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What Newton has to Offer its Community: Featuring Newton Community Education and Newton Community Pride

By Kristen Bosse

What exactly defines a great town community? Is it when a large variety of activities, organizations and various programs are offered to the residents? Or is it simply when everyone in the town gets involved and creates friendships with one another? To be honest, each community most likely has their own definition as to what makes theirs sustain and work well.

To get a true sense of the Newton community, we went straight to the person who knows its residents and businesses of the most- Mayor Setti D. Warren. In his words, "The community of Newton is fortunate enough to benefit from a diverse business population, a world-class public education system, innovation, culture and the arts, and numerous residents and businesses that help enrich the quality of life in so many ways: from helping us increase energy efficiency, to volunteering as part of the Newton Volunteer Corps, just to name a few."

After reading over Mayor Warren's thoughts and talking to some Newton residents, it was apparent that the level of engagement was lacking. With so much to offer, residents simply need to work together to promote Newton and help it be all it can be. Two community organizations are already helping his happen: The Newton Community Pride and Newton Community Education.

Newton Community Education

One organization really stepping up and working with the residents of Newton is their Community Education center. NCE provides social, cultural, and vocational programs to adults and children alike. Their various classes allow for everyone to receive a high-quality learning experiences on a topic of their choice, at a reasonable cost. While their most popular classes are in the areas of cooking, fitness, languages, ELL tutoring, art, and computer skills, they still consistently offer classes in a wide range of categories.

So an organization that provides low-cost education to the masses must be a good thing, right? Ed Hauben, NCE'S Director, helped us interpret why community programs such as his are so important to a town's identity. Apart from the obvious spread of knowledge that these classes bring, Hauben commented on the fact that they help the community remain as a whole, by creating lifelong learning opportunities for friends and family alike. At the risk of sounding cheesy, knowledge is power. If a community is able to build their knowledge base, they can use this to inform others or even institute change.

NCE is truly a great example of an organization that is committed to building a strong and evolving community. In addition to classes, NCE sponsors several community events. For example, each year NCE offers Mindfulness programs aimed at helping us to learn how to lower stress levels, lead a healthier lifestyle, and improve our physical and mental wellbeing. NCE also offers a special program for Seniors called Lifetime Learning, and Newton's largest youth basketball program, NAA basketball. All of these activities support the growth and development of Newton residents.

Newton Community Pride

Newton Community Pride works jointly with the Mayor's Office for Cultural Affairs to support cultural events throughout the year. This 25-year partnership has helped make Newton achieve its status as #1 City in which to live in America, according to Wall Street Journal. Their corporation is dedicated to enriching the lives of Newton by promoting culture, arts, volunteerism and anything that improves the quality of life for its residents. The fact that the corporation solely relies on the time and resources of volunteers reflects how deeply Newton feels about sustaining a strong community.

The abundance of cultural events that are put on each year give the town a great sense of diversity. Some example of their various events are Newton Open Studios, the July 4th Celebration, the Roman Totenberg Young Strings Competition, Newton Spelling Bee, Holiday Lighting at City Hall, the Mayor's New Year's Open House, and much more!

Linda Plaut, Director of the Mayor's Office for Cultural Affairs, shared with us why she believes her organization makes Newton a better community for families that reside in the town. "Feeling rooted to where you live helps give every member of a family the emotional support that they need to feel connected and well. When a community like Newton offers culturally enriching events and projects that are accessible to everyone at little or no cost, life is simply better." Plaut and her volunteers believe that offering arts and cultural events will help enrich the lives of Newton residents. With Mayor Warren on her side, May 2015 was named "Festival of the Arts" month, pulling together 62 cultural and civic organizations to assemble a calendar of 52 events. Newton businesses and citizens are fortunate enough to have a partnership with the government, permitting for a higher quality of life in the community.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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