Mollie O'Brien's blog

Learn about new opportunities for small business owners in 2017

The Hispanic-American Institute and the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce invite you to join them at a complimentary breakfast to learn about new opportunities for small business owners in 2017. This is a great event if you're looking to network and grow your business! It will take place on Tuesday, February 28 from 7:30-10am at the Hilton Garden Inn Boston at Logan Airport, 100 Boardman St. East Boston, MA. 

The event will start with registration, networking and coffee, followed by welcoming remarks from both the President and Executive Director of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Then, there will be a small business technical assistance panel featuring a number of speakers from various small businesses. The Keynote Presentation will be by Larry D. Andrews, the President of Mass Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) and will end with a Q&A session.

SCI is proud to partner with the organizations that are hosting this event. One important source of social capital is to support small businesses throughout the region, helping them to network and grow. This event is the perfect opportunity for any small business owners looking to do that!Read more

Q&A with David Shapiro: The power of building healthy youth mentoring relationships

Mentoring is all about relationships and the mutual trust that we build with a mentee by consistent commitment and support. As we celebrate January as national #MentoringMonth, it is important that we understand how building bridges and connections between mentor and mentee is a form of social capital that can ultimately lead to youth empowerment and success. A "Social Capitalist" approach to mentoring proves that by forging healthy relationships with youth and leading by example, mentors can provide opportunities to access new networks, teach social norms, and build social capital.

Who knows best the power of youth mentorship than David Shapiro, the CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. David has dedicated his life to creating the vital connections between mentor and mentee, allowing youth across the United States to acknowledge their own self worth and begin their path towards success. We decided to speak with David about his experience with youth mentoring:

Q: What is your definition of a mentor?Read more

SCI Accomplishments: Celebrating 2016 by numbers and stories

As we ring in the new year, SCI would like to take a look back at its many accomplishments of 2016! As a leader in community connection and engagement, SCI has trained and supported young leaders, recruited thousands of volunteers to give back to their communities, and created Web portals allowing individuals to access community resources. By promoting social capital throughout nineteen Eastern Massachusetts towns, SCI has proven that through hard work and dedication we can create healther and happier communities.

In the year 2016:

  • 3732 volunteers gave back to their communities
  • AmeriCorps members, along with the volunteers they recruited, served a total of 52,881 hours - this is the economic equivalent of $1,245,876
  • 362 youth leaders were trained and supported
  • Over 24,000 individuals used SCI's community web portals 

Also in the year 2016:Read more

How SCI AmeriCorps members make a difference as mentors

In honor of national Mentoring Month this January, I decided to look into how some of our very own SCI AmeriCorps members are making a difference as mentors in their community. Both Patience Misner and Bridget Peters are SCI AmeriCorps members serving in Lynn, however at different organizations. Patience serves with Girls Inc. of Lynn and Bridget serves with the Lynn Food and Fitness Alliance. As Youth Leadership Coordinators (YLCs), they spend the day navigating the role of mentor and creating positive, empowering relationships with youth. 

Patience and Bridget both have similar definitions of what it means to be a mentor - someone who leads by example and strives to build relationships with mentees through trust, education, and positive encouragement. Key to their definition is also the fact that mentorship provides youth with a supportive role model who helps them understand that their voice matters and that they have the power to make a difference in their community.Read more

Social capital and climate change: What do they have in common?

People don't often see social capital and climate change in the same sentence - or even in the same book. Here, we will explore the interconnections between these two seemingly disparate theories by reviewing Daniel P. Aldrich's recent work, "Social Capital and Climate Change Adaptation." This was published in ORE Climate Science and looks at the relationship between social capital and climate change adaptation behaviors in terms of how people around the world are accomodating their lives to changing environmental conditions. 

Social capital is all about the norms, trustworthiness, and networks that tie people together within and between communities. There are various types of social capital - bonding, bridging, and linking - all of which involve the connections that one has between people. Whether it be your father or your neighbor, the local civic organization down the road, or the state Senator, these social connections help communities work cooperatively and collectively with one another to solve problems, for example protecting against and responding to climate threats. Read more

What is a good citizen and how do you create one?

Harvard University's Graduate School of Education recently hosted a forum through their #Askwith series titled, "What is a good citizen and how do you create one?" The forum explored the themes of citizenship, civic engagement and diversity, not only within the United States but on a global level as well. It featured three distinguished panelists: Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director of CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), Callie Crossley, radio and tv host for WGBH, and Michelle Fine, distinguished professer at the City University of New York.

As the panelists navigated these topics, they raised a number of interesting questions that have us asking ourselves, "How can I be a more engaged citizen? What can I do to give back to my community?" Kei offered what she considers the tools for good citizenship:

- Radical skepticism

- Appetite for different perspectives and alternative explanationsRead more

CHNA 15 Presents its Cultural Proficiency Workshop

At a time when tensions are high and our nation is experiencing a profound social and cultural transition, CHNA 15 will be sponsoring a free community workshop on the topic of cultural proficiency. The workshop will feature presenter, Susan Naimark, who is a part-time faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Boston, School of Education. She is also an affiliate trainer with Teachers 21 and Interaction Institute for Social Change, and serves as co-chair of the board of directors for Community Change, Inc. Read more

Dorchester community comes together for Holiday Gift Giveaway

This past Saturday, December 10, the Codman Square Health Center hosted their annual Holiday Gift Giveaway Celebration at the Codman Square Great Hall. The gift giveaway was a resounding success thanks to the hard work of a number of partner organizations that came together to support this great cause.

Included amongst these were MyDorchester, Notre Dame Academy, Toys for Tots, Dutch Maid Bakery Inc., Uber Boston, and Home.stead Bakery & Cafe. Our very own SCI AmeriCorps member, Giavanna Wilson, who serves at the center, was heavily involved in coordinating the event. She organized the volunteers, negotiated gift donations, and oversaw most of the behind-the-scenes preparations.

At the end of the giveaway, the center gave out 730+ gifts to more than 250 families in need in the Dorchester community. Not only that, but volunteers and families alike got to enjoy pizza and cakes donated by local food joints while listening to festive holiday music throughout the day. Overall, the Dorchester community was able to come together and celebrate the joy of the holidays with one another!

SCI Attends Encore Boston's #Gen2Gen Campaign Launch

On Monday, December 12, SCI was excited to attend the Encore Boston Network's Generation to Generation campaign launch event at The Boston Foundation. It was a motivating two and a half hours of nonprofit networking, compelling speakers, and idea exchange. 

Generation to Generation is a five-year campaign focused on mobilizing adults aged 50+ to help young people thrive. Its pilot programs are being launched in four cities including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Seattle, with the hopes of expanding to over 250 communities. The idea came about due to the ever-more-visible notion that we are in the midst of an intergenerational war. Many people across the nation believe that each new generation will be worse off than their parents. However, surveys have shown that millions of adults 50+ are eager to devote their time and energy to working with the youth of today and help them lead vibrant, successful lives. In response, this campaign hopes to close the intergenerational gap and allow for collaboration across all age groups. Read more

Boston University Hosts Public Health Symposium

On December 1, the Boston University School of Public Health held a symposium titled, "How Does Where You Live Affect Your Health?" The focus of the symposium was to explore the roles of the built environment and housing on one's health, and to evaluate the science behind studies and interventions that can improve the health of vulnerable populations not only within the United States but around the world. The event featured over a dozen experts and professionals within the field, each of whom had the chance to address the audience, presenting stories from the field as well as the findings of their studies.

Amongst those who spoke at the symposium were Ron Sims, the former Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Shakira Suglia, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. I highlight these two speakers because their talks focused not only on the links between neighborhoods and public health, but also on the importance of social capital and community networks.Read more

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