A Wealth of Community Opportunities
We’re constantly working to “empower and engage individuals and their families to improve their lives,” and this past month we held two resource fairs in order to introduce opportunities that residents of all ages would enjoy. Last week, we held our first annual Academic and Career Fair in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), whose representatives offered educational and career advancement options as well as the support necessary to achieve these goals. Yesterday, we held our second annual Senior Resource Fair in partnership with Caregiver Home, that gave seniors and caregivers the chance to learn about all the assistance and benefits available to them right in our neighborhood.
“I’m happy to see people coming out to learn about the programs Bunker Hill offers and that we can run here [in Villa Victoria],” said our CEO, Vanessa Calderón-Rosado. “Our partnership with Bunker Hill allows our residents and people of the community to access a great, post-secondary education at a very low cost.”
Roberto Flores, a BHCC Career Navigator explained, “What we offer is something for everyone. No matter if you’re still working on your HiSET diploma, you want to do an enrollment class while you’re still in high school, or if you graduated already and you want to start a 2-year career track program – we have an opportunity for everybody.”
Both Calderón-Rosado and Flores agreed the most popular program that attendees were inquiring about was the “Gas Utility Technology” program, which prepares students to obtain a laborer position with utility firms both in Massachusetts and out-of-state. Calderón-Rosado said, “In 2 years you can gain really great credentials, earn money through internships while you’re in the program, and when you finish, they will connect you with a job right away.”
By providing people access to BHCC support programs – including information and resources about financial aid, scholarships, next steps for admissions and enrollment, and additional assistance for English Language Learners – residents and community members can choose from a variety of career tracks and avenues through the BHCC degree and certificate programs including Health Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Power Utilities Program (Eversource), Information Technology, Allied Health Certificate Programs, and more.
As for our Senior Resource Fair, Seniors from Villa Victoria and surrounding communities enjoyed talking to the many agencies in attendance from TUFTS, Fuente de Vida, ETHOS, Vitra Health, Partner’s Healthcare, La Alianza Hispana, and many more. (For a complete list, click here) They were able to receive personalized information that would suit their unique needs as well as enjoy the benefits of activities like free health screenings, fun exercise courses, a self-help workshops, a DJ, and prize giveaways!
“We want to provide as many resources and opportunities for our residents – and not only the residents of Villa Victoria but for all the residents of the South End community, to learn about the different programs and agencies that are in the city of Boston to serve their needs,” said our Resident Services Director, Cindy Lopez.
Villa Victoria Resident, Annette Griffin, noted the variety of resources available at the fair, saying, “They have a lot resources on mental health, insurance – different resources to help you with your medical, your dental – and they have also a study going on about your memory loss.” Griffin also explained the significance of having access to all of these tools, activities, and professionals, “They’re important to me because I have family members and friends who suffer from memory loss and depression, and it kind of hit home. So I need to find as much as I can about it so what I learn I can pass it on and get them involved in some of the programs that I’m researching.”
“It’s been great, the community came out. We saw a lot of elders and caregivers take advantage of the seminars,” said Romina Wilmot, an account manager for Caregiver Homes, an organization who provides support to caregivers and families with senior or disabled loved-ones.
Events like these “give us the opportunity to connect with more programs that will benefit our community,” said Wilmot as she explained the reason for partnering with IBA on such an event, “IBA is an organization that is so vital to this community. They provide so many necessary services to the community… It made sense to connect with this type of organization that supports our mission which is keeping your families well, safe, [and providing them] with the resources they need to be successful.”
During each event, the community had a chance to socialize and everyone left with wealth of useful information, new connections, and a smile. Thank you to all of the organizations who donated their time and resources in support of these events! If you would like to contribute to more events like these, please consider donating here, no amount is too small.