JP’s Gavin Smith Honored as Finalist for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year by Rep. Malia

During a State House ceremony on June 21, state Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk) honored three Bostonians for excellence in teaching. The ceremony honored Jamaica Plain's Gavin Smith, Roslindale's Aaron Osowiecki and Andrew Manning of Roxbury, for their excellence in teaching as members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Aaron Osowiecki of Roslindale received the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Since 1999, Osowiecki has been teaching physics at Boston Latin School. Intent on shifting the classroom towards the students, Osowiecki led the development on Energizing Physics, a progressive physics curriculum used at BLS and other schools throughout the country.

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Letter to the Editor: Lift the Cap on Kids

The Massachusetts Legislature is poised to Lift the Cap on Kids (i.e., repeal the welfare family cap) through a provision in the FY19 budget – thanks in no small part to the leadership of Jamaica Plain’s own state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The family cap denies welfare assistance to 8,700 children across the state simply because they were conceived after their families got assistance. Without the $100/month increment they would otherwise have gotten for these children, families struggle to provide basic necessities like diapers, clothes, and healthy food. As a social worker working with low-income Boston families since 1995 – the same year Massachusetts adopted the family cap rule – I have seen the harm to children caused by this type of deprivation. I am grateful to state Rep. Sanchez -- as well as to state Rep. Liz Malia -- for taking action to end this cruel law.

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JP Porchfest is July 7th: Get Ready for 170 Performances on 90 Porches!

The 5th Annual Jamaica Plain Porchfest this Saturday will be more awesome than the previous four as it will include music, theater, dance, spoken word, storytelling, comedy, circus arts and a politicians' porch. "We have 90 generous porch hosts this year – that is, folks who offer their porches to performers. In some cases, people perform on their own porches, but they often welcome others," said Mindy Fried, co-organizer with Marie Ghitman and Eli Pabon. "And in many cases, porch hosts simply offer their porches to whomever we assign to their porches, of course taking into consideration their available space, and if they have any special requests." Click on the map of porches to see a description of all of the performances (courtesy JP Porchfest).

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Miranda Honored at State House for Commitment to Anti-Poverty Initiatives in JP

In a recent State House ceremony, state Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk) honored Carol Miranda, as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s (MCSW) 2018 class of Unsung Heroines, for her commitment to anti-poverty initiatives in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Miranda was honored with 130 other Unsung Heroines on June 20 for her outstanding contributions to her community. As a program coordinator for a family support, community engagement, and school readiness organization, she addressed the academic achievement gap among children from the lowest income families and communities. Miranda created the Family Exchange Boutique, Inc., a physical space to engage families and connect them with resources. Recently, she was hired by Jamaica Plain Tree of Life/Arbol de Vida to work with families and mothers in JP and Roxbury.

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State Lab Community Garden Members Dedicate Little Free Library Honoring Co-Founder

Members of the JP State Lab Community Garden came together to dedicate a Little Free Library to honor Detlev Koepke, a garden cofounder, who fought to keep the garden when it was threatened. Led by Koepke, the garden was established in 1987 thanks to the community organizing of the Asticou Martinwood South Street Neighborhood Association (AMNSNA). Today the community garden remains active, producing several tons of produce every year. There are more than 40 active gardeners comprised of neighborhood residents and state lab employees. Koepke’s brother Jens played an audio clip of an interview with Detlev in his final weeks, said Chuck Collins to Jamaica Plain News.

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