Commentaries Community

From The Director’s Desk: Neighborhood Service Center’s Goals for 2018

Maria Stella Gulla, Director of ABCD North End / West End NSC

January letter from Maria Stella Gulla, Director of ABCD North End / West End Neighborhood Service Center.

It’s a wrap! As the books close on another holiday season and year, the ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) wanted to gratefully acknowledge the local community-based organizations, our elected officials, and members of our community for their support throughout the year that have allowed us to deliver educational and social services for the seniors and families that we serve in the North End, West End, Beacon Hill, and Greater Boston neighborhoods. We could not have done it without you!

Readers like you are invested both in the North End, West End, and Beacon Hill neighborhoods, and it is during this time of year, with the extreme cold and short days, that our clients especially comment how fortunate they are to have our center as a resource located in the heart of the North End. The NE/WE NSC is not just a place for human and educational services, but also a second home for many, where they can find professional assistance, caring, and a warm, cozy place to visit and socialize with their peers, our staff, and volunteers. Remember that the NE/WE NSC is listed as an emergency heating and cooling center at the City of Boston.

All services are free and will continue to be so thanks to the leadership of ABCD, John Drew CEO, and Sharon Scott-Chandler, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer (COO) and funding support from the government, foundations, corporations, and individuals, too numerous to list here! As a satellite of ABCD, the center prides itself on offering free meals, bags of food, translation services, case management, exercise classes, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, computer classes, and much more to a diverse client base that includes not only seniors but immigrants who work in the North End and who balance learning English with their other professional and personal goals.

2018 is already a few weeks’ old, and I would be remiss if I did not sure the center’s strategic plan for the new year. By that, we see four goals as part of this plan:

Goal #1 – Expand public awareness of the NE/WE NSC’s programs and services

This we will continue to accomplish through flyers, calendars, senior surveys, and the monthly newsletter. In addition, Kate Matthews, West End Project Coordinator, weekly attends coffee hours at the Amy Lowell Apartments, Blackstone Apartments, and West End Place, to promote the center’s services to the West End neighborhood. We welcome your feedback and ideas to stay connected. Be sure to check out ABCD’s new website at Tell us what you think!

Goal #2 – Develop programs and services in response to seniors’ needs

With grant funding from the Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, the center has launched a weekly nine-passenger shuttle transporting seniors on an alternating basis from the Amy Lowell Apartments and Blackstone Apartments to and from the NE/WE NSC. At the NE/WE NSC, clients can receive case management; socialize; and stay for the weekly Friday congregate meal. The pick up time in the West End is at 11:45AM and departure time from the North End/West End NSC is 1:45PM to return by 2:00PM. The shuttle is slated to run November 2017-September 2018, with potential to renew, based on ridership and availability of grant funds. The NE/WE NSC is also entering into talks with Marquis Health, the new operators of the Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center North End, about collaborative opportunities, as many neighborhood seniors and their families rely on both organizations for services.

Goal #3 – Strengthen organization through staff professional development and volunteer recruitment and training

Both in-house and externally, staff and volunteers participate in trainings and workshops on food safety, senior aging issues, non-profit management, data tracking, and more. The NE/WE NSC regularly is looking for volunteers, especially for the food program. Highlighted in this month’s newsletter is a posting for a kitchen assistant. Feel free to spread the word! Volunteers are “one of the NE/WE NSC family” and we all enjoy socializing and eating with the seniors.

Goal #4 – Build upon financial foundation for existing and new programs and initiatives

The NE/WE NSC will continue to expand annual appeals such as the Winter Emergency Campaign (WEC) and our annual hunger appeal. We also are actively seeking folks to form the Buona Sera Fundraising Committee, for our Eighth Annual Buona Sera: An Evening with Friends Fundraiser, which is slated to take place on October 4, 2018. For those not familiar with the event, the concept is a meet-and-greet wine reception at WilmerHale, 60 State Street, 26th Floor, followed by dinner with a celebrity at one of a dozen participating North End/ Waterfront restaurants. For more information, contact Johannah Malone, Fundraising Specialist, at 617-281-7975 or at

I close with again my profound thanks to all who support the valuable work of the NE/WE NSC throughout the year. Our work is just beginning for 2018 to reduce and eliminate poverty in our neighborhoods. As always, with any questions or if you would just like to say hello, you can reach me at 617-523-8125, Ext. 201, or via email at!

On behalf of our Advisory Board, staff, volunteers, seniors, and families, Felice Anno Nuovo! We wish you good health, joy, peace, and prosperity in 2018! Until next month!

Maria Stella Gulla, Director
ABCD North End / West End Neighborhood Service Center

ABCD’s mission is to empower disadvantaged people by providing them with the tools to overcome poverty, live with dignity, and achieve their full potential. The North End / West End NSC offers a wide-range services to our community. To learn more, read the January 2018 Newsletter ABCD North End West End NSC.