On Wednesday, November 5th, the ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC), part of Action for Boston Community Development, Boston’s largest anti-poverty agency, celebrated Family Literacy Month and held an event to honor Helen Bender, Librarian, West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, and Susan Voloshin, Librarian, North End Branch of the Boston Public Library. They held a festive brunch, including pastries, sandwiches, and coffee, to mark the day. Students from their advanced English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class attended, along with their staff, volunteers, seniors, and other community members, were in attendance.
Their neighborhood service center provides educational and social services to the elderly, families, immigrants, and anyone in need. They run an ESOL program (funded by the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education/Adult and Community Learning Services) that serves students from 13 countries and spans three levels-beginning, intermediate, and advanced. As parents are the first teachers of their children, they wanted to continue with Governor Deval Patrick’s commemoration of November as Family Literacy Month, and to introduce the students and community members in attendance of all that the library has to offer.
Susan Voloshin of the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library has helped many ESOL students at the NE/WE NSC to obtain library cards and museum passes, and other resources for assistance. In addition, she has donated many books to their ESOL program. Many of their seniors use the library to peruse the Italian language collection. Susan is an active member of their community coalition for their ESOL program.
Helen Bender of the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library has been an enormous help to the NE/WE NSC. She donates the space at her library for the West End Food Pantry and has been doing so since 2009. Without her assistance, we would not have a food pantry, because to rent a space would cost more than our entire food budget. The pantry is a visible location and feeds over 100 persons in need a month. In addition, Helen has offered use of the library for workshops and is always a friendly face to anyone from the community who comes to check out a book or seek other assistance.
Maria Stella Gulla, Director, presented both Susan and Helen with a citation from the Senate Office and flowers.