The Newsletter That Almost Killed Me

If someone were to ask me what I did with the month of October and first half of November I would say I produced the ABC newsletter. It feels like all I did in these last seven weeks but now it is done thank God, thank God.

It was hard for me mostly because I have scant aptitude for serious information-driven writing and our student editor was just up to his eyeballs with academics and music lessons and football, so I said I would do it alone.  So I basically just used a bunch of pictures of these eight guys, got them to say a word about themselves and then just did some reporting about what the fall of 2012 was like at the Winchester ABC House,  just the way I would tell you if you were sitting here by me drinking soup say. On the couch say, in front of a fire say, our legs tucked up under us. It’s the only way I know how to write.

I should say that National Program for A Better Chance has been opening the door to educational opportunities for thousands of young people of color in this nation for almost 50 years. Look here to read more .

I have been Chair of Student Life for our local chapter of ABC for the last three years.

This means I get to see our eight scholars a lot and in the most delightful ways.


At 8:30 on Halloween night I realized we had bought WAY too much candy for the number of Trick or Treaters who showed up at our door.

I texted the ABC House leader, 17 year old senior Rayvoughn and said as much. He texted me back immediately. “We’ll be there in 20 minutes,” he said and sure enough at 8:50 here were five of the eight of them at my door. (The other three had too much homework to come. Winchester High is a hard school and these are serious achievement driven learners.)

They got right at that bowl of candy.

Then the boy called Hazees, a junior said “We want to see Dave.”

They like Old Dave, my husband since the first Moon Landing very nearly.

“David is reading in our room,” I said.

“He’ll want to see us, I know” said Hazees.

So I hopped up the stairs to see if this was true. It was true and so up came all five and stood around our bed. David said “Not you guys again!”, while smiling from ear to ear and they went on as males tend to do, saying jokey mock-insulting things back and forth.

I took a picture with my phone but it’s sort of terrible. It does show three of them standing around in our room.

Better pictures are in the newsletter itself.. Like this one of Tobi, a sophomore who plays five musical instruments AND varsity football.

and this one, of freshman LaVon:

Then Gamaral with his mom  and his nice host family:

Freshman Bryson with his two host brothers:

And then there is this picture that isn’t in the newsletter but shows three of the guys studying some of the pics I took on my phone:

Machias, Enderson and Tobi

What great kids they are and how I do love them all!

Here is a page from the newsletter explaining a little of the more serious side of the program if you care to see it.

Important Notice: ABC Matching Gift Challenge is Under Way – A Message from the Board

As part of the 2012/2013 Annual Appeal, ABC has announced the kick-off of an exciting challenge from the Cummings Foundation.

In honor of ABC’s long-time supporter Mike Regentz who passed away this past April, all donations to ABC in excess of last year’s pledges will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000. Also if a person’s employer has in place a matching donation program, the Cummings Foundation will ‘double the double’. Thus, a new gift of $100 which is matched by the donor’s company, would become $400.

Funds raised in this way will be designated for college preparedness, and will make a huge difference to the lives of our scholars who must compete for those coveted college slots. Accordingly, we have over the last few years, begun identifying summer programs for them, as well as SAT preparation courses and college seminars.

These things cost money, but the scholars could tell you how much they have benefited. In the last few years the guys have taken courses in Computer Science at Brown, Bioengineering and Molecular Biology at Clemson University, Writing at the University of Virginia, Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Psychology at Cornell, and general Humanities Courses at both Davidson College and Carleton College.

When they come back to visit us as graduates they all go directly to the House at 2 Dix Street. This means that the current scholars all know their older ‘brothers’, and not superficially, but well.  DaLonn Pearson put it into words when he spoke at the Gala put on by the North Suburban YMCA. “This is what we do,” he said. “We build community.”  He expresses it exactly. It is what we all do when we are at our best, as brothers and sisters to one another and citizens of the world.

DaLonn at the podium Winchester High School class of 2009

Please help the scholars – and us – continue to build this extraordinary community of learners and future leaders.

Winchester ABC has been opening the door to educational opportunity for talented, young men of color since 1971. It is funded entirely by private donations from Winchester individuals and organizations committed to making opportunity available to all. Donations may either be sent to Winchester ABC. P.O. Box 94, Winchester MA 01890 or made on line at 

Maybe the newsletter was hard to put together but it sure was fun gathering the news.

Now it’s at the printer and very soon we will go get it bring it to the Post Office and out will go all 1700+ copies to all the good people who make the program possible.

Hazees and Ray below, with last spring’s newsletter.. I feel so lucky, just to be watching them all on their journey.

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