For the Press
Step on Board 2012
BOSTON, Mass. - On June 12, 2012, nearly 300 guests filled United South End Settlements’ (USES) Harriet Tubman House to celebrate the people and culture of Boston’s South End / Lower Roxbury neighborhood. Rep. Byron Rushing and Frieda Garcia were presented with the Harriet Tubman Community Achievement Award. Paulette Ford, longtime South End resident who fought tirelessly during the 1990s for the re-building of Camfield Estates with retention of affordable housing for its residents, was presented with the Harriet Tubman Community Activist Award.
Frieda Garcia spoke eloquently about her 20 years leading USES. “During my first board meeting as Executive Director, Ronald Reagan was being sworn into office, which proved to be the beginning of deep federal funding cuts for social service agencies like USES.” Garcia described how she faced these financial challenges head on by raising necessary funds from other sources. USES is facing a similar turn of events given the current political and economic climate. Now a participant in USES’ Senior Services Jazzercise Classes, Garcia asked her fellow participants to stand and be recognized at the event.
During her acceptance remarks, Paulette Ford attributed much of her success as a community activist to her close relationship with Larry Ellis, the first Executive Director of the Camfield Estates Tenants Association. Mr. Ellis passed away on May 20, 2012. Paulette received her award in memory of Mr. Ellis.
Throughout the evening, sounds from the Stan Strickland Group filled the air while ten of the South End’s finest restaurants provided scrumptious tastings from their menus. “The food is spectacular. There is so much variety and I simply do not have the capacity to try every dish offered,” said one guest. “I’m torn as I contemplate my final few choices for the evening.”' 'Hector Pina, owner of Merengue Restaurant in Roxbury, is about to open Vejigante Restaurant on West Dedham Street in the South End. “We are pleased to be here at Step on Board for the first time. My wife and I are excited as we make final plans to open Vejigante here in the South End. I have known and loved Frieda Garcia for many years. It was easy for me to accept the invitation to be here,” said Pina.
United South End Settlements has been helping at-risk people in the community since 1891 through a variety of placed-based programs and services for all ages. “I love this event,” said USES’ President & CEO, Kevin Hepner. “Sixty percent of the restaurants here tonight are minority-owned. The diversity at this celebration provides a snapshot of our community. Although the political and economic climate for nonprofits like USES is daunting, we are committed more than ever to sustaining and expanding our work with vulnerable people in this community.” During his closing remarks, Hepner encouraged guests to live their best lives by helping others in need.
The event exceeded its fundraising goal and yielded $154,000 from several sponsors, including George and Ann Macomber, M|C Partners, and Amos and Barbara Hostetter, among many others.
For more information about Step on Board and USES, visit www.uses.org.