The idea of volunteering pops up on many our lists of resolutions or goals for the new year but it’s the actual implementation of the commitment that causes most to pause. This week is too busy. Maybe in the spring. Next year. Volunteers are needed at many community organizations and the South Boston Neighborhood House is no exception.
Dedicated employees, volunteering and donations are the fuel that keeps the South Boston Neighborhood House aka the Ollie moving forward. “Volunteers are vital to The Ollie – we are a small organization with a limited budget and volunteers are a big part of what makes us tick. Our regular volunteers are no different from our employees… they are part of our team and make a difference,” says Kathy Lafferty, Executive Director of the Neighborhood House.
It’s the little things that add up in a big way to help the Ollie. From calling Bingo at the senior center to donating a warm winter coat for kids in the neighborhood, it’s the energy and commitment needed to make the organization a success. Two very special people from the neighborhood, who bring big energy and dedication to the Ollie are being honored at their annual fundraising event on April 8th – Lorraine “Rainey” Fiasconaro and Dan Magoon.
Lorraine “Rainey” Fiasconaro
Rainey with her daughter Karen
Since the early 1990’s, Rainey began working with the Ollie – first as a volunteer and then became a program assistant in the senior program. The goal of this program is reduce social isolation by offering older adults programming and services designed to maintain dignity, health, independence, self-confidence, social and emotional well-being with an emphasis on fun! And Rainey brings the fun! She has proven herself to be the heart and soul of this program. From planning trips and social events, to leading the morning exercise program and calling Bingo games, Rainey’s enthusiasm and love for her job is infectious. “I love teaching exercises to the seniors and seeing the little ones come into our kids programs. Every day I’m inspired by the neighborhoods’ generosity – donating everything from food and toys. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
After retiring from a full-time job, Rainey knew she wanted to be a part of the Ollie family.
“From the moment they started the construction on the building at H Street, I knew I wanted to work with the senior program. And it was right up my alley and exactly what I was looking for. The neighborhood house is such an important organization that does great things for our community and I’m delighted to be a part of it,” says Rainey.
Rainey will be receiving the Amy K. Murray Angel Award. The Amy K. Murray ‘Angel’ Award is given each year in Amy’s memory to a person in our community who embodies Amy’s devotion to service, her inclusive, compassionate and fun-loving energy, and her love for her adopted home of South Boston.
In addition to being the executive director of Mass Fallen Heroes, Dan Magoon has been a dedicated volunteer and friend to the South Boston Neighborhood House. Through the pandemic, Dan and his team loaded trucks filled with hundreds of boxes of food and delivered them to organizations and communities who were struggling. “Every Friday, he would show up at the Ollie and unload 400+ boxes of fresh produce, meats, dairy and other items…rain or snow – he showed up. It made a HUGE difference in the lives of so many,” says Lafferty.
“During the pandemic, our organization had an opportunity to help and support our community with access to food and logistics. After breakfast with Tom Tinlin at Amhreins and a phone call from Kathy, we were up and running. Our staff was on the road providing one truck of 420 thirty-pound boxes of food weekly,” says Dan.
Dan also donated hundreds of winter coats through the Ollie’s Holiday Helper Program this past year. “I remember a few years back, maybe in 2017, we did a backpack drive with the Ollie for back to school. I ran into a friend I grew up with who had young children and was going through some time times. The Ollie was there to support both him and his family, it was an amazing feeling. Their joy, motivation, and gratitude exemplified the great work that happens at the Neighborhood House every single day,” adds Dan.
Dan will be receiving the Joseph “Dodo” Nee Champion Award. This award is given each year in Dodo’s memory. Joe was a legend of selfless support for The Ollie and other community causes he believed in – and he devoted his considerable energy and charm to convince others to join him, impacting the lives of generations of South Bostonians.
“I was always in awe of the great work Dodo Nee did to support the Ollie and other non-profits in the neighborhood. It was inspiring. Both Joe and the team at Boston Global Investors always went above and beyond to support the Neighborhood House and the great work they are doing in the community. I guess you could say I was following their positive example,” says Dan.
Congratulations to both award recipients! You make our community a little bit stronger, happier and a better place to live!
House is Where the Heart Is
After a two year hiatus, the House is Where the Heart Is benefit and auction honoring theses neighborhood heroes will take place in person on Friday, April 8th at 6pm at the Plaza Ballroom at the Seaport Hotel. Southie’s own Tom Tinlin will be the auctioneer!
This is an amazing neighborhood event supporting an incredible local organization, the South Boston Neighborhood House!
You can purchase your tickets here!
The Mission of the South Boston Neighborhood House (The Ollie) is “to support family and neighborhood life in South Boston.” This means we have something for everyone! As a settlement house, we look to meet the needs of the community and offer programs for everyone in South Boston: infants, children, teens, families, and seniors.
The South Boston Neighborhood House is the oldest continuously-operated community based non-profit in South Boston, and they’ve been going strong for over 120 years!
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
TWO GREAT PEOPLE…