Spotlight Turned on Dedham Civic Groups

More than two dozen groups came together to share experiences and drive engagement.


For the first time, 28 non-profit, Dedham-based groups came together Monday night at the to connect and discuss how they can help each other.

Organized by the recently formed Dedham Shines, the evening brought together long-standing pillars like the with newer organizations like the , formed just months ago.

There were small groups like 4Cs for Kids and the John Thomas and Special Friends Fund to the much larger  and the .

"Our organization, that's our mission, to get community engaged," said Jennifer Barsamian, co-founder of Dedham Shines.

With several neighborhood-oriented groups like the Mother Brook Community Group, Oakdale Square Alliance and the Manor Neighborhood Association on hand, leaders of the organizations were looking for people to become more engaged with their communities.

"[Co-founder Monika Wilkinson] and I are really passionate to get people volunteering with something their passionate about," Barsamian said.

For volunteers, joining these civic groups gives residents a sense of belonging and they'll know their neighbors a bit better.

"It's a great thing to do to get involved in the community," Barsamian said.

Each group received time for a 60-second elevator pitch to the roughly 60 people sitting in the Estate's ballroom, and were able to mingle before and after to recruit new members and supporters into their organizations.

"It's hard for us individually to go out and get help, but if we can come together as a group and try to find a mass pool of people who are willing to get involved, then we can siphon them off," Barsamian said.

New ideas formed as leaders like Kristen Overman heard more about organizations she previously knew little about.

"The more we do things like this, the better," said Overman, president of the Dedham Library Innovation Team. "From DLIT's perspective, is we are always trying to get buy-in from other groups."

And that might turn into more cooperative events that benefit multiple civic groups and constituents, said Overman.

"The more ways people can interact and help each other, the more likely it is going to boost awareness for everyone," Overman said.

The one common thread throughout the pitches was the need for more engaged members to help organize events and participate in spreading the word.

"Our organization, that's our mission, to get community engaged," said Barsamian. "Dedham is a very civically active community. What's happened in the last few years is that we are getting stronger and people care."

Groups that attended include:

Dedham Shines

Dedham Parent Time

Dedham Open Studios

Dedham Public Art Project

Dedham Welcome Wagon

Dedham Civic Connections

4C’s for Kids

Dedham Natural Wonders

Dedham Library Innovation Team

Dedham Civic Pride

James Joyce Ramble

Dedham Education Foundation

Rotary Club

Mother Brook Community Group

Mother Brook Arts and Community Center

Dedham Junior Woman’s Club

Oakdale Square Alliance

Boy Scouts

Friends of the Endicott

Olde Colony Civil W Round Table

Retired Men’s Club

Dedham Poet’s Society

John Thomas and Special Friends

Dedham Youth Commission

Dedham Choral Society

Catching Joy

Manor Neighborhood Association 


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