Volunteer Appreciation Event: Thank You Volunteers!

By Madeline Eleazar

VAE Volunteer Testimony
A volunteer from the Jamaica Plain site shares her story with staff from the neighborhood sites at the Volunteer Appreciation Event.

On April 27th, ABCD hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Event to commend and celebrate the devoted volunteers and community partners that had participated in various programs and sites over the past year.  Hosted by returning co-emcees Carmen Farias, Volunteer Coordinator, and Angelina Camacho, Program Manager of Financial Futures Initiative, the event recognized volunteers and corporate partnerships with individualized certificates, speeches and the ever popular Georgetown ABCD Cupcakes.

This year’s event also included a creative way for volunteers to share and reflect on their involvement with the ABCD family.  Posters handed out prior to the event, were filled out by attendees to highlight what their experiences volunteering with ABCD programs had taught them and also why they chose to dedicate their time.  Many touched on the important ideal of giving back to your community, the significance of helping others in need, as well as learning job skills to advance one’s career.  One volunteer, who chose to speak about what she wrote, drew a few tears from the crowd as she recounted how grateful she was for the work done by ABCD, how she was helped when she was in need, and subsequently was committed to giving back to those in similar situations.

Several organizations received special awards for their dedicated volunteer work including: The Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, UMASS Boston, Bunker Hill Community College, Shire, Boston College, Capital Crossing, Capital One 360, and Jumpstart.

Deepest thanks to all our volunteers and interns!

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Community Health: ABCD partners with UMass Boston

By Carmen Farias

VAE UMB
ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew (third from right) and Executive Vice President Sharon Scott-Chandler (left) thank Anahid Kulwicki, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (third from left), Linda Dumas, Associate Professor in the Nursing Program (second from right), and Carla Coutinho, a Nursing Intern at Parker Hill Head Start (second from left), for their support.

The well-being of our communities depends on a variety of factors, health being one of the most important among them. In an effort to improve the overall health of the members of our communities, ABCD has partnered with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Since the fall of 2012, UMass Boston has provided approximately 40 Nursing Interns from an Urban Community Nursing course, placed at various ABCD programs for a semester-long clinical rotation. In the three years of the partnership, interns and ABCD programs alike have felt the profound impact of a partnership focused on the betterment, physical and otherwise, of our communities.

Nursing Interns play key roles in their placements at ABCD’s University High School, where they have facilitated much-needed instruction in a variety of health topics essential to the students’ wellbeing. Nursing Interns at UHS created a health class curriculum based on exploring a topics such as CPR training, emergency preparedness, smoking, sexual and reproductive health, and hand washing techniques through interactive activities and discussion. The Nursing Interns prepared lessons each week and executed the activities in the classroom with the students, culminating in a Health Fair at the end of the semester in which UHS students presented on a topic of their choice. In the Head Start program, Nursing Interns have assisted ABCD health managers in running vision and hearing screenings for preschool-aged children and conducting informational workshops on relevant health topics for the children’s parents.

In providing Nursing Interns, UMass Boston has been unwavering in its commitment to help ABCD carry out its mission of empowering individuals, families, and communities in Boston to achieve their full potential. Linda Dumas, the faculty member in charge of the Urban Community Nursing course who is also an ABCD Board Member, continually thinks of ways in which she can tailor her curriculum to better prepare the Nursing Interns to serve the clients they encounter in their placements across ABCD. In turn, the interns are able to develop a deep understanding of the needs of the clients and think critically and creatively about how best to help clients meet these needs. The Nursing Interns empower ABCD’s clients to take control of their health. Through this partnership, ABCD gives the Nursing Interns the opportunity to become involved members of the community, and provides a training ground essential to the development of future Boston-area nurses.

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences was honored at the 2015 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, where ABCD had the opportunity to both thank UMass for the past three years of support and to further strengthen ties for the future. ABCD is grateful to UMass for generously making its skilled and talented students available for the betterment of our communities, and we look forward to welcoming a new class of Nursing Interns this fall.

For more information about partnership opportunities with ABCD, please contact Carmen Farias, Volunteer Coordinator, at 617-348-6591 or Madeline Eleazar, Recruitment/Volunteer Assistant, at 617-348-6387 or reach both via email at volunteer@bostonabcd.org.