By Ginger DeShaney
For Women’s History Month, the Condon Community Center Girls Group honored inspiring local women for their contributions.
The girls created a bulletin board “celebrating women who embrace our community.”
“It’s people within the community,” said Girls Group member and Condon CC school year staffer Keara Wilbanks, a student at Boston Latin School. “When you hear Women’s History Month, you think of celebrities. But these are not celebrities. They are more relatable.”
They are the faces we see in the community, women who live here, women who give back.
“They are not celebrities,” agreed Barbara Caputo Kelly, Program Supervisor, BCYF Condon Community Center, “but they are celebrities to us.”
Debra Flaherty, Condon CC staff assistant, said it was important for the girls to identify women who directly impacted the Condon Community Center.
Mya Lobo, a student at Boston Green Academy, said the honorees “make a big impact because they help us and the community.”
According to Barbara, this is the first time the Condon Girls Group has created such a display. They started by looking back over the last year or so to see who has been involved with the community center.
The honorees range from Condon Community Center Council members, business leaders, volunteers, artists, police officers, and more, Debra said.
The women selected for the bulletin board are always ready to give back to the Condon Community Center. “Everyone has been hands-on down here,” Barbara said. “These women always reach out to check on us.”
The inspiring women honored on the bulletin board are:
- Haley Dillon, South Boston Liaison for Mayor Marty Walsh
- Lana Gayle, BCYF Youth Worker, Hyde Park Community Center
- Kelly O’Shea, Coldwell Banker Realty, Condon Community Center Member and Volunteer
- Nora Baston, Superintendent BPD Bureau of Community Engagement
- Cherie Cope, BCYF Regional Manager, Retired, Condon CC Mentor
- Emily Soukas, Senior Manager, Activations & Brand Partnership, WS Development
- Isabel Alicea, Condon CC Council Member, Condon Volunteer
- Erika Butler, Coordinator of Girls Citywide Outreach & Leadership Initiatives
- Erica Hagler, Principal Artist, Blind Fox Art, Condon CC Benefactor
- Ayesha Lawton, BPD Community Service Officer, C-6, Condon Volunteer
- Allison Baker, BGCB Senior Program Leader, Condon Volunteer
- Lucretia Triplett, Condon School Operations Coordinator, Wonder Woman
- Christina Demard, CCC Summer Staff, Boston Latin Academy graduate
- Olga Markos, Owner of Olga’s Kafe, Condon Benefactor
Also honored but not pictured on the bulletin board:
- Margaret Lynch, Director of Marketing & Development, South Boston Health Center
- Jeanne Rooney, Publisher of South Boston Online
- Cathe Walsh, Owner of Deja Brew
Isabel said she was surprised to find out she’d be featured on the board: “It’s an honor to be up there.”
Her display reads: “One of my favorite places to be is the Condon Community Center. It’s always filled with people helping, bonding; a true sense of community in action. The positivity of the Condon CC effectively provides a respite for our youth from all of the negative influences present in today’s society.”
The display of influential women is important, Ayesha said. “I spend most of my time at the Community Center. The Community Center introduced me to a lot of people in the community I might not have met.
“It did make my day,” Ayesha said of the honor, noting it’s nice to be viewed as a role model.
“As the youth officer in South Boston, I’ve had the pleasure to assist and be a part of several events and projects at the Condon CC,” Ayesha’s display reads. “I look forward to these events because I find that I learn so much from the young people. It has been amazing creating longstanding relationships with families I’ve met while also helping to be supportive through these recent times.”
According to honoree Christina’s display, “The Condon Community Center is a safeguard for me. It truly is a family-based environment. Day to day, I come in to see familiar faces that encourage me to be the best I can be.”
“Christina is what we aspire to,” said Debra, noting Christina, who is studying nursing at Simmons, started as a Condon CC member and elevated her way up. “She lived and breathed the Condon and she comes back to be a mentor.”
The Condon Girls Group will be hosting a series of women speakers, including many of the featured honorees.
“Girls Group is about giving back to the community,” Barbara said, noting the many school year staffers are also members of Girls Group.
The girls help out throughout the community center, from assisting with basketball, working in the reception area, and helping with seniors citizens. The girls helped with COVID-19 testing at the Condon, greeting people on the plaza, cleaning, and sanitizing. They have also done a clothing drive.
“It’s a great group of girls,” Barbara said, noting about 30 girls, ages 7 and up, are involved. “We are really proud of our girls. They are very nice young ladies; they are doing great in school.”
The Girls Group has allowed Lazhia Lobo (Boston Green Academy) to “open up more. We all live here. We’re helping the community and helping others.”
Mya likes meeting new people and forming new relationships. Keara enjoys “the strong sense of community.”
And Mackenzie Nee, a school year staffer and Boston Latin Academy student, is happy she gets to “build connections with women you aspire to be like.”
The bulletin board, which is located in the Condon’s main lobby, is well-received by the school, as well, Debra said. “It’s inspirational to them, too.”