The East Boston Social Centers held its annual meeting on Tuesday May 28, and presented awards to deserving staff, volunteers and community members. Four Awards are given annually, with a fifth inaugural award being presented this year.
The Community Spirit Award was presented to Thomas N. O’Brien, Founding Partner and Managing Director of the HYM Investment Group, LLC for his continued support of the East Boston Social Centers and the community of East Boston. Tom has been a great supporter of the East Boston Community in general, and the East Boston Social Centers in particular. Last year, for the Center’s 100th anniversary, Tom was one of the gala co-chairs, a major sponsor and also provided the amazing venue – Suffolk Downs – free of charge. Tom also has provided important strategic input, has partnered with us on thinking about marketing and communications, and more. For his many hours of service, philanthropy, and advice, we are very excited to present this award.
Some Past Recipients of this award have been: The East Boston Foundation, Steven Scire, Joseph Ruggiero, Jr., and Beatriz Contreras.
The Alice Casey Staff Recognition Award to the staff member who exemplifies the spirit of the East Boston Social Centers was presented to John Roch. John has been serving as Business Manager at the East Boston Social Centers since 2009. His meticulous attention to detail, close work with the Executive Director and the Board Finance Committee has resulted in excellent accounting of the agency’s financial standing. Thanks to John’s diligence, our agency gets a clean bill of health at every yearly audit. He also manages all space rental, is involved with various facilities work, and is our Director of HR. John is known here and beyond for his great sense of humor and his longstanding commitment to the community. He is humble in his work—and being the person who has to say no is no easy job.
Some Past Recipients of this award have been: Danisse Vega, Christopher Marroquin, Lorraine Clougherty, Samantha Castro Ventura, and Carmen Oliva.
The Joanne Fortunato Award in recognition of outstanding volunteer service to East Boston Social Centers was presented to Dawn Panos. Dawn has been a volunteer for almost two years at the East Boston Social Centers. She put together a very successful Friday English as a Second Language program. Although a volunteer program, Dawn has established a curriculum to learn the basics of the English language for beginners. In December 2018 Dawn held a graduation celebration, with over 20 students receiving their 1st certificate of completion, including three students with perfect attendance. Dawn has since expanded this to two sessions of the class, due to its wild popularity, and she is exploring launching a citizenship class here as well. She truly goes above and beyond.
Some Past Recipients of this award have been: Lisa Melara, Laura Mansfield, Malika El Hadeg, and Jeannine Beaudoin.
The Pat Rosa Award, presented in recognition of past Board Member Pat Rosa’s fundraising expertise, was presented to Salvatore La Mattina. Sal has been involved with the East Boston Social Centers from a very young age, and is a proud alumnus of the East Boston Camps in Westford. Sal and his family have always supported EBSC, never more so than for last year’s 100th anniversary gala. Sal served on the Host Committee and was instrumental in connecting with multiple sponsors who gave generously thanks to Sal’s recommendation. Sal was a thought partner on our award to Junior Lewis, and has given helpful advice on facilities and much more. He has done so much for this community—helping everyone to remember their Eastie pride. Some Past Recipients of this award have been: Delilah & Orlando Quispe Aguirre, and Johan Zavala.
This year the East Boston Social Centers Board of Directors presented the Inaugural John F. Kelly Award to its namesake, John F. Kelly. The award will be presented yearly in recognition of Leadership and Community Service to East Boston Social Centers and our Community. As Executive Director of the East Boston Social Centers from 1983 to 2017, John has been a legendary leader of the East Boston Social Centers and a true champion of the East Boston Community; he led for one third of our 100-year history! During his tenure at EBSC, John facilitated development and extensive expansion of childcare programs, was a founding member of the East Boston Collaboration for Families and Parent College; a founding member and past Vice President of Excel Academy Charter School; a former Co-Chair of the Coalition for a Healthy East Boston; and Past President of the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council. He is deeply committed to serving all—particularly the most vulnerable, with dignity and is much beloved in this community. He turned the organization around financially and left the organization in strong shape, having played a key role as a mentor and supporter in the lives of many.