RAW Art Works Presents: The Truth Is

This past Thursday, May 14, RAW Artists presented their truth in Central Square in Lynn as part of an art exhibition. The exhibition featured a reception and art show, along with a graduation ceremony for the program’s seniors, and a film screening. This is an annual event held by RAW every spring.

Theme was devised by Laura Mennuci, an art therapist and the outreach coordinator for RAW. Students had to finish the sentence “The truth is…” with their own personal truth. This was a difficult task for many students, many of whom had never shared this information or who had a difficult time talking openly about the truths they found in their lives. Mary Flannery, RAW founder, called the process of watching the students learn their truths, “inspiring.”

The event also included awarding of scholarships to five outgoing seniors at RAW. Those attending the event agreed that it was a wonderful experience. Despite the challenging theme, the students also agree that being a part of RAW is beneficial to their lives. ” When I say I’m going home I’m referring to RAW, it’s my second home,” said senior Justin Guzman.

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Audrey Morrissey Participates in International Summit on Human Trafficking

Yesterday, May 12, Audrey Morrissey, Associate Director of My Life My Choice, took part in the Carter Center’s World Summit on Ending Sexual Exploitation. The summit brought together advocates, nongovernmental organizations, and government officials from nine countries to organize actions to end the sexual exploitation of women and children.

Major participants in this summit included: former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Several U.S. senators and members of law enforcement and human trafficking advocacy groups, including My Life My Choice, were present as well.

Participants in the summit shared knowledge, resources, and experience to help develop solutions and to reach the goals of creating national and international networks to reduce the demand for sex workers, develop plans to reverse trends of exploitation, and mobilization of communities to dismantle the sexual exploitation industry.

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Coloring Books for Adults are a Major Hit

If you’ve checked out Amazon’s best sellers recently, you’ve probably noticed the trend of coloring books making the list. These coloring books aren’t for children, however. They are designed for stressed-out, over-worked grownups, not very unlike you or me. It didn’t take too long for us grownups to jump on this trend.

There is something wonderfully therapeutic to putting down the phone, putting aside the computer, turning off the television, and focusing on coloring. Finding that perfect color, not going outside the lines, and just being creative for a little while helps to make all of life’s stresses melt away for a little while.

The therapeutic power of art is nothing new, however (just ask the wonderful people at RAW Art Works), and coloring is a technique many mental health professionals use with their clients. Coloring can lift our moods, reduce our anxiety, and relieve some of our stress. Coloring can help us to practice mindfulness and meditation in our daily lives by breaking our routines and taking us off autopilot.

So next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, why not get a bit nostalgic and grab a coloring book?

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Science Club for Girls Meets Dr. Mae Jemison

Last week, the girls from Rocket Team at Science Club for Girls had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a major female role model in STEM, Dr. Mae Jemison. Dr. Jemison was the first African American woman in space. She was selected for NASA’s astronaut program in 1987 and traveled to space in 1992. Dr. Jemison is also a dancer, seeking out ways to integrate the arts and STEM.

Dr. Jemison was hosted by Lesley University as part of the University’s Creativity Forum, a week long event that aimed to explore the role of creativity in all fields of study (from the arts to education to science and technology). Dr. Jemison’s talk focused on her new project, the 100 Year Starship, that aims to make human interstellar travel possible within the next 100 years.

The girls who had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jemison are part of Science Club for Girls’ Rocket Team, a challenge team that allows girls to design and build their own rockets to be entered in the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

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New App Saves the Planet – and your Appetite

Sadly, my vegetable drawer is a graveyard for kale.  Seriously. I’ve bought bunches of the leafy superfood planning to turn it into a Top Chef masterpiece just to forget about it until it’s gone bad.

You know what they say: the road to kale is paved with good intentions.

Like most Americans, I do not willfully intend to waste the food that I buy; I simply lose track of the date that I bought that bunch of broccoli and by the time I remember, it’s gone bad.

Every month in America, 36 pounds of food per person is wasted.  The reason?  Most consumers forget about their purchases or are unsure how long their leftovers will last.  To reduce this staggering and needless amount of food waste, the USDA, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute have created an ingenious resource for scatter-brained food savers and left-over doubters: Foodkeeper, an app that tracks the lifespan of your food.

Foodkeeper has a variety of different functions all created to help consumers get the most out of their food.  Foodkeeper tracks the lifespan of your food, sends you reminders when your food is about to spoil, and explains how different food storage methods affect your food’s lifespan!

Foodkeeper is part of the USDA’s Food Waste Challenge, an initiative that asks consumers, food distributors, and farmers to reduce food waste by improving the processes through which food is grown, distributed, and stored.  As an app targeted for everyday food shoppers, Foodkeeper is a great resource for individuals to save both the environment and their wallets.

Getting the biggest bang for your brussel sprouts AND doing your part to save the earth? Can I get a kale yeah?!

Learn more about how the app here.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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BUILD Students Dress and Impress in Mock Interviews

FullSizeRender (2)Last week BUILD students buttoned-up their shirts, straightened their ties, fired up their resumes and visited Boston’s financial district to interview with some of the city’s (and the world’s!) biggest financial firms.  They came dressed to impress – and impress they did!

“To be fourteen and this confident – I wish I was this ahead of the game!” one volunteer commented after the program.

BUILD ignites the potential of students in under-resourced communities through entrepreneurship based experiential learning.  BUILD students learn how to run a business, pitch a product, and give a fantastic interview not through sitting through a lecture, but by actually trying these things.

In the weeks prior to the mock interviews, BUILD students tirelessly prepared with mentors and BUILD staff.  They learned how to develop and showcase their personal brand, how to write a resume, and how to give a good – and bad – interview!

During the mock interview program, students first interviewed the volunteers.  To the students’ surprise, the volunteers slouched, texted, gave one word answers, and gave what the students had learned to be an ineffective interview.  BUILD students evaluated the volunteers’ performance before launching into an interview of their own.  The program ended with BUILD’s “Closing Circle,” a time where volunteers, students, and staff gather together to reflect on the session.

The verdict?  Students reported that the experience was very helpful, especially as they look forward to applying for summer jobs.

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Learn more about BUILD here!


 

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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RAW Art Works Gives Students Launchpad to College

Students in Lynn, Massachusetts face an uphill battle when it comes to their education. The city reports a dropout rate that is 47% higher than the state average. Many students do not move on to college after high school.

RAW Art Works wants to change that with Project Launch. Project Launch is part of RAW’s high school programs. In the program, high school juniors and seniors are paired up with a volunteer mentor for one year. These mentors work with the students, helping them apply to college and show themselves to be strong candidates in their applications.

The program has proven results: 90% of the students who go through Project Launch apply to and attend college. And those students have done wonderful things with their education. For example, Doneeca Thurston graduated from the program and went on to received a full-tuition leadership scholarship to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and, after going on to get a master’s degree, she now works as the adults programs coordinator at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Doneeca’s advice to the next generation of Project Launch students: “You don’t have to figure it out all at once. You can change your plans.” Students at RAW are encouraged to follow the things they are passionate about and keep their options open. And this advice seems to be working.

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Boston Police Speak Out About Sex Trafficking

This week, the film Pretty Woman turned 25. As many celebrated the popular romantic comedy, Donna Gavin, head of the Boston Police’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, offered a reality check.

“Let me assure you that the tale that unfolds in ‘Pretty Woman’ is fiction,” says Gavin. The reality is far different. Pimps are often violent criminals with histories of rape, assault, drug, and firearm convictions. Women in prostitution are 40 times more likely to be homicide victims and almost three-quarters of them will experience violent, physical assault. The women being bought and sold are often homeless and suffering from addiction or disease, not to mention emotional trauma. There is nothing glamorous about prostitution, despite what this film might have us think.

Because of this Gavin is taking a different approach to celebrating this anniversary. Gavin will be working with the Cities Engaged Against Sexual Exploitation (“CEASE”) Boston Team that was announced by Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Evans recently. CEASE works to connect “local survivors of prostitution, criminal justice professionals, policy makers, business leaders, and concerned citizens with the shared goal of reducing illegal sex-buying by 20 percent in our communities.” You can read Gavin’s full statements here and learn more about CEASE here.

We are so proud to work with My Life My Choice in the fight against sex trafficking and we’re happy to see the anniversary of this film sparking a discussion about what prostitution really means.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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PARCC Receives Nod from Teach Plus

For nearly 20 years, the MCAS assessment has been used to test Massachusetts high school students’ proficiency in common core classes, ultimately determining whether or not students are eligible for their high school diploma.  However, a new standardized test has piqued the interest of Massachusetts principals, and it may prove a more promising assessment of students’ abilities than the MCAS.

The Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) is committed to developing standardized assessments that measure whether or not students are on track for success beyond high school.Unlike the MCAS, which was designed to test for minimal proficiency in reading, writing, science, and math, the PARCC assessment measures whether or not students are on track to succeed in college and their careers.

What does this mean exactly?  The PARCC exam tests students for higher level abilities – including critical thinking, problem solving, and supporting an argument.

Although the MCAS is still used in Massachusetts, the PARCC assessment seems to have already convinced Massachusetts principals of its effectiveness: according to a survey of Massachusetts principals, more than 90 percent of principals felt that PARCC will have a positive impact on critical thinking, reading and writing.

SheGives Boston partner, Teach Plus, has also given this test a nod: Teach Plus brought together 1,000 teachers to intensively study the PARCC exam.  The results? Pretty positive! A few of Teach Plus’s key findings are listed below:

  • Teachers believe that PARCC is a better assessment than their prior standardized tests
  • Teachers find clear alignment between PARCC and what they are teaching
  • The majority of teachers found PARCC to measure skills necessary for college and career readiness
  • Teachers were mixed on whether or not the test was too challenging

Find out more about Teach Plus here!

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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Seven Ways to Keep Women in STEM

It has become a sad truth that women who enter into fields in science, technology, engineering, or math often leave early and, if they stay, they have fewer opportunities for growth and advancement as their male counterparts. Another sad truth is that, while women make up half of the college graduates in America, they make up on 28% of science and engineering professionals. An academic panel, Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group, is working to find ways to change this.

The panel has proposed a seven-point initiative aimed at creating gender equity in STEM fields. These points include:

1) Implement a flexible family care spending system to allow a portion of grant funding to be used for family care and attending workshops and conferences.

2) Creation of an “extra hands” award to allow for the hiring of assistants, postdocs, or technicians.

3) Recruit gender-balance review committees to ensure more women female participants in symposia.

4) Incorporate implicit bias statements to recognize the bias at work in the field and help mitigate the effect among grantmakers.

5) Focus on education by convening seminars and roundtable discussions concerning gender issues in the field.

6) Creating gender equity report-cards to hold organizations responsible for making the workplace accepting of women. A certain grade would be required for organizations to maintain funding.

7) Creating searchable databases of women in STEM to make finding eligible women speakers for conferences easier for conference organizers and search committees.

These points were published in March’s issue of Cell Stem Cell by The Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group. You can read more about the plan here.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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