by Richard Campbell

South Boston Online stopped in on this past Tuesday to the Tierney Learning Center to see the summer programs in action, where the positive energy of the staff and students interacting revealed a sense of community pride. The Tierney Center is a shared space that provides developmental learning, lunch programs in cooperation with the Boston Public Schools, South Boston Head Start, ESL and math education, hands on Arts programs, as well as reading materials access provide by the Boston Public Library. In other words, there are a host of programs designed to get young students up to speed in learning and social skills. In addition, there are some small programs for adults and limited computer access in their computer lab. During the school year the Tierney Center partners with the BPS Perkins School, providing after school programs.

The third, fourth, and fifth graders in the summer program were busy learning, being instructed by Ms. Goodwin and Mrs. Hyppolite in ELA; Mrs. Wade and Mrs. Alert in mathematics. Monday through Friday the program is sponsored by Boston Beyond and the Boston Public Schools. The students were challenged with provoking questions about global warming, mathematics fundamentals, and being tutored in how to respond and work collaboratively in the classroom. Besides active leaning, students enjoy enrichment activities in the afternoon. As Debbie John, the Education Director, who graciously took time out of her busy day to explain the mission said, the center also provides enrichment activities- fun activities for the kids who spend the mornings in educational initiatives. The kids did their absolute best in between classes to show off their art work and activities, walking enthusiastically around the building, and posing during enrichment programs.

There was no shortage of creative art by the students displayed in the Tierney Learning Center building, as I did a walk through with Lauretta Brennan and Patricia Felix, support staff for the center, we came across the Art Room which showed off the colorful tie-dye T-shirt program as well as a host of art supplies, and working tables. There are permanent art installations from tiled art, to big fish wall art provided through a workshop with Medicine Wheel, and a series of smaller unique art displays throughout the hallways. The multi-purpose room which is the largest space in the center is a beautiful light filled high ceiling hall with flexible seating for learning or lunches. Many of the adult programs happen in this room, and community meetings as well, and it offers views of the center’s landscaping, including a well-tended rose garden, and the playground.

The Joseph Tierney Center’s namesake who lived from 1941 to 2009 grew up in Old Colony in the forties and fifties, attended Suffolk Law, served in the Boston City council, and was a well-known active member of the South Boston community. The Tierney Learning Center, an architecturally compact building designed as a community space, is located at 125 Mercer Street Boston, close to the housing communities it serves. These kids are truly lucky to have such cool spot to come and learn, with people who genuinely care about child and student development. The critical work of the instructors was evident throughout the tour. From the perspective of South Boston Online, initials for the center: TLC, seem to say it all. For more information about summer and school programs, visit their home page at: or see their Facebook page at: