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Building 50: Resident Services

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The most important part of any neighborhood is building a community; and, our hard working resident services program, along with our residents, are the key to building this everyday. Using a culturally rooted approach, our bilingual staff helps residents lead more fulfilling lives through their programming. While our residents contribute through volunteering and starting initiatives of their own. Together, we’ve been able to create not only a community of residents, but a community of neighbors, including other local organizations and businesses.

“The community here relies on the elders to be the gatekeepers, passing down wisdom from generation to generation,” said IBA Resident Services Director Suzeth Dunn-Dyer. “Residents like Chickie ensure that everyone’s voices are being heard, which is what makes this community so strong.”

Reinalda “Chickie” Rivera has been a resident of Villa Victoria since 1992. A change agent and community organizer all of her life, Chickie has brought her positive attitude and determined spirit to all reaches of our community. As an IBA board member for more than 20 years, Chickie has been a catalyst in the Villa Victoria’s transformation — as a leader in the fight against gentrification, as a community liaison and organizer, and as a leader of countless community forums. Not to mention that she did all of this while promoting and educating young people through cultural awareness. In fact, Chickie is the Director of Estrellas Tropicales, a non-profit (started by her mother, Felicita Oyola) that teaches girls about Puerto Rican culture and folkloric dance in order to promote a strong sense of cultural identity and to help them grow into future leaders.

“I want to mentor the next generation of grassroots organizers who will continue to fight and defend for our residents,” said Chickie. She believes in the future of Villa Victoria, and envisions these individuals creating “a better quality of life, preserving our culture and traditions, and fighting for justice.”

Our Resident Services Program is doing its part to help residents like Chickie continue cultivating this community culture by providing them with the support they need. With such services as translation and interpretation assistance, recreational programming, wellness workshops, health screenings, access to fitness and arts classes, and community field trips, we’re able to break down walls between neighbors and form relationships across generations.

Without the combined support of our staff and our residents, we wouldn’t be able to make these visions a reality. It’s their dedication that has made the last fifty years possible — serving hundreds of Villa Victoria and Boston residents each year — and, it’s their dedication that will make the next fifty years possible.
If you would like to learn more about IBA’s Resident Services Program, please contact Suzeth Dunn-Dyer at sdunndyer@ibaboston.org or by calling (617) 399-1962. You can become a contributor of our programming through our 50th Anniversary Sponsorship opportunities or by making a donation here – no amount is too small.

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