The South Boston Collaborative Center, located where the Washington Village Branch Library once was at 1226A Columbia Road, is a pillar of South Boston. Briefly stated, the Collaborative lends a hand – both professionally and compassionately – to anyone in the throes of an addiction, whether it’s from drugs, alcohol, prescription medicines, or any other form of substance abuse. What’s most important of all, the Collaborative renders its services confidentially and anonymously.
The Collaborative was founded almost 20 years ago, in 1997. This was in response to an epidemic of teen suicides related to drug abuse at that time. And the Collaborative was successful. But to succeed, an effort like the Collaborative needs the work and support of many community members. Every year, the Collaborative recognizes two of these devoted community people with the Jack Leary “Compassionate Warrior” Award and the Joe Walsh “Community Service” Award.
This year’s award evening will be held in a new venue – Marine Park at the end of East Broadway, in the area around the bandstand (sometimes called Farragut Park). The free event is Thursday, June 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. And of course, there’ll be a stunning sunset to glorify the occasion.
A major feature of these evenings in years past has been their raffles. This year is no exception. Three quartets of Red Sox tickets – yes, that’s three sets of four, a total of 12 – will be the three prizes in a $10 raffle. These seats are located in the State Street Pavilion; dinner and parking is included. The three games are June 15 (Baltimore), July 26 (Detroit), and Aug. 31 (Tampa Bay). Now, you just can’t beat that with a stick.
The high point of the evening on June 9 will be the brief awards program.
Cathe Walsh will receive the Jack Leary “Compassionate Warrior” Award for her many years of support of the Collaborative. She regularly provides refreshments from her business, Cranberry Café at 704 East Broadway. She has been a member of the Collaborative’s Board for 17 years, and has served as its treasurer for the last seven years. Walsh refers to the Collaborative as “incredibly necessary” – a statement that is certainly confirmed by the recent history of opioid abuse in South Boston. In her own words, she volunteered for the Collaborative so she would know where to go, if one of her friends or family members ever needed help.
The 2016 Joe Walsh “Community Service” Award will be conferred on Joan Lynch. She was born in Dorchester, grew up in Pembroke, and now lives here. For almost 20 years, Joanie (in recovery herself) has been active in the recovery community. She worked in a Laboure program for families of addicts, started by Sr. Maryadele and affectionately nicknamed the Jack Leary Program; she has also worked with Kay Walsh at the Action Center. Perhaps most indicative of her dedication to others is her fundraising for the defeat of metastatic breast cancer, which she is under treatment for herself. She talks about how everyone else is helping her, not what she has done.
That’s the story of the South Boston Collaborative Center’s Awards Night – 6 p.m. Thursday evening, June 9, in Marine Park by the bandstand. It’s free. See you there.