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/.

CWS Celebrates 140 Years

CWS Celebrates 140 Years

On Thursday November 9th, CWS celebrated its 140th anniversary at the Omni Parker House Rooftop Ballroom in Boston. The spirited event honored an organization that has stayed relevant for 140 years through continuous innovation, and meeting the needs of the individuals and families that it serves.

“For 140 years, CWS has been a beacon of hope and light for thousands of individuals where hope might not have existed,” said CWS board chair Paul Davis. Link should go here.

In a testament to the longevity of the agency and the continuity of its leadership, Paul thanked seven former board chairs for their service; Robert Fawls, Joy Camp, Oliver Spalding, Joe DiLorenzo, Robert Hurwitz, Howard Wayne, and Alan Walis.

A highlight of the evening was an appearance by Collette Divitto, a young woman with Down Syndrome. Collette loves to bake, and while she struggled to find a job, she offered cookies to each of her interviewers. Ten days after a Boston TV station aired a story about her, she had over 9.5 million views on Facebook, received over 65,000 letters from around the world, and had orders for over 50,000 cookies. She has since been featured on CBS Nightly News and Good Morning America.

CWS and Collette have formed a partnership, in which CWS provides kitchen space for baking. As her business expands, Collette plans to hire other people with disabilities.

Two other remarkable consumers spoke about how CWS impacted their lives. Sebastian Newman, a 17-year-old high school student who has Down Syndrome, was unsure what he wanted to do after graduation. After meetings with Jim Brett sparked an interest in politics, he began an internship with Cambridge City Councilman Marc McGovern. Joao De Toledo, a 17-year-old with physical and developmental disabilities, is also considering a career in politics – an interest he identified after joining the CWS Pathways program. Joao is passionate about immigration reform, health care and affordable housing, and is currently interning with Somerville Alderman Matt McLaughlin.

Jim Brett, the evening’s honoree and recipient of CWS’ inaugural Lifetime Achievement and Advocacy Award for Individuals with Disabilities, spoke movingly about his brother Jack, who was born with disabilities and was not expected to live long. Jim, his parents and five siblings cared for Jack, who lived a productive and happy life into adulthood.

“We all have a responsibility to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities,” Jim said. “They have a right to participate fully in work, in life, and in the fabric of our community.”

After his speech, Jim graciously thanked the sponsors of the event: Georgiana Goddard Eaton Memorial Fund; Marble Harbor Investment Counsel, LLC; HYM Investments Group; Fidelity Charitable Fund; Bank of America Foundation, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley.

In closing, CWS Executive Director Craig Stenning reflected on the agency’s storied history, while looking to a bright future. “The CWS story of 140 years is truly inspiring and I come to work every day understanding the challenge that I have been given to continue this story. As I watch our participants work so hard to improve their lives, it motivates me to work that much harder to continue to make CWS the finest agency in this region.”