MAPS Director Honored at 26th Annual Heritage Day of Portugal

State House – Boston map

On Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, members of the House, Senate, the Massachusetts Portuguese community, Lt. Governor Murray, and others gathered in the House Chamber to celebrate the 26th Annual Heritage Day of Portugal. The Heritage Day of Portugal was founded in 1985 as a way to honor the contributions that Portuguese immigrants, those of Portuguese decent, and friends of the Portuguese community make to their neighborhoods, the Commonwealth, and the nation.


Recipients of the Portuguese Heritage Award were honored in the House Chamber.

Each year I have the great honor of recognizing an individual member of the Portuguese community in Cambridge and Somerville who has enriched the lives of those around them. This year was certainly no exception. It was with great pride that this year I nominated the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS), Paulo R. Pinto, for the Portuguese Heritage Award.

Paulo is a native of Portugal, and was raised in Mozambique. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 and has spent his career working on behalf of the Portuguese community in the health and social service fields. Before joining the MAPS in 1994, Paulo served as Executive Director of the Immigrants Assistance Center, Inc. of New Bedford for four years. Paulo also coordinated the Governor’s Urban Teen Service Corps and Youth Council for the Center for Health and Human Services in New Bedford.

Paulo began his career at MAPS as Program Administrator for Disease Prevention in 1994, and then moved up to Deputy Executive Director in late 1995. In 2000, he was appointed to the position of Executive Director of MAPS by the organization’s board of directors. For the last 10 years, Paulo has led the organization with the vision of improving the lives of the Portuguese-speaking residents of Massachusetts. MAPS helps members of Portuguese-speaking communities become active participants in American society while maintaining a strong cultural identity. MAPS also seeks to increase the Portuguese-speaking community’s access to essential services, such as health and education, through advocacy and outreach.


Tim with award recipient Paulo R. Pinto

Paulo Pinto is a shining example of an individual who understands what it means to be an effective advocate. His service to our community’s Portuguese-speaking immigrants has been essential in building a thriving and engaged Portuguese community in Cambridge and Somerville, and it was an honor to have had the opportunity to recognize him.

Two MAPS Employees Celebrate 20 Years of Dedication to Our Portuguese Community

S&S Restaurant
Inman Square
1334 Cambridge St, Cambridge map

CAMBRIDGE – It was my honor to be a part of a surprise celebration for the two longest serving employees of Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) at the S&S in Inman Sq, Lois Josimovich and Maria Matos.

Lois and Maria exemplify the hard work and dedication I have come to expect from the MAPS organization in Cambridge and Somerville. MAPS is the first place my office and I call for help with issues that impact the Portuguese community, like immigration, community outreach, or language barrier problems. MAPS has brought the Portuguese community together for as long as I can remember, thanks to the work ethic and institutional knowledge of employees like Maria and Lois.


From left: MAPS Board President Joseph J. Vasconcelos, Director of Development & Communications Lois Josimovich, Immigrant Social Services Supervisor Maria Matos, myself, and MAPS Executive Director Paulo Pinto

At the same time, underscoring their efforts to provide innovative service, MAPS is introducing their new and improved Portuguese-language website and announcing their annual meeting.

MAPS will hold its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 28 in the second floor community center of its Cambridge Office, located at 1046 Cambridge St. MAPS members and the public are invited to attend and hear about agency accomplishments during the past year. Members will also vote in the annual Board of Directors election.

The evening begins with a light buffet supper at 6:30 pm followed by the business meeting at 7 pm.

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More detailed information on Lois and Maria, and their new website, directly from MAPS:
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MAPS Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Services for
Two Employees

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) honored its two longest-time employees, Maria Matos and Lois Josimovich, for their 20th anniversary of service on September 30 with a surprise party at a Cambridge restaurant.

“We are very thankful to them and really wanted to offer them this recognition,” said Paulo Pinto, MAPS’ Executive Director, handing each of them a certificate of recognition. “MAPS wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for their hard work.”

Both Matos and Josimovich were also honored with citations offered by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and by the Cambridge City Council, presented by State Representative and City Councillor Timothy Toomey, Jr.

Matos started working at MAPS—then the Somerville Portuguese American League (SPAL)–as a teenager with the Youth Programs, and later evolved into a very active social worker. Today she is the Supervisor of Immigrant Social Services Programs for the Boston area. She has provided information, individual assistance, interpretation, translation and referrals around housing, employment, government benefits and other daily life issues to more than 30,000 Portuguese speakers.

“The best thing for me is when I see anxious clients and I am able to help them and make a difference in their lives,” said Matos.

Josimovich, Director of Development & Communications, also started out with SPAL and was a key contributor to its merger with the Cambridge Organization of Portuguese Americans (COPA) to form MAPS in 1993. As the member of the MAPS management team responsible for agency fund development and public relations, she has also played an important role in the agency’s growth and its expansion of services and locations throughout greater Boston, Northeastern Massachusetts and the MetroWest area.

“It’s really an honor to work every day with the incredibly smart, dedicated, caring people who make up the MAPS family.” said Josimovich. “I’m always inspired when I hear their stories about the individuals and families we help every day.”

MAPS is a private, non-profit health and social service agency, with six offices throughout the greater Boston, Framingham and Lowell. For more information, please call (617) 864-7600 or visit http://www.maps-inc.org/.

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MAPS Launches Portuguese Version of New Agency
Website

Portuguese speakers can once again access up-to-date information in their own language about services provided by the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) on the Internet. The private, non-profit organization has just finished updating all of the Portuguese content on its website, http://www.maps-inc.org/.

“We are very happy to offer our clients a new website in their native language,” said Paulo Pinto, MAPS’ Executive Director. “Many of them are not fluent in English and it is important for us that they know the services we provide and how we can help them.”

MAPS’ website was completely redesigned by Webmaster Pat Quintin using WordPress software, and its English version has been live since April 2, 2009. The revamped Portuguese content went live on Sept. 22, and is now in a test phase. Visitors may send comments and suggestions to Renan Leahy, at rleahy@maps-inc.org.

The new site includes completely updated information and photos about the agency and its services, as well as several other important new features, such as:
· Easier navigation;
· A site map and search box;
· A Google Calendar link for events at MAPS and in the community;
· More transparency about MAPS finances and other agency information for MAPS funders and donors; and
· A brand new Bulletin Board section where community members who register can post jobs, items for sale and housing for free.

MAPS has offered social and health services to the Portuguese-speaking
communities in Massachusetts since 1970. The agency has six offices throughout
greater Boston, Framingham and Lowell.

FY 2009 Budget Highlights

Helping to craft our state budget is one of the most important parts of my job. Every year, the legislators across Massachusetts hear from their constituents about important priorities for funding within the district. Citizens and advocacy groups are encouraged to call, write, or come visit the State House to make sure their Representative knows the importance of funding specific local and state-wide projects. From there, legislators work closely with each other to build broad support, negotiate, and assign the limited funds of the state. It is not aways an easy process, especially during a year when the revenue for the state is significantly down.

I am proud of the combined efforts and cooperation of the Cambridge and Somerville delegations in the House and Senate to ensure that our cities received funding for so many of the important programs we rely on. Whether it was affordable housing, nutritional assistance, youth programs, homelessness prevention, adult basic education, early childhood education, family planning, adoption services, elder protective services, urban park funding, or local health care, our delegations stood together to give Cambridge and Somerville a powerful voice at the state level.

The following are just a few of the highlights from our finalized state budget that directly affect the residents of the 26th Middlesex district. All budget items listed below I sponsored or co-sponsored in the FY 2009 budget requests and budget amendments. They are either state-wide programs with a local impact, or local programs specific to Cambridge and Somerville.

Adult Basic Education/ESOL
For contracts and grants to provide and strengthen adult basic education services, including reading, ESOL, writing, and mathematics, to a diverse network of organizations which have demonstrated commitment and effectiveness in the provision of such services. The state-wide funding effects many organizations within Cambridge and Somerville.

Youthbuild
A youth and community development program that addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development.

Horizons For Homeless Children
For Playspace Programs operated by Horizons for Homeless Children. The Playspace Program provides homeless children in Massachusetts with the nurturing, stimulation and opportunities for early education and play to help them learn and grow in healthy ways.

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
MRVP is the state’s rental assistance program, operated by the Department of Housing and Community Development for low-income families and individuals. The MRVP offers tenant-based vouchers that can be used for any approved apartment, and project-based vouchers that are restricted to certain rental units or developments.

Family Planning
For comprehensive family planning services for low income uninsured, underinsured residents of the Commonwealth, including HIV counseling and testing, HPV immunizations, community-based health education, outreach, and follow-up with at-risk populations.

Citizenship for New Americans Program
Gives low-income immigrants the opportunity to learn English and American civics, as well as receive help with the citizenship application process.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
For the continued funding of seventeen alternative dispute resolution centers in Massachusetts, including the Community Dispute Settlement Center, Inc. of 60 Gore St Suite 202, Cambridge and the Somerville Mediation Program of 337 Somerville Ave, Somerville, whose core missions are to offer a community-based forum for dispute resolution through mediation without involving the Commonwealth’s court system.

Computer Centers and the Work Force Program
For the Cambridge Housing Authority Tenant Services to operate 2 Community Computer Centers and the Work Force program. The Work Force program is an award-winning nationally recognized youth development program for adolescents living in the Cambridge Housing Authority’s subsidized housing.

Local Language-Specific Community Assistance
The following programs provide local language-specific assistance, including legal help, adult education, youth programs, and broader advocacy and involvement for immigrant rights.

Concilio Hispano
105 Windsor St, Cambridge
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS)
92 Union Square, Somerville
1046 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Haitian Coalition
268 Rear Powder House Blvd Apt # 17C, Somerville
Centro Presente
17 Inner Belt Road, Somerville

Support Services to the Children and Families Served by DSS After Adoption
For the Center for Family Connections at 350 Cambridge St, Cambridge, to provide therapeutic and rehabilitative mental health services, targeted research on well-being outcomes and permanency planning for older hard-to-place youth and those aging out of the system.

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Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session:

Day of Portugal Parade rolls through Cambridge and Somerville

CAMBRIDGE – King Open School 850 Cambridge St map
SOMERVILLE – Portuguese Sq. Concord Ave map

MAPS Somerville Office map
MAPS Cambridge Office map

It was another great year for the Day of Portugal Parade, which danced, marched, and crashed its way through Cambridge and Somerville this past weekend. The Portuguese community here came out in large numbers for an energetic and exciting parade. There was music, flags, fun, old-fashioned carriages, and a lot of Portuguese pride on display.

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, which has offices across the state and in both Cambridge and Somerville, helped to bring the group together and marched with their banner:


MAPS provides a strong support network and organizing base for the Portuguese community in our district and across the state. They are an invaluable resource and asset for the 26th Middlesex district.

More photos, courtesy of MAPS: