Viewing posts from: November 2000

June 2008

Why Summerworks...Works

“More than just cash in their pockets…”: ABCD SummerWorks offers teens important skills and support for school work and life, according to Harvard University doctoral student Timothy Cunningham.

Cunningham presented results of his research on ABCD SummerWorks in a presentation entitled Assessing Perceptions of Supports and Barriers to Education and Career Goals among SummerWorks Participants at ABCD’s Parker Hill Fenway Neighborhood Service Center in Mission Hill. The 2008 SummerWorks program kicks off on July 7.

Last year’s ABCD SummerWorks program at Parker Hill/Fenway NSC saw 105 youths participate in the summer jobs program. For this particular study, Cunningham interviewed 21 SummerWorks participants about their experiences with the program. They were asked about what supports are in place and what barriers stand in their way.

Across the board, teens named SummerWorks worksite supervisors and support staff as positive role models in their lives. One teen said the close-knit nature of ABCD contributed to his success: “When you’re with ABCD you grow close to people and you’re almost like family,” the teen said. “You know you can always turn to them.”

As far as obstacles, teens pointed to their peers. One teen said it was hard because his best friend is in a gang and tried to get him to join. He said didn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings and that made the decision to choose work more difficult.

Cunningham’s research showed SummerWorks works because it offers kids more than just some cash in their pocket for a summer. In addition to on-the-job counseling and mentoring, sites like Parker Hill offer “job readiness” workshops that focus on how to dress, speak and present themselves at job interviews. Cunningham’s presentation noted that students by and large retained the lessons learned in these workshops.

Former SummerWorks participant Alvin Diaz spoke at the presentation. Diaz started with SummerWorks at age 14 (ABCD is one of the only summer jobs program that accepts students that young). He said ABCD taught him to think ahead and realize this job was not just a way to earn some extra money but a way to build a resume. He said it led directly to his acceptance at Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he is currently a junior. Through Wentworth, he works in a program called “Camp Tech” where he teaches elementary school kids how to use computers.

“ABCD SummerWorks provides at-risk youth not only summer employment that can ease the burden on the family,” said ABCD President/CEO Bob Coard, “it also offers potential career pathways that can help these youth climb out of the cycle of poverty for good.” Coard thanked the many institutions in the Mission Hill – Fenway area, including several world famous hospitals, colleges and others, for their ongoing support of at-risk youth by providing jobs and cash donations to SummerWorks.

ABCD SummerWorks provided more than 1,100 at-risk Boston youth with summer jobs.


December 2008

Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders

Volunteers are needed for the ABCD SHINE program: Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders. The Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) program is designed to help seniors understand their Medicare bills and related insurance issues.

The SHINE program provides free health insurance information, counseling and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers. Information is disseminated by trained and certified SHINE volunteer counselors who provide information on Medicare A & B, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, Medigap, Mass Health, Medicaid and other programs that help pay health care costs for people with limited income and resources.

“It’s such a rewarding experience for our volunteers because they see the results of their assistance right away,” said Emily Shea, Director, ABCD Elder Services. “Their interventions immediately make life better for seniors struggling with these insurance issues.”

Volunteers complete a 12-day training program to learn the ins and outs of the healthcare insurance and compensation system that serves older residents. Upon completion, volunteers will answer telephone calls from seniors who have questions about their health coverage and what plan is right for them.

Interested persons can call Emily Shea at 617 348 6340. This rewarding opportunity is open to everyone – a background in health insurance is not required.

ABCD’s Elder Service program serviced the needs of thousands of low-income, elderly residents of the City of Boston.


November 2007

Fuel Assistance Dollars Go Up

Robert M. Coard, President/CEO at Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) announced today that the hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts households that receive fuel assistance dollars just got a little warmer.

The maximum amount of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds a household can receive is increasing from $1,305 to $1,495; the minimum amount is almost doubling from $450 to $895. The maximum High Energy Benefit has also increased from $75 to $100 per eligible households.

“This is wonderful news for families who rely on this money to keep the heat on during these long New England winters,” Coard said.

The bump in funding is due to the fact that Mass. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) released a funding reserve it had been holding.

When it was first announced that LIHEAP would be fully funded this year, income eligibility changed. Before, a family or individual could earn no more than twice the federal poverty level, or $41,300. Once the program was fully funded, that number was changed to 60 percent of the state median income, or $53,608.

Subsequently, fuel assistance applications increased by 20 percent. 30,000 more applications were received this year. ABCD even opened on evenings and Saturdays to meet the demand. Families and individuals of more moderate incomes were able to apply for federal dollars to help keep the heat on. Now it looks like they will receive even more assistance.

“Every bit helps in tough times like these,” Coard said. “This increase in funds will translate to warmer homes across the commonwealth.”

ABCD provided Fuel Assistance to thousands of low-income Boston residents.


June 2008

ABCD Asset Development Program Offers Free Financial Education Classes, Matched Savings Accounts

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) is offering an Asset Development program that includes free financial education classes. Once completed, enrollees begin saving toward a matched savings account that can provide up to $4,000 toward one of three financial assets: home ownership, continuing education or small business start-up. The money is given only to those who qualify and must be applied toward one of the three assets.

The course is six weeks long and meets one evening a week. It is provided free of charge. Topics range from saving money to maintaining a solid line of credit. Once the classes are completed, enrollees are given a financial assessment. Qualifying participants then begin putting a small amount of money toward a savings account. After saving for a full year, they are rewarded with a lump sum of $4,000 to be directed toward any of the previously mentioned three assets.

“ABCD’s Asset Development program is a great tool to fight poverty,” said ABCD President/CEO Bob Coard. “The classes and matched savings accounts in the program offer a real hand up to the people who need it the most.”

The next round of classes begins in September. Anyone interested should call Asset Development Program Manager Vernette Allen at 617.348.6218 for more information.

ABCD’s Asset Development program focused on providing financial education to Boston’s low-income residents.