AOC Members in the News: 2015 “ServiceBowl” at St. Stephen’s Boston

By Tracy Sukrow and Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory – Originally published in the South End News

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Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle picked up a paintbrush at St. Stephen’s Church on Shawmut Avenue on Saturday, March 21 and got to work, in fulfillment of a Super Bowl agreement made between mayors to do a service project in the winning team’s locale.

Murray and his host for the day, Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, were on hand for the “Service Bowl 2015” at St. Stephen’s Church, chosen through its AmeriCorps affiliation as the mayors’ project site.

The two mayors worked together to build a basketball hoop, paint a classroom, shovel out a school playground, and visit with more than 100 other people working on projects at St. Stephen’s and at two of the church’s community partners: the Blackstone Innovation School and the South End Branch of the Boston Public Library.

Other participants included Bishop Alan M. Gates and his spouse, Tricia Harvey, along with Bill Basl, the national director or AmeriCorps, Felix Arroyo and Rahn Dorsey from Mayor Walsh’s office, Executive Director Mary Gunn of Generations Incorporated, and the acting Boston Public Schools superintendent, John McDonough.

Desmond Cameron, a teen leader at St. Stephen’s teens said “it was amazing that so many different people and organizations took the time to come together to engage in community service.” Numerous local restaurants from the South End contributed to the Service Bowl, including Stella Café, Flour Bakery and Cafe, Aquitaine Bar and Bistro, Starbucks on Tremont, Upper Crust Pizza, PICCO, and Pizza Talia.

Kasey Boston, St. Stephen’s Director of Youth Employment and Leadership, observed “It was inspiring to have teens and adults work side by side as they made a lasting impact on the Villa Victoria neighborhood that is so special to St. Stephen’s. Hearing Americorps Director Bill Basl say that our teens are the next generation of Americorps volunteers was awesome. Hearing the Mayors say that our teens are the next generation of mayors was even better.”

“We were honored to host a fun and productive day of action and, especially, to have both mayors and our bishop with us,” said the Rev. Tim Crellin, Vicar of St. Stephen’s Church. “Our partnership with AmeriCorps is part of what makes our programs possible, so it was great to work with local and national AmeriCorps programs on Saturday. And of course, we’re especially grateful to [New England Patriots cornerback] Malcolm Butler, without whom Mayor Walsh would have been in Seattle for the weekend. Let’s hope for a repeat next year!”