North End Against Drugs (NEAD) held a family dinner/family talk on Monday, November 18 at the BCYF Nazzaro Center in the North End. The room was filled to capacity to hear our guest speaker, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.
The Commissioner spent the first half of the evening sitting amongst the attendees talking with parents and children. He colored and made crafts with the kids and took photos with them and their parents while everyone ate a delicious meal prepared by Mangia Mangia on Endicott Street.
NEAD holds a couple of these family dinners each year to get the neighborhood together to share a nice meal, have a conversation, and enjoy one another’s company. As dinner finished up and dessert was passed around, Commissioner Gross got up to speak to the group. The Commissioner spoke about his upbringing on a farm, what it was like to move to the city when he was around 11 years old, and how hard it was to fit in as the new kid in town.
Commissioner Gross spoke about the importance of family, a solid foundation, and trust. He stressed the importance of working together and having each others’ backs. Not only was his message powerful, he talked directly to each and every child, teenager, and parent in the room. He praised everyone for taking time out of their busy schedule to be there, to help to lay a strong foundation for their families and their neighborhood by attending this important event. He praised the community leaders for working with the families and the children and teenagers. He was especially happy to see so many teens in the room and he gave them great advice.
One thing is for sure, he did not lecture anyone. Commissioner Gross was sincere, kind, and caring toward each and every person in the room, no matter their age. He let everyone knowing they have a friend in him. He was extremely proud of his police officers and thanked them for their hard work!
The event was also the kick off for the North End Friends of St. Francis House winter hat and glove collection. Special thanks to NEAD Board Members John Pregmon, Ann Fitzgerald, Maria Lanza, Karen D’Amico, Mikey Giannasoli, Maria Michlewitz, Teddy Boyle, and Olivia Scimeca for their help, as well as Laura Melendez and Patricia Romano. Also thanks to the BCYF Nazzaro Center Executive Director and NEAD Board Member Steven Siciliano for hosting the event.