Meeting Minutes, taken by Vivien Wu
Agenda Item 1: Cynthia Hau’s presentation on an example of community collaboration and research on Chinese elders
Cynthia, a Master’s student at Tufts for Public Health, worked with a group of 50 elders, who got a membership to the Wang YMCA and she did an applied learning experience study to see if the gym membership and a weekly social discussion session combined would result in statistically significant health gains.
She measured them before and after the 6 month intervention in the areas of Physical Health, Cognition, Nutritional Status, and Mental Health/Quality of Life
Her findings: statistical significance in less depression, more physical fitness (but not more strength), more cognition; and just barely missed out for statistical significance in more quality of life
She is going to present this at the American Public Health Association conference next year.
Dr. Carolyn Rubin of ADAPT also worked with and advised her.
Carolyn said, please note that “applied learning experience” students could be a great asset for working with community groups
Agenda Item 2: Elaine Ng’s presentation on the work she has been doing and insights she has gained so far from working for the Boston Public Schools
Gave update on budget (reasons why it is shrinking: even though Mayor Walsh committed more city money, state and federal money declined for FY15) and opinions about directing the advocacy for Chinatown’s engagement with education and the school system
Elaine’s analysis: Transportation, resources for Special Education students, and resources for English Language Learners; and the disparity between neighborhoods of condition of school facilities, are areas that are especially important for residents to know about and understand.
Agenda Item 3: Jesse Brackenbury’s presentation on RFK Greenway, especially Chinatown Park information & community updates
Overall: the park is state owned but operated by its own public private partnership, not by state or city employees, so that is why they need to fundraise. The park also is gardened with organic gardening techniques, such as compost tea for pesticide instead of “chemicals,” and it is like a roof garden, so its maintenance needs are unique.
Chinatown Park particularly: It was designed and created to accommodate large events and performances and the like.
How TCC members could engage: The park could get more events and programming put on it. Also the park is looking for diverse volunteers and members, to get involved in or learn about or use the park.
Dilemma how to preserve the plants and pathways vs the undesirable activities illegal activities; the park doesn’t want to cut away plants but at the same time this park in particular, more than any of the other parklets, gets a lot of shady activity happening there.
For more ideas about programming for the park, can also contact Helen Chin Schlichte or Vivien, they are Greenway board members who are also involved in TCC.
Agenda Item 4: 50 Herald Street Affordable Housing Competition Team
2 guest speakers, Judy from Affordable Housing Institute and Janele from Harvard Design School
They proposed that on the C-Mart 50 Herald St site, their vision for the site from community input and their own vision, is: put a garage and parking underground, keep a C-Mart on the ground floor, make townhouses and a courtyard on the site, and then a tower of 20 stories.
Key guiding principles: maximize affordability on the site, and have 3-bedroom units available for families.
Kate Chang asked, what was their most surprising learnings:
Judy said: that the CT community had not embraced the across the pike development yet
Janele said: that the community was willing to go as high / dense as 20 stories
One other theme of this presentation was: the zoning allowances for density and floor area ratio are important to consider as a parameter for development and affordability
Kate said: it’s good to hear outsiders’ perspectives on housing in Chinatown and Boston, for a fresh opinion that is not affected by internal or traditional opinions about how things have always gone with development
Agenda Item 5: Adult Education update by Joan Abbot of BEST Hospitality Training Corp.
Hospitality is a work industry where the union and BEST Corp can help deliver important services to enhance the quality of life of the worker, such as additional professional training and homebuyer assistance.
For example, the BEST Corp has a class on applying for citizenship, and a class on introducing people to foodservice industries so that they could move from housekeeping to food if desired.
There are several Chinese participants in the program.
It’s important that the jobs in this industry are “good jobs” with benefits, and upward possibilities.