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Teen Empowerment
236a Pearl St, Somerville, MA 02145

The Center for Teen Empowerment is a youth-driven organization aimed at curbing violence and gang activity andMore empowering young people to enact change in their communities. Teen Empowerment runs programs locally in Somerville, as well as in Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Rochester, N.Y. 

Each site hires youth organizers to take action to address important issues that face their communities. While working with Teen Empowerment, youth organizers are given the support to design and implement a strategy to tackle these issues. 

Teen Empowerment also hosts annual Youth Peace Conferences, where issues of violence, gangs and drugs are addressed through performance, discussion and community interaction. Teen Empowerment Somerville has been hosting these events since 2007. 

Centro Presente
17 Innerbelt Rd, Somerville, MA 02143
Centro Presente is an organization committed to fostering community development, civic engagement and self-sufficiencyMore for the Central and South American immigrant population of Massachusetts. Through various campaigns and programs, Centro Presente fights for immigrant and worker's rights and economic and social justice. Centro Presente also offers adult education and youth programs, as well as legal services. Its offices are located on Inner Belt Road off Washington Street, just a few blocks from the Sullivan Square MBTA station. Visit cpresente.org for more information on the organization and their activities. 
CASPAR
315 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

Over the four decades that CASPAR has provided services to individuals struggling with substance abuse, they haveMore earned a reputation as a pioneer in effectively serving this at-risk population. Their services address needs at every stage of what they call the "the substance use/abuse/recovery continuum" "from street outreach to aftercare housing." Each year, they provide treatment—and often life-saving services—to approximately 2,500 adults and youths in Somerville and Cambridge.

Programs include street teams that connect homeless individuals with medical, shelter and psychiatric services, as well as meal programs and substance abuse treatment. A system of pre-treatment transitional housing, long-term treatment residences, and aftercare housing serves men, women, and pregnant or parenting mothers in individual centers. Youth programs combine counseling with positive afterschool activities and volunteer service to address substance abuse.

The organization relies on individual, corporate and foundation support for its funding. Volunteers are welcome to help prepare and serve meals or sort clothing donations at their Emergency Service Center at 240 Albany St., Cambridge.

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.
Greenpeace - New England Branch
240b Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144
The regional office of this global, and famous, campaigning organization is located in Davis Square, in a building fullMore of other charities and non-profits. Known for taking peaceful, yet forceful, direct action to "expose global environmental problems and bring about solutions that ensure a green and peaceful future," Greenpeace dedicates itself to issues as varied as global warming, chemical security, e-waste and sustainable agriculture.The atmosphere at this office is harried, energetic and youthful, and while walk-ins are accepted, it may be best to call ahead for an appointment, just so you don't arrive right before an event. 
Somerville Arts Council
50 Evergreen Ave, Somerville, MA 02145

In some towns, the Local Cultural Council (LCC) restricts itself to one important task: they award state grant moneyMore to local arts and culture organizations for worthy projects. But in Somerville, our LCC blossomed into the Somerville Arts Council, a full-fledged arts organization that programs community events year-round. They are best-known for ArtBeat, a two-day summer arts festival that fills Davis Square with live music, dance, arts, crafts, food stands—and the occasional electric-guitar-wielding mummy. But that's not all they do. 

Their Art Without Walls initiative brings art activities directly to youths in their neighborhoods. Via their Switchbox Project, they are transforming Somerville utility boxes into public works of art. And all summer long, their ArtsUnion initiative presents numerous cultural events in Union Square that range from Haitian or Punjabi cultural festivals to movies screened in Smell-o-Vision and an annual techno dance party under the McGrath Highway overpass.

With Union Square Main Streets, ArtsUnion also hosts the rather unusual fall Fluff Fest, which celebrates the Somerville-born snack food Marshmallow Fluff. Finally, special Arts Council events throughout the year include the popular holiday lights Illumination Tour.

In short, this is an organization bubbling over with creative ideas, and lucky for us, they tend to make them happen.

 

Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church
29 Central St, Somerville, MA 02143

The Greek Orthodox Church is a Christian denomination within the greater Orthodox Church, which is the world's secondMore largest organized Christian body after the Roman Catholic Church.

In Somerville, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church proudly notes its immigrant history. Founded in 1916 (originally on Bow St.), the church was formed by Greek immigrants who came to work in Somerville's meatpacking plants. They settled in the Brickbottom area of Somerville (which was a close-knit neighborhood before being razed for City and factory use) and they worshipped at Dormition—all while making their way in a new land.

Today, the Church draws members from throughout Greater Boston. A very active, very Greek and very warm community, they are led by Rev. Fr. Panteleimon Klostri.  The congregation pursues charitable work, offers numerous youth programs including Greek School and Church School and maintains an all-ages choir. In addition, a Golden Club brings together members over 50 to socialize and undertake charitable work, and a Health Committee organizes exercise classes and health talks. Their annual Greek Festival, held the second weekend of September, draws members and neighbors, as well as foodies looking to sample the homemade Greek treats like grilled kebabs, spanikopita (spinach pies) and sweet baklava.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America states that, "Orthodoxy believes that God has revealed Himself to us, most especially in the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom we know as the Son of God. This Revelation of God, His love, and His purpose, is constantly made manifest and contemporary in the life of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit."

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