The consensus in East Boston has always been that more, not less, programs for youth are better for the community and families.
With one of the highest concentrations of children and teens in the city, Eastie has always called for more summer, daycare and after-school programs.
Like the East Boston Social Centers and East Boston YMCA the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) is doing its part to ensure kids have a place to go during the summer months.
In its 17th year, NOAH’s free drop-in program at the O’Donnell School, which runs Monday through Friday for seven weeks during July and August, has been a tremendous success, and so far has served more than 200 Eastie children ages 5-12.
On Thursday, NOAH and the O’Donnell summer program staffers held a ceremony to thank the numerous businesses and individuals who have provided financial support this year.
Donors to date have included the Major ‘Hero’ Sponsor, Tony’s Realty and Accounting Management Solutions, Ralph Autilio, Balloon City, Boston Forging & Welding Corp., Christopher Burrell, Cathy’s Market, Century 21-Mario Real Estate, Danilchuk Auto Body, Fashion Windows Hardware & Paint, George’s Auto Body, Rose Fiore in honor of Carmella and Benito Fiore, Flansburgh Associates, Earl & Louise Flansburgh, Independent Realty Management, Kelley Square Pub, Logan Stamp Works, Mousaad Z. Mousaad, Eleanor Mandell, Max Belcher, ReMax Realty-International Realty Group, Spinelli’s Bakery, Spotless Cleaners, Taco Mania and Vilma’s Boutique.
At the program, kids enjoy diverse activities – including soccer, basketball, kickball, volleyball, jumping rope, and dozens of different arts and crafts projects and board games.
In addition, there are often special guests. An educator from EarthWorks, an environmental awareness organization, comes each week to lead gardening activities in the school’s own vegetable and flower garden. Other visitors throughout the summer include a Boston firefighter, who discusses fire safety; a friendly and enthusiastic officer from the East Boston Police Station; and a visitor from the Museum of Science, who talks about animal invaders.
Also, a multicultural family fun fest was held in July, featuring international cuisine, music and entertainment.