They make it happen! Staff members for ABCD’s centers in every Boston neighborhood gather at the Roxbury-North Dorchester site for a day of training and reflection.
A network of 14 neighborhood centers, managed through the Community Coordination Department, provides access to ABCD services for struggling families in every community.
Linking into this primary network are the hundreds of additional ABCD program sites in every Boston neighborhood where ABCD programs and services are provided: Head Start, Foster Grandparents, Health Services, Fuel Assistance, SummerWorks and more.
The ABCD network provides low-income families with neighborhood-based access to citywide ABCD programs – including SummerWorks, Fuel Assistance, Head Start, Earned Income Tax Credit, Career Development, Adopt-A-Family, Toy Drive and more. Together, they help thousands of households annually to gain a foothold on the ladder of economic opportunity. Along with providing major outreach and cutting-edge programs, the neighborhood centers enable residents to apply close to home for key supports such as food stamps, MassHealth and other emergency benefits.
ABCD neighborhood centers are connected to the pulse of the community. They help ABCD identify emerging issues, build creative programs and tap into the talent in each of Boston’s diverse neighborhoods. From citizenship education to foreclosure prevention, from drop-in senior centers to employment assistance for young families, neighborhood centers respond to the needs of low-income residents.
Adopt-A-Family/ABCD Toy Drive
This season ABCD collected and distributed more than 6,000 toys to low-income families through its network of neighborhood centers. Donations also came in at a fast pace for ABCD Adopt-A-Family, a program that matches families in need with donors during the holiday season. Gifts ranged from toys and warm winter clothing for children to food and household goods for families. Brand new bicycles, laptops, doll houses and gift cards for parents were some of the many generous gifts families in need received this holiday season. Over 60 families were adopted through ABCD Adopt-A-Family, with some donors sponsoring families through the entire winter season, others adopting several families at a time. ABCD staff members and volunteers fanned out across the city and suburbs to collect gifts from generous donors and get them to families in need in inner-city neighborhoods.
1,084 BOSTON RESIDENTS RECEIVED HELP APPLYING FOR AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AT ABCD NEIGHBORHOOD CENTERS IN 2015.
Three Kings Day! Holiday celebrations continued in January with the Three Kings arriving at ABCD’s Jamaica Plain center to provide children and adults with seasonal joy. A child from Bromley Heath Housing Development beams as he holds a giant new truck. He is joined by Michael Baker, Legislative Aide to State Rep. Jeffrey Santos; the Three Kings; and Mirta Rodriguez, Director, ABCD Jamaica Plain Area Planning Action Council.
Increasing numbers of immigrants are seeking assistance at ABCD neighborhood centers and central programs. Many are eager to become citizens but the process is complicated and expensive. ABCD has mobilized a cadre of volunteer lawyers and partner institutions to offer immigrants assistance completing their applications for U.S. citizenship, help applying for fee waivers, assistance with medical exemptions and the opportunity to sign up for free civics and ESOL classes at ABCD. Once they are citizens, these new Americans are able to participate in civic engagement through voting, applying for government jobs and unifying family members by doing family petitions. ABCD regularly holds “Citizenship Days” at neighborhood sites with a cadre of expert volunteers assisting immigrants in filling out their applications for citizenship.
Through the ABCD Neighborhood Network, residents across Boston gain wider access to public decision making and exercise a stronger voice in their communities. Programs and initiatives that facilitate that process include: Legislative Open Houses that bring City Councilors and State Senators and Representatives to meetings with Head Start parents, senior gatherings and other neighborhood groups; Voter Registration providing advocacy and opportunity in registering to vote throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, in partnership with the Boston League of Women Voters, MassVOTE and Oiste; Candidate Forums that put issues of poverty on the agenda for candidates for city and state offices and the public as packed forums are held at ABCD’s downtown headquarters and neighborhood sites.
ABCD’s Neighborhood Programs investment is $6,379,938. Those funds keep the doors open at 14 neighborhood centers, leverage millions of dollars through hundreds of community partnerships, underwrite higher education for more than 1,100 low-income students, and provide one-onone support in their neighborhoods for tens of thousands of Boston residents.