Since May, Erin LaMonica has been employed as the Community Initiatives Coordinator by the South Boston Neighborhood House (the SBNH) on H Street. Erin’s position is funded with a three-year grant to the SBANP (South Boston Association of Non-Profits) from a Tufts Medical program, which is specifically named “The Tufts Community Benefits and Health Equity Project”. In her capacity as Coordinator, she reports directly to Kathy Lafferty, the SBNH’s Executive Director. Erin has learned a lot in her six months here. Nowadays, she frequently refers to the SBNH as the “Ollie”, an affectionate nickname derived from Olivia James, the SBNH’s Founder.
As the Community Initiative Coordinator, Erin has responsibilities that involve many of the “Ollie’s” and SBANP’s community-driven initiatives. In a neighborhood as active as South Boston, this requires solid education credentials and much practical experience, both of which Erin certainly brings to the job.
She earned her B.A. degree in Policy Studies at Syracuse University, along with minors in Business Management and Philosophy. Ten years later, she undertook graduate studies at Merrimack College, receiving a Master of Education degree in Community Engagement, with concentrations in University, Institutional, and Governmental Relations. Her studies basically focused on social justice and community activism.
For four years after she received her undergraduate degree at Syracuse, Erin worked in Manchester, New Hampshire. At Catholic Charities with Americorps VISTA, she recruited program candidates and eventually rose to a VISTA Lead role. Then, as the Coordinator of Volunteers at the New Hampshire Food Bank, she recruited, trained, and supervised volunteers, while also conducting fundraisers and tours of the Food Bank’s Manchester facility.
In 2015, Erin became the Senior Manager of Community Engagement for the Greater Boston Food Bank – commonly known as the “GBFB”. She worked on community engagement with some 22,000 volunteers each year, in support of distribution efforts at New England’s largest hunger relief agency. She was a member of GBFB’s digital transformation team and supervised daily warehouse operations aimed at safe food handling. And in addition to her Masters’ studies at Merrimack College, she was appointed as a Graduate Fellow serving as a key high school contact, a program coordinator, and a developer of special events.
Erin is originally from Frederick, a small, historic city in the middle of Maryland. She is married to Marc LaMonica, who was born and raised in South Boston and is now an Instructor at Local 17 Sheet Metal Workers’ Junior Apprentice Training Center. They live in the Bayside neighborhood just east of the High School. When asked what interests she and Marc share, she quickly replied in just one word, “Hockey!”
Since joining SBNH in May of this year, Erin’s responsibilities have been three-fold:
First, Erin helps oversee classes entitled “Celebrating Families” in the Laboure Center. These feature professional lectures, along with actual stories from the attending family members themselves and from their children. “Celebrating Families” is focused upon “Recovery”.
Second, she administers support groups and their sessions, partnering with Rev. Burns Stanfield in his “Peace by Piece” program at South Boston’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. We’ve heard this program plans to eventually expand into rooms on O’Connor Way in the Mary Ellen McCormick Development.
Finally, Erin also administers a Professional Development Workshop on trauma-informed care.
To summarize, Erin’s goal is “Behavioral health support for children on up to adulthood, along with their families.” She is totally delighted at being able to live and work in South Boston. And she is devoted to the “Ollie” one hundred percent (100%)!