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City Year Serve-A-Thon Comes to Alewife Reservation
October 22, 2005 (Saturday)

Photos from the event, October 22, 2005.

City Year youth put brush on Mike Green's truck
Parents and youth work along the Belmont-Cambridge bikepath for Serve-A-Thon day of City Year with FAR

On October 22nd, over 2,000 volunteers will join City Year Boston in indoor and outdoor projects in Mattapan, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Cambridge, etc. Work tasks include improving the Alewife Reservation bike path, painting of a housing project, planting bulbs at a community garden, and renovating an after school community center. Led by this year's 2005-2006 new members, they get to experience what it's like to be a corps volunteer for the next 10 months. As City Year Boston's largest fundraiser, donations this year go to City Year Boston and hurricane Katrina victims at our newest site in Louisiana.

Filled with idealism, my first year in the corps was on the Alewife Reservation. when 100 of us cut, pruned, weeded and bagged the invasive plants that crowded the bike path. I was proud to represent City Year and my young friends that day. After the first year, I was inspired to return as Senior Corps member, guiding the next Corp group. As Program Manager this year, I also manage the Young Heroes Program, for middle school students. Youth are educated on social justice issues that effect their community and world.

This Year's Serve-A-Thon is in collaboration with the Friends of Alewife Reservation Inc. Serving as one of Boston's largest urban wilds, Alewife park visitors commute daily through the wild to the 'T' to Boston and beyond and to be able to move in safety and enjoyment. They also need safe conditions in order to bike, hike, jog, and walk to experience the natural beauty. Migratory birds, and some animals can be seen with special regional plants such as wild Jerusalem artichokes.

The reserve needs our help because it is in jeopardy of losing a section of its vital central land. City Year youth have learned that the cost of this loss can affect the overall connectedness of the natural species to other areas of the Reservation. We hope to add to the awareness of the importance of this very special place in greater Boston to preserve it for environmental learning. President of FAR , Ellen Mass says, " This third year visit from City Year promises to be the best. We will place stone dust in the puddles and make the Cambridge-Belmont pathway more passable for walkers and bikers. Visitors tell us that the Alewife Reservation is the best R&R spot because the urban wild is so naturally lovely with wildlife, and mysterious at the same time. The 150 youth will cut back invasive shrubs from the major reservation pathway, and give it the original width, maintaining the general preservation of the land, owned and protected by the Department of Conservation and Recreation"

Signed Kareen Wilkinson
City Year Program Manager

Dear Friends,

There's only 17 days until the 17th annual Serve-a-thon!

We will be closing registration as soon as all 3,000 service slots are filled and already our team leaders have identified over 2,500 participants. So don't delay in signing up your team or registering yourself today. Click here to register.

We are poised to have a fantastic day of service and here are just a few reasons why:

>Katrina Recovery - All individuals Serve-a-thon pledges will be split evenly between City Year's direct services in Boston and its Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Click here to learn more about our Katrina response.

High Impact Physical Service - Each of our ten neighborhoods have been identified based on community need, and many of the sites are the same neighborhoods where this year's City Year Boston corps members will serve. In addition, five of the sites are neighborhoods targeted for additional resources by Mayor Menino's Boston's Strategic Multi-Agency Response Teams initiative (B-SMART), an initiative concentrating on areas of the city that have been identified as "hot spots" for juvenile crime. Read more about just one of our great projects below.

Great Weather - Our crackerjack team of in-house meteorologists predict a less than 25% chance of precipitation. Being the gambling types, we'd bet the farm on those odds any day of the week! Besides, rain our shine....the service will go on.

Don't delay; register now. If you can't attend Serve-a-thon but would like to make a financial contribution to support City Year's efforts in Boston and Louisiana, click here.

--The Serve-a-thon Team

Service Site of the Week - Alewife Bike Path

Volunteers will be clearing brush on this bike path which has become overgrown and not suitable for two-way bike traffic. This wood/brush will be used to create a barrier between the train tracks and the path. We will also be clearing a path to the river bed, which is home to minx, foxes and otters, while the river itself is projected to be re-established as a thriving herring run. Water will be supplied by Whole Foods.

Statement of Purpose of Friends of Alewife Reservation:
To bring public attention to the MDC Reservation, wetlands, and environs by working with community volunteers, elected officials, Alewife area groups and the Mystic River Watershed Association to preserve and protect the area by means of visible presence of adult volunteer monitors, or school youth projects which include: public clean ups, survey teams, wilderness educational tours and classes, water quality testing and other projects which benefit the Alewife Reservation.


"Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over the last 16 years, Serve-a-thon has:
  • Engaged 97,500 city leaders, citizens, corporate executives and students engaged
  • Completed 585,000 hours of service to revitalize Boston
  • Transformed communities through 2,100 service projects

A Note of Thanks from a Past Serve-a-thon Beneficiary
Thank you so very much for having my apartment painted as part of the Serve-a-thon. The City Year workers did a fantastic job! I found them to be very professional and non-judgmental of the tenants living here.

My apartment hadn't been painted for 10 years since I have a bad back and am unable to do it myself or pay to have it done. Having my apartment painted made me feel more positive about living at Washington Beech and has energized me to work on other goals I have set for myself.

Margaret, Washington Beech Development Resident

1/2 of all donations go to Katrina local relief efforts!
About Serve-a-thon

On Saturday, October 22, 2005 Serve-a-thon will celebrate its 17th anniversary as City Year's premier community service event. Since its inception in 1989, Boston's Serve-a-thon has engaged over 97,500 citizens in 585,000 hours of service at over 2,100 projects. This year's 3,000 Serve-a-thon participants will serve in nine neighborhoods across Boston, bringing new life to local schools, playgrounds, vacant lots, housing developments and parks.

Elementary and high school students, senior citizens and college students, corporate champions and nonprofit leaders, as well as thousands of local citizens will join together for this spectacular service day.

All funds raised will directly support City Year Boston's school vacation program, City Year for Kids. Each year, City Year for Kids provides thousands of underserved children in our community with high-quality, educational, safe activities and programs during winter and spring school vacation.

About City Year

City Year's mission is to build democracy through national service. City Year seeks to put idealism to work by tapping the civic power of young people for an annual campaign of service. The goals of this campaign are to generate transformative community service, break down social barriers, inspire citizens to civic action, develop new leaders for the common good and promote and improve the concept of voluntary national service.

Founded in Boston in 1988, City Year has established programs in 15 locations through the United States and one in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the past 16 years, more than 7,800 City Year corps members have served more than 11 million hours, impacting more than 840,000 children.

City Year's vision is that one day the most commonly asked question of a young person will be, "Where are you going to do your service year?"

Serve-a-thon 2005 Service Impact

Three to four hundred participants will serve in each of the nine neighborhood impact sites across Boston. The neighborhood impact sites have been identified based on community need, and include neighborhoods targeted for additional resources by Mayor Menino's B-SMART initiative.

Boston's Strategic Multi-Agency Response Teams (B-SMART), is an initiative concentrating on areas of the city that have been identified as "hot spots" for juvenile crime. Within these communities, youth involvement in criminal activities is rising and an upswing in violence is jeopardizing the health of Boston neighborhoods.

The Serve-a-thon staff is working with community leaders, as well as leaders in the Department of Neighborhood Services, the Parks Department, the Boston Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Families, and the Boston Public Schools to assist in developing high-impact service projects such as painting murals, laying new sod and building playgrounds.

Our nine neighborhood impact sites are available for sponsorship on a first-come, first-served basis. They are:
East Boston
Jamaica Plain
South End / Lower Roxbury
Roxbury-Grove Hall
Dorchester-Talbot Ave/Franklin Field
Roslindale and Cambridge