Member Feature: Greater Four Corners Action Coalition
By Eva Kubik
At a time in 1991, when street guns were much easier to get than a steady job or a quality education, the residents of the Dorchester neighborhood known as Four Corners realized that they would have to take action to provide public safety for themselves, their families, and especially their young people from increasing senseless violence.
Inspired to come together by leadership from four neighborhood churches, they formed an organization to promote public safety. They invited police involvement as part of their efforts, based upon the understanding that mutual cooperation between residents and city services was a key ingredient to bring about the successful cultural exchange all were seeking.
From these beginnings to when they celebrated their twenty fifth anniversary in October 2016, Greater Four Corners Action Coalition (GFCAC) has become a stable resource of nurture, development, and advocacy for its community. It has expanded its mission much beyond public safety to address some of the root causes of violence and lawlessness, and create solutions for a viable and diverse community to thrive. These include equity in employment opportunities, training, and education, meeting common human needs for housing, transportation, and a sustainable natural environment. It takes persistent effort to meet these challenges, as its hard working five person staff personifies by their enthusiasm and talent in working with people.
Currently, GFCAC is forming partnerships and collaborations with other resources such as the Bowdoin Street Health Clinic and another Community Works member, ACE (Alternatives for Community and Environment). They not only refer youth to employment, training, and counseling services, but also provide opportunities for all Greater Four Corner residents to receive service in those areas, and actively advocate for public policy that will benefit community residents.
From the time in 2000 when Greater Four Corners Action Coalition joined us at Community Works, they have been a valuable participant in Community Works activities, taking on special extra tasks as part of their involvement. They have shared their knowledge and skills making valuable contributions to our combined impact.
For more information about their work, visit them at http://gfcac.org/
The Little Organization That Could…
Hawthorne Youth and Community Center, Inc. (HYCC) has provided quality affordable programs for low and moderate-income youth, families, and Highland Park residents since 1967. HYCC started as a club for teens in a coal cellar and launched a Positive Youth Development program for 6-18 year olds when it moved into 9 Fulda Street in 1970.
HYCC offers youth opportunities to participate in diverse educational, cultural, recreational, and vocational activities that help prepare them for academic, career, and personal success. In addition to acquiring new skills, participants gain self-confidence and practice teamwork to accomplish goals.
Hawthorne youth have shared their artistic accomplishments in 13 First Night Grand Processions and 9 Community Creations Exhibits at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and entertained at over twenty holiday celebrations at Marcella Park.
Middle and high school students have hand crafted benches that enhance the Hawthorne site, worked with architects to design and build a sustainable storage shed for the center, and worked as peer leaders, camp counselors, and counselors in training.
HYCC builds community by conducting activities and offering services to Highland Park residents. The Dollar a Bag Program, a collaboration with Fair Foods, offers community people access to produce, bread, and other items at a nominal fee and monthly meetings of the Hawthorne Area Association bring residents together to discuss development, environmental, public safety, and other issues with state and city representatives.
– Samantha Sadd
What Hawthorne has done this past Spring:
Hawthorne’s Community Garden:
Hawthorne has been gardening since 1984 when teens in our Landscape Training/Employment program constructed a garden. Today our garden contains twelve raised bed plots cultivated by families, adults, and students in our after school program. Located in our back yard, the garden is home to vegetables, flowers, herbs, and a wonderful strawberry bed.
Launched this fall, our partnership with Mass College of Art and Design brought volunteers and resources to engage neighborhood residents in enhancing the Hawthorne site by planting daffodils and beautifying our fence. Neighbors will come together on May 17th to complete mobile planters and continue work on the fence.
See volunteers at work here.
“Architectural Note Cards from the Neighborhood ” is a ten week spring project engaging 6-12 year olds in exploring the Highland Park neighborhood to identify, discuss, photograph, draw and write about diverse architectural styles in Highland Park. An exhibit of their note cards will be displayed at Haley House which hosts a reception for Hawthorne Junior Architects, project Architect Jessica Leete, and Art Educator Wendy Ellertson on June 18th. The exhibit will also be displayed at the Dudley Library.
A Cherokee brave flowering dogwood tree, a gift from the Spreading Roots Program at Boston Natural Areas Network, became part of Hawthorne’s landscape when students from the St. Lawrence University Sustainability Semester Program planted the dogwood tree on Saturday, May 10th; their visit to Hawthorne included conversations about food justice with teens in the Say It Loud Media Arts Project.