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December 4, 2012

Awards to Walsh, Stanfield at Julie’s Banquet

By Rick Winterson

  Julie’s Family Learning Program holds its Annual Banquet (Florian Hall, Thursday, December 6) – raffles, silent auction, and a sumptuous dinner.  The evening will feature the inaugural “Community Angel” Awards to Program Director (CAN RUD) Kay Walsh and Rev. Burns Stanfield, Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church

  First to business:

  All of you are aware of the years of successful community work that have been performed by Julie’s Family Learning Program.  Briefly stated, hundreds of young mothers have learned job-oriented skills at Julie’s, which get them started on worthwhile career paths, while their youngsters experience the Montessori mode of schooling for children.

  Julie’s is named for St. Julie Billiart, who founded the order of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Namur, Belgium, in 1804, after she fled the cruelty of the French Revolution.  She’s commonly called “The Smiling Saint” because her always cheerful face is adorned by her trademark smile.  Since the mid-1800s, the Sisters of Notre Dame (SND) have performed countless community works in South Boston and all across America.

  Julie’s founders, Sr. Jean, SND, and Sr. Louise, SND, along with Julie’s Operations Manager, Bob Monahan, invite you to join them in Florian Hall (55 Hallet Street in Dorchester), on Thursday evening , December 6, at 6 p.m.  There’ll be dozens of raffle baskets, a silent auction, and a dinner that is really a banquet.  For ticket reservations, you can visit their website at www.juliesfamily.org or call Bob Monahan (617-269-6663, Ext. 11) or Jeanne Feltch (617-269-6663, Ext. 10).

  The high point of the evening will be the inaugural “Community Angel” Awards to Kay Walsh and Rev. Burns Stanfield.

  Kay Walsh

Kay Walsh is the Program Director of South Boston CAN Reduce Underage Drinking.  She has worked tirelessly on fostering a non-drinking climate within South Boston, especially among teenagers.  She has been active in setting up “family friendly” zones at the St. Patrick’s Day/Evacuation Day Parade, working on limiting the number of alcohol outlets in the neighborhood, and supporting all kinds of community activities dedicated to clean, sober living.

  Since 1970, when Kay became a Community Organizer in the Office for Children, her own life’s work has been community centered, except for a two-year stint in the First National Bank.  She has worked in Boston Against Drugs, a coalition of teams across Boston.  Her responsibilities have included social work in the Youth Service Providers Network, which intervenes in cases involving young first offenders or overdoses from illegal drugs.

  In recent years, Kay has been devoting herself to the problems generated by underage drinking.  She is the recipient of a federal grant given to the state’s Department of Public Health and the Boston Health Commission; she has an office in the Action Center.   This is often hard, thankless work, but even so, Kay says, “There’s a kind of human element in this community of South Boston – an element of consistent goodness.”

  Kay is also a professional storyteller, who trains others in that craft.  She values storytelling for its truth, compassion, and its ability to bring about change.  She speaks of how honored she feels to receive the “Community Angel” Award, and she is especially pleased to be honored at the same event as Burns Stanfield.

  Burns Stanfield

Burns is a versatile man.  He’s a family man – he and Lorraine have three children, Liz (18), Nathan (16), and Grace (14).  His musical talents are well known; they include extensive professional performing.  He’s a teacher.  He’s active in the community, now serving as the President of both the GBIO (Greater Boston Interfaith Organization) and the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation.

  But Burns states that he had felt the call to some kind of ministry ever since he was a young adult.  He comes from Iowa.  After attending Princeton, he spent a year in Appalachia in Hazard, Perry County, Kentucky.  The church was small, like a chapel – almost a mission church.  It involved both community and youth activities.  That convinced him even more strongly that his future was in some kind of ministry.  He enrolled in the Harvard Divinity School, and still teaches there, as well as at Andover Newton Seminary.

  Burns is a performer.  He spent some time as a “mime”, a kind of pantomime acting.  You probably know that he is an accomplished jazz musician on the piano and trumpet.  He travelled for two years in a professional jazz/rock group called “Scruffy the Cat” prior to his ordination.  But ministry was always his true vocation.

  He recalls first accepting the call to become Pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church.  He laughs and says, “When I came here, there was still chicken wire on the windows.”   When asked what he is proudest of, he immediately replies that it is “the community we are building” at the Fourth Presbyterian Church.  Note that Burns uses “we” because he thinks the progress has been a joint effort.  He also states that the community is still “building” – the work always goes on, as people from all walks of life become part of the overall South Boston community.

  As you can imagine, he is devoted to the musical shows that the Fourth’s youth group stages.  “These are moments I love”, as he puts it.  He says he’s humbled by receiving the “Community Angel” Award from Julie’s Family Learning Program – “We care about the same people; I truly respect their values.”     

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