YWkids Group Leader Yvonne Albuquerque featured in Southcoast Today!

“Yvonne Albuquerque, a group leader for YWkids program, said they came to the event and offer different community programs, “to try to help the community stay together. It’s the only way that New Bedford is going to grow, if we stay together.”

A flier from the event shared a similar sentiment, “New Bedford’s greatest asset is its people and NB Resilient will have the greatest impact if everyone is involved.”

Read more at Southcoast Today!


“New Bedford’s Greatest Asset Is Its People”

June 15, 2019

NEW BEDFORD — Children made pinwheels, practiced fire safety techniques, and learned the dos and don’ts of recycling at Magnett Park on Saturday. They, along with their parents and other community members, were at the park taking part in NB Resilient Community Day.

The event’s activities may seem disjointed, but they all related to an aspect of the city’s NB Resilient plan “to strengthen our community by preparing for the impacts of climate change.”

The plan has six broad focus areas: Climate and Energy; Economy and Jobs; Infrastructure, Utilities, and Waste; Natural Resources; Public Health and Safety; and Transportation and Land Use, according to Director of Sustainability for Kim Lundgren Associates (KLA) Angela Cleveland.

KLA is a consulting firm the city hired last year to help with the development and implementation of its climate action plan.

The attendees were all given passports that they used to get stickers from each different focus area. When their passports were full, they got a free lunch ticket and were entered into a raffle to win a Garmin Fitness Tracker or kindle.

The owner of KLA Kim Lundgren said they chose to have a Community Day and use the passports, as opposed to just presenting a powerpoint on the effects of climate change, because they thought it was a better way to bring people together and have fun.

Making pinwheels with representatives from Vineyard Wind helped children learn about the “Climate and Energy” focus area.

Rosalie DeCosta, an Outreach and Permitting Specialist for Vineyard Wind, said they decided to participate in the event because, “we’re part of the community and we’re planning to make New Bedford our home for many years.”

Cleveland pointed out that Vineyard Wind is also involved in the “Economy and Jobs” focus area because they plan to create jobs in the South Coast.

The Fire Department brought their “Safemobile” an ambulance that has been converted into an educational tool with colorful graphics that illustrate fire safety techniques like Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Chief Brian Arruda was there teaching children to crawl low to the ground when there’s smoke and said they had a lot of enthusiasm at the event.

The techniques they were showing children were all part of a fire safety program they teach at schools, a program that has been emulated across the state according to Arruda.

“Fire deaths for children under 18 have gone down 66% since the inception of the state-wide program,” noted Arruda.

Meg Herbert, Waste Reduction Coordinator for Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District, explained the proper ways to recycle at the event to cover the plan’s “Infrastructure, Utilities, and Waste” focus area.

One of the main things Herbert was trying to teach attendees was that they should not put plastic bags or plastic wrap in their recycling bins because it tangles in the equipment at the facilities.

Herbert was also teaching people that recycling reduces pollution and energy consumption.

“It saves resources,” said Herbert. “It takes far less energy to make an aluminum can out of an aluminum can rather than digging up iron ore.”

Saturday’s event wasn’t just about teaching the community about the different aspects of the city’s climate action plan, it was also about “keeping the whole community involved in the conversation” and getting their input for the plan, said Lundgren.

They gave out surveys at the event to find out attendees’ knowledge of climate change and their concerns, and according to Cleveland this was their third time handing out surveys.

“This is our last effort to get any more feedback we can before we finish up the actual plan,” said Lundgren who started working on the plan in November.

There was also an effort to build community at the event, because Cleveland said a strong community is a resilient community.

They chose to have the event near the Temple Landing Community Center, said Cleveland because “they are building a resilient community where they can depend on each other.”

The event encouraged community members to meet people from different city departments, like fire and police, so they could interact and become more familiar with each other, said Michele Paul, the city’s director of resilience and environmental stewardship.

Other city departments that had tables at the event included the Board of Health, who was there to give people resources and referalls for everything from healthy eating to substance abuse, and the Deparment of Community Services,who had information to help residents avoids scams and identity theft.

Community organizations were also present at the event, including the YWCA, PACE YouthBuild, and Our Sister School.

Yvonne Albuquerque, a group leader for YWkids program, said they came to the event and offer different community programs, “to try to help the community stay together. It’s the only way that New Bedford is going to grow, if we stay together.”

A flier from the event shared a similar sentiment, “New Bedford’s greatest asset is its people and NB Resilient will have the greatest impact if everyone is involved.”

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