By John Lynds
When Representative Adrian Madaro’s father arrived in the U.S. from Venice, Italy in the late 1970’s, he got his first opportunity of economic stability through Action for Boston Community Development’s (ABCD) APAC site in East Boston.
“My father, Jacopo, arrived here and he got his first job in America at the East Boston APAC office as a social worker,” said Madaro. “He worked with Italian immigrants who could not understand English and help them navigate the many social programs APAC had to offer as well as putting many on the path to citizenship.”
For Madaro ABCD’s APAC office has held a very special place in his heart and on Friday his family’s relationship came full circle.
At the Copley Marriott, Madaro joined 18 other outstanding citizens who serve and uplift their communities as unsung heroes.
Madaro was named ABCD’s 2016 Community Hero for his exceptional contributions to change policies that directly impact low-income families in Eastie.
“It is truly and honor and I am humbled,” said Madaro. “I share this award with APAC Director John White and the talented staff at the East Boston APAC office who are able to move mountains and help thousands of families every year in my district. Not only did the APAC office give my father his first job in the U.S., my mother, Debra, was also a summer teen worker for APAC in her youth.”
A signature event, ABCD’s Community Heroes Celebration honors everyday heroes and legends that help support the anti-poverty agency’s mission to provide low-income residents within the Greater Boston region the tools and resources needed to transition from poverty to stability to success.
“Once again, ABCD is proud to put the spotlight on the volunteers and community members that go above and beyond to assist, serve, and educate our most vulnerable residents and economically disenfranchised families,” said ABCD President/CEO. John Drew.
Madaro, who was elected state representative during a special election in 2014 has kept social service programs like ABCD and East Boston APAC at the top of his agenda.
One of the first votes he took as an elected officials was a vote to increase Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program. For many working people in Eastie, the EITC program has provided relief from the confusing process of figuring out taxes. ABCD and APAC, in partnership with the City of Boston, each year offers the EITC program.
“Qualified hard working low-wage workers often receive significant EITC credits and see a big increase in their tax returns through the free program,” said Madaro of the program “This is money that can directly help low-income residents who work hard for their money. It can be used to pay the heat, food and rent costs that are weighing people down.”
The bill increases the EITC from 15 percent to 23 percent of the federal EITC, extending the maximum state credit from $951 to $1,459 and meaning as much as $500 in additional support for those who are eligible.
Madaro was also instrumental in helping ABCD and APAC launch APAC’s YEA! (Youth Engaged in Action) program. YEA! provides middle-school youngsters from low-income families with a two-week experience that teaches them how their communities and government work as well as what it takes to manage their money and save for the future.
With a mission of “investing today for tomorrow’s leaders,” YEA! has been involving Eastie middle-school teens in a two-week civic engagement and financial literacy program here and at seven other Boston neighborhood work sites. Madaro became a mentor to the YEA! participants and visited with the Eastie youth to engage them on his experience in public service and civic engagement.