John Romano is stepping down as President of North End Against Drugs (NEAD), an organization he helped start 23 years ago. Known around the North End simply as “JR,” he has decided to spend more time with his family and other community interests.

NEAD on the Prado, Summer 2012 – From the left, standing, Debra Decristoforo, Al Vilar, Officer Teddy Boyle, Treas. Steve Grossman, NEAD President John Romano. Sitting are Karen D’Amico (left) and Olivia Scimeca.

A native North Ender, Romano has established a strong record of leadership in the neighborhood. He took charge of NEAD in 2010 upon the passing of former NEAD President, “Bobby D” DeCristoforo. He also serves as the baseball and soccer coordinator for the North End Athletic Association (NEAA). Previously, he chaired the Board of Directors for the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC). Professionally, he is a┬áMunicipal Liaison with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The NEAD Board of Directors has elected longtime member, Debra DeCristoforo, to be the new President. The Fleet Street resident is also the sister of the late founding member, “Bobby D” DeCristoforo. Other NEAD officers include Vice President, Rosina Fabbo, Treasurer Karen D’Amico and Secretary Kathy Carangelo. Two new NEAD Board members were also elected, Stephen Passacantilli and Maria Puopolo.

The purpose of North End Against Drugs, Inc. (NEAD) is to promote a drug and alcohol free environment to the North End/Waterfront community by providing educational, recreational, cultural and other positive activities, programs and opportunities for neighborhood youth and their families. NEAD is a grass roots volunteer association of concerned agencies, businesses and citizens who collaborate to address the issues of drug and alcohol abuse in the North End/ Waterfront community. NEAD is a Massachusetts registered 501 (3) c non- profit organization.

In 1988, North End Against Drugs (NEAD) was created as part of a city-wide Boston Against Drugs campaign. NEAD is one of the few surviving chapters of this group. NEAD has developed over the years into a group that is dedicated to providing activities for kids within the North End community. NEAD helps to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. NEAD believes that family is the most important part in keeping a kid out of trouble and over the years they have created family-friendly events to encourage and promote family interaction.

Over the years, NEAD has provided kids and their families the opportunity to take trips and attend events that are not always readily available to them. Groups from NEAD have gone to Red Sox games, Celtics games, Disney on Ice, New York City and skiing. In addition to these trips, NEAD established a scholarship program several years ago to help ease the cost of education for local families.

NEAD’s signature event is North End Family Pride Week held each summer in the first week of August.

To start of 2013, NEAD is sponsoring a Family Dinner / Talk on January 7th and a Candlelight Vigil to remember the Newtown shooting victims on January 5th. NEAD meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 5:30pm at Nazzaro Community Center, 30 North Bennet Street.

For more information on NEAD, see www.NEADBoston.com.

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