about the forum on Somerville's community
One way people earned Community stocks was by sharing things they
did to help Somerville's community. Another was by donating to the
Somerville Homeless Coalition, and then telling us about it.
Below are things people
told us they had done-- as well as current events and news
items that impacted Somerville's community.
We updated this page
every few weeks for a year, beginning on March 31, 2012 and ending
on March 31, 2013.
forum on Somerville's community - 3/16-3/31/13
J. Marechal participated in, attendeded, or was part of the
following community or social policy efforts: Attended Mass Housing
& Shelter Alliance Meeting; Worshipped at memorial for homeless
who passed in 2012 at Church on the hill; Proposed non profit art
outreach at Global Ideas Initiative at MIT; Followed up at Humanitarian
Engineering Event in Somerville; Signed a petition against the allocation
of $550 million for a new women's prison in Cambridge; Nominated
the Director of the Creative Expressions Art Program for Homeless
Women at WLP for the Mass Conference for Women's 'Be the Change'
Award (she won!); Attended Freedom Rally, Interviewed Congressman
Barney Frank & wrote article outlining bill to legalize Medical
Marijuana, and voted for its passage; The Nat'l Cannabis Industry
Assoc. Symposium in Boston; The Mass Breast Cancer Coalition's 15th
Anniversary Lesbian Dance for Prevention, followed w/article on
proposed legislation and upcoming fundraising events; Multiple articles
for Spare Change News; profiles of homeless artists, and essays
on pressing issues; Letter writing campaign for Amnesty International
Prisoner of Conscience to honor MLK Jr. Day; Received Web of Benefit
Micro Finance Business Grant and subsequently have entered two writing
competitions and applied for a work in progress grant.
Boston Cares isn't the
only volunteer organization in the area; last year, a new organization
called One Brick Boston opened up shop. One Brick is a nationwide
network that, like Boston Cares, tries to make it easier for people
to find ways to volunteer. One Brick Boston organizes volunteer
events that anyone can attend. Just take a look at their website
for more information.
According to a recent
report, the annual salary that are needed to support a family
of two adults and two children in Somerville is over $81,000.
This is more than $7,000 more (10% more) than the state average
of $74,000. This makes Somerville one of the more difficult places
in Massachusetts to get by as a family.
Inc. seeks to end domestic violence through "prevention,
intervention, advocacy and direct services that promote safe, healthy
relationships," according to its webiste. The organization
was founded by four Somerville women in the early 1970s, and has
been in continuous operation since.
According to a recent
article in the Atlantic Monthly, there is a large class divide
in the entire Boston area, including in Somerville. The eastern
and northern parts of Somerville are largely the homes of people
who are in what the article calls the "service class"--
that is, low-paying, low-skill jobs-- while the southern and western
parts of the city are where the "creative class" lives--
that is, science, academia and business. Since there is a large
pay difference between these types of jobs (around $33,500 for service
jobs, and around $85,000 for creative jobs), this means that one
half of the city earns almost three times per year more than the
other half does.
Wayside Youth and
Family Support Network operates a program for Boston-area homeless
young adults, aged 18-22, in Somerville. The program is called ShortStop,
and offers housing, transitional care, education, and vocational
In early 2013, Somerville
saw two new initiatives to foster community. First, a resident of
Somerville and a resident of Cambridge launched Cambriville Connects.
The new organization has been organizing events in order to "to
connect Somerville and Cambridge folks to create an even more vibrant
community." Then there was Our Common Place, which is
a web-based bulletin board that encourages residents to connect
in a way that will continue in real life.
Somerville has two Main
Street organizations: East Somerville Main Streets, and Union
Square Main Streets. Both are nonprofit community development
organizations that try to revitalize their neighborhoods by planning
public events and supporting local businesses.
Since 1996, Somerville's
schools have been supported by the Duhamel Education Initiative.
The Initiative gives grants to teachers who work with at-risk youth,
and supports innovative programming in Somerville's public schools.
forum on Somerville's community - 3/2-3/15/13
An anonymous resident runs a blog (called I Can Play Too,
http://icanplaytoo.blogspot.com/ ) that evaluates Somerville playgrounds.
The writer takes photos, describes the equipment, and mentions whether
facilities like bathrooms or handicapped parking are nearby. The
blog also notes whether the playgrounds themselves are handicapped-accessible.
The Somerville Homeless
Coalition provides resources for homeless and at-risk men, women
and children. These resources include affordable housing, food programs,
and case management services and counseling. The nonprofit has been
in operation since 1985, and currently provides services for over
has been second-hand clothing and shoes to low-income and homeless
people in Somerville and Cambridge since 2005. Second Chances organizes
clothing drives, and encourages others to do so as well. So far,
they have gathered over 43,000 pounds of clothing and given them
to over 2,300 people. The organization is based in Somerville.
According to an article
in the Somerville Beat, there are 9 different local farms that
offer farm shares pick-ups in Somerville. Residents can participate
by paying an annual fee; this fee will then get them a weekly assortment
of fresh, locally-grown (and often organic) food during the spring,
summer, and fall. Having a farm share is good for a number of reasons.
First, you get fresh food for less than it would cost at the store.
Second, it supports local businesses, since they can charge more
than distributors would give them. Third, it reduces pollution,
since the food isn't shipped in trucks from across the country,
or in planes or boats from other continents.
Somerville has two groups
involved in preserving Somerville's history. First, there's the
Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, which is a city
board. The board has met monthly since 1985; it reviews plans to
change buildings, in order to preserve the city's architectural
history. Second, there's Historic Somerville, which is a
nonprofit that was founded in 2004. Historic Somerville organizes
educational events, with the goal of making sure that "each
citizen values [the city's] history and heritage."
The Somerville Community
Growing Center is a 1/4-acre garden, performance space, and
educational center. Since 1994, when it was created by a group of
volunteers, the center has offered a range of activities and events--
ranging from concerts to plays to classes about nature and gardening.
forum on Somerville's community - 2/16-3/1/13
Sam Christy helped start the League of Urban Canners (LUrC).
LUrC is an urban food production cooperative where members of the
community share responsibility for creating low-cost healthy food
using a sustainable economic model. LUrC contracts with owners to
farm, harvest and process fruit grown on their property. Each member
receives a share of the processed fruit based on their contribution
of work. Owners also receive shares of fruit in exchange for allowing
the coop to harvest. There is no fee to join LUrC and it is open
to all members of the community.
There are a number of
private social clubs around town. These are private organizations
that are only open to dues-paying members. While they offer services
like function rooms, their main purpose is to provide a meetings
place for individuals who share a common bond or background. For
example, there's the Dante Club on Dante Terrace, which has
been in operation since 1908 and is geared towards the local Italian-American
community. There's also the Dimosthenes Greek American Democratic
Club on Somerville Ave, which is supported by the local Greek
community. Another is the Winter Hill Yacht Club. In addition
to offering boating facilities for its members, the club has a kitchen,
bar, and events room.
There are also a variety
of public social clubs in Somerville. These are businesses
that cater to a certain community, but are also open to the public
and welcome to visits from people from other backgrounds. For example,
there's the Greek-American Social Construction, which has
been at the corner of Bow and Somerville Ave. since 2010. With the
European soccer games on its TVs, its Greek coffee, and copies of
Greek newspapers, the club aims to create a social space for members
of the local Greek community. Another public social club is Nucleo
Sportinguista De Boston, which caters to the Portuguese-speaking
community. The club hosts a numbers of local cultural events, and
its TVs show international sports.
The Boylston Chess
Foundation is also based in Somerville. Since it was founded
in 1919, the Foundation's volunteers have taught kids to play chess.
The group also sponsors chess competitions for people of all ages.
Cambridge's Just A
Start Corp., which is a nonprofit community developement corporation,
runs two programs in Somerville. First, there's their Future
for Young Parents program, which is open to parents who
are between the ages of 14 and 20. It is "a free GED, vocational
awareness, life goals, counseling and placement services program
for pregnant and parenting teens on TAFDC." Then there's the
Just A Start House's Teen Living program. The house is open
to pregnant teens and teenage mothers who are between 13 and 20,
and their children. The house offers "training in life skills,
parenting, money management and housing search."
Air Circus is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The
Circus offers a wide variety of classes for kids-- including in
juggling, stilt-walking, and magic tricks. According to their website,
the organization's aim is to "encourage neighborhood participation
in the arts, and to promote leadership and self-esteem for children
Peabody House offers a variety of services to children and their
families. In addition to afterschool programs and a summer camp,
the House runs a food pantry, a social space for senior citizens,
sports facilities for teens, and English-as-a-second-language classes.
The House moved from Boston in the 1950s, after the West End was
a Somerville-based organization that works with immigrants. It offers
consultation for new immigrants on how to adapt to their new home,
and advocates for pro-immigrant policies.
The city of Somerville
has about 30 boards and committees, ranging from the Arts
Council board to the Ethics Commission to the Women's
Commission to the Condominium Review Board. Each board
meets on a regular basis to plan and oversee different aspects of
city life. All board and committee members are volunteers.
forum on Somerville's community - 2/2-2/15/13
Several news agencies have noted a recent rise in home prices
in Somerville, and real estate websites are predicting a further
rise this coming year. This is good news for the one-third of the
city that owns their own home. But since rising home prices are
usually tied to rising rents, this is potentially bad news for the
other two-thirds of Somerville.
Presente is "a member-driven, state-wide Latin American
immigrant organization dedicated to the self-determination and self-sufficiency
of the Latin American immigrant community of Massachusetts."
Since 1981, it's fought for immigrant rights, as well as social
and economic justice. It also runs an adult education center; has
classes and programming for kids; and offers legal services.
According to its website,
"Save Our Somerville (SOS) is a non-profit oranization
dedicated to providing a voice to those who feel they have no voice
in Somerville, Mass. Through community outreach, arts programs and
support of youth events, SOS wants to strengthen what we believe
are the diminishing community ties that make Somerville an ideal
place to live." The group formed in 2005, during the planned
renovation of Lexington Park, which proved a flash point between
old and new Somerville; teens who felt alienated by Somerville's
changing nature banded together to form SOS. Anyone can join the
group by going to one of their monthly meetings.
The Stranger Exchange
box disappeared recently, after being part of Davis Square for
about 3 years. People used to leave perfectly-good but unwanted
items in the box, for others to take.
After the Feb. 8th blizzard,
there were two different snow parties-- one in Davis and
one in Union. Each event was organized beforehand over the internet,
and each drew dozens of strangers who mingled and had fun together
building snowmen and throwing snowballs.
Since 2001, the Friends
of the Community Path have been involved in maintaining the
bike path, and advocating the state to extend it 2.5 more miles
so that it can meet the Charles River path. The Friends are a volunteer
group. Anyone can join the group by going to one of their monthly
Boston Free Radio
is a member-run, independent online radio station that is broadcast
out of SCAT's building in Union Square. Since 2011, the station
has run shows in a number of different languages; their dj's have
complete control over their own programs. Any Massachusetts resident
can become a member by going through orientation, and paying a membership
This past summer, the
city's Shape Up Somerville program teamed up with nutritionists
and local restaurants to launch their "Shape Up Somerville
Approved" rating system. Through the program, nutritionists
work with local restaurants to identify which menu items are particularly
healthy; the restaurants then note which items have been designated
as "Shape Up Somerville Approved." It's part of the city's
push to get residents to eat more healthy.
forum on Somerville's community - 1/16-2/1/13
Courtney O'Keefe made a donation to the Somerville Homeless
is on the Board of Trustees of the Somerville Public Library. This
involves attending regular, open meetings with the library director
to receive updates on library projects and initiatives and acting
as a supporter and advocate of the library within the community.
She does this for many reasons. First, as a professional librarian
and current professor of library and information science, she understands
and believes in the power of libraries to enrich their communities,
and she wants to ensure that her city has the best possible library
that it can. Second, as a lifelong resident of Somerville, she sees
volunteering as a Trustee to be a way to give back to her city.
(Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership) is a group of residents
who advocate for better transportation in the city. According to
their website, their "mission is to secure transportation for
the city that will increase social equity, environmental health,
and economic opportunity." They are proponents of the Green
Line expansion, the development in Assembly Square, and the extension
of the bike path. They have monthly meetings that are open to the
The city's Family
Learning Collaborative aims to support parents as they raise
their children. It offers parenting workshops and new parent groups
for adults, as well as information about educational options for
their kids. The Collaborative also offers literacy play groups for
kids. It's funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education
and Care and the Somerville Public Schools.
(Somerville Community Access Television) is celebrating its 30th
anniversary this year. Since it began in 1983, SCAT has (according
to their website) "served the community through production
of PSA's, various staff-facilitated programs, and coverage of community
events, meetings, and political forums. We provide free meeting
space for community groups, post messages on our bulletin board,
provide video training and mentoring, offer access to high quality
digital equipment and facilities, and operate an art gallery for
local artists. The channel is well stocked with a wide variety of
member-produced programs in many languages."
The number of new
foreclosures in Somerville dropped from 38 in 2011 to only 22
in 2012. This was especially good, since the rate state-wide only
fell about 12%.
The Somerville Yogurt
Coop meets each week to make its own yogurt. They use locally-produced,
additive-free ingredients to make low-cost, healthy food for their
members. Anyone can join the group.
The Intercambio Language
and Culture Exchange lets English-speakers practice their Spanish
or Portuguese with ESL students who want to practice their English.
It's run by the Arts Council, and the next series of nights begins
in early February. Participants needs to RSVP, but the program is
forum on Somerville's community - 1/2-1/15/13
Encouraged by Somerville's strategy in the late 1980s and other
times of trimming workhours for all city employees to avoid layoffs,
Phil Hyde of Carver St. designed a very longterm market-oriented
high strategy for Somerville and other cities, states and ecosystems
to solve the core problem of job insecurity and joblessness, together
the biggest source of resistance to urgent eco-initiatives. Most
people are focused on the individual level of cleanup and recycling.
Phil is focused on the whole-system level of, say, recycling discarded
employees. Phil has run for alderman and mayor in Somerville and
had a talkshow on Somerville cable for several years. Now he develops,
explains and publicizes "timesizing" instead of downsizing
in daily updates on the Timesizing.com website. "Tmsz.co"
(for short) presents one of the most advanced, long-term and comprehensive
political-economic core solutions on the web.
At the Somerville Winter
Farmer's Market, Winter Moon Root Farms gives away free bags
of vegetables to the other vendors-- just out of goodwill.
There are a number of
program in the city to help first-time home buyers. Somerville
Community Corporation offers an affordable ($35) class on how
to go about buying a home for the first time. The city also
offers financial incentives for first-timers. Both are designed
to help residents who rent stay in town without being priced out.
forum on Somerville's community - 12/16/12-1/1/13
(We were on vacation. No updates for this period.)
forum on Somerville's community - 12/2-12/15/12
An anonymous person donated money to the Somerville Homeless
An anonymous person
bought WD40 and oiled swing sets around Somerville with a friend
because they were too squeaky.
An anonymous resident
participated in The Learning Circle's food drive. He did
this because he believes in the power of helping others, and was
happy to support his daughter's preschool food drive.
Michael and Elizabeth
Grunko moved here in 1968. They purchased their house on Berkeley
St in 1971. They have been active in progressive politics, raised
two terrific children and are now helping them and their spouses
raise their four grandkids. When they walk their dog, Lucy, they
pick up trash. It started with the cheap plastic bags. The ones
that end up in trees, rattling in the night. They would extract
them from bushes and chase them across streets. Later, they added
all sorts of other debris to their list: Lottery tickets, empty
cigarette packs, candy wrappers, water, soda and beer bottles, Dunkin
Donuts coffee cups and whiskey nips. As a result, on most days,
the stretches of Berkeley, Westwood, Benton, Summer, Cedar and Highland
that theywalk day after day, look pretty good. They want to thank
our kind neighbors who keep their trash and recycling bins near
the street. "Oh yes," they wrote. "We also do our
best to greet every one who we cross paths with. A beautiful smile
can make our day."
The city's Shape Up
Somerville won national recognition recently. According to its
website, "Shape Up Somerville is a city wide campaign to increase
daily physical activity and healthy eating through programming,
physical infrastructure improvements, and policy work."
Steph Zabel created
a community event devoting to educating the public about herbalism
and holstic health, called Herbstalk.
At the 2nd annual holiday
food drive in Spring Hill, Evelyn Yamauchi donated over 150
bags of non-perishable food to SHC and Project soup. She also helped
organize the East Somerville main streets foodie crawl.
Two new websites opened
their doors recently: Yerdle ( www.yerdle.com ) and FreecyclePlus
( www.freecycleplus.com ). Both let you borrow items from people
who live nearby, and list your own items that you don't mind sharing.
These sites help you build community while saving money at the same
There were two ground-breakings.
The first was for a new, 29-unit veterans housing project
in West Somerville. The second was for the Green Line Extension.
forum on Somerville's community - 11/16-12/1/12
Columbine Phoenix packaged up her excess Egyptian Walking
Onions with instructions and left them in the Stranger Exchange
box in Davis Square. (The Stranger Exchange box is a white
plastic newspaper box across from the crepe restaurant. People leave
unwanted items in it for others to take.)
Boston Cares helps
people find ways to volunteers and help out in the Boston area (including
Somerville). You can search through their website (www.bostoncares.org)
by interest or zip code, and choose from one of over 250 volunteer
In October, the governor
announced that $1m in grants would go to early education in 5 communities.
Somerville will be one of the towns to receive this funding.
Somerville voters passed
the Community Preservation Act. Homeowners will now pay a
slightly higher property tax; this additional money will go to affordable
housing, open space projects, and historic sites.
forum on Somerville's community - 11/2-11/15/12
There was a conflict over how to proceed with the Beacon Street
Redevelopment. Two pro-cycling organizations (Liveable Streets
and the Boston Cyclist Union) had proposed eliminating parking on
one side of the street between Oxford and Washington. The city seemed
to favor this approach, as did a number of residents. Some of the
independent businesses and residents along the stretch felt they'd
been left out of the planning process, and were concerned about
the effects of losing this parking. The situation devolved into
tension, and the situation was cast as cyclists versus businesses
and long-term residents.
https://neighborland.com/ ) is a website that lets community members
suggest things to improve their neighborhood-- new services, new
laws, solutions to long-standing problems, etc. Users can then connect
with each other to put these ideas into effect. Neighborland has
pages for a number of cities across the nation, including one for
the Boston metro area.
The Somerville Community
Corporation had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new building
in East Somerville. The building had eight units, and will provide
affordable housing to formerly homeless families.
The former director of
the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) was found
to have used the organization's credit cards for personal expenses.
Among other things, CAAS provides Head Start programs for preschoolers
in Somerville and Cambridge. The organization is a nonproft, and
receives almost 95% of its budget from public funding. Locals are
calling for more oversight and financial controls for the organization,
to make sure this doesn't happen again.
forum on Somerville's community - 10/16-11/1/12
(We were on vacation. No updates for this period.)
forum on Somerville's community - 10/2-10/15/12
Suzanne Lubeck reuses the plastic bags that her newspaper
comes in as pooper-picker-uppers. She puts them in a pink plastic
bag container from IKEA that she added ot the fence of the dog park
at the corner of Vinyl and Summer Streets. They are for everyone
to use. Suzanne has a basket at home where she can quickly stash
the plastic bags when she gets her newspaper. When the basket is
full, she restocks the container at the park. No, she dooesn't have
a dog; she went with a friend once and think it's the craziest thing
in the world to take a brand new plastic baggie from the stand for
a two second poop pick up duty. These newspaper bags are the perfect
size, clean and even come in pretty colors.
The Somerville Homeless
Coalition had its annual 5k race fundraiser.
Anonymous Davis Square
commuters created a shrine inthe Davis Square T station to commemorate
David Tagliaferro, who recently passed away. David had distributed
newspapers in the station for years, and was very popular with commuters.
forum on Somerville's community - 9/16-10/1/12
A new study by
the Chronicle of Philanthropy looked into how much Americans
give to charities and nonprofits, and broke the results down by
area. The Boston metro area ranked 49th--which means that
almost every other metro area in the country is more generous towards
charities and nonprofits than we are. Worse, Somerville reportedly
gave at a lower rate (2.9% of discretionary income) than both Cambridge
(4.2%) and Boston (4.5%).
The Boston metro area
was named one of the most racist cities in America by online news
source Gawker. While the article represented the opinion
of one journalist, it is also an allegation that seems to keep coming
up, and that seems to be shared by quite a large number of people.
And can that many people be wrong?
its 7th annual Fluff Festival, in Union Square. The Festival
was in honor of marshmallow fluff, which was invented in Somerville.
There were bands, vendors, games, and food.
forum on Somerville's community - 9/2-9/15/12
Kat Rutkin helps run the Somerville Moms list because she
knows firsthand how much of a valuable asset it is to the parents
of Somerville. Once upon a time, parents had the help of a village
to raise their children, and this really brings back that sense
of community in parenting. It has been a real lifesaver for Kat
personally a few times; she's found everything from secondhand toys
to awesome friends through the list!
is part of LivableStreets Alliance, which advocates for streets
that work for everyone, whether they walk, bike, take transit, or
drive a car. Charlie does this because he feels very passionately
that our streets, which are our largest public space, should be
welcoming and inviting to us all, no matter how we choose to use
a gallery in Union Square that sold works of art made by adults
with disablities, shut down after two years. The space was shared
by Outside the Lines and the Walnut Street Center--both organizations
that work with adults with disabilities.
forum on Somerville's community - 8/16-9/1/12
As a volunteer in Somerville and beyond, Nia DeYounge has
served the "We Got Next: Young Christian Adult Empowerment
Movement," the Roxbury International Film Festival, and currently
serves as a board member of the Somerville Arts Council. In her
own words she says, 'You know you really love doing something if
you'll do it for free!' Through volunteering, she has been able
to explore Boston, meet people with similar interests, and contribute
to grassroots movements that strengthen communities and strive to
make the Greater Boston area a welcoming place to live and work.
She believes in the power of individuals to celebrate life while
making change, and in the importance of building societies that
thrive not only on monetary capital, but on meaningful social interactions
and cultural exchanges.
Rents in Somerville,
and in Greater Boston in general rose higher this year-- a full
7% higher area-wide than last year, while available units dropped
from 3.8% to 3.1%. This means harder times for renters all around
began working at Metro Pedal Power two years ago because he believes
in the viability of pedal power in the city that goes beyond commuting.
During his time at MPP, Christopher has hauled recycling, transported
furniture, delivered vegetables and collected compost. Delivering
via bicycle or pedal trucks brings you closer to folks on the road
and always sparks a conversation with customers.
The Nave Gallery
organized an event called "Yarnstorming" in Perry Park
on Saturday, August 25th. Volunteers wrapped trees, poles and fences
in the park with hand-knitted pieces. The event was designed to
raise awareness for the Somerville Homeless Coalition; the yarn
pieces will stay up until November.
forum on Somerville's community - 8/2-8/15/12
Jacy Edelman is organizing a benefit bike ride for the Welcome
Project (a local nonprofit that "builds the collective power
of Somerville immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions").
The event is called the "Tasting Tour of Somerville,"
and will take place on September 8, 2012.
Sprout & Co.
has submitted a proposal for an alternative high school in Somerville,
one that will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The prospectus was approved by a screening committee; the group
is now working on an actual plan for the school. According to their
website, Sprout & Co. is a "community education and research
organization devoted to creating and supporting the community-driven
learning, teaching, and investigation of science"; their studio
is just outside of Davis Square.
Hubway, the bike
sharing company, recently expanded into Somerville. By letting people
rent bikes easily, the company provides a healthy, environmentally-friendly
way for people to get around town.
forum on Somerville's community - 7/16-8/1/12
Libby volunteers with the Somerville Community Corporation because
she wants to help keep Somerville affordable and diverse, and the
projects they do are all about that their tag line is "Everyone's
Somerville" and she likes what that stands for.
donated money to Somerville Local First.
A new study showed that
almost 14.7% of Somerville lives below the poverty line.
This is slightly less than the national average (15.1%), but well
above the state average of 10.5%.
Libby is on the
board of Somerville Community Corporation because she wants to be
more engaged in the way Somerville is developed so that it stays
unique and diverse, and doesn't become any less affordable.
The Somerville Public
Library teamed up with Shape Up Somerville to offer free
veggies on certain days. If this catches on, they'll expand the
program. (According to its website, Shape Up Somerville is run by
the city, and is "a city wide campaign to increase daily physical
activity and healthy eating through programming, physical infrastructure
improvements, and policy work.}
with Somerville Community Corporation at ArtBeat because she got
to give away temporary tattoos and talk to people she doesn't know
(yet) from Somerville.
Cambridge Health Alliances
(CHA) Somerville Hospital Campus runs the Spring Hill Garden.
The garden is in a lot behind the hospital that hadn't previously
been used. The food grown there is given to local pantries and resident
forum on Somerville's community - 7/2-7/15/12
An anonymous person donated money to the Somerville Homeless
An anonymous person
is a member of Community Cooks--which is an organization that provides
homemade meals for different agencies, including St Patricks' Women's
The Somerville School
Committee approved the plan to convert the Winter Hill school
to an innovation school. This new model lets teachers and principals
have more flexibility in their curriculums and policies.
is a lay minister (for Sunday services) at Hale House (Boston);
is part of the National Board-MBA nonprofit connection; and a volunteer
college counselor at high schools who don't have counselors available.
Cheryl Cheney occasionally
picks up dog poop their owners have left behind.
The Somerville Community
Corporation and Union Square Rising have been at odds
lately over a proposed low-income housing development in Union Square.
They are going to begin meeting with a mediator, to help resolve
An anonymous person
is continuing to help support Somervilles local economy by
donating to and joining Somerville Local First as a Community Member.
Mr. Scott is an
active user of the public library.
The Green Line extension
got full environmental approval from the federal government. This
means that the extension is now one step closer to beginning construction.
forum on Somerville's community - 6/16-7/1/12
Jenna Stark participates in the Somerville community by volunteering
on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings for the Union Square Farmers
Sara Davies is
volunteering for the summer at the Swirl & Slice farmer's market
on Thursday nights.
On 6/25, the Council
on Aging held an open meeting to plan future inter-generational
volunteers at the Union Square Farmer's Market and at Swirl &
forum on Somerville's community - 6/2-6/15/12
is the president of the Friends of the Somerville Public Library.
If anyone is looking to volunteer, there are lots of opportunities
to work with the Friends on book sales and other eventswhich
help support programming at the library.
The city reopened
two renovated playgrounds: Morse-Kelly and Dickerman.
Kristin Parker donated
money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition in honor of the Pilgrim--a
monthly collection of writings by Boston's homeless community."
works with immigrant families through the Welcome Project. He does
this to help build the voice and power of immigrants to shape community
decisions and institutions (such as schools, housing, and transportation).
On Tuesday, June 5th,
the Somerville Public Library hosted their New Moms Support Group.
This is a free event that happens twice a month, and is cosponsored
by the Somerville Public Schools and Jewish Children's and Family
On Sunday, June 3th,
the city shut down part of Broadway for the first SomerStreets
festival of the year. Despite the rain, hundreds and hundreds of
people came out to watch the parade, hear bands, and mingle with
Ron Newman leads
bike tours for the Somerville Bicycle Committee and the Somerville
Historic Preservation Commission. He also helps moderate the Davis
Square Live Journal, which is an online forum where Somerville community
members discuss issues that affect the city.
forum on Somerville's community - 5/16-6/1/12
Jonah Petri actively advocates on transportation issues, mostly
related to the extension of the Community Path to Lechmere and the
helped run interactive Somervilles Green Line Challenge. Residents
were encouraged to brainstorm ideas for improving Gilman Square,
which is near one of the proposed Green Line stops. The Challenge
was aimed at getting residents involved in the planning process.
On May 20th, Progress
Together had a community congress, to decide what
to do next. Over 50 parents got together to decide what the organization
could do next for local education issues, now that it has successfully
fought a proposed charter school. While they didnt decide
on a single course of action, they all agreed to remain together
as an organization, and explore what they could do next.
On May 19th, the Arts
Council put together the second annual Porch Fest. Over 100
musicians gave free concerts from front porches of homes in Somerville.
Many residents liked the feel of the event, and the chance to meet
their neighbors. Others thought it was too loud, and disturbed their
forum on Somerville's community - 5/2-5/15/12
Somerville Voices is a website that serves as an independent,
open forum about Somerville. It is moderated by Barry Rafkind
(who is also the site administrator), Eileen Feldman and
Alain Jehlen. Linda Conte, David Dahlbacka, and a
few other anonymous people also volunteer their time to help run
person donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
was recently named one of the best parenting list servs in the country
by Babble, which is a news source about parenting. Somerville Moms
is a list serv that "covers a wide range of parenting topics,
such as what to expect when having a new baby and activity ideas
for older children. Somerville Moms maintains a tight focus on activities
and events for families in the area." A number of smaller,
real-world parenting groups have formed because of the list; these
groups have included people who trade babysitting duty, and parent
volunteer director of the Community Access Project, spent more than
a year and a half on making Citizens Bank in Union Square
become an accessible facility. First, she met with senior and nonelderly
residents of Properzi Manor and Hagan Manor, who asked for her help
in getting an accessible bank near where they live in Union Square.
Next, she did research on what the bank needed to become accessible
and got buy-in from bank managers and senior staff about this community
need. They, in turn, got an agreement from their landlord and performed
the design and construction. Because of her work, the Banks
stone step front landing was ground down to create an accessible
and integrated front entrance and door; their parking lot was restriped,
providing the necessary handicap parking spots; and the bank purchased
a lower table for smaller people and wheelchair users, and changed
their policies and procedures to accommodate individuals and families
Joe Beckmann has
a long-standing involvement in local politics and education issues.
He began by serving on Capuano's Affordable Housing Task Force.
This lead to him working with the Board of the Somerville Homeless
Coalition, the Community Action Agency of Somerville, and the Somerville
Community Corporation. He also did consulting for the Regional Employment
Board, which lead to interactions with the School Committee and
the High School School Council. This experience, in turn, got him
involved in politics in and out of schools--such as helping with
some races for Aldermen and School Committee; working with teacher
unions and educational tech advocates; working with people at the
Harvard School of Education, Tufts and MIT; doing consulting work
with media advocates and the Democratic Ward and City Committee--
and even working as an evening school and substitute teacher. To
him, the most valuable themes of Somerville are multicultural and
class divisions and alliances.
The Green Line expansion
took two important steps forward in early May 2012. First, the
city of Somerville began buying property for the expansion. Second,
Boston Meteropolitan Planning Organization approved $8.1M in funding
for the Route 16 Green Line station.
forum on Somerville's community - 4/16-5/1/12
On April 13th,
Somerville was voted the best place to live in the Boston
area, in the Boston Phoenix's "Best of Boston" readers'
David T. volunteers
weekly as an ESL instructor in a class run by the Welcome Project.
In late April, tensions
and disagreement came to the forefront in Union Square over
Somerville Community Corporation's proposed affordable housing development.
Local property owners were unhappy about the plan.
On April 21st, the Somerville
Homeless Coalition had its annual fundraiser. They brought in
over $60,000, which will go to support the homeless and hungry in
Seth Itzkan hosts
the monthly meetings for a local volunteer group at his office space
in Davis Square.
On Saturday, April 28th,
dozens of people helped clean public parks, as part of the
city's annual Spring Clean-Up.
forum on Somerville's community - 3/31-4/15/12
An anonymous person bought a sandwich for a homeless
directs the Art Program for the Walnut Street Center, where she
works with over 90 adults with disabilities. The Center is a non-profit,
human service agency providing residential, day, employment and
individual support services to adults with developmental disabilities.
A group of Somervillians
banded together to fight the MBTA fare increases. While the fare
hike ended up going through, it was nice to see people working together
person donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
helped organize TedXSomerville, which was a day-long event, featuring
talks by influential Somervillians.
EA organized benefit
raffles for the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
Loki has produced
a large number of public events and fundraisers.