Way to Grow, Chelsea Kiwanis: Local Service Club Experiences a Surge in Its Memberships

Anybody who watched Sylvia Ramirez build Chelsea Pop Warner into one of the premier youth football organizations in eastern Massachusetts knew the Chelsea Kiwanis Club  would be in good hands.

Ramirez, the high-energy president of the Kiwanis Club, revealed that the club has enjoyed an increase in membership to a total of 25 members overall. The new members of the Chelsea Kiwanis Club are Carolyn Boumila-Vega, Mirna Diaz, Alexandria Christmas, Veronica Dyer Medina, Sharlene McLean, Elizabeth Novak, Cassandra Thompson, and Noel Velez.

“We have welcomed eight new members to our club,” Ramirez said humbly. “I’m extremely happy and excited and so proud of our members for doing membership outreach. We started talking about membership early in the fall. We’re a small club and some of our long-standing members are starting to retire and we need new leadership in our club, which is one of the reasons we did this membership drive.”

Ramirez said the club hosted a virtual wine tasting and trivia night and the response among members was that the event was “very enjoyable and fun.”

Seventy-one people – a sizable turnout during the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted work and social schedules – participated in the wine tasting and trivia night. “It was unbelievable – we even had people from other clubs outside of Massachusetts,” said Ramirez.

But the best response came in the form of prospective members reaching out to Sylvia Ramirez to join the club.

“Right after that event, we had eight new members join us, which is absolutely a huge accomplishment for our club,” added Ramirez.

Ramirez said the club is participating in Black History Month with a reading event in coordination with the Chelsea public schools. On March 2, the members will take part in Dr. Seuss National Red Across America Day.

Ramirez, who is the operations and evaluations manager at La Colaborativa, said the new members were installed by the Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor and Chelsea Kiwanis Club meetings are held remotely on Thursdays.

The biographies of the new members of the Chelsea Kiwanis Club follow below:

Carolyn Boumila Vega: She is a lifelong Chelsea resident, 49 years to be exact. Carolyn is a Licensed Social Worker with South Bay Community Services. She enjoys watching reality TV, cooking, volunteer, and staying on top of Social Media. I have been involved in so many community events and organizations, too many to mention. I want to be as useful as I possibly can and one of my most proud achievements is receiving a Social Work master’s degree at age 45. I am bilingual even though people may not think so, proudly Latinx

Mirna Diaz: She has worked in Chelsea for 10 years. Mirna has a private law practice in Chelsea. I enjoy riding my bike, volunteering with my daughter, and reading fiction and thriller books. My goal is to be more involved in the community, I know being part of the Kiwanis club of Chelsea will allow me to do that. I want to have an opportunity to create new ideas and opportunities to help the club expand.

Alexandria Christmas: Alexandria has been a Chelsea resident for over 20 years. She works as the payroll manager for Zerto, a tech company in Boston. Alex is extremely involved in the community, in groups such as: St. Luke’s Food Pantry, First Congregational Church produce packaging, Community Garden, Transit justice, Youth group mentorship, she is part of the Library Board of Trustees, Chelsea Bike and Ped Committee and hosts the Chel-Yea Woman who wine Facebook group. Her hobbies are cycling, running, camping, gardening, skiing and motorcycles. Alex hopes to bring her organizational and event planning skills for fundraising events and/or service projects.

Veronica Dyer Medina: Veronica has lived in Chelsea her whole life, 40 years this May. She is part of the Chelsea Public Schools Administration office, as the Superintendent Administrative Assistant and the Clerk for the Chelsea School Committee. She loves cooking and feeding people. Loves a good mystery/drama movie or book, enjoys dancing and listening to much and arts and crafts with her two children. Her Kiwanis goal is to raise awareness of the great work Kiwanis does. Bringing community organizing and advocating skills to help engage children in our community who need to be directed to the righteous path.

Sharlene McLean: Chelsea resident for 20 years. She works for WilmerHale LLP as a Patent Assistant/Legal Secretary. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crochet and baking. Sharlene brings to our club her passion for the community and is not afraid to say what she thinks and believes in.

Elizabeth Novak: Chelsea resident for 12 years, works as a Marketing Executive recruiting and retention for the Army National Guard. She enjoys reading, cross stitch, camping, canoeing, travel and playing all sorts of games. Interesting fact is that, when younger, she was an award-winning classical pianist and avid horseback rider. She is the Chair of the Chelsea Library Board of Trustees and an organizer of Chelsea Hill Community’s Safety and Clean up walks. She enjoys being active in the community. Joining Kiwanis, she wants to give back to the community and her main goal is by far to be an active volunteer in service projects.

Cassandra Thompson: Cassandra grew up in Chelsea and has lived her for 34 years. She works in HealthCare for Mass General Brigham as an Administrative Coordinator/Project Coordinator. She enjoys baking, hiking, fitness and traveling. Her main goal by joining Kiwanis is to get more involved in community events and volunteer her time. She is most proud of being a mommy of two girls, 9 & 4. She brings to the club her organization skills, event planning, creative design, and people person.

Noel Velez: He was born and raised in Chelsea. He works as the Financial Analyst for Chelsea Public Schools. His hobbies are collecting memorabilia from sporting events, wrestling and coming books. I also enjoy making music and playing video games with my boys. My goal with Kiwanis is to assist our community of Chelsea any way possible. I have been extremely committed to our community, especially children and youth. One of my most proud accomplishments is my marriage and children. I bring to Kiwanis public speaking skills, great writing capacity to request funding and support with fundraising ideas.

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