Social Justice Opportunities
This is where you can see what social justice opportunities are available through First Parish and other organizations that may be of general interest to the congregation.
Bikes Not Bombs collects thousands of bicycles every year from Greater Boston and surrounding communities, and uses them in three ways. First, most of the bikes are sent to economic development projects in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Other bikes are used in their local youth programs that teach teenagers bicycle safety and mechanics and provide them with bikes to keep for themselves. Bikes Not Bombs also resells some of the donated bikes at its bike shop, which employs some of the youth program graduates and supplies some of the funding for its other work. Learn more at bikesnotbombs.org
Roca improves the lives of some the toughest-to-reach people –those between the ages of 18-24 who have been in and out of jail, are potentially gang-involved, who have limited or nonexistent family support and are largely impoverished. Roca also offers a young mothers program. Their staff are relentless in their quest to recruit participants and they do not give up on anyone, even if they fail the program.
Roca has four sites in Massachusetts: Chelsea, Boston, Springfield and Lynn. Once enrolled, young people are employed on Roca-supervised work crews from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm, learning essential job skills such as reliability, working hard and being a team player. After crew work, they participate in classes to obtain life and job skills training, educational assistance and cognitive behavioral therapy. Often, after a long day, the participants often chose to stay in this safe and supportive environment to have fun and play sports, such as basketball, or go on outings where they continue to interact with positive role models. Once it is demonstrated that they are “workforce ready,” Roca has partnerships with employers who agree to hire these young people. Roca meticulously tracks their data in order to be accountable and to receive funding. The results are highly impressive—this is an intensive, longterm model that works to disrupt the cycle of recidivism and poverty.
Roca is a nationally recognized organization that is starting to spread beyond Massachusetts. It has the support of the law enforcement community and is highly regarded within the judicial system as a way to reduce crime and help people to lead productive lives. More information including personal stories of Roca’s impact can be found at www.rocainc.org
There are currently more refugees around the world than at any time since World War II. The Refugee Concerns working group enables First Parish members to become active in a variety of efforts addressing the global refugee crisis.
Our current focus is working with Refugee Immigration Ministry to provide housing and support services for Asylum Seekers. The RIM program allows clusters of faith communities to work together. The First Parish Refugee Concerns group is working to build a cluster in Arlington, and is already housing and serving people in need.
How can you help? We are looking for volunteers for many activities such as providing one-time transportation to appointments, hosting our guest for a meal or coffee date, coordinating ESL study and practice sessions, fund raising or hosting someone in your home.
Contact the working group through email to express your interest, we can direct you based on your interest: refugeeconcerns @ firstparish.info
As a volunteer, you are required to complete a RIM Covenant Agreement
For more information, email refugeeconcerns @ firstparish.info.
Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O’Brien,
In January 2013, the Social Justice Committee held a service entitled "Living Our Faith." A list of organizations that congregants meaningfully support was started that morning as people who attended the service were invited to fill out a form telling us about the organizations where they volunteer or work, or to which they donate money. We continue to collect names and contact information for social justice work important to members of our community. Please follow this link to see the list of organizations.
As we compiled the list, the amount and diversity of our collective involvement impressed us. The next step in this work, after we pause to recognize the deep social justice commitment displayed here, will be to foster connections within our community among those seeking to engage with organizations on this list.
If you see an organization or topic on this list that you would like to get more information about please contact the Social Justice Committee at socialjustice-at-firstparish.info
Be a part of First Parish’s turning outward -- Volunteer with the UU Urban Ministry to promote social justice and equality. Urban Ministry works side-by-side with individuals and communities in Boston, primarily in Roxbury, to create opportunities and instill hope for a brighter future through education and social activism.
The following three opportunities are UUUM’s current volunteer-need priorities. Is one a fit for you?
Fair Foods -- Food justice support
Join with other volunteers to unload, package, and sell fresh produce to Roxbury neighbors. Watch for FP-organized outings to Fair Food Saturdays or venture on your own or as a family/friend group.
Saturdays, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, at UUUM Roxbury Meetinghouse.
Contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement at mvenay @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm at schrammm @ hartwick.edu.
Jericho Road –Match professional expertise with Roxbury non-profits
Are you experienced in data management, social media, strategic planning, web development, grant writing or any other critical professional skills? UUUM’s Jericho Road project wants to match you with an area nonprofit in need of that skill to help it more effectively carry out its mission. Go to jrroxbury.org or contact Aziza Robinson-Goodnight, Director, at ArGoodnight @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x201.
Believe in Success -- Job readiness support for survivors of domestic violence
UUUM’s new initiative, Believe in Success, helps low-income/LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence move beyond trauma with job preparation, skills training and college readiness support. They need workshop co-leaders, mentors, wellness instructors, and other volunteer assistance. To learn more about opportunities and expectations, contact Hannah Stohler, Director,at hstohler @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x226.
Tutor Roxbury Young Program students or prepare weekly dinners for them and their families.
Teach English as a Learning Language (ELL) or provide day care to Renewal House residents.
For more information for volunteering with UUUM, contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement, at mvenay @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm at schrammm @ hartwick.edu, or Maryglenn Vincens at vincens @ mac.com.
Also check the FP Connection Board and the UUUM table at fellowship hour after Sunday services for specific activities and calls for help.
Collection baskets are located at the front and office doors.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
The Arlington Food Pantry
Health and Human Services
27 Maple Street
Arlington, MA 02476
The Food Pantry can always use juice, jelly, cereal, things from baked goods aisle like cake mixes, etc., and personal items.
To learn more and donate online please visit arlingtonma.gov/foodpantry or Contact Jean Nagle for questions.