By Debbie Rambo
It's that time of year again -- the time when we gather together with our supporters to celebrate the work of Catholic Charities and share the successes of so many of the clients we serve across Eastern Massachusetts -- while also thanking those who help us achieve our mission of building a just and compassionate society rooted in the dignity of all people.
This year, Catholic Charities Laboure Center honored IBEW Local 103, represented by their business manager, Michael Monahan at its 32nd Annual Spring Benefit. As a member of the Laboure Center Advisory Board, Michael has helped us to think about "greening" our building in ways that are environmentally friendly and efficient, and is an advocate for the children and families served so well at the Laboure Center. Dan Flynn, auctioneer extraordinaire, shared his talents (and great stories) as we raised funds for Laboure Center programs. Boston's mayor Marty Walsh was in attendance, and a private, hour-long walk around Castle Island with the mayor was one of the evening's most popular auction items.
Catholic Charities North presented Father Louis Bourgeois, Father George J. Dufour, posthumously, and St. Anne Parish, Salem with the Catholic Charities North Mutual Partnership Award, in appreciation for their friendship and mutual service to the families and communities served by Catholic Charities North. For nearly two decades, St. Anne's has generously provided much needed space that becomes our "Christmas Giving Distribution Center," allowing Catholic Charities staff and volunteers to collect and organize Christmas gifts for the children served in our programs. The generous contributions of toys and the clothing have brightened Christmas morning for thousands of children throughout the region.
Susan Wornick will be honored on May 21, 2014 by Catholic Charities South when she will receive the Peggy Simons Care and Compassion award in recognition of her extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of those living in greater Boston and beyond. Susan, who retired after 34 years from WCVB in February, is proud of the fact that she had more longevity than any local anchorwoman in the country. In addition to being the anchor of WCVB-TV's midday newscast since February 1989, Susan was a member of Team 5 Investigates, WCVB's investigative unit. She has also served as NewsCenter 5's consumer reporter and as a general assignment reporter. Susan continues to be a champion in the community for many non-profit organizations, including Catholic Charities South.
As we do each year, Catholic Charities presents our Justice and Compassion Award -- an award that recognizes someone who embodies the values of charity, compassion and service to those in need -- at our Spring Celebration. This year, we are delighted to present John E. Drew with the Catholic Charities Justice and Compassion Award. It is Bostonians like John Drew who believe in the potential of Boston and our region that inspire us. During his time with the City of Boston, Drew broadened the city's socioeconomic footprint with his "Boston Plan." As founder and president of Drew Company, John pioneered the development of Boston's revitalized Seaport District where he led as partner and developer of the World Trade Center Boston and Seaport Hotel. John accomplished all of this, while maintaining his commitment to Boston's residents through his lifelong involvement with nonprofit organizations.
Our keynote speaker for the evening, the 2014 Boston Marathon men's winner Meb Keflezighi, serves as a reminder of the importance of our work with refugees and immigrants who we welcome to our communities -- each newcomer holds the possibility and hope for great things when they become Americans.
We close the Catholic Charities spring event season as The Friends of Sunset Point Camp host the annual "Reach for the Stars Clambake" on Saturday, June 14, rain or shine. This is a great opportunity to enjoy an evening with friends while supporting Catholic Charities and its efforts to provide children the gift of a unique summer camp experience. Thanks to a transformational gift from a private donor, this year, we will be welcoming guests (and campers) to our newly renovated Sunset Point Camp located in Hull.
The camp serves as a dream "vacation" for 400 children each summer where our goal has always been to provide children from low-income neighborhoods throughout the Greater Boston area, without regard for their race, nationality, or religious affiliation, a week away from home and the difficulties they endure. For information or tickets to the Clambake, and to learn more about all the wonderful spring events in support of Catholic Charities, visit our website at www.ccab.org.
Deborah Kincade Rambo is president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston.