Monthly Archives: September 2010

MIT Holds Community Brainstorming Sessions for New Kendall Square Space

MIT is soliciting ideas for a new public space in Kendall Square. Public meetings will be held in order to give members of the community an opportunity to voice their ideas for the space. For more information, see the letter below:
MIT is exploring concepts for its properties in Kendall Square and would like to get your input.  Please sign up for a community brainstorming session in order to share your ideas with us!
Kendall Square is known throughout the region for its innovative businesses and start-up companies.  What has long been missing from Kendall Square – a critical location at a gateway to Cambridge from Boston and accessible by the Red Line – are enough of the types of publicly accessible spaces that make it an enjoyable gathering place for employees, community members, students, and visitors to the region. 
MIT is in the process of exploring new ideas for its properties surrounding the Kendall/MIT MBTA station.  Although full plans have not been developed, one of the goals of the effort is to enliven the ground floor of current and future buildings with a wide range of uses that will generate excitement and create an enhanced sense of community.
We are hosting a series of community brainstorming sessions to discuss ideas and opportunities for the publicly accessible space in Kendall Square.  Among the suggestions we have already heard are patios for outdoor dining, retail shops, public art, and interactive exhibits celebrating technological innovations.  But we want to know what you think!
All of the sessions are the same, so please choose whichever one is most convenient for you.  In order to help with our planning, we are requesting advance registration.  Each session will be approximately 75 to 90 minutes long and held at the Cambridge Marriott.
·         Tuesday, September 28, 7:30 pm
·         Wednesday, September 29, 8:00 am
·         Wednesday, September 29, 7:30 pm
·         Register:
E-mail your name, contact information and selected session to to register.  You will receive confirmation of your participation in your selected session.  Your contact information will not be used for any other purpose.

·         Feedback:
Whether or not you can attend a session, please feel free to send an e-mail with your thoughts to
·         Learn:
For more about MIT in Kendall Square, please visit
Sarah Gallop
Co-Director, Government and Community Relations

YouthBuild Just-A-Start Seeks Volunteer Mentors

To anyone who may be interested please have a look at the information below, and to anyone who may know someone who might be interested, please pass the information along. This is a great opportunity:

Volunteer Mentor Opportunity
YouthBuild Just-A-Start is looking for mentors to work with students aged 17-24 who are enrolled in our program.  This program provides out of school youth with education, job skills, leadership skills, and a chance to get their lives headed in a positive direction.  YouthBuild mentors will provide support to their mentees as they go through the YouthBuild experience, as well as ongoing support to graduates in order to ensure their continued educational, personal, and professional success. Mentors are a key part of the YouthBuild community, supporting the learning, development, and exploration of the students.  
Skills Needed
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Enjoy working with adolescents
  • Caring, dependable, and a good listener
  • Supportive, flexible, open and approachable
  • Resourceful in helping their mentee achieve their educational and career goals.
Responsibilities & Time Commitment
  • 12 month commitment, with approximately 4-6 hours/month (combination of in-person meetings, group activities, phone calls, emails, etc.)
  • Focus attention on the student’s Life Plan (short and long term goals)
  • Attend program ceremonies, e.g. a Matching Ceremony and a Celebration at the end of the program
  • Communicate twice a month with Mentor Coordinator, who will provide support for these relationships.
Eligibility Requirements
  • 25 years of age or older
  • Successful completion of full application process and training
  • Acceptable CORI and SORI.
Benefits of Volunteering as a Mentor
  • Become part of a dynamic, youth focused agency
  • Experience the fulfillment of watching a young person grow, develop skills, and gain confidence
  • Opportunity to learn about different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Chance to guide a young adult towards their education and career goals
  • Become more involved in your community.
If interested, please contact:
Kati Chase, Mentor Program Coordinator
YouthBuild Just-A-Start
Phone: 617-492-1460 x20

CitySprouts Celebrates 10th Anniversary

CitySprouts is a community organization that partners with Cambridge Public Schools in order to educate students about their health and the environment. It operates a district-wide school garden program that serves over 4,000 children, with a garden at each K-8 school in Cambridge. The integration of these school gardens into the class curriculum creates a valuable opportunity for children to learn about agriculture, sustainability, and where the food they eat comes from.

On Saturday, October 2nd from 11am-3pm, CitySprouts will be holding a Harvest Festival at the Tobin School. Come share the harvest grown at public schools throughout Cambridge, while enjoying crafts, games, and cooking activities. Tours of the CitySprouts garden at the Tobin School will be given, as well, giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about this exciting program! More information is available at

Health and Nutrition Services Available to Elder Residents

At the beginning of last month I wrote about an upcoming series of blog posts that will focus on the unique challenges facing our elder citizens. The goal of these posts will be to examine elder issues in depth, and to offer information about services available to elders that will help them thrive. In part one of the series I will discuss some of the complex health and nutrition-related issues that aging has created for many members of The Greatest Generation.
The right to choose where and how we live and the right to live with dignity are values that I believe our society should uphold and dearly respect. For all adults, young and old, the ability to be independent day-to-day can greatly influence quality of life. The ability for many elders to remain independent hinges heavily on their ability to stay healthy.

Staying healthy requires, first and foremost, access to quality, affordable healthcare. In some cases, the most appropriate health care services for elders are those that are performed in the home. Home Care allows many elders who have difficulty with mobility to remain in their homes while being provided with truly essential medical and social services. At present, The Executive Office of Elder Affairs has the ability to provide Home Care to 45,000 elders each month through 27 different Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) located throughout the Commonwealth. ASAPs provide a wide variety of services to elders, ranging from medication-dispensing and grocery delivery to in-home healthcare and protective advocacy.
In the cities of Cambridge and Somerville, Home Care services are provided by Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES). Eligible elders (click here for eligibility information) can receive assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, housework, laundry, grocery shopping, medication reminders, meal preparation, or medical transportation. The services are state-subsidized, and co-pays are determined on a sliding scaled based on income.

These services are essential to improving and maintaining the quality of life of many elders and persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, whenever Massachusetts needs to tighten its purse-strings, these are the types of programs that tend to suffer, limiting the choices that our elders have, and in some cases, forcing them to move out of their homes and into long-term care facilities. Earlier this month, however, the federal government approved $450 million in state aid for Medicaid in Massachusetts, meaning that a large amount of funding for state health programs that was cut during this year’s budget process will be restored. 

Eating balanced, nutritious meals is essential to remaining healthy, and as a result, remaining independent. It may sound simple, but this is one of the toughest challenges facing elders, especially those with low incomes or limited access to transportation. Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services provides a number of services that help elders eat a healthy diet for a cost they can afford. For those who need meals delivered to their homes, a meals-on-wheels service is available that provides a hot lunch and a cold bag supper Monday through Saturday, as well as frozen meals for the weekends. SCES also operates Community Cafés which serve hot meals Monday through Friday at senior centers and senior/disabled housing in Cambridge and Somerville. These programs are available for a small suggested donation to those eligible and for a fee for all others. To learn about who is eligible, visit the SCES web page by clicking here or call 617-628-2601 for more information.

For those who are able to prepare their own meals but may have trouble acquiring the ingredients necessary for a healthy, balanced diet, SCES and the Greater Boston Food Bank operate a “brown bag program” which provides eligible residents with a 10-15 pound bag of healthy groceries. The bags typically contain things such as milk, cheese, pasta, rice, ground beef, tuna, green beans, peanut butter, and oatmeal. The program is open to residents of Somerville and Cambridge who meet certain age, disability, and income requirements. For more information on the program’s eligibility requirements and how to register, click here.

SCES also offers nutritional counseling at local senior centers, and private counseling is available for SCES clients. For those who have difficulty meeting their nutritional needs through solid food, SCES offers nutritional “boost shakes” at their office, or for delivery to SCES clients. EBT (food stamp) cards are accepted as payments.

For more information about these services, you can call Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services at 617-628-2601, or visit their website at You can also request information in person by visiting their offices at 61 Medford St. in Somerville.

Constituent Tours offered by the State Library

State House, Boston – map

The State Library is inviting the general public to come and tour its extensive collection! This may be of special interest to anyone who is looking to arrange a tour for a school group with a desire to learn more about their city or town’s history.

Anyone who would like to set up a tour can contact Pamela Schofield at or call 617-727-2590. You can also contact the reference department directly using the above number or by e-mailing

For more information, visit the library’s blog here.