Community Work Services Celebrates the Work of 142 Years and Honors City Notables in Their Inaugural City of Champions Gala

Community Work Services Celebrates the Work of 142 Years and Honors City Notables in Their Inaugural City of Champions Gala

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On Thursday evening, May 9th, Community Work Services (CWS) held its inaugural City of Champions celebration gala. The event, which attracted a sold-out crowd, featured the lives and legacies of six distinguished honorees, including Boston’s mayor, Martin Walsh; TD Garden President and CEO, Amy Latimer; CWS Board Chair, Paul Davis; Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn; best-selling author, Casey Sherman; and CWS participant Danielle McInnis who graduated from CWS hospitality training program to secure a job as a front desk supervisor for Boston’s renowned Boxer Hotel.

Erika Tarantal, Boston’s Channel 5 News reporter and anchor, emceed the evening. The musicians of Tunefoolery, a CWS partner that specializes in bringing together musicians in mental health recovery, offered a melodic backdrop to the evening.

“Building on our 143 years of helping the people of the city of Boston, this event recognized our new partners and celebrated the expanded role our agency is taking to help those with barriers to work.  The funds we raised will be reinvested in innovative programming and new opportunities in our community,” said Paul Davis, Chair of the CWS board of directors and an honoree.

The event included a silent and a live auction featuring one-of-a-kind special sports, arts, and entertainment items, including a Tom Brady signed football and Number 12 Jersey, a signed Leroy Neiman print featuring Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and photos of entertainers ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Frank Sinatra and Aerosmith.

 “We are thrilled,” said Craig Stenning, Executive Director of CWS. “The attendees were very generous, and we surpassed our goals for the evening. And, we are already forging new partnerships with local businesses to hire our participants and underwrite our important work.”

The CWS family anticipates this to be the first of many years of celebrations honoring individuals who are making a difference in the city of Boston. 

Community Work Services Honors Boston’s Brightest Champions Who Make a Difference

Community Work Services Honors Boston’s Brightest Champions Who Make a Difference

On Thursday, May 9, Community Work Services (CWS), one of Boston’s most venerable non-profit organizations dedicated to helping put people who face barriers to work, will be honoring five of Boston’s most accomplished champions who have contributed their extraordinary energy, resources, and talents to making the city—and the region—a place where lives and communities are forever transformed for the better.

“The City of Champions gala is the brightest spot of our year,” said Craig Stenning, Executive Director of CWS. “The individuals we honor that night live on the front lines of leadership, and their work and contributions have shaped the city in uniquely powerful and positive ways. These honorees stand with us at CWS as we work to fulfill our mission of creating opportunities for those who historically have not had access to competitive work.”

The gala will be held at the Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge. Hosted by Master of Ceremonies Erika Tarantal (Emmy Award Winning Journalist, WCVB Channel 5), CWS will honor:

“As a writer, I am drawn to stories about empowerment and inspiration,” said honoree Casey Sherman. “Community Work Services’ mission to educate, elevate and train others is one that not only inspires me, but gives me hope that everyone regardless of their background will have an opportunity to succeed and excel.”

Our relationship with Community Works Services highlights the unique, real life work place experiences that they provide,” said honoree Amy Latimer, president of TD Garden. “These experiences not only impact the lives of the people that CWS serves, but enriches the lives of TD Garden associates working alongside them by fostering inclusion, mentorship, and the importance of supporting our community.”

“No one will leave this evening unchanged,” said Mr. Stenning. “They will leave inspired and moved by the achievements and stories of our honorees and of the individuals we serve here at CWS. Each one of our honorees has a biography that reflects their dedication and commitment to innovation and to creating a thriving, healthy city where equality and opportunity are part of an overall vision for every single citizen. I look forward to highlighting the accomplishments of each one of our champions. It will be a night to remember, that’s for sure.”

The City of Champions gala will include a cocktail reception beginning at 6 p.m. before the awards dinner, which begins at 7 p.m. The leading underwriters of the event include Bank of America, Appleton Partners, Marble Harbor Investments, Star Market, and Imprint Marketing.

For more information on sponsorships and tickets, please visit our website at cwsnewengland.org/city-of-champions-gala or write to Jane Forestall at jforrestall@cwsne.org.

Mightier and Community Work Services Join Forces for a Game-Changing Partnership

Mightier and Community Work Services Join Forces for a Game-Changing Partnership

Mightier, an innovative organization that has developed a program of bioresponsive video games to help kids learn emotional regulation and deep breathing skills is teaming with Community Work Services (CWS), one of Boston’s most venerable agencies supporting those with barriers to employment learn skills for work and career readiness. Mightier will be employing those learning skills through CWS to help assemble, package, and ship their program kits.

“This partnership is what our work is all about,” said Craig Stenning, Executive Director of Community Work Services, a company housed within The Fedcap Group, a national non-profit dedicated to providing opportunities for those with barriers to improved economic well-being. “Mightier is our urban neighbor, and they are doing extraordinary work helping kids to build skills and confidence. Here at CWS, we prepare those with barriers for competitive work, and in us, Mightier has found a ready, willing, and able workforce.”

Mightier was developed and tested at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The company’s innovative work involves creating video games that help kids ages 6-14—especially those with behavioral challenges—build skills that help them practice emotional regulation, develop coping skills, and build emotional muscle memory to regulate emotional outbursts and respond to life’s challenges. The program includes a library of games accessed through the Mightier app, compatible with both Android and Apple products, a “Mighty Band,” which is worn as a heart rate monitor, coaching sessions with a licensed clinician, an online hub to track your child’s process and access to a private community of Mightier parents. As a player’s heart rate goes up, the games become harder to play. The more the players learn to regulate their responses, the more successful they are. After just ten weeks of use, the average family sees a marked reduction in outbursts, decreased oppositional behaviors, and diminished parental stress.

“We created Mightier to empower kids to overcome the challenges they are facing in life,” said Craig Lund, Mightier’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited to partner with CWS in our shared mission of giving people tools to help improve their lives.” Community Work Services has been working for over 140 years helping individuals with diverse types of disabilities obtain employment and self-sufficiency through innovative, on-the-job training, job placements according to the interests and needs of their participants, and ongoing support services. CWS is widely known as a model for ways to empower individuals with disabilities and to help them thrive in their community.

“Our partnership is a great tribute to our mutual commitment to those with different types of barriers,” said Craig Stenning. “We are excited to see the power of our mutual efforts. Stay tuned!”

For more information, visit Mightier at www.mightier.com and Community Work Services at http://cwsnewengland.org/.

Second Chances — Standing Up for What We Believe

Second Chances — Standing Up for What We Believe

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

At Fedcap we stand for second chances. We believe that with hard work, tomorrow can be better than today. We stand for the Power of Possible. This commitment is woven throughout the fabric of our agency—and drives us every single day. For us, a second chance is the next step on a person’s journey to fulfilling their dreams of a better life.

Many of the people who come through our doors, many of the people in the systems we serve, and many of the people we hire, have struggled—for one reason or other. Some have wrestled with a substance use disorder, some have criminal records, and some have crawled across harsh land to find a new life in our country. We are committed to providing them with a second chance.

Statistics bear out that the majority of the time, those in recovery, those who were previously incarcerated, and those who immigrated from another country are responsible, trustworthy and dependable employees. These are individuals who have built strong resilience and who have overcome their past, with intention and purpose. They have much to lose by not succeeding on the job, and they know it.

The employer who offers an individual a second chance is modeling for its employees, other employers and for society as a whole, the values we all should strive for and stand for.

When we combined with Wildcat in 2011, we did so because of their pioneering efforts to provide a second chance to individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Their history became part of our future. Our innovative work within Rikers providing clinical, educational and workforce readiness services is resulting in men leaving jail ready to work. And our exciting Women’s Project, funded in part by Robin Hood and the Open Society Foundation, helps women who are detained at Rikers due to lack of bail money, get out and find a job, a home and a future.

Throughout The Fedcap Group, we hire people both from within our programs and from without who have paid their dues, served their time, and who are entitled to a second chance. Who among us has not made a mistake—sometimes with great consequence—and has learned and grown as a result? Why should those who have struggled not be given a chance to contribute and to bring the resilience, the growth, the learning, and the clear and unwavering commitment to do better? We stand firm in our belief that offering a second chance is the right thing to do.

Our Executive Team completed a four-day retreat in late August. During our discussion, each of us articulated our personal values and recommitted to our organizational values; we made clear what we stood for. We discussed at length the importance of standing for something, and then living by those principles, especially when others may judge us for our stance.

There are causes in need of trumpeting and the importance of providing second chances is one of them. I firmly believe that failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.

I challenge all of us, including employers in every sector—from retail to big business to non-profits to government to charitable organizations—to summon the integrity to support those in our society who are fighting for a second chance. I think you’ll find, as we do here at The Fedcap Group, that these are employees who demonstrate their loyalty by going over and above, taking full advantage of the opportunity, and giving their very best efforts to do valuable work.

Will you stand with us and commit to supporting those who deserve a second chance?

Christine McMahon

President and CEO, Fedcap