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Getting to Know the Sites

Posted on 06/30/2010 @ 10:40 AM

Impact: Boston

Greater Waltham Arc (GWArc)

GWArc's mission is to serve people with developmental disabilities and their families, utilizing a person-centered, whole life planning approach. They provide quality, flexible programs and services that maximize independence, foster inclusion and build community connections. GWArc's programs are based upon self-determination, sound teaching practices and the latest technology. Participants are focusing on "People First Language," a campaign in which they are working with GWArc's consumers to learn about they like to be addressed in order to maximize the respect for them in society.

Work, Community, Independence (WCI)

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WCI (Work, Community, Independence) provides housing, day support, and employment to individuals with a wide range of developmental disabilities. We'll be working alongside the individuals in three of the day support programs (Life Skills, Deaf Supports, and Social Supports/Art Initiative) to create information boards for display at WCI. Participants will interview individuals and staff, and paint/add sensory elements to a large cork board in order to describe "Who We Are and What We Do" at WCI. For more information on WCI, visit their website.

Waltham Fields Community Farms By Lara Schewitz, Charlotte, NC

Waltham Fields mission statement is: "Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) promotes local agriculture through growing and distribution practices that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable. We forge relationships between people, their food supply, and the land from which it grows."

Here at Impact Boston 2010, we are working in the educational garden, performing maintenance work that will enhance the experience of the wide variety of program participants that visit the farm. We are learning more about the many components of nonprofit organizations and gaining tools that we can bring home to our communities. For more information about the farm, visit them on the web.

Waltham Police Department

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Participants at this site are working with Officer June Conway of the Waltham Police Department in Community Policing. In addition to understanding how police work keeps our neighborhoods safe, we are working with Officer Conway to build a positive community in three of Waltham's housing projects. We will be organizing a summer fun day for the children at one of the sites and creating an art project at another. Along the way, we will learn about low-income housing and how government policies translate into real life for the developments' residents.

Youth Force

At Youth Force, we will be engaging with teens from Dorchester, MA (a neighborhood of Boston) in a series of community organizing trainings. The Youth Force teens have been working for 2 years on a campaign trying to garner support for youth jobs in the Greater Boston Area. We will be learning the skills of community organizing, along with doing some direct service. We will be helping the Youth Force teens proclaim to the Boston area how important youth jobs are. On Wednesday, we will be participating in a rally held by Youth Force. We are so excited about this adventure. For more information about Youth Force, visit their website.

City Mission Society of Boston

Our teens are working with the City Mission Society of Boston, whose mission is "Uniting Communities-- Transforming Individuals." CMS is the oldest multi-service agency in New England. They have been addressing the educational, economic and social needs of impoverished area residents since 1816. CMS provides opportunities for congregations and communities to engage in social action through three main programs: Homeless Prevention, Youth Peace Empowerment and Faith & Community Engagement. Our participants have been helping out in a number of ways, including cleaning up spaces that are used for homeless awareness programming and participating in peace empowerment training. For more information on CMS, visit them on the web

Horizons for Homeless Children

Horizons seeks to improve the lives of homeless children and their families. They provide homeless children with nurturing, stimulation and opportunities for early education and play that all children need to learn and grow in healthy ways. To improve the lives of the children they serve over the long-term, they connect their parents with the tools they need to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency. They provide leadership in advocating for homeless children and their families through leveraging and sharing their expertise with others and advocating with policy makers and the public.

As part of the learning experience, our teens at Horizons are learning about the issue of homelessness with a focus on homeless children. They are learning about how work has to be done just to provide a safe environment where children of 0-6yrs old can still develop accordingly: everything from fundraising to advocacy and recruitment of volunteers to cleaning toys. Already, many have been quite vocal about how little we, as a nation, know about the seriousness of the issue and how unstable funding can be in these current times. For more information on Horizons, visit their website.

Spare Change News

Spare Change News is a newspaper dedicated to helping the homeless help themselves. Since 1992, Spare Change News has been a forum for individuals experiencing homelessness to express themselves, obtain skills training in writing, and work towards becoming financially stable by selling newspapers. Participants at this site will be meeting with one of the co-founders of the paper, and spend some time in areas of Boston selling papers and breaking down assumptions of the homeless. Participants will also spend some time writing their own thoughts and articles for the paper. For more information on Spare Change News, visit them on the web.

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