The Chelsea High Cross Country team welcomed our Middle School Cross Country team for an intense indoor cardio workout two weeks ago. The Middle School Cross Country team has been working so hard to prepare for their season. Yesterday, they completed their first time trial of their meet course. Their coach is extremely proud of their determination and team work.
BERKOWITZ SCHOOL UPDATES
The Berkowitz School held its first school-wide assembly this week. Students had a great time learning about the core values of respect, responsibility, empathy, and determination. Students were also recognized for exemplifying these values. We also had a visit from our special friend and Mascot, “Berky,” who told our students about our year-long apparel fundraiser. Students will be taking home flyers with information on how to order our Berkowitz school customizable clothing. Clothing can be ordered at berkowitzspiritwear.com. Some 20 percent of all sales will go directly towards Berkowitz School student activities.
HOOKS SCHOOL UPDATES
The Hooks School had its 1st Annual Back to School Social. Students and families sat in front of the Hooks School, had a picnic and listened to some read alouds from Principal Lubarsky and Assistant Principal Dore. Teachers on the Family Outreach Committee organized this event and did an outstanding job getting students from all four grades.
WRIGHT MIDDLE SCHOOL
The 8th grade teachers at the WSTA have organized grade-wide team building events for our students throughout the first few weeks of school.
CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL
The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams got off to a strong start on Wednesday, Sept. 12, with both teams winning their meets against Whittier Tech and Presentation of Mary. The girls, who are the defending dual and league meet champions, were led by captains YaridDeras and Jocelyn Post, who finished first and third. SailaCarriento was sixth overall, Karina Avalos was tenth, Yarelis Torres was eleventh and twin sister Nicole was thirteenth. The girls will be competing in Malden next week against Mystic Valley.
The boys’ team was led by captain Justin Turner who was the overall winner. Co-captain Julio Valladares was second overall followed by Raphael Castillo in fourth. Oscar Amaya was fifth and Jazmany Reyes and Limilson Tavares finished eighth and ninth respectively. The Whittier boys were the two time defending league champions and had won 23 straight dual meets before Wednesday’s loss to Chelsea. The boys will also be competing next Wednesday against Mystic Valley.
By AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor
Association of Mature American Citizens
Dear Rusty: I will be turning 62 in 2018; birth date 9/24/1955. My husband is 77 and receiving Social Security. Longevity runs in my family. I have been self-employed all my life. I am still working and my husband collects a pension, Social Security and RMD from a traditional IRA, so there is no need for additional monies under my current circumstances. When should I start taking Social Security? Signed: Thinking about Retirement
Dear Thinking: The question of when to take Social Security normally gets an answer of “It depends on your health, your family history of longevity, and your need for the money”. You’ve already addressed those items so I’ll focus on your main question – when should you start taking Social Security?
Even though you’ll be eligible to collect Social Security when you turn 62, if you do so you will only get 74.17% of the retirement benefit you would be entitled to at your full retirement age (FRA). Whenever you apply, you will be deemed to be filing not only for your own retirement benefit but also any spousal benefit you may be entitled to from your husband’s work record. Similar to your SS retirement benefit, your spousal benefit would also be reduced because you took it early; instead of being 50% of your husband’s benefit at your FRA, you would only get 35% at age 62 (if that is larger than your own retirement benefit). The point I’m making is that by claiming SS early, any benefit you’re entitled to will be reduced from what you would get at your full retirement age.
Just as you are penalized for claiming before your full retirement age, you are rewarded for waiting beyond it to claim Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, for each year you wait beyond your full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be 8% higher than it would be at your FRA. That will continue up until you are 70 years old when your retirement benefit will be 30.67% higher than it would have been at your FRA. You stop earning additional credit at age 70, so there’s no reason to wait beyond that to apply. Let’s use an easy example to illustrate: If your FRA retirement benefit is $1000, by applying at age 62 you would only get $741 per month instead of $1000. But if you wait until you are 70 to claim benefits, you would get $1306 per month, nearly twice what you would get by applying at age 62.
There are two other factors you should incorporate into your thinking:
1) At your FRA, you will be entitled to ½ of your husband’s benefit at his FRA. If your spousal benefit at your FRA is substantially more than your own retirement benefit, then applying at your FRA may be a good strategy, as opposed to waiting and earning delayed retirement credits.
2) Once you have reached your FRA you will be entitled to 100% of your husband’s benefit amount if he should predecease you. If your eventual survivor’s benefit would be more than your own FRA benefit amount, you might be better served by claiming your retirement benefit earlier than age 70.
As you can see, most of the answer to your question depends upon whether your benefits as a spouse or a survivor will be more than your benefit based upon your own work record. If not, then waiting beyond your FRA up to age 70 will yield you the maximum retirement benefit. But if your spouse and/or survivor’s benefit will be more than your own retirement benefits, then applying at your full retirement age may be the best strategy. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you go to www.ssa.gov and set up your personal “My Social Security” account which will give you access to your currently estimated retirement benefit. Comparing that to your potential spousal and survivor benefits should give you the answer you’re seeking.
The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at email@example.com.
Described in journals as a person’s “perceived social isolation,” i.e., a subjective belief that they are socially isolated, another way of summarizing this condition is simply “feeling lonely.”
The opposite feeling – that you have a network of supportive relationships – provides numerous psychological benefits, including a sense of belonging, an increased sense of self-worth, and a feeling of security.
Thankfully, there are actions people can take to reduce a sense of isolation (discussed below).
Causes of Isolation
Many circumstances can lead one to feel isolated, including: a job loss; a divorce; injury or illness; the death of a loved one; having a family member with an illness that requires extensive care; etc.
Implications of Feeling Isolated
Besides negatively affecting one’s mood, feeling isolated and lonely is a risk factor for many medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, depression, and impaired executive functioning.
In fact, the influence of social relationships on the risk of death is comparable to well-established mortality risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceeds the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.
Ways to Reduce Isolation
Numerous authorities, including the Mayo Clinic, have suggestions for increasing one’s social network, such as:
Take a weekly class, whether at a gym, a local college, or as part of adult education, so that you will have regular contact with the same people and be more likely to establish friendships.
Join a lecture series.
Consider getting a roommate.
Change your housing situation to one where there are more opportunities to be a part of a community.
Go online (especially helpful for people who are homebound).
Options abound: join a chat room for people who share one of your interests, e.g., writing, cooking.
Keep in touch with out-of-state friends and family thru Skype, Facebook (or FaceTime on an iPhone).
Visit sites designed specifically for people going through stressful times, such as a divorce, or the arrival of a new baby. Expand your social sphere through social networking sites such as Facebook.
Primer on Building and Nurturing Friendships
Respond and Reciprocate. Answer phone calls, return emails, and reciprocate invitations in order to let people know you care.
Don’t compete. Be happy (not jealous) when your friends succeed.
Be a good listener. When someone is talking, really listen to what they’re saying (as opposed to formulating in your mind your next response).
Don’t overdo it. Be careful not to overwhelm friends and family with phone calls and emails. In addition, be wary of “oversharing” with new or casual acquaintances and on social networking sites.
Taking the time to build a social support network is a wise investment in your mental well-being and physical health. Research also shows that those who enjoy high levels of social support live longer. Whether you make more friends or improve the quality of relationships you already have, you’ll reap a plethora of rewards.
By Sheldon Bycoff is President, Mental Health Programs, Inc.
The 2016-17 South End Writes series will include debut novelist and baker Louise Miller (The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living); Dina Vargo (Wild Women of Boston) and the culinary luminary Gordon Hamersley.
Tuesday, October 25: Louise Miller, a Boston-based writer and pastry chef who won a scholarship to GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, will read from her debut work of fiction, ‘The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living,’ published this summer by Viking’s Pamela Dorman Books imprint.
Tuesday, November 22: Just in time to get advice about Thanksgiving’s feast, the beloved and greatly missed South End culinary luminary, Gordon Hamersley, will talk about his life as a prize-winning chef, current food writer for the Boston Globe and long-time neighborhood fixture.
CANDIDATE KEITH ENDORSED BY B&T
Calling him a “refreshing change” in “the current environment of extreme political polarization”, Banker & Tradesman has endorsed John Keith for Suffolk County Register of Deeds.
“A seasoned Boston real estate agent, Keith has a general familiarity with how the Registry operates and seems genuinely eager to learn what he doesn’t know,” read the endorsement.
“Keith is an active user of social media, tweeting his observations about real estate and the city with light, offbeat humor – under which lies a deep understanding of the market and the various forces that shape it. Throughout his campaign Keith has made clear he has both the ability and the desire to do the job, which comes with an annual salary of $124,000, and comes across as the most earnest and forthcoming of what is clearly a strong field of candidates.”
John Keith is a Massachusetts native, a graduate of Northeastern University, and a long-time Boston resident. He has been a real estate broker for the past 14 years. He has a background in management, and experience in accounting, software implementation, and data and business analysis.
The election for Suffolk County Register of Deeds is on November 8, 2016.
PUMPKIN FLOAT ON FROG POND
Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced that the annual Fall Pumpkin Float returns to the Boston Common Frog Pond on Sunday, Oct. 23, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Hundreds of illuminated jack-o’-lanterns will be floated on the water accompanied by spooky family activities.
Attendees are asked to bring 8-inch or smaller carved pumpkins that will be lit and then floated on the Frog Pond for a dramatic early evening display. In addition, attendees are invited to view creatively carved and decorated jack-o’-lanterns from various local sports teams and organizations. Adults and children are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes and participate in a wide range of fun activities. Children are invited to decorate luminary bags which will be displayed and illuminated along the edge of the Frog Pond. Test your courage and problem-solving skills in our haunted zombie maze.
This free family-friendly event will also include a magician, a visit from the L.L. Bean Bootmobile, children’s crafts, an IKEA selfie booth with LATTJO costumes and sweet treats to try, games and giveaways by Magic 106.7, and scarily delicious snacks and refreshments provided by IKEA, Capital One Café, HP Hood LLC, and DAVIDsTEA.
All pumpkins will be donated to The Trustees of Reservations after the event for composting.
For more information, please call the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at (617) 635-4505 or visit www.facebook.com/bostonparksdepartment or www.boston.gov/parks.
FENWAY COMMUNITY CENTER
The Fenway Community Center has booked several special events over the next several weeks. The Center is located at 1282 Boylston St. and the phone number is (857) 246-9053.
Social dancing on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:20-3:20 p.m. at the Center, mostly with Chinese music and frequented by Chinese elders, though all are welcome.
Student Volunteers – The Fenway Community Center is calling on Northeastern University students who will be living off-campus this fall to volunteer at the Center. Greeters are needed for a one-hour weekly commitment. Volunteers who serving 11 hours or more in a three-month period will be invited to the FCC Ice Cream Social as an appreciation. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the Neighborhood for Northeastern University students who might be interested in the Fenway Community Center. The group will meet every month on the first Thursday, starting Oct. 6.
Councilor Josh Zakim District 8 Fall Community Night will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at the FCC. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.
SOUTH END DATES
Hayes Park is having a Silent Auction Fundraiser on Thursday, October 20, from 6-8 p.m. at Woodmeister Master Builders, 1317 Washington Street. Tickets available online.
BRA Director Brian Golden is confirmed to return to the South End Forum at its Nov. 1 meeting, according to Steve Fox, moderator of the Forum. Golden spoke at length during the September Forum meeting, and many questions remained when time ran out. He will be back to continue the conversation.
Old Dover Fall Social, Join Old Dover Neighborhood Association for a Fall Social at LaMotta’s Restaurant, 1357 Washington St., on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 6-8 p.m. Complimentary apps and a cash bar.
Alley Clean Up, residents from East Springfield and Mass Avenue will join neighbors and the Boston Police to conduct a fall cleanup of Alley 716. The event is billed as a great opportunity to meet neighbors and visit with old friends while addressing a quality of life situation. Gloves and garbage bags will be provided. Any questions can be addressed to Vicki Via at email@example.com
Bed Bugs! South End librarian Matt Krug has organized a seminar on Thursday morning, October 6, at 10:30 a.m. on the subject of bed bugs. Yes, bed bugs appear to be a problem in the South End. The speaker is Jonathan Boyar an associate certified entomologist and pest control operator with many years experience. For details, call 617 536-8241.
RETIREMENT PLANNING FROM GOLDEN AGE CENTER
The Golden Age Center and Castle Square Tenants Organization are partnering to bring valuable information to educate residents and the community regarding retirement planning. The SHINE program will present a retirement planning workshop on Monday October 17, 6-8 p.m. in the Castle Square Community Center on the 2nd floor (476 Tremont St.). The workshop will be conducted in English and Chinese. Refreshments provided.
Please contact Xiaoping Wang with any questions at 617-357-8548.
Workshop topics will include:
-Medicare, Medicaid, and other Health Insurance
-Social Security eligibility with Medicare, Medicaid
-Calculating social security retirement benefits
-Deciding between full and early retirement
-Managing 401 K or 403 (b) Retirement income
FENWAY/SOUTH END HOURS FOR CONGRESSMAN CAPUANO
Congressman Michael Capuano will hold office hours for the Fenway and South End neighborhoods on the second Thursday of every month at the Fenway Community Health Center, 1340 Boylston St.
The hours are from noon to 1 p.m. and will have a representative from Capuano’s office in attendance.
Galen Abdur-Razzaq lit up Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) Chelsea Campus on Monday afternoon with his flute and four piece jazz band, which was spiced up in between with a comprehensive history of jazz and the social history behind the music. The program was part of BHCC’s Black History Month celebration. The program was a hit with everyone who attended.
Chelsea Firefighters will be collecting toys for the Toys for Tots and Globe Santa program once again this year, and based on their research, that generosity could land to a needy family in Chelsea.
“We did a little research into the Globe Santa and Toys for Tots and found out that more than 800 children had been helped in Chelsea and 400 families by those organizations,” said Firefighter Phil Rogers, who is leading the campaign with Firefighter Jimmy Ruiz.
The Fire Department will be accepting new, unwrapped toys at the Central Fire Station seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Dec. 18.
Anyone in need of donations is urged to contact City Hall, their social worker, pastor or Globe Santa.
“Anything to help the kids,” said Ruiz. “We have to act fast and quick because it’s only going until Dec. 18 and that’s coming soon.”
Firefighters Jimmy Ruiz, Gabrel Ruiz, Mark Lee, Phil Rogers, Carlos Carrasquillo and Rony Gobin at Central Fire Station last week with the Toys for Tots drop-off box. They are gathering toys as a drop off location until Dec. 18.
So far, donations are trickling in, but firefighters are hoping to get some major donations before the deadline to turn over to the Marines, who conduct the annual toy drive. The Toys for Tots program is conducted by the U.S. Marines and has been in place since 1947.
In 2013, Toys for Tots gathered 16 million toys and donated them to 7 million needy children.
On April 2, Dr. Mary Bourque, Chelsea native and superintendent of Chelsea Public Schools, will be honored as a Community Social Capitalist at the annual Social Capitalist Luncheon hosted by Social Capital Inc. (SCI) at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. She will be honored alongside Frances Martinez of Lynn and Martin Fantozzi of Newton. Superintendent Bourque was nominated for the award by former City Manager Jay Ash and Stop & Compare Supermarket.
“We are pleased to shine a spotlight on these very worthy individuals who are making a difference in local communities,”commented SCI President David Crowley. “Holding up such stellar examples of active citizenship is one way we encourage others to participate in their communities.”
This year’s luncheon will also feature 2015 SCI Idealist honorees Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Eric Schwarz, co-founder of Citizen Schools.
Annually, the luncheon draws over 350 attendees – community leaders, local business owners, and philanthropists from around the state.
To learn more about this year’s honorees, tickets, tables, and advertising opportunities, please visit: http://www.socialcapitalinc.org/luncheon
SCI’s mission is to strengthen communities by uniting diverse individuals and groups through civic engagement initiatives. Since 2002, SCI has been developing Social Capitalists who reach across differences to mobilize neighbors and volunteers to strengthen our communities. Reflecting the variety of needs we face, SCI projects in 17 Massachusetts communities include youth-led campaigns to promote healthy eating and exercise; community web-portals and e-newsletters to connect people to civic information; multi-cultural events; neighborhood gatherings and resident-led community problem solving.
Over the last two years, Social Capital Inc. has been in partnership with the Healthy Chelsea Coalition (based at Chelsea MGH), working to connect Chelsea residents with health resources and information. To learn more, visit: http://www.ourchelseama.org
Northeast Metro Tech’s Early Childhood Education program has collected more than 50 bedtime essentials for children in need.
“It is an important cause to all of us and as a school community,” says senior Yesenia Montijo.
Earlier this semester, students and teachers at the Wakefield school gathered books and pairs of pajamas as part of the “1 Million Good Nights Pajama Program,” a national non-profit organization. The Metro Tech—a regional vocational high school drawing students from Chelsea, Malden, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Revere, Saugus, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn—has sent the items to the Counsel of Social Concern for distribution to needy families in Massachusetts.
Students in the Early Education program made this effort a success by hosting a pajama drive at the school to raise awareness of the cause. The students created posters and placed them around the school and set up boxes where donations were collected.
“We learned how advertising can help raise awareness and hope to advertise even more next year,” says senior Kailee Andrews.
This effort, conducted under the supervision and guidance of Metro Tech instructors Barbara Peary and Sarah Scott, will make a difference in many children’s lives.
It is not surprising that these local vocational students would be so attuned to the needs of young people in the community because the Early Childhood Program at the Metro Tech is a fully functioning preschool, which caters to children ages two years and nine months to five years old. The preschool services surrounding communities and has open enrollment all year long. High school students in the program are working towards their preschool teacher license under the supervision of two vocational instructors.
As a force for public service, as well as in its everyday role as a literacy-based pre-school with great teacher-student ratios, Northeast Metro Tech’s Early Childhood program is proving to be a great community resource.
The Estates on Admiral’s Hill, part of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation (CJF), will hold a winter open house for its two assisted living residences on Thursday, Jan. 8 from 3-6 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the executive team at The Estates, tour the spacious apartments and discuss the available services and amenities. Complimentary home-made appetizers and desserts will be served by on our on-site chef. Located on scenic Admiral’s Hill at 201 Captains Row in Chelsea, The Estates is comprised of two separate residences: Cohen Florence Levine Estates, a traditional assisted living and Florence & Chafetz Home for Specialized Care, an assisted living residence for those in need of additional memory support services. Daily amenities include healthy and delicious meals, a 24 hour café with made-from-scratch baked goods, hair and nail salon, library, living room, great room for concerts and shows, and an outdoor courtyard area for seasonal recreational activities. There are also a wide range of social and recreational events at both assisted livings, including excursions, concerts, shows, games, lectures, “Friends & Family” celebrations, among many others. “The holidays bring families together and, as a result, January is a time when many ponder living options for senior family members,” explains Adam Berman, President of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “This open house is a way to see, first hand, what assisted living is all about. Meeting our staff and residents really gives one an in-depth look at the assisted living experience.” To RSVP to the open house and reserve a special welcome gift, please call Kristen Donnelly at 617-887-0826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Chelsea’s participation in the All-America City competition last month was the main event, then the undercard held just days before was the Working Cities Challenge “Pitch Contest.”
Just like in the main event, Chelsea’s team walked away victorious, this time in the Boston Federal Reserve’s contest for a $5,000 cash prize.
“We left the Fed in Boston excited about our success there and optimistic that it would be the start of a great weekend for Chelsea. It turned out that way, and, in both instances, the presentations of the Chelsea delegations were equal to the tasks at hand,” said City Manager Jay Ash, a co-chair of Chelsea’s Working Cities Challenge project, dubbed “Chelsea Works.”
The Boston Fed has determined through its research that resilient cities are those whose leadership works together on a common agenda. Its Working Cities Challenge was open to 20 cities in Massachusetts, with Chelsea capturing one of six Working Cities Challenge grants. The Pitch Contest was an opportunity for those six communities, Somerville, Holyoke, Lawrence, Salem, Fitchburg and Chelsea, to meet and pitch a proposal to five different foundations.
Salem, Fitchburg and Chelsea were successful, with each receiving a $5,000 award.
“The Working Cities Challenge has been an exhausting, yet enlightening process,” said Ann Houston, Executive Director of The Neighborhood Developers (TND), who joins together with Ash, Roca Executive Director Molly Baldwin and Chelsea School Superintendent Mary Bourque to form the leadership of the 27-partner Chelsea Works collaboration. That collaboration is seeking to bring physical, quality of life and resident prosperity improvements to residents in the Shurtleff/Bellingham neighborhood of the city.
Chelsea Works will use the $5,000 award to hire 10 resident leaders to continue the development of social capital in the targeted neighborhood. Social capital is an emerging concept that believes residents and neighborhoods do better when people know each other and can rely on each other for things like looking after kids and developing informal information networks around job opportunities and community engagement.
“We’re excited about where we are, but have a lot more work to do to get the data systems in place so we can share information about partners and measure and further shape the progress of residents and their neighborhoods in meeting their advancement goals,” said Baldwin.
During the Pitch Contest, a Chelsea delegation comprised of representatives of the City, TND, Roca and Healthy Challenge, met for a half-hour each with representatives of Santander Bank, Citizens Bank, the United Way of MA Bay, Bank of America and The Boston Foundation. Presentations focused on social capital, as well as efforts to coordinate programming, engage more residents and develop a more effective tracking system to turn data into the impetus for greater change and success.
“We’re on the leading edge of a data-driven process that both measures success and results in further programmatic refinements,” commented Bourque. “There is some meaningful public policy progress being made in Chelsea, and the recognition both in Boston and around the country tells us that many are interested in seeing us succeed and want to be part of that success.”
Added Ash, “And, as important as the substance of Chelsea Works is, the high level of collaboration and trust we have developed and are now exhibiting has equally captured the attention of observers.”
Chelsea Works has hired a director and is further refining programmatic elements and collaboration strategies for a major strategic launch soon.
“There’s much that has been done and much more to do. We’re focused, working tirelessly and driven to succeed,” concluded Houston.