Boston College Music Outreach

For Boston College students, music isn’t just something they happen to be good at, or enjoy playing. It’s a means to make an impact on a child’s life.

Boston College’s Music Outreach Program includes about 60 students that work weekly with kids at Gardner Pilot Academy. The lessons include voice and instruments such as guitar, piano, trumpet, saxophone, and flute.

Assistant Professor of Music Ralf Yusuf Gawlick and his wife Barbara Gawlick direct the Boston College Music Outreach Program that coordinates some 15 BC student volunteers who spend at least one to two hours a week working with the schoolchildren individually or in small groups.

Coordinators say the music sessions aren’t meant to convince kids to join the institution, but instead to give the kids a chance to have music significantly impact their lives .

“The benefits children get through exposure to, and involvement in, the arts are very well-known,” Ralf Gawlick told the public. “These kids get a taste of music education, and in the bargain, can engage with a caring young adult who is really invested in sharing the gift of music.”

Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously.

Sara Rodriguez, a mother in the Allston area, has been motivated to send her child to Gardner Pilot Academy due to the program .

“ Christopher isn’t even in preschool, but I’ve known for a while I want him involved in music. I went to a Montessori school growing up and hands on learning was part of the curriculum. I learned how to play the clarinet at a young a very young age. I would definitely say it helped me learn other things in the long run,” said Rodriguez. “I just think that music has played such an important role in my life, it wouldn’t be fair not to expose my kid to it. I think as a child music has this magicalness, if that’s even a word, to it. It always made me so happy and I would never take that away from anyone.”

Music is at the center of other BC efforts to neighborhood groups, for example, the twelve-month “Boston College Idol” show that raises funds for the St. Columbkille Partnership School’s music system. The BC Music Guild has started a volunteer program at Franciscan Hospital for Children, sending musicians to perform for young patients. It’s a positive improvement for a Universities whose music program only started a little over two decades ago.



Harvard Expansion Approved

The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved Harvard’s 10 year development plan in Allston, giving the green light to several new building projects and two major renovations.

The plan covers three new buildings and one renovation at Harvard Business school, a hotel and conference center on Western Ave., renovations to the Soldiers Field Park graduate student housing, some renovations to Harvard Stadium, and a new home for Harvard basketball.

The other two projects call for renovating two other student housing buildings on the business school campus.

Several board members of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, believes the plan, “provides a framework for future development in Allston that will support key academic needs and further knit together campus and community,” they released the statement not to long after the approval.

“The plan will expand the University’s academic presence, continue the activation of Barry’s Corner, enhance the public realm, strengthen pedestrian connections, improve circulation, and create new green space and gathering places for the University and the community,” the B.R.A stated. “In addition, the plan includes a long-term vision to guide future campus and community planning in Allston.”

Harvard, city officials in Allston/Brighton, and residents are also working to finish up a 10-year community benefits package to go along with the university’s master plan for development. However, concerns remain about the plan as well as about Harvard’s plans for Allston for the future.

Allston resident Henry Christensen said, “the plan was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority without Harvard taking into account the residents feelings” about how the large development plan will impact traffic, parking, and public spaces.
Harvard officials believe this is the best move for the University, including Harvard President Drew Faust, “I truly believe that no institution of higher education has a more exciting opportunity for innovative growth, in an intellectual and entrepreneurial environment as dynamic as we have in Boston and Cambridge,” Faust wrote in a letter to residents.

Newly elected mayor, Martin J. Walsh said he would make major changes to the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s structure after the public outcry.
Residents in Boston have made it apparent that the B.R.A. has tried to move too quickly to approve projects and that the authority does not adequately factor residents’ feedback when making decisions.

Harvard began pushing for an expansion in Allston in the late 1980s, and it now owns 359 acres in Allston. In late 2003, Harvard envisioned a massive 250-acre campus in Allston that included academic space, student housing, entertainment facilities, and the transformation of Barry’s Corner to replicate Harvard Square.

Crime in Allston


The Allston area is the only one of a dozen police districts in Boston where serious crimes are up in the first three months of 2013 compared with the same period last year, according to statistics released by Boston Police.

Serious crimes in Allston are up 19 percent so far this year, fueled by the number of burglaries and attempted burglaries more than doubling.

Each of the 11 other police districts in Boston have seen serious crimes drop by at least 8 percent this year. Some of the districts have seen decreases as high as 31 percent.

Within the entire city serious crimes are down by 15.4 percent this year.

Within this group are homicide, rape and attempted rape, robbery and attempted robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and attempted burglary, larceny and attempted larceny, vehicle theft and attempted vehicle theft.

The neighborhood of Allston is patrolled by police District D-14. Between Jan. 1 and September this year, there have been 302 burglaries and attempted burglaries in District D-14, a huge percentage jump from the 57 that were reported during the same span last year.

Current Allston resident Janniqua Dawkins is worried, “ My brother who lives two streets away from me has been robbed three times in the past few years. You know, being a single mom it worries me about my safety and the safety of my kids. My brother is a strong man that can hold his own incase someone breaks in, but I am a small lady. You think I can hold off a large man? Because I know I can’t.  I haven’t been robbed, but I’m still scared, actually worried I think is the better word. I just hope it’ll get better, because I can’t afford to move to a nicer part of town.”

Janniqua is one resident out of a community predominantly of single parent families, college students, and immigrants. They live in constant fear of the possibility of violence to strike near their homes. Most of these households have very little money to live on monthly so a robbery can severely harm their month-to-month way of life.

In Allston, there have been 61 robberies and attempted robberies compared to 57 at this time last year. Vehicle thefts and attempted vehicle thefts are also up slightly, with 65 so far this year compared to 59 last year.

The Boston Police Department believes “The crime in the area is going down. We have made significant efforts to help lower crime rates around the Brighton-Allston area as a whole. ” However most residents feel differently. David Galinato a resident of Allston believes cops do little to protect their citizens, “Last year a block away a Boston University student was stabbed to death in his own home. How does that even happen? The police need to monitor suspicious activity. I just think that it’s ridiculous to think someone could break in and kill me at any moment. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is not unheard of. I just wanna be safe in my own home, I don’t think that is too much to ask for.” However, David does admit that he has seen the police break up suspicious activity before, it worries him to live in such a violent neighborhood.

Meanwhile, larcenies and attempted larcenies are down – there have been 510 so far this year compared 540 at this time last year and aggravated assaults have also dropped to 81 this year compare to 89 at this point a year ago.

There has been one homicide this year; at this point last year there had been none. The number of rapes and attempted ra

Harvard Expansion in Allston

As Harvard University’s expansion into Allston continues,

tensions remain high between representatives of the school and local residents. good

The expansion is planned to continue through the next 10 years, and has left residents

unsure how the projects will affect their community.

The Harvard Allston Task force community, add a description of task force here met

Wednesday night and expressed frustration and concern over the University’s new

Institutional Master Plan Notification Form. They called for Harvard to honor existing

commitments to community projects before breaking ground on its proposed project at

Barry’s Corner, a mixed-use, residential-and-retail complex located at the intersection of

North Harvard Street and Western Avenue in the North Allston neighborhood.

Add a quote here from the meeting, or from an interview you obtained after the meeting.

Harvard started a free shuttle service between its Cambridge and Allston campuses

to fulfill the needs of the Harvard-Allston Task Force. Give us a little detail about the

shuttle service here. From what streets, where will it drop off? Western Avenue? How

much will it cost? Etc. Members of the task force said it was a small achievement in

expansion negotiations that have gone in favor of the university for years.

The shuttle service is a project the university plans to take on in the Allston/Brighton

area over the upcoming 10 years. The projects will encompass more than 300 acres,

according to the Institutional Master Plan submitted to the Boston Redevelopment

Harvard already has a presence in Lower Allston. Its business school and athletic

complex take up a large part of the property north of Western Avenue and south of

the Charles River. There are also facilities on Travis Street. Harvard is expected to

start construction? on most residential neighborhoods starting in late 2013 and early

2014. They also plan to renovate the Harvard Stadium and Baker Hall, according to the

Because most of the outlined projects are not yet underway, several residents

are unsure how the future developments would affect the community. Many said the

shuttle service was useless because the routes were too limited to be practical for

residents who are not students at Harvard.