Capitalizing on its widely successful 100th Anniversary celebration last year, the East Boston Social Centers will host a ‘Family Reunion’ celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the ICA Watershed at the East Boston Shipyard, from 6 to 10 p.m.
The Social Centers 100th Anniversary sparked a renewed interest in the important Eastie institution that has been a mainstay in the community since the turn of the last century.
“The one thing we kept hearing at last year’s celebration is that it felt like a family reunion,” said Social Centers Executive Director Justin Pasquariello. “So that really helped us pick a theme for this year’s celebration”.
After the success of the 100th anniversary, Pasquariello said that the Social Centers hopes to have a major fundraising event each year to bring the agency’s extended family that have either stayed in Eastie or moved away together to celebrate the Social Centers past and future.
“This will be the first annual Family Reunion and we’ll see if we can make this our signature event,” said Pasquariello. “It will be a similar structure as the 100th Anniversary that was held at Suffolk Downs. There will be food stations highlighting the diverse food we have here in East Boston at our local restaurants.”
Pasquariello said there will also be family and reunion-themed activities, an inspiring program and entertainment from East Boston’s legendary Smokin’ Joe Cheffro.
The event will also honor three longtime Social Centers supporters. At next Wednesday’s event the Social Centers will pay homage to longtime community activist Fran Riley, Luis Marin who grew up Social Centers programs and still volunteers on Fridays at the agency as well as R. Robert Popeo, Chairman of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Pasquariello also said the event will also give the Social Centers the opportunity to highlight the center’s strategic plan for the future.
“We just finished our strategic plan so we will brief the community on this,” said Pasquariello. “This will include a short video on the future of early childhood development in East Boston.”
Aside from raising money for the Social Centers core programs money raised will also go towards some facilities upgrades and improvements as well as the plan to move three facilities that serve over half of the families to new locations within the next year.
“We also want to be able to start paying our teachers better for the work that do and be model for this in the state,” said Pasquariello. “So we want to build up a base to be in the porisition to pay people better in the long term.”
Another plan is to form some innovative partnerships with other education nonprofits with the goal of having all kids in Eastie enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive.
“Right now our estimate is that about 60 percent of kids are entering kindergarten ready to learn and we want to work with the community and other partners to get that 100 percent,” said Pasquariello. “I think we do a good job and other providers in the neighborhood do a good job but we want to be able to support kids across the community regardless of where they are doing early education.”
Pasquariello also thanked the event’s co-chairs Thomas N. O’Brien, Founding Partner and Managing Director of HYM Investment Group, LLC; Elizabeth B. Burnett, Partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.; and Jeffrey S. Robbins, Partner at Saul, Ewing, Arnstein, & Lehr for their work on the event.
For more information please see the East Boston Social Centers Website: https://www.ebsoc.org/new-events/eastiefamilyreunion or call Marisa at 617-569-3221 x 107.