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TELL US: Who Makes a Difference in Somerville?

Help showcase people who are doing great things in your community with our new feature, Count Us In.

Your neighbor who volunteers at the library, the crossing guard who helps your children get to school safely and the Little League coach in your community may not seem to have much in common at first glance.

But Patch’s new initiative, Count Us In, aspires to bring together all Good Samaritans by highlighting residents who are exemplary at making your community a more positive place.

There's a ton of good work happening throughout Somerville, whether it's at the Council on Aging, the Somerville Community Growing Center, local nonprofits and advocacy groups, the school system or elsewhere.

Partnering with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC), Count Us In aims to illustrate HPHC's values. They believe that “amazing things happen when people work together” and that is why we want to share stories about just that.

If you know someone who exemplifies being a good neighbor, volunteer or teacher—or someone who has simply helped the community in an inspiring way—please tell us about it in the comments section below. Your local editor will keep an eye on the conversation and will be writing articles about all of the amazing people and stories you share.

We welcome all great stories coming from great people in the community. 

Lesley Bannatyne September 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Marcus Santos, Somerville resident, who also teaches in the music program at Somerville High (percussion), has created "Grooversity," a way of teaching and bringing people from all ethnicities together through drumming. Santos regularly inspires teens (and adults) with this work and enormous generosity.
Lee Palmer September 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Lisa Gimbel, Somerville resident, heads up the ESL program at the Welcome Project based in the Mystic Public Housing Development in Winter Hill and works many extra hours each week to ensure that as many people who want to learn English can have that opportunity. Gimbel tirelessly recruits, trains and supports volunteer teachers for the classes and ensures a dynamic, comprehensive and relevant curriculum for her students always with a social justice bent. Her passion is an inspiration.
Sarah Kerrigan September 30, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Lee Palmer is a long-time City resident who literally makes it her job to improve Somerville! As campaign manager for Denise Provost's successful re-election campaign and now working on the campaign for Question 4 (the Community Preservation Act), Lee gives her passion and energy towards causes she believes in. As the mother of a young son, she has also volunteered with the Somerville Family Network Parent Advisory Council, planning free fun events for families with young children in Somerville. Lee is a true believer in the value of community, and works hard every day to build one, right here in Somerville,
Lynn Perriello October 01, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Sherri Goode and Peggy Budge, both managers at Walnut Street Center's Employment Supports program make life meaningful for the individuals with developmental delays in Somerville/Cambridge /Arlington. They have a passion for their work. They are all about treating people with respect and dignity. They are creative about problem-solving and bring joy to the lives of the individuals they work with.
Chris Orchard (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 02:14 AM
These are great!
Susann Wilkinson October 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM
All of Somerville is better off because of Rob Gregory, Redbones' inspired owner. He could just have a restaurant that serves good food, and that is one of the original Somerville destinations. But he does much more and the way he runs the restaurant makes the community a better place, socially, environmentally and economically. Just think about the innovative bike valet service; generous financial support of local causes; food for non profit fundraisers; feeding the HONK bands every year; excellent employment practices, and that's just the start. Thank you, Rob.
barbara mangum October 03, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Evelyn Battinelli, her husband Tom, and Tom Lane have kept the Somerville Museum open and vibrant for the last 30 years! They tirelessly volunteer their time and resources to see that the Museum (and its building) keep their mission to the people of Somerville: preservation of Somerville's history, culture and arts through education and creative outreach. Viva the Battinellis and Tom Lane!
Andrea October 08, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Mary Cassesso, a lifelong Somerville resident, has done so much to make and keep our community a great place to live and work. From her work as Past President of the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge Health Alliance during a recent managerial transition, to her longstanding volunteer service as Managing Trustee of the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, to her active work to elect progressive candidates and pass important legislation in local, state and federal elections, to the pride she takes in her family, her historic home, and her career of public service, Mary demonstrates the determination, strength, creativity, and compassion that are some of the most endearing traits of our community.
kevin thomas crowley October 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM
BARRY RAFKIND a true battler for truth,justice and the american way.keeps a keen eye on local goverment for the rest of us.
Mary Norcross October 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I nominate Hearty Meals for All working out of the Baptist Church in Davis Square. This non-secular organization was organized four years ago to feed the hungry in this area. The meals are prepared on the second Tuesday of the month and served on the next day. It is a totally volunteer organization with community members (including members of the DU fraternity from Tufts) preparing and serving the food and eating with the clients. Food is donated by local businesses such as Dave's Pasta and When Pigs Fly. It is a terrific organization quietly going about feeding hungry people. http://www.heartymealsforall.org/
Leigh October 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Courtney O'Keefe-The creator of Ward 5 Online. She was born and raised in Somerville & has been a strong voice in the effort to secure economic vitality for Magoun Square. She is a constant figure at city hall and an advocate for local businesses!!
rt November 02, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Rachel Strutt at the Arts Council. Does a lot of work for the community-- doing arts and cultural programming. Mark Alston-Follansbee at the Homeless Coalition. He's been working tirelessly for decades, helping make things better for the area's homeless.
rt November 21, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Is this still going on? Here's some more: -Joe Grafton, founder of Somerville Local First. -Mimi Graney, runs Union Square Main Streets. -Tim Devin, community art projects, part of the arts Council. -Charlie Denison, runs Livable Streets, and part of the bike council.

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