By Ellen Walker
Special to the Gazette
Mission Hill Main Streets has been busy this past month as it is that time of year when we dust off the winter doldrums and freshen up for the spring! Cleaner streets, new faces and updates on happenings “on the hill” are all here for you to enjoy.
Throughout the neighborhood, MHMS has placed over a dozen planters and it makes Mission Hill look and feel like spring. This could not have been accomplished without the efforts of both Northeastern University Fraternity Gamma Beta Epsilon, Chorlette O’Neill, MHMS Board member and John Coppola of Circle Properties, who sponsored this project. Circle Properties has supported Mission Hill Main Streets in this effort for a number of years of now and many residents have approached me to say how much it means to them to see the flowers in Mission Hill every spring. John thank you for your community spirit and your generosity to Mission Hill. In addition, there were 28 NEU Orientation volunteers who cleaned up the streets on May 21. They split into four separate groups who swept, raked and picked up trash from South Huntington to Brigham Circle and all the way down Tremont Street to Roxbury Crossing. They had a good day to work as the sun was out and the temperature was mild. A big thank you from all of us to all of you!
Many of you met the “Eyes and Ears” of the Mayor’s office, Yiselle Guerrero. She was frequently in the Mission Hill area with or for the Mayor but has now moved on to intergovernmental relations. We wish her well and welcome Shanice Pimental to Mission Hill. Shanice has been named the new neighborhood liaison for Back Bay, Beach Hill, Fenway and Mission Hill. She was as primary contact for constituents and business in their dealings with City Hall and will facilitate the delivery of city services. A Boston native, Shanice attend Roxbury Prep Charter School, Phillips Andover and UMass Amherst. Welcome Shanice!
Recently, I was talking with some neighbors about Mission Hill’s Boston Brakers Wheelchair Soccer team and their games over the past few months. The Game of Thrones has nothing over these team-players! The Boston Brakers formed during the summer of 2012 following an event hosted by the United States Power Soccer Association. Since then they have grown as a team and have received favorable publicity on television, newspapers, and online media. The team is made up of men and women, mostly from the Boston area and whose ages range from 30 to 60 years old but we’re open to others. Members of the team include those with spinal cord injuries, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, as well as other conditions that limit strength and mobility. Power wheelchair soccer is competitive sport played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court, with two teams of four players who attack, defend, and kick a soccer ball in a manner similar to regulation soccer. They were in Detroit earlier in May and came back to Boston to play a full schedule.
The Boston Brakers are a program of Boston Self Help Center and assisted by grants and support from the Mission Hill & Fenway Trust, BCYF Tobin Community Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and individual donors.
One lovely spring day that turned sunny and quite windy, I walked through the neighborhood to The Squealing Pig on Smith Street. It was a perfect day to sample their delightful smoked fish chowder. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may want to. Hot, satisfying and served with two pieces of flavorful, toasted bread with butter for dipping into their chowder. Excellent and very satisfying!
Memorial Day is a day to honor those that gave their lives in the service to their country and to celebrate the freedoms that we all enjoy. Memorial Day services took place all over the city including Veterans Memorial Park where families and patriots go to commemorate those who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Boston Common planted the Garden of Flags, with help from volunteers, to create a sight that is both stunning and solemn with 37,000 flags placed in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for all the Massachusetts GIs killed in all our wars from the Revolution until today.
At their May meeting, the Community Alliance of Mission Hill recognized Chad Rosner for his efforts over the years as President of the organization. As you know, CAMH is platform for the people of mission hill to represent their opinions and vision of the neighborhood. Gary Wallings, the new President of CAMH and member of the Mission Hill Main Streets Board, presented Chad with a gift on behalf of the CAMH Board and spoke very warmly of Chad’s service, the respect the organization has for him and stated they were glad he chose to remain on the board.
On May 22, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission Grammar School held their 130-year gala! What an achievement. There were great performances by Mission Scholars who sang and performed You are My Sunshine and Over the Rainbow. The Kevin Fitzgerald Alumnus of the Year Award was given to Reverend John Collins, C.Ss.R. and the Mary Leydon Commitment to Education Award was given to Patricia Fitzgerald. There were standing ovations for the Mission Scholars and both award recipients. A truly moving and inspired event!
Prior to the gala, I had an opportunity visit the grammar school and speak with a few of the teachers. Donna in the office was very helpful and spoke highly of the school. Her children graduated from their and one of them is now Lead Teacher for Infants. Sarah, who works with infants, enjoys the collaboration between the staff and the unexpected things that the children can say. Recently, on a warm day when she was finally able to put on sandals instead of boots, while all were sitting in a circle, one child declared “Miss Sarah has toes!” Yaya, who works with toddlers and has been with the school for four years, said it is amazing to work with this age group. The children come in not walking or talking and they leave, and in six months they are speaking full sentences and walking. What a transformation! The staff spoke about the great relationships that are built with the parents as well and how important that is. Thank you to Amanda for taking me around the school. If you check our Facebook page you will see some of the beautifully created, artful doors in the school that make everyone smile as they seem them.
Enjoy the good weather and your neighborhood – there are Yoga Classes at The Parker Hill Branch Library on Saturday’s for adults ages 55 and older. Wear clothes that you can move in comfortably. Yoga mats and props will be provided. All experience levels are welcome. (This program is made possible by the Mission Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Trust and the New England Baptist Hospital.) You will also find Tai Chi Classes at the Kevin Fitzgerald Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 – 7 p.m. through Sept. 5. All skill levels and everyone is welcome.