JP-Based Nonprofit VOAMASS Expands Leadership Team

Volunteers of America of Massachusetts (VOAMASS), a Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit  recently announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Erin Donohue Lanzo as Chief Strategy and External Relations Officer; promotion of Mindy Miller to Chief Operating Officer; and hiring of Kellie Caldwell as Vice President of Human Resources. VOAMASS creates opportunities for individuals through residential and outpatient behavioral health treatment, re-entry for justice-involved individuals, veteran services and senior living. “These three key appointments add to the depth and experience of the senior leadership at VOAMASS,” said President and CEO Charles Gagnon. “Individually, Erin, Kellie and Mindy are exceptional leaders and people. Together on the VOAMASS executive team their creativity, strategic insight and institutional knowledge will carry us forward ensuring that we are continuously building on the high-quality, compassionate, person-centered services offered by VOAMASS.”

Donohue Lanzo, who has two decades of experience in the behavioral health and social services sectors, will direct and implement strategy for the agency and lead its communications, public affairs and development programs. She joins VOAMASS after 10 years with the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP), most recently leading communications and special projects.


Local JP Quilter Being Featured in Upcoming Show

Jamaica Plain's Susan Krantz has been working with textiles since she was a teenager. At 9 years of age, her grandmother taught her to knit to distract her from being fidgety. Krantz then took sewing lessons while in high school from a woman who studied in Paris. Quilting was a spontaneous undertaking after purchasing a copy of Georgia Bonesteel’s first book Lap Quilting. Forty years later she is an avid quilter.


Check Out ‘Artists Redux’ Painting Exhibit at Arnold Arboretum

You still have time to see the an art show at the Arnold Arboretum featuring two Jamaica Plain painters. "Artists Redux" is an exhibit at the Arnold Arboretum’s Hunnewell Building Gallery in the Visitors Center through March 13 featuring work by JP painters Ginny Zanger and Lizi Brown. The Hunnewell Building is open every day 10 am to 4 pm


Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Donated Cookies to JP American Legion Post

Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts spent Valentine's Day delivering 1,100 cases (that’s nearly 250,000 cookies) of their famous cookies to those who might not be able to spend the day with their loved ones. including the American Legion Post 76, with 50 cases of cookies. That included delivering 50 cases of cookies to the American Legion Post 76 in Jamaica Plain.  


Community Servings Names MacPhee as Executive Chef

Community Servings, a nonprofit provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services, and a leader in “food is medicine” research, advocacy and policy, has appointed Dianna MacPhee as its new executive chef. MacPhee has more than two decades of experience as an executive chef in a variety of culinary settings, including fine dining, boutique retail, country clubs, airport dining and educational food service. As someone living with psoriatic arthritis, she also personally identifies with the Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit's mission and understands the powerful connection between food and health. “While certain foods can inflame my condition, I am fortunate to have consistent access to fresh, healthy foods and a care team to help keep me on track,” said MacPhee. “Unfortunately, too many people in our community don’t have those resources to manage their illness – but Community Servings is working hard to change that.


Lights in the Necklace Returns Throughout Emerald Necklace Parks

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is bringing back the lighting exhibition Lights in the Necklace, which will light up Necklace parks every evening from dusk to 9 pm through March 31. There are more than 9,500 trees in the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s tree inventory across this 1,100-acre park system, which stretches from Franklin Park in Dorchester to Charlesgate in the Back Bay. This winter, the Conservancy is lighting the way to spring and celebrating the incredible work of the Olmsted Tree Society, the Conservancy’s tree care program which provides maintenance work of pruning, planting and inspecting trees throughout the park system’s canopy. Lights in the Necklace celebrates the power of urban parks to bring people together year-round. In partnership with Boston Parks and Recreation and Boston Public Works, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy hopes everyone can enjoy the emerald glow in several iconic Emerald Necklace parks as they light the way through winter into spring.


Letter: Postpartum Depression Does Not Discriminate

Postpartum depression does not discriminate when it comes to race, socio-economic status, education or ethnicity means that anyone can suffer from this illness. The Duxbury tragedy affects all of us even when you don’t know the family involved. However, access to mental health treatment is often not available particularly to poor families and people of color in marginalized communities. Studies show that twice as many White adults utilize mental health services (18.3%) compared to Black and Hispanic adults (8.9% and 8.7% respectively), according to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).This is a huge wake up call for Massachusetts to increase awareness and services around mental health to all people no matter the zip code. As the CEO and Founder of Ferreras Counseling and Wellness Center, a mental and behavioral health clinic serving the Latino and minority communities in Jamaica Plain, Lawrence and Lynn, Latino and Black individuals and their families are more at risk of suffering serious mental illness than white families because of the lack of financial resources or insurance, structural barriers and social stigma as stated in the report by SAMHSA.


Jamaica Plain Authors/Illustrators Honored at State House

Mass Center for the Book recently hosted winners of three years of Massachusetts Book Awards winners at the State House last week (January 18). On Jan. 18, Jamaica Plain residents Ethan and Vita Murrow, were honored for their 2021 Mass Book Award Honors in the Picture Book category for Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness. The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and children’s/young adult literature written, illustrated, or translated by current Massachusetts residents.


Fixit Clinic at Jamaica Plain Library on Dec. 10

The Fixit Clinic is coming back to the Jamaica Plain Library. The clinic will be on Dec. 10 from 10 am to 1 pm. Celebrating repair by conveying basic troubleshooting skills, Fixit Clinics are do-it-together hands-on STEM-oriented fix-n-learn community-based exploration and discovery workshops staffed by volunteer Fixit Coaches who generously share their time, tools and expertise to consult with you on the disassembly, troubleshooting, and repair of your item. So bring your broken, non-functioning things — electronics, appliances, computers, toys, sewing machines, bicycles, fabric items, etc.– for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair.


Kord Jablonski to Lead Boston Building Resources

Kord Jablonski has been named the next leader of Boston Building Resources (BBR). BBR is a Roxbury-based consumer cooperative and nonprofit reuse center selling materials for home improvement and offering its more than 1,500 members knowledge and resources for maintaining, repairing, and improving one’s home. He is taking over for Matthew St. Onge, who will be retiring in the coming months. Most recently, Jablonski was Business Director for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, where he provided leadership for overall museum operations, including all aspects of the visitor experience.