promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.
For more information, visit the Republic Services website at RepublicServices.com. "Like" Republic on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepublicServices and follow on Twitter @RepublicService and Instagram @republic_services.
SOURCE Republic Services
My name is Rafael Mares, and I recently joined The Neighborhood Developers (TND) as the new executive director. Prior to joining TND, during and after law school, I spent several years as a housing advocate. In countless courtrooms, I represented low-income tenants seeking to prevent eviction, stop housing discrimination, and address unhealthy conditions in their homes. I was especially proud when my team successfully litigated a class action for almost 300 public housing tenants which resulted in the lead abatement of New England’s largest public housing development. In coalition with other legal-aid attorneys, I secured protections for renters in foreclosed properties during the mortgage crisis. What I had the privilege to see and experience through my work as a lawyer, reinforced my belief that housing is a human right.
But stable housing issues are also personal to me. On February 27th of this year, I received a phone call at 2:30 AM from the general contractor who was renovating our house. He called to let me know that a fire had completely destroyed our home of fifteen years in Revere; the only home my children had ever known. My family and I are lucky that we have support to help us get through this time of crisis and uncertainty. Most people who lose their home don’t. My own loss has renewed my focus on the importance of advocating for access to safe, healthy, stable, and affordable homes.
Since the recession ended, the cost of housing has dramatically increased while salaries have not risen apace. In Everett, for example, over the last eight years, rental rates have increased close to 30%.
Most of us have moved at some point in our lifetime. Even when a move is planned, it is a stressful experience for everyone in the family. Imagine the disruptions to work, school, and everyday life due to one or more forced moves in a year. Neighborhoods with a lot of resident turnover suffer other challenges such as lack of access to good employment and working conditions. They also experience more violence, chronic health issues, and social isolation, and, unfortunately, less civic engagement.
As a Revere resident, TND is my local community-development organization, and I’m glad to know you are part of our organization as well. This year, as TND celebrates its 40th Anniversary, it has become even more apparent that we need to “Raise the Roof.”
TND offers a unique giving opportunity. Using Community Investment Tax Credits (CITCs), donations of $1,000 or more made to The Neighborhood Developers earn half of your donation back as either a state tax credit or a check. Federal deductions also apply making the value of your donation go even further. For CITC information or to donate, please click the button below.
Ensure that more of us have access to a stable home and a great neighborhood by making a donation to The Neighborhood Developers today. We are grateful for your support!
By Angelica Maria Aguilera
Poem commissioned for TND's 40th birthday
if a community is a house
i imagine the bricks as all its people,
each shaped uniquely and wedged in differently,
mundane as the sky but it falls and we are all screwed.
a house of course is greased with grit,
a thousand bricks holding it up day in and out without
asking for rest
ode to the organizers, the bodega owners, the families and the
ode to the mailmen, the kindergarten teachers with patience flexible as a gymnastic star, the neighbors that make themselves our mothers when our mothers are off making a life for us,
ode to the streetlights that guide us back to our bedrooms and into the loudest dreams
ode to the cement sidewalks that serve as classrooms for character
to the friends that teach us where we can call home
to the spaces that raise us, give us space to leave, and arms to come back to
if a community is a house
that means it is always under construction
the upkeep is infinite, and tireless
the crooked oil painting waits for hands to guide it
the leaking faucet is no competition to the plumber’s loyal wrench
a hideous wallpaper is nothing to a mother’s ruthless eye for discount decor
and manipulation of coupons
home is picky about its use in context
it knows itself to be more verb than noun
it is the tending not the structure that most correctly captures it
it is the pieces of yourself you nail into the walls, the fragments of
heart molded into the tiles, the continuous work that constitutes the word
that creates the sweet sweet sweetness of
On this Giving Tuesday, say yes to
home, community, and opportunity!
We are looking for an enthusiastic storytelling intern to join our communications department. As a storyteller you’ll advance the mission by capturing the stories and strong photos of the people we serve—bringing the impact of our work into focus.
Going out into the field and interviewing stakeholders
Documenting events and programs
Distributing content on several channels
Identifying best-of photos from events and interviews
Filming Events (If interest and ability)
Students applying for this internship should have an interest in capturing stories. You’ll need strong written and verbal communication skills. This internship is for students seeking school credit. School-credit requirements vary from school to school.
We are looking to fill multiple intern positions and will fill the positions on a rolling basis. The ideal candidate can commit to a minimum of 10 hours a week. The schedule is flexible, and will be determined based on your availability and program need.
Trey Greer, Communications Manager
New York Times: A Map of Every Building In America
Most of the time, The New York Times asks you to read something. Today we are inviting you, simply, to look. On this page you will find maps showing almost every building in the United States.
Flowing Data: All the building footprints in the United States
What's really the most dangerous American city? The way crimes are currently counted can easily confuse and mislead.
One morning last year, Michele Carter woke up to find an eviction notice slipped under her apartment door.
Boston Globe: Can Boston's developers merge art and equity?
Not every city can have a single charismatic visionary like Gates driving creative reuse of urban spaces.
Enterprise: Opportunity360 at One Year – And Beyond
We hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating the one-year anniversary of Opportunity360 with us. Over the past year it’s been exciting to watch this unique and powerful resource be used…
Meeting of The Minds: How Homeownership Builds Individual and Community Wealth
Ever since, and long before, the housing market crashed in 2008, with its devastation of homes, neighborhoods and lives, pundits and policy makers have debated the wisdom of advocating for homeownership – particularly in minority communities.
Fast Company: Being born in the wrong ZIP code can shorten your life
“State and local governments could play a role in increasing life expectancies,” writes Professor Jessica Young.
Strong Towns: Opportunity Zones, But for Whom?
If you’re plugged into the urbanist blogosphere, you’ve probably heard something about the new federal Opportunity Zones by now.
“Almost half of Americans (45%) go to their car to have a private moment to themselves,” the company reports in a new survey of 22,000 people in 22 countries.
Podcast: It’s the Little Things
Want to better your community but don’t know where to start?
A while ago, I read about Juicero, a wifi-connected juicing machine. It was originally $700, and you had to subscribe to these proprietary packets of cut-up fruit and veggies for $7 each.
Mass displacement is a crisis': Building clearouts are becoming increasingly common in Boston.
This past weekend The Neighborhood Developers was able to send six residents to the NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute conference in Houston Texas. CLI is a “three day training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of the community, resident and volunteer leaders.” Participants from all over the USA attended this training, where at the end of the training participants are eligible for a $4,000 grant for an action plan created by the resident leaders.
Left to Right: Yenis Joya, Resident Service Coordinator Monica Elias, Resident Service Manager Gabriel Fonseca, Elizabeth Ramos (Middle), Pamela Ross (Front), Loira Moore (Back), Marcus Queen (Back) Mina Jlil (Front) and Vice President of Resident Services Monica Dean.
Mina Jlil speaking in front of a session at CLI
TND’s team was composed by TND residents housed in our properties and community residents from both cities of Chelsea and Revere. This team was led in efforts with TND Resident Services department.
For many of our residents this was the first time traveling outside MA. During the trainings our residents engaged with residents from all over the country where they found inspirations in each other. A big take away for our residents was that there are many communities in the USA fighting for affordability in their communities and trying to strengthen community engagement, not much difference in comparison to our communities. TND is excited to see what community action plan grows from this year’s CLI team.
“Con amor y respeto we stand in solidarity with you”
#HoustonCLI #CLI2018 #TNDResidents #Chelsea&Revere #ResidentLeaders
A big thank you to the 126 donors that raised $10,043 and who were entered into the drawing for a pair of jetBlue tickets. The contributions will go to serve our mission of home, community, and opportunity.
Ramadan is the most holy Islamic holiday of the year, it's a holy month of fasting and prayers for Muslims. During Ramadan Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. They break their fast by sharing meals with family and friends. Last Wednesday June 13th, the residents from 525 Beach in Revere hosted an iftar dinner and invited neighbors and friends; Muslim and non Muslim friends. This was a great opportunity for non Muslims friends to explore and share this culture.
A Colombian resident Maria Patino and her son Carlos Patino attended the iftar dinner and stated they were so happy and felt so welcomed to explore and understand their neighbors culture. Maria shared with resident service that everything was, “Estupendo, todo muy rico, me encanto!” (Excellent, everything was so delicious, I enjoyed it!) It was a great night for the residents of 525 Beach, they broke fast together, enjoyed each other's company and learned so much from each other. The community room was filled with noise, laughter, neighborly love and delicious food.
Here you can see some dishes that residents and friends shared during the iftar dinner. The harira soup is a very traditional soup served during Ramadan filled with chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes and other fresh veggies. As well you can see all the delicious pastries baked, Sondos Zenina a resident from 525 Beach is known for her famous desserts, on the far left she has baked a pistachio kataifi cake and a friend shared a homemade baklava.
This was a great night to remember!
On June 7th, in celebration of NeighborWorks Week, TND with the help of many volunteers hosted the Launch into Summer event in Chelsea Square.
This annual event on the first Thursday in June is usually hosted in TND's office, but due to the large amount of summer events happening in Chelsea Square this summer, changing the location seemed obvious. Over 100 community members came out to Chelsea Square to enjoy music, play games, learn about resources and most importantly to connect with their neighbors. Thank you to NeighborWorks and all of the resident leaders who volunteered; together you made this event possible.
On Thursday May 31st The Neighborhood Developers publicly introduced Rafael Mares as its incoming Executive Director when more than 200 were on hand to celebrate the organization’s 40th Anniversary. Those who welcomed Rafael included Congressman Michael Capuano, Secretary of the MA Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, EOHED Undersecretary Juan Vega, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Joseph Boncore, Representative Joseph McGonagle, Brian Arrigo Mayor of Revere, and Tom Ambrosino Chelsea City Manager as well as many City Councilors, organizational members, friends and allies.
Rafael is well known regionally for his work with the Conservation Law Foundation where as a Vice President and Program Director of the Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program he has provided legal, technical, and strategic support to equitable transportation and community development efforts. His work on the Fairmount Indigo Corridor, for example, served to improve economic opportunity and mobility for Boston residents in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park that were without efficient or rapid transit to downtown employment. Prior to joining the Conservation Law Foundation, Rafael worked at the Wilmer Hale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in Jamaica Plain representing indigent tenants in fair housing and eviction matters. Rafael and his family are residents of Revere, one of three cities served by The Neighborhood Developers. The ability to support equitable development within his own community is part of what drew Rafael to apply to for the position.
“Rafael has been a steadfast advocate for healthy communities across New England,” said Bradley Campbell, President of Conservation Law Foundation. “His work ensuring equitable access to the MBTA and fighting for environmental justice in places like Lawrence, Massachusetts will have a lasting impact on countless lives. All of us at CLF will certainly miss his energy and the passion he showed for his work over the last nine years.”
Also announced at The Neighborhood Developers’ 40th Celebration event was the launch of Opportunity Communities (OppCo), a new and innovative joint-venture launched in April 2018 to increase the capacity of community development nonprofits to sponsor socially just, locally controlled, and equitable change within low- and moderate-income communities. Opportunity Communities was co-founded by The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Comunidad of Boston. Across the two non-profits organizations is a housing portfolio of 1,150 apartments, which provide a stable home to over 3,000 low- and moderate-income individuals. Greater scale provides greater opportunity. Through OppCo, The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Comunidad are leveraging their combined resources and creating a common, shared set of core operations and programs with significantly more capacity than either organization can afford on its own. The end result is a more sustainable, efficient and robust structure for community development activities that sustains each organization‘s distinct identity, independent non-profit status, and control over mission, assets, and strategy. The model is designed for scale; up to ten community development non-profits are expected to join OppCo in the years ahead.
Stepping into the role as CEO of OppCo is Ann Houston, who for the last 14 years has served as the Executive Director of The Neighborhood Developers. Ann Houston joined The Neighborhood Developers in November 2003 with a mandate to expand the organization’s real estate development program. She accomplished this and much, much more. During her tenure with the organization, The Neighborhood Developers completed 16 real estate projects with 378 new or rehabbed homes representing more than $100 million invested in healthy, affordable homes for low and moderate-income households. Other major organizational milestones that occurred during Ann’s tenure include geographic expansion into Revere (2010) and Everett (2017) and the creation of CONNECT, an innovative partnership that supports low-income individuals and families to find a better job and achieve greater economic stability and mobility.
At the event another community development organization that is also turning 40 during 2018 -- NeighborWorks America – was recognized as The Neighborhood Developers’ Partner of the Year. NeighborWorks America exists today because 40 years ago, a coalition of residents, government officials, bankers and community members decided to experiment with a new way of making communities better places to live. Instead of public housing projects, this coalition envisioned better, more affordable homes in the places that people need them most. Since its Congressional chartering in 1978, NeighborWorks has expanded to nearly 250 members nationwide. Yet, it has retained what makes it unique: a grassroots approach that allows every organization the flexibility to focus on the needs of its particular community. The Neighborhood Developers is one of the first NeighborWorks organizations formed by a local coalition of Chelsea leaders and benefits from all that NeighborWorks has to offer: technical assistance; flexible grants; comprehensive, tailored training; and the opportunity to interact with and learn from fellow professionals from a variety of sectors.
NeighborWorks America exists today because 40 years ago, a coalition of residents, government officials, bankers and community members decided to experiment with a new way of making communities better places to live. Instead of public housing projects, this coalition envisioned better, more affordable homes in the places that people need them most. Since its Congressional chartering in 1978, NeighborWorks has expanded to nearly 250 members nationwide. Yet, it has retained what makes it unique: a grassroots approach that allows every organization the flexibility to focus on the needs of its particular community.
TND is one of the first organizations chartered by NeighborWorks America – then known as Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. Both organizations are celebrating their 40th anniversaries in 2018.
Accepting the TND Partner of the Year Award on behalf of NeighborWorks was Jeffrey Bryson, Interim CEO and President. Joining Jeffrey were Katie Watts, SVP of Field Operations, and Joan Straussman, now Director of the Northeast Region. Also on hand was Margo Kelly who was the first NeighborWorks America representative to support the Chelsea start-up as well as Michael Williams who plays that role today. TND benefits from all that NeighborWorks has to offer: technical assistance; flexible grants; comprehensive, tailored training; and the opportunity to interact with and learn from fellow professionals from a variety of sectors.
NeighborWorks America is a tremendously valuable funding partner having invested nearly $8M over the last fifteen years in TND. Through their support for organizational capacity building, NeighborWorks has assisted TND in good times and challenging times. They are a valuable forum for learning – some of our best ideas were nurtured through conversations at NeighborWorks forums and work on national committees. At CONNECT we say that people can’t aspire to what they don’t know about: NeighborWorks America constantly raises our aspirations.
The day after the celebration, TND was happy to host our Neighborworks America guests on a tour: Jeffrey Bryson, Katie Watts, and Michael Williams. As we both celebrate our 40th anniversaries, we enjoyed sharing our work and vision for home, community, and opportunity into the future.
Inocencia Perez is someone who is a connector within our community. When Inocencia learns about something beneficial, she makes sure that people in her network learn about the opportunity. She’ll also go one step farther and offer to babysit, if that is what is needed to allow a parent to make an appointment. TND and CONNECT are grateful that Inocencia found us, as she is responsible for bringing many of her peers in to access one of CONNECT’s many financial opportunity services and she has emerged as one of our community leaders.
Like many in our community, three years ago Inocencia was facing displacement from her apartment due to rising rents. CONNECT helped Inocencia to stabilize her housing situation. She says that what keeps her involved, is her understanding that CONNECT can help her to achieve greater financial stability and mobility.
In the fall of 2014, Inocencia was taking ESL classes at CONNECT. She initiated an effort to bring a group of Spanish-speaking students to a CONNECT Credit Class as she saw a real need for greater financial literacy among her peers. Always a good networker, Inocencia joined a CONNECT Family Circle, and then went on to host a series of Family Circles in her home. Through these facilitated gatherings, participants envision their financial dreams and they find support as they brainstorm and share their struggles. It was through another Circle participant that Inocencia found a job working in a restaurant, proving that she too could benefit economically as a result of her social network.
Inocencia is one of the resident founders of Walk Wednesday, a joint project of MGH, TND and Social Capital Inc. This group meets every Wednesday morning at the Chelsea Library to explore our city on foot, and to share information about beneficial community based services. Each week the group walks, stops for Zumba, and then visits a local business for coffee and treats. Due to Inocencia’s outreach and that of others, Walk Wednesday continues to grow with 30 participants this year.
Jan Dumas is a Shirley Avenue resident of Revere who cares deeply about her neighbors and equitable access to community resources. She is also someone who has shared her powerful personal story as she advocates for affordable homes.
Jan Dumas became a TND member five years ago after participating in her first NeighborCircle. She later went on to host her own NeighborCircle at her own home to deepen social connections among her neighbors. During the course of her membership with TND, Jan has completed four leadership trainings, learning how to facilitate NeighborCircles, how to set goals for change in a neighborhood setting, and most recently, she completed a Board Leadership Bootcamp where participants learned how to join a municipal Board.
Jan says, “My service dog Neelix and I are part of the team working to make Shirley Avenue a better neighborhood.” As an active Revere Community Committee member, Jan has helped to plan and implement many community building events including five Shirley Cultural Festivals and at least eight neighborhood clean-ups. Inspired by another RCC member, she became a proud steward of the second Little Free Library in the City of Revere this past summer, enabling neighbors to access books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. This love of books is part of another passion of Jan’s. When she is not actively helping out her community, Jan organizes conventions for those interested in science fiction and fantasy.
Mike became involved with TND as a participant in Neighborcircles, a series of dinners held in a community members' home. Prior to that, Mike claims he was "in the dark, not knowing how to get involved". He was working two jobs, hardly interacted with his neighbors, and didn't really know much about what was going on in the community. Mike explained that TND provided the tools to stay connected and once he became connected, everything changed. He met other neighbors, started participating in countless events like safety walks, neighborhood meetings and clean ups, and in 2007 he co-founded a resident group called the Community Enhancement Team. Mike says he has been on a journey -- eager to learn and eager to bridge the divisions within the community and this desire was apparent one day by the soon-to-be Box District Park.
Before the City developed the Box District Park, there was a North Bellingham Hill Revitalization Plan that provided an opportunity for residents, TND and Chelsea City officials to talk about their visions for change in the neighborhood. Creating safe spaces for children to play was one of the priorities identified by area residents. Not long after the North Bellingham Hill Plan was completed, Mike joined a group of stakeholders that helped to design the Box District Park. The planning group took a field trip to what was then an empty lot at the end of Gerrish Avenue. While people were talking, Mike noticed a woman and her children on the outskirts looking on. Mike crossed the street and walked up to the woman. The woman was curious about what was going on, but she didn't speak English so she was watching from the side. Mike described the plans that TND and the City had for the area -- that they were going to build housing and a park that would be open to the community for her kids to enjoy. He then brought the woman and her children over to see the proposed blueprint of the Box District Park.
Jay Ash, who was Chelsea’s City Manager at the time, was at the park that day. Soon after he brought Mike on to led recycling efforts for the City. On any given day, you are likely to see Mike Sandoval walking around picking up trash, but this isn't because it is his job; it is because he believes in taking care of his community both on and off the clock. Together with members of the Community Enhancement Team, a former dumping ground at the corner of Willow and Marlborough was transformed. Since adopting this area in 2016, the group has transformed it into a beautiful space filled with sunflowers. For the past three years, Mike Sandoval has visited this site 3-5 times per week to collect trash, weed or water the plants. This commitment illustrates Mike's dedication to his City, and the beautiful sunflowers that transform the area during the summer is as Mike would say "a beautiful example of what the community can accomplish through connecting.
Mike, "Mr. Chelsea" as some would call him, constantly pushes himself and the community to strive for better things. On behalf of TND and the City of Chelsea, thank you Mike for all your hard work over the years.