Celebrating the Honorees of the 2019 Community Advocacy Awards

By Ranelle Porter,

By Michael Givens | December 19, 2019 | 5 Minute Read

Eastern Bank has a powerful legacy of community advocacy across New England. Our dedication to supporting communities of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ population, and low-income families have helped us to stand out as a social justice leader. Our annual Community Advocacy Awards ceremony is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and honor the local leaders who are also making a difference across New England.

This year, Eastern Bank will honor those who have made great contributions to one of the most important parts of our communities: early childhood education. Throughout October, November, and December, Eastern Bank will present awards to a diverse group of individuals who have devoted themselves to ensuring that all children have access to quality education.

December 12th: Marolí Licardié

Marolí Licardié has served as the executive director of Family & Children’s Service of Greater Lynn since 2006. The organization provides resources for families such as home visits, emergency financial assistance, and parental education programs. Licardié has devoted herself to increasing the services offered by the organization, strengthening partnerships, and serving more families.

She was the executive director for the division of Family Services and Community Health at the Latin American Health Institute in Boston for 13 years and a developmental educator at Dimock Community Health Center for more than eight years. She holds a B.A. in Human Communication and Special Education from Morelos State University in Mexico and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Tufts University. Learn more about why Marolí Licardié is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

November 22nd: Jon Firger

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Jon Firger at Boston Marriott Newton.

Jon Firger has been the executive director of Family ACCESS in Newton, Massachusetts since 2010. The organization provides early education and literacy services, abuse prevention programs, counseling, and parental support. Serving 5,200 parents and children in the Greater Boston area, Family ACCESS has grown substantially under Figer’s leadership.

He has led the organization through a re-branding process, a building renovation, and the addition of new classrooms and services. With 78 staff members and more than 80 volunteers, nearly 80 percent of the families the organization serves are from young families and immigrant communities. Read more about why Jon Firger is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

November 7th: Zelma Khadar and Lucas Skorczeski, Acre Family Child Care

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Zelma Khadar and Lucas Skorczeski at Lenzi’s.

Zelma Khadar embodies community advocacy at its best. When her children were young, Khadar began bringing them to an Acre child care provider in Lowell, Massachusetts. Eventually, she joined the board of directors as a representative for the Acre parents. Her leadership while on the board eventually led to her joining the staff in 1998 as a coordinator for an Acre program providing financial education classes to residents of Lowell. Now Khadar is a co-executive director of Acre Family Child Care and manages the Child Care Department, where she oversees family child care provider and parent services.

Lucas Skorczeski is also the co-executive director of Acre Family Child Care and has worked for the organization since 2015. With almost a decade of experience working in children’s museums (most recently at the Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts), Lucas has a strong commitment to understanding and developing the capabilities of children, family, and educators. Learn more about why Zelma Khadar and Lucas Skorczeski are this year’s Community Advocacy Award honorees.

November 1st: Peter Gilmore, Seacoast Community School

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Peter Gilmore at Wentworth By The Sea Country Club.

Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Seacoast Community School educates more than 260 students between the ages of eight weeks and 12 and provides early childhood education access and before and after school programs. Peter Gilmore has been the executive director of the school since 2016 and comes from a long line of educators.

He earned a B.A. in History from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and went on to earn a Masters of Education from Harvard University. Gilmore has spent most of his career working for independent schools and most recently was the head of school at Vermont Commons School before taking his position at Seacoast Community School. He also served on the board of directors for the Vermont Independent Schools Association (VISA). Read more about why Peter Gilmore is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

October 31st: Sheri Adlin, South Shore Stars

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Sheri Adlin at Lombardo’s.

Sheri Adlin has spent more than 40 years in community advocacy and currently serves as the executive director of South Shore Stars, a position she’s held for 25 years. South Shore Stars works with children from birth to high school on subjects including school readiness, academic achievement, and healthy development.

Adlin has worked on a number of coalitions to support low-income and immigrant families. She has more than four decades of experience in program development, management, public policy, and classroom teaching. In addition, she has been the vice-president of the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care (MADCA) for 20 years. As vice-president, she has advocated for policies to support affordable and accessible childcare. Learn more about why Sheri Adlin is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

October 30th: Cindy Horgan, Cape Cod Children’s Place, Inc.

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Cindy Horgan at the Hyannisport Club. Photo by Sarah Thornington / The Studio by the Sea.

As the executive director and family support coordinator of Cape Cod Children’s Place, Cindy Horgan has been involved in family support and education for years. With a mission to serve as a resource for families with young children, Cape Cod Children’s Place provides a range of programs such as support groups, family workshops, early childhood classes, referrals, and even personalized home visits.

In 2017, she oversaw the partnership of Cape Cod Children’s Place with a number of other local community agencies so the Children’s Place could better provide services for low-income families. And in January, she managed the critical partnership between Cape Cod Children’s Place and the Homeless Prevention Council and the Community Development Program to form an interagency alliance. This allowed each organization to continue to provide critical services for local families in need of support. Horgan holds an M.Ed from Wheelock College. Read more about why Cindy Horgan is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

Learn more about the importance of early childhood education and see the list of recipients for Eastern Bank’s 2019 Grants For Good.

Celebrating Dr. Ron Ferguson with the 2019 Social Justice Award

By Ranelle Porter,

By Vanessa Lewis | October 29, 2019 | 3 Minute Read

Early childhood education is an undeniably valuable aspect of a child’s life. The first three years are crucial to their development and influence what kind of adult they will become.

October 28, 2019. Boston, MA. 2019 Celebration of Social Justice. Award recipient Ron Ferguson. © 2019 Marilyn Humphries

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, which has selected “enriching early childhood development” as the theme this year, works to reduce structural inequality and empower families. We do so in order to contribute to the health and vitality of the neighborhoods we serve. Each year, our Celebration of Social Justice honors people and organizations who are committed to similar work.

We selected our theme because we believe that all our neighbors should have equal access to early learning opportunities for their children. There are people who go above and beyond to help foster a world where every child has access to education during one of the most pivotal times in their lives.

The Work of Dr. Ron Ferguson and The Boston Basics

Dr. Ron Ferguson has spent his career combatting the barriers that restrict children from disadvantaged communities from getting everything they need. As a professor, he’s using education to empower local families to dismantle the systems that keep those barriers up. He’s also creating models for how to engage with and support families who have limited resources. He believes that every child, from any background, can benefit from foundational learning experiences.

Dr. Ferguson created The Boston Basics organization to help our communities with early childhood caregiving. The work done at The Boston Basics has empowered parents and communities to help reshape child development in profound ways.

At Eastern Bank, we’ve come to understand that there are young children who are at risk of not reaching their full potential because of limited access to nutritional meals, a lack of early stimulation or nurturing, and early exposure to stress. Social justice and advocacy programs like The Boston Basics help to find solutions to challenges in early childhood education and care. That’s why, on October 28, 2019, we honored Dr. Ferguson and The Boston Basics at our annual Celebration of Social Justice.

Join Us For Good

Dr. Ferguson and The Boston Basics still need help. Your community involvement can have a tremendous impact on what happens in the homes and preschool classrooms of some of the city’s most underprivileged young children. Our employees have seen firsthand the difference that volunteers can make when it comes to enriching the early learning experience. They’ve donated over 50,000 hours of volunteer time in 2019 alone. Much of that is to organizations that focus on children and their developmental health.

Additionally, through our Charitable Foundation, Eastern Bank provides funding to over 1,600 local organizations that support families in the communities we serve. This year alone, our commitment in annual donations will exceed $10 million because we recognize that no one organization can change our communities without help.

We all need to support and invest in the programs that address the early educational needs of children. When we champion the outstanding work of community leaders like Dr. Ron Ferguson, we hear from some of our youngest voices in the community, voices that may go unheard in other circumstances.

Recognizing the work of programs like The Boston Basics is an opportunity for us all to connect and establish deeper relationships, which will further strengthen our communities.