We are thrilled to announce that Somerville’s own, Carina Veliz will be the recipient of the Rita Bourgeois Leadership Award, presented at our RESPONDing to Domestic Violence Cocktail Reception on Friday, October 23, 2020!
RESPOND is proud to recognize Carina,
a survivor whose passion to end domestic violence
is both palpable and inspiring.
Carina Veliz is an entrepreneur, mother, and survivor of domestic violence.
Carina owns a personal training business called CarinaxSwole LLC and uses her platform to inspire other women. Having fled her abuser and found safety for her and her son, Carina was still feeling lost and unhappy. Then, she realized her passion for fitness. Carina has turned her pain into purpose, becoming a certified personal trainer and helping to empower men and women from all walks of life through health and fitness. She inspires those around her with her uplifting work, preaching that you can defy all odds and become stronger, both mentally and physically.
This past fall, Carina organized a fundraiser in support of RESPOND during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Her event, Abuse is Abuse, Let’s Talk About It, included a circuit workout and raffles. She also brought other survivors together to share their personal stories. Carina far surpassed her goal by galvanizing support and sponsors within her personal and social media network. You can see a photo of the attendees above!
A.J. Burnett is a meteorologist and the Weather Producer for WCVB’s StormTeam 5. A.J. has worked at several television stations in the region, including WCSH6/WLBZ2 in Maine, FOX25 and New England Cable News in Boston, and sister station WMUR-TV in New Hampshire. His career has taken him into the elements of many memorable storms, including the powerful January nor’easter of 2018 (sometimes referred to as the “Bomb Cyclone”), the Blizzard of 2013, Super Storm Sandy, and the Tornado Outbreak in western Massachusetts in 2011. Burnett is a member of the American Meteorological Society and holds the AMS Television Seal of Approval, given for excellence in broadcast meteorology.
Apart from his work at WCVB, A.J. carries on a proud family tradition of volunteerism, working with Birthday Wishes, a group dedicated to providing birthday parties to children experiencing homelessness. He has also been a supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH and Maine chapters, having held a position on the Board of Directors. He also volunteered with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, recording written works for the visually impaired.
A.J. is a native Cape Codder and attended Barnstable High School before going on to earn a degree in Meteorology from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He also holds a teacher certification in both Mathematics and Earth Science and briefly taught high school science and math. A.J. and his wife, Carrie, live on the North Shore with their daughters, Grace and Caroline, and their dog, Emma.