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Women of Greater Boston Make a Positive Impact with the Help of Cedar Wood

Cedar Wood is changing the lives of the women in the Newton area.

A non-profit organization, Cedar Wood looks to help each person discover her dignity and value, live life for a purpose, and make a difference in society. Created in 1985 by a group of professional women looking to make a difference by creating a positive impact on society, they strive to educate and support women in their professional work--both in and out of the home and workforce.

"We provide professional development, cultural enrichment, and faith-based opportunities for women of all ages- from 10 to 100," explains Carmel Kelly, M.D. Director of Cedar Wood Foundation. "Those of all ethnic or religious backgrounds are welcome." The organization got its start in Milton, but as of 2004, moved to Newton where it continues its work in a larger format.

At an interactive lecture for the Art of Living, members of the audience study an item in their hand

Kelly cites a specific inspiration for the foundation of the organization. "The programs at Cedar Wood are inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church and the prelature of Opus Dei, which seeks to inspire all people to discover the value of work done well, and encourages those who believe in God to bring Him to their families and friends." Several unique programs, which cover a large basis of ages, are available.

Perhaps the most popular program is the The Art of Living for Women. "This program aims to give women the confidence and skills needed to care for their family with confidence and artistry," says Kelly. As she explains it, the program developed as a result of a number of women requesting classes in the areas of culinary art, fashion, home health, interior design, and event planning. "The instructors know their audience--professional women with many demands on their time and attention," she describes. "So the classes are carefully crafted to teach attendees how to do things well and beautifully with the time they have."

A high school mentor and student work side by side at The Hive in Dorchester

"In Dorchester, we run a monthly service program called The Hive for students in 3rd-8th grade," says Kelly. "Our high school volunteers spend time tutoring and mentoring the children to foster both academic and personal growth." There is always a talk for the mothers as well, covering topics such as Nutrition (given by a pediatrician who specializes in obesity) and How to be an Advocate for Your Child in School (given by a veteran high school teacher).

Several weekend activities are hosted by the organization as well, including helping out at soup kitchens or spending time with the elderly. These activities are driven to, as Kelly puts it, awaken a sense of responsibility in young people. "The students always find, that in the end, they are the ones who have benefited most from the visit," she states.

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