Lena Park is a youth and family focused, multi-service, non-profit agency located on the Dorchester/Mattapan line in Boston, founded in 1968 by community residents concerned with affordable housing and youth development.
In 1970, under the direction of a talented community leader, Patrick F. Jones, Jr., Lena Park expanded into a multi-service community center, formally incorporating as the Lena Park Community Development Corporation (LPCDC) in 1973. In recognition of the value and importance of this new agency, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies transferred ownership of the YMHA Hecht House, where the Community Center currently is located, to Lena Park.
Over the decades, LPCDC has impacted thousands of children, youth, and families as a key service provider of quality affordable housing and effective human services. We currently oversee six housing developments surrounding the Community Center including Brown Kaplan, Granite Lena Park, LBB, and Olmstead Green I, II, and III. These developments combined consist of 500 units of housing for 1,300 residents.
In the past five years, LPCDC has gone through some positive changes. Most recently in 2010 LPCDC temporarily suspended their social services and underwent a comprehensive community assessment and planning process. This assessment was completed in 2013 and guided the organization in its reopening of the Community Center on April 30, 2015. Also during that time LPCDC sold a portion of its building to the Edward Brooke Charter School and used those monies to complete a $1.4Mil capital campaign to renovate our Community Center. A new Board of Directors was formed and new staff have been hired to carry out a revitalized mission for the 21st century: to provide integrated programs, services and access to resources that will help youth and families in the Lena Park catchment area build healthy lives, healthy families, and a healthy community
. Below is a photo of families at a community event in our new community room.
In 2017, our priorities include launching our Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory), engaging the community in a public art project, support for our Robotics class, and other STEAM related programming, and youth employment.
Below is a photo college of our new Fab Lab that will be opening in January of 2017.
Programs and Services
Lena Park serves over 550 low to moderate income children, youth, and families in the Dorchester/Mattapan catchment area surrounding the Community Center. We also engage regularly through our Community Engagement office, 1,300 residents living in the 500 low-income units of housing at our six housing developments. These developments include: LBB, Granite Lena Park, Brown Kaplan, and Olmstead Green I, II, and III. In 2017 we plan to break ground for Olmsted Green IV.
Our programs and services are being phased in over the next three years based on a community assessment and planning process reviewing current demographics and needs. Community-based partnerships are being developed so that most relevant services will be provided based on community need and input from stakeholders at monthly meetings. The following is a list of programs based on age:
Children: Pee Wee Basketball and Art program; Kids Connect Licensed After School Program for children ages 5-13. This program includes: musiConnects - string instruction, ensembles and orchestra; Math Coaching; Chess Club; African Dance; Fab Lab instruction; Computer Classes and Tech Café access; social/emotional wellness groups; and homework support.
Youth: Robotics; Open Gym, Teen visual art classes; Youth Leadership; College Readiness; Financial Literacy; Teen Entrepreneurship; Jobs Readiness and Youth Employment; Teen Center; Fab Lab Instruction; Middle School Wednesdays for Brooke Charter School early release days; Friday night Teen Cafes; Books of Hope Boston - creative writing and performance classes; Internet of Everything, Black Girls Code, Technovation, and Tech Café access.
Adults/Seniors: African Dance; ESOL classes to help unemployed and underemployed adults get better jobs, in partnership with JVS (Jewish Vocational Services); scrap book making and jewelry making; Books of Hope Boston - creative writing and performance classes; Computer Classes and Tech Café access; Adult Basketball leagues, Open Gym, Soul Line Dancing, and P-Fitness.
Community Engagement: Community Dinners, Smart from the Start Child/Parent Playgroup, Resident Stakeholder meetings with staff, Family Movie Nights, Fair Foods Program, Community Resource Coordination, Community Financial Coaching and Counseling, and special events.
Lena Park values volunteers and has many opportunities to serve. Below is a list of different ways to get involved. If you would like to serve for any period of time please go to www.lenaparkcdc.org and fill out the volunteer form on the volunteer page.
1. LEADERS SERVING ON COMMITTEES:
STAKEHOLDER COMMITTEE members work with community residents and staff to review Lena Park’s programs and services and recommend changes or new directions so that residents needs are being met. Monthly meetings involve anywhere from 10-70 residents and staff.
GALA EVENT COMMITTEE members meet primarily from December to April leading up to the gala in April to design and execute the event. Committee members are expected to contribute, recommend potential new contacts, and attend the event.
2. ADMINISTRATIVE VOLUNTEERS:
DATABASE ENTRY: Lena Park’s donors rely on accurate outcomes about our programs through data entry that is completed on our Salesforce and Google docs. Precise typing skills, paying attention to details, and the ability to understand computers is expected.
PUBLIC RELATIONS/MARKETING/DESIGN: Serve as a public relations/marketing/design volunteer, assisting with the writing or editing and distribution of Lena Park’s marketing materials, brochures, invitations, etc, and/or getting the word out about our programs and services. This includes both online and print media and website assistance.
VIDEO PRODUCTION: Assist with video design about Lena Park’s programs and services.
3. PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS:
RECREATIONAL ASSISTANT/COACH/REFEREE: Throughout the year, Lena Park operates recreational classes, including basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, golf, all of which need assistants and some also are in need of coaches or refereeing. Also if you are an instructor in some style of fitness, (Zumba, Yoga, etc.) volunteers are welcome to operate a class/classes.
EDUCATIONAL TRAINING: Provide workshops for adults who need guidance in a variety of areas to improve their lives. Topics include changes in accessing health care, diabetes and obesity prevention, healthy eating, fitness, parenting, job readiness training, computers/technology, budgeting and/or other financial education topics;
YOUTH COUNCIL TRAINING: Provide youth specific curriculum in the areas of job site work habits training, financial literacy, workplace etiquette and dress codes, dining etiquette, college readiness, financial aid application support, relationship/domestic violence prevention training, internet/social media etiquette, etc.
MEAL SUPPORT: Provide a meal for one of our classes for either our youth council (pizza and beverage) or a meal or snacks for parenting classes/afterschool program, etc.
YOUTH COUNCIL MENTOR: Our youth council meets on a regular basis and would benefit from having a mentor in their lives. Mentoring requires a CORI check and we ask that you make a year-long commitment to this volunteer opportunity.
BABYSITTING SUPPORT: During our parenting classes, often parents will bring their children because they can’t afford a babysitter. Lena Park provides babysitting services for that hour and a half when parents are in their support group or a training. Requires CORI check.
KIDS CONNECT AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM: Must complete a state mandated CORI check to ensure the safety of the youth in our care. These volunteer opportunities include:
TUTORS 1-2 days a week for 3 months in Reading, English, Math or Science; and
ARTISTS serve as vocal or musical instrument instructors, performers for special occasions, lead arts and crafts activities, etc.
2016 Dinner and Awards Gala
From Our Family to Yours Campaign