The Medford Community: Then and Now featuring The Community Family Inc. and the West Medford Community Center

With just a few hours browsing the Internet, it is easy to learn that Medford, MA, predominantly full of Irish American Christians, is well known as being one of Boston's most affluent suburbs. Located just next to Somerville, Medford is the home to a variety of landmarks including Tufts University and the Isaac Royall House. Although the Internet can teach you how the landscape and architecture has changed, it can be a bit harder to find out how the community has progressed. The Community Family Inc. and the West Medford Community Center were gracious enough to share their opinions on how the Medford Community has evolved, whether it be for the better or the worse, over the past few years.

Is the Community more involved?

One of the defining characteristics of a town is no doubt the level of involvement from the community. When residents are more inclined to get involved, it correlates to a more connected and flourishing community. Brian Collins, President of the West Medford Community Center, shared his thoughts about this topic.

"More people are involved, as we can attest to by our increasing membership and volunteerism here at the Center. We host a number of Community events throughout the year that our elected officials often attend, recently our state Senator attended our Community Breakfast Forum and remarked 'I wish I lived here!'"

Brian has also seen familiar faces that have stayed rather low-key in past years pop up recently. After the large oil spill that happened nearby, long time residents met with City and State environmental council members to discuss amendments. In his opinion, the city has become a closer-knit family over the past ten years. Anne Marchetta of Community Family Inc. can also vouch for this unification of the Medford Community. Years ago, they decided to relocate to an abandoned train station in Downtown Medford. While at first the Mayor was hesitant, the continued support of the city convinced the Mayor to accept their request and allow them to renovate the space. Both non-profits claim that as organizations that utilize volutneers, they have consistently remained staffed by caring and loving residents.

Has the Community become more diverse?

"YES, absolutely!" states Collins of West Medford Community Center. The Medford Mayor recently announced West Medford the most diverse section of the city, and Collins definitely agrees. Furthermore, the WMCC has a community outreach program that specifically caters to Medford's diverse group of people. With numerous seasonal activities that range from Christmas tree lightings and neighborhood caroling, summer girls basketball league, Yoga and dance classes, Senior Fashion shows, and line dancing, there is something for everyone.

One of Brian's favorite additions to their outreach program is the Summer Girl's Basketball League. With an overwhelming demand for Men's basketball across the state, he claims it is amazing to see the community come out and support their fellow female basketball players. But this league isn't the only way the WMCC is making a difference with the sport of basketball. Each year, they hold a Memorial Basketball Tournament for one of their fallen young friends and treasured member of the city, Brandon Bolden. Look below to see a picture of the Bolden family with the 2014 First Place Team at the 2nd Annual event.

How do you see your organization changing in the next few years?

With all that each organization has done for their community, we wanted to see their plans for the near future. With a predicted increase in the demand for their services due to the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease, Community Family Inc. still intends to continue care for the city of Medford. And of course, each year they will continue to be the primary beneficiary of the citizen-run Jingle Bell Festival at Medford City Hall.

Although Collins does assure us that the WMCC will continue to host plenty of community events and programs, he also claims something else far more important. While programs for children and adults have always filled the Center's calendar, the magic lies not in our programs but in our people. Programs have been and always will be a fixture. Yet our goal transcends great programs. As long as the community of Medford continues to grow and evolve, the community center will continue to thrive.

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