Community-based organizations (CBOs) provide a critical role in all aspects of Massachusetts neighborhoods, especially in areas of health, education, recreation, public safely, distribution of services, and economic sustainability. They offer a place of connection for people from different cultures, ages groups, religious backgrounds, race, and socioeconomic status. They often give voice to the collective interests and needs of the neighborhoods they serve, especially in areas of social/economic problems relating to children and youth, homeless families, immigrants, refugees and other new comers. Along with state government, public health agencies and foundations, they play a critical role in providing services to diverse groups of people. For this reason, the Institute for Communication Inclusion has developed connections with over 50 grass roots community based agencies to explore issues of disability.
Each fellow in the Community Track will work with a community-based organization (CBO) on a 2-semester project. Fellows will be assigned to a CBO based on their time availability and areas of interest. Fellows will be expected to reach out and follow through in making a connection with the CBO director and/or contact person in their assigned organization. Early visits in the LEND year will give fellows time to get to know the population served, participate in community events, and develop an understanding of cultural, economic, and political elements that influence the lives of people in these communities before designing a project.