Misbehavior by thugs and rowdy student parties make for lively discussion at the monthly Crime Committee meeting, which always draws a good crowd at Mission Church. This neighborhood hosts the longest continuously operating crime watch group in the city and the Boston, MBTA and college police departments and the Problem Properties Task Force are always on hand in significant numbers to respond to any and all neighborhood issues. I’ve observed every such group in Greater Boston and none is as fine or responsive as Mission Hill’s. Much of the credit goes to Mary Todd and David Welch, who’ve kept it going from the beginning, along with the fresh coffee and tasty Mike’s Donuts compliments of owner Maria Weinograd.
The few collegiate bad apples are vastly outnumbered by the throngs of students seen volunteering throughout the neighborhood as part of the community service programs at the various schools. Most of the academic institutions actively sponsor and encourage their young people to give back and participate. Running, tutoring, coaching, volunteering on worthy causes and cleaning up litter, these young people are making a positive impact on the community and folks appreciate that.
On Oct. 15 and 29, many schools will host service days, and the largest effort is coordinated by Andrew Olsen and Chris Geddes at Northeastern. Let’s pray for good weather on both those days, because Mayor Menino has decreed that 60,000 new daffodil and tulip bulbs will be planted citywide this month. Mission Hill will do its share to feature lots of blooms next spring.
Wentworth takes its service learning program very seriously and hosted classes, symposia and receptions featuring the nationally renowned scholar on community-based projects, University of Memphis Professor Ken Reardon, on Oct. 6. East St. Louis and New Orleans are the two largest urban renewal experiments performed by community and college volunteers in the country, and Dr. Reardon was a key player in both while at the University of Illinois and Cornell University. His enthusiasm and sense of humor was infectious and made converts to service learning efforts of a host of local college leaders. Joe Boston and Sandy Pascal are leading by example with their efforts at Wentworth.
On Sun., Oct. 23 at 3 p.m., the New World Chorale and Orchestra will be performing a free family-friendly concert in the Mission Church that is open to all. The 70-member chorus will be featuring a wide array of pieces with a full orchestra and organ featuring a mix of popular, classical, jazz, African rhythm and Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as a cappella numbers. This free concert is made possible by a grant from the Free For All Concert Fund.
Be sure to mark Nov. 16on your calendar for our first Savor the Flavor of Mission Hill event at the Mission Church. Our local restaurants are promising a great evening of dining to earn bragging rights as the best in the ’hood. The new shops like Lilly’s, Wok n Talk and The Crossing are laying down the challenge to the Mission, Penguin and Squealing Pig and a host of others to see whose entrees and desserts strike the fancy of our neighbors, the mayor and our elected officials.
Longtime residents of the Hill speak about the two longtime religious goods stores across from Mission Church. Did you know that there is a shop that sells Islamic religious items at the mosque at 100 Malcolm X Blvd. at Roxbury Crossing? Tomas, who grew up in Panama and now lives in the neighborhood, says that his customers at the Suq Market hail from every corner of the globe. In addition to all sorts of Islamic literature, apparel and DVDs, there is an extensive display of art, oils and spices as well as perfumes, sweets and imported food items. He said that business has naturally slowed down following the holy month of Ramadan, but the well-stocked and attractive market stays open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week.