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Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS)
66 Union Sq, Somerville, MA 02143
The Community Action Agency of Somerville, or CAAS, works to fight poverty through its Advocacy and Head Start programs.More CAAS provides services ranging from eviction prevention and tenant rights and gender discrimination counseling to medical-legal advocacy, public benefit access and case management. CAAS also serves over 350 children in Cambridge and Somerville, ages three to five, and their families, with its Head Start Program, offering health, education, nutritional and social services. 
University of The Middle East Project
191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

A group of Boston area graduate students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) founded this nonprofit,More non-governmental organization in 1997 to bring about positive change in the MENA region via education.

They work to create "inclusive and egalitarian classrooms in secondary schools across the Middle East and North Africa." Their approach is based on the idea that by equipping "teachers with the skills and knowledge to broaden young peoples' perspectives and horizons" that UME alumni will pave "a sustainable path for growth and stability in the MENA region."

They train teachers from the MENA region, who then reach approximately 4,500 new students per year with schooling that emphasizes "critical and creative thinking, constructive dialogue and cross-cultural perspectives." Equally important to their mission, the students they serve are not discriminated against based on nationality, gender, ethnicity or religion. Additional programs teach civic engagement. They operate out of an office at the Somerville Armory and another in Madrid, Spain.

River Dog
321 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

River Dog, located on Somerville Ave. in Union Square is part pet shop, part dog day care and part groomer. 


Walk into the sunny store and you may be greeted by a few friendly barks from some of the store's four-legged day guests. River Dog cares for around a dozen dogs during the week and doesn't discriminate on which breeds it takes in, as long as they match the temperament of the group. They can even take on some special needs cases. 

The store also prides itself on stocking many products crafted by local businesses or by small business from around the country.  

Owners Peter and Priscilla Lareau are passionate about animals and have decades of experience in animal care between them. They invite customers to stop in and ask them pet related questions. The company is named after their 14 year-old pup, Rastah, who loves accompanying the two on camping trips to the river. 

Coincidentally, the store's grand opening day was the day in 2010 when major flooding struck the Union Square area, so at least for that day, "River Dog had a river, literally in front of it," said Mr. Lareau.

Somerville Health Department
50 Evergreen Ave, Somerville, MA 02145

This department works on over a dozen different critical fronts to keep residents safe and healthy. VaccineMore distribution, emergency preparedness (including for bioterrorism disasters) and public health education are just a few of their responsibilities. They address these issues partly through the work of programs and commissions. They include:

  • Public Health Nursing: Coordinates flu vaccine clinics and disease investigations, assists in Emergency Preparedness planning, and runs the Medical Reserve Corps, which trains volunteers to assist with health emergencies and disaster response.
  • School Health Services: Coordinates school nurse services including health care, health education and health screening for students.
  • Shape Up Somerville: Works to improve resident's health and eating habits through education, changes to school food service and food access, and city improvements, such as improved crosswalks that make walking safer.
  • Somerville Cares About Prevention: Works to reduce youth substance abuse via educational outreach and community organizing.
  • Tobacco Control Program: Works to prevent youth smoking and overall second-hand smoke exposure through educational outreach, community organizing and regulation and monitoring of tobacco sales and use.
  • Trauma Response Network: Trains professionals who work with youths, as well as city volunteers, in proper techniques for responding to traumas affecting youths.
  • LGBT Liaison: Conducts outreach to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
  • Human Rights Commission: Works to promote and protect human and civil rights of all residents via educational outreach and through investigation of discrimination or harassment complaints, which may be filed via their web page.
  • Multicultural Affairs Commission: Examines and addresses interracial and multicultural issues in the city and works to ensure all groups are equally represented and have equal access to City resources.
  • Women's Commission: Addresses a broad range of issues affecting women including violence against women and work inequalities, and seeks to empower women residents via educational programs.
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