Project highlights local residents on recovery for substance abuse disorder; MHS students request curriculum additions for younger aged classrooms
A group of local students have worked on a city of Malden-based community service project for the past eight months.
At Monday night’s Malden School Committee meeting, they presented the results of their work to the Malden School Committee.
“Faces of Recovery” depicts real-life, mini-biographical accounts of local residents who are in recovery from substance abuse disorder, who chose to tell their stories with the hope these accounts of their lives could help others.
“It is a powerful statement from those who participated in this project and we are grateful to this group of high school students who spent so much time and showed so much commitment to this project,” said Dana Brown, President of the local group, Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA). MOA’s mission is primarily to support those afflicted with substance abuse disorder.
“The real heroes in this project are these young ladies and the human beings they interviewed for this project,” Brown added.
The young women who completed “Faces of Recovery” are eight Malden High School students who are part of Malden YWCA TASK group. TASK stands for “Teen Advocates Sharing Knowledge”.
Members of the group are overseen by YWCA staff and as part of the group, they regularly plan and then carry out projects they decide on tackling.
The “Faces of Recovery” project was the culmination of about 10 months of research, interviews and writing, which produced 10 info-storyboards, regarding the lives of 10 residents who are in recovery.
The project was overseen by Chris Murphy of the YWCA in collaboration with Paul Hammersley, the city of Malden’s Addiction Recovery Resource Specialist and one of the primary founders of MOA.
The TASK group was directly mentored by Sabrina Monteiro, a UMass/Lowell Dean’s List student and Malden High School graduate.
The members of the Malden YMCA TASK who took part in and produced the “Faces of Recovery” project are Mitji Joseph, Ana Esquivel, Naveah Georges, Kimora Ma-Trinh, Joynaliz Lugo Morales, Trracy Nganga, Mia Hernandez and Taesha Balan. All of them are Malden High School students.
The work on the “Faces of Recovery” project was supported by a grant from the Greater Boston Council on Alcoholism.
The stunning and inspirational display was lined up along the back of the seating area in the City Council Chamber at Monday night’s Malden School Committee meeting. Some of the subjects of the storyboards were present for Monday night’s presentation.
Several of the eight YWCA TASK representatives spoke after the MOA president, outlining to the School Committee the purpose, process and results of the “Faces of Recovery” project.
The presentation was very well-received by the School Committee members. “Thank you so much for all the work your group has done, this takes a great deal of time and effort to complete a worthwhile project like this,” said Ward 2 School Committee member Robert McCarthy, Jr.
“You should all be proud of yourselves the way you are giving back the community through your commitment,” McCarthy added.
In the course of their presentation, one of the driving motivations expressed by the TASK students was they wanted to work to ensure that their voices would be “listened to” by others.
“There is no School Committee member sitting here who does not want all of you to be listened to,” Ward 5 School Committee member Adam Weldai said. “In fact, we want to hear more from you, we all want to hear more of your voices.
“Thank you for caring and all the work you have done on this project,” Weldai said.
“It was great to see such an impressive contribution to the Malden community from the TASK group,” said Malden High School principal Chris Mastrangelo, who was in attendance at Monday’s meeting. “It is just another example of the type of students we have at MHS. The TASK program initiated by YWCA Director Peg Crowe is such a valuable asset to the city and a tremendous resource for our students.”