FITCHBURG: On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, staff from NewVue Communities along with city officials celebrated the accomplishments of 11 Art Stewards and 10 Public Education Stewards. Stewards in both programs are selected for their interest in serving their community in leadership roles. The award ceremony and dinner took place in the Hammond Hall at Fitchburg State University.
The Community Organizing department of NewVue Communities, under the direction of Francisco Ramos, trains residents to be leaders and changemakers in their communities.
Both the Art Steward Training and the Public Education Training series are designed to drive social action in the community. The focus of the training is helping individuals to increase their awareness of, and to build their skills in, civic engagement.
Event speakers included: Mayor Stephen DiNatale; Marc Dohan, Executive Director, and Meredith Geraghty, Program Officer, both from NewVue Communities; Joseph Ferguson, Director for ReImagine North of Main Initiative,and, Joseph Bowen, Community Steward and Fitchburg Cultural Council Chair. NewVue Communities Board Members and Stewards Quenton Chestang-Pittman and Evelina Paulino spoke about their experience as stewards and encouraged others to move the community forward with their creativity, energy and commitment to making a difference.
“Not only wast he Art Steward Program an opportunity to learn about what other creative people were doing in this area, what they had done successfully, or what they were hoping to do in the future, it was also a chance to connect with kindred spirits. It was an opportunity to connect with fellow community members who had a common ambition to make Fitchburg a city that not only celebrates the arts but thrives on it,”stated Jessie Olson, Membership and Events Manager at the Fitchburg Art Museum.
Mayor Stephen DiNatale addressed the audience and spoke of the importance of partnerships in the City of Fitchburg, offering examples of past and current projects that have a positive impact on the city. Mayor DiNatale called on a few members of the audience to speak about what they had learned through the Steward leadership program. Monica McNamara, Fitchburg resident and Art Steward said, “I learned a lot. I’m anxious to make things happen and to have a strong and talented team to join me. I’m excited to make things happen.”
Some Stewards have already moved forward with some concrete projects to impact the local community. Emmanuella Demosthenes, a Health Steward participating in the event, organized an event called Salsa On The Riverfront, which taught salsa classes at the Riverfront Park last summer free-of-charge to promote active living and usage of our parks. With the winter upon us, she will be holding salsa classes at the Fitchburg Art Museum during the month of January 2020, and is planning to go back to the Riverfront Park during the summer of 2020.
Several Public Education Stewards graduating last night have also taken their first steps in impacting the community by organizing a project called Inform Fitchburg, an organization of Fitchburg parents educating parents, and by joining the Parent Advisory Council within the English Acquisition Department within the Fitchburg Public School. A group of Art Stewards also graduating last night wrote and submitted a grant proposal to Mass Development trying to secure funding to open Affordable Art Studios for local artists in the downtown area of Fitchburg. Finally, a group of Stewards have also began a Voter Registration Campaign to promote electoral participation in the city.
Those who are interested in learning more about participating in the Steward Leadership Program at NewVue Communities can contact Francisco Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.