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Program Spotlight: Resident Services Coordination with the Boston Housing Authority

Ethos partners with Jewish Family & Children’s Services to bring anti-bullying workshops to Boston Housing Authority residents.

Valéria Souza, Ethos’ Resident Services Coordinator, has been busy advocating on behalf of the residents of the six Boston Housing Authority buildings she is placed in.  After recently attending training at Ethos called “Social Bullying: Assessing and Intervening with Older Adults,” lead by Robin Krawczyk of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Valéria realized that the information would also be beneficial to the residents she works with.

Valéria spoke to Robin immediately after the training and together they came up with a plan for Robin to deliver a presentation titled “Bullying in Senior Housing: How You Can Make a Positive Difference” at each of Valéria’s six Boston Housing Authority buildings.

In the trainings, Robin defines bullying as  “someone who is trying to gain power over another person” and provided information about:

  • The traits of people who bully
  • How to be an ally
  • Why don’t bystanders speak up?

The residents could easily recall incidents of bullying that they either witnessed or personally experienced. At least half of those who attended had knowledge of bullying at their residences, and had witnessed both residents and staff involved in the bullying.

Of the experience of leading these trainings, Robin said, “Living in senior housing brings benefits as well as challenges for older adult residents. In my work I often meet older adults who articulate the challenge of ‘living in a fish bowl’, so I truly appreciated the willingness of Ethos to invite me to facilitate candid discussions with the BHA residents about social bullying in their communities.  We are finding that this phenomenon is all too common in places where older adults gather and is estimated to affect 1 in 5 older adults in senior housing. The residents I met were eager to learn new ways to stand up for themselves AND for their neighbors in order to break this cycle of bullying.  Spending time at these sites also allowed me to witness many examples of kindness and generosity between neighbors which is clearly enhanced by the presence of Valéria, the Resident Service Coordinator, who works thoughtfully to build stronger bonds in these communities”.

Of her experiences working in the BHA communities Valéria said, “Many people don’t realize that social bullying happens across the lifespan. It’s critical to teach people the skills to combat social bullying so that everyone’s living and working environments can be as healthy as possible.”

The residents of the six buildings now feel that they have the power to intervene and support each other and are setting up teams of allies at their residences to confront bullying in their community.

Ethos thanks Robin and Jewish Family and Children’s Services for this partnership!

To learn more about the programming offered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service, please visit

To learn more about Ethos’ Resident Services Coordination Program with the Boston Housing Authority, please contact Valéria Souza at