For the past 15 years the Eastie’s Elves committee has picked one East Boston resident who has been an exemplary member of the community and presented them with the Albert ‘Junior’ Lombardi Elf of the Year award.
Whether the person has volunteered hours of time to the community or created programs that better the lives of residents, the yearly ‘Elf of the Year’ is a citizen that others should strive to emulate.
At the 15th Annual Eastie’s Elves last Friday at the Hyatt Boston Harbor Rep. Adrian Madaro, the late Junior Lombardi’s wife, Rita, and the Eastie’s Elves Committee presented Veronica Robles of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center in East Boston with this year’s Elf of the Year award.
“Veronica (Robles) has dedicated her career to improving the lives of Eastie residents of all cultures and backgrounds,” said Madaro. “Through music and the arts Veronica has become one of the most recognizable faces in our community. Her cultural center has become an oasis of cultural tolerance and understanding where all are welcome and all have a seat at the table of humanity. Over the years she has developed the philosophy in this community that the more we learn about each other the more we will learn to love and accept each other’s traditions, heritage and cultures. With such ignorant rhetoric coming out of Washington D.C. daily, Veronica has emerged as a shining light and beacon of hope for all of us that call Eastie home.”
Veronica Robles has tirelessly worked to bridge the gap between the various cultures that all call East Boston home.
Over the years, through her Cultural Center on McClellan Highway, Robles has become a regular fixture in Eastie and has emerged as a community leader that has broken down barriers between Eastie’s Latino population and non-Latino population through art, music, festivals and activism.
During any given week Robles is hard at work promoting harmony between cultures and has embraced residents seeking to learn more about not only her Mexican heritage, but also the cultures of various ethnic groups in the community.
An accomplished singer by trade, Robles expanded her love for not only her own heritage but also the love of all cultures at the Cultural Center. Through dance classes, music workshops, numerous celebratory festivals throughout the year, Robles has encouraged new comers and longtime residents alike to get involved in not only the exercise of sharing their life experiences and struggles, but to celebrate the rich diversity that has made Eastie a great place to live, work and do business.
A few summers ago. Robles launched a special celebration, ‘Dancing Elotes’ project, that has become a big hit with residents at the East Boston Farmers Market year after year.
The project included a bike-cart selling elotes, traditionally prepared corn served on the street in Mexico, as a literal and conceptual vehicle for cross-cultural culinary, dance and sculptural experiences at the Farmers Market.
Each week, shoppers at the Farmers Market were invited to help decorate a sculpture that became a symbol of peace and unity in the community.
With funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Creative City Program and from The Barr Foundation, Robles is also able to provide summer jobs for Eastie youth through the project. The youth are responsible for making, preparing and selling the corn at each Farmers Market.
“Each and every week of my life is full of lovely activities that enrich my life in several ways,” said Robles. “It’s impossible to share every single event or activity but right now I would like to publicly thank Adrian Madaro, our state representative and the Madaro Family Community Fund for the Honor to receive the “2018 Eastie Elf of the Year award” that reads “For your dedication and years of service to the East Boston community promoting culture, arts and social change”. I truly didn’t see this one coming and it was totally a surprise.”