Next Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Suffolk Downs in East Boston the East Boston Social Centers will celebrate a century serving the community.
The Social Centers “Cruisin’ Through the Decades’ 100th Anniversary Gala will celebrate the agency’s past while looking towards the future.
A year in the making, Executive Director Justin Pasquariello said the gala will be a ‘reunion’ of sorts for many people that were connected to the Social Centers in some way.
“We a really grateful for the work the East Boston Social Centers Host Committee has done,” said Pasquariello. “It’s been all hands on deck and that has really made all the difference to make this event and fundraiser a success.”
The gala will be set up as 10 exhibit stations that represent each decade the Social Centers has been in the community.
In 1918 the East Boston Social Centers was founded during the Settlement House movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Settlement House movement was a reformist social movement that tried to bridge the gap between the upper and middle class and poor immigrants living in urban areas.
“We have a lot of archives, photos and other items for each station,” said Pasquariello. “Each station will be set up like the interior and exterior of the buildings the Social Centers occupied during the given decade. There will also be a Living Legend at each station to talk a little about what life was like at the time in the neighborhood. They will also talk he role the Social Centers played during that time period. There will also be a little about what was going on nationally at the time and how those events impacted like here and shaped the mission of the Social Centers.”
Pasquariello said there will also be a future station where representatives will talk about the Social Centers future and needs moving forward.
Pasquariello added that the event will feature 14 of Eastie’s more prominent restaurants that will signify the diversity of the community both in the past and the present.
To help gear up for the event the Social Centers hired a historian, Kyle Ingrid Johnson, who spent the past year researching the Social Centers’ history and roots in the Settlement House movement but also collecting stories and testimonies from the community.
Pasquariello said the gala the will help to raise the profile of the EBSC and increase its ability to have a greater impact.
“Through this event, we will engage more opinion leaders, politicians–who already are so supportive of our work—philanthropists, and community members in the important mission and work of the Social Centers,” said Pasquariello. “That important work impacts nearly 600 people on a typical day through our work as a gathering space and our high-quality programs including vital early education, youth and teen programs, family engagement, and older adult programs. Our programs are in service of a vision of continuing to forge a joyful, connected community with thriving families. We are also actively working toward making East Boston a center for early childhood innovation.”
With the goal of raising $500,000 the Social Centers has already raised $300,000 towards the goal.
“We are still working on a fundraising goal,” said Pasquariello. “A lot of people, businesses and sponsors have stepped up. The proceeds will help us address a variety of needs. We have some major building needs and given that we impact 600 people on any given day we want to be able to provide a little more and this event will help us do this.”
Tickets to the event can be purchased by visiting www.ebsoc.org/100th-anniversary.