- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for South Boston Probation collaborates with local students to spread holiday cheer to the homeless and senior citizens
Coria Holland, Communications Director
Boston, MA — South Boston Boston Municipal Court Probation Department collaborated with 5th graders from the Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School to provide Christmas bags to the elderly and homeless which are filled with goodies collected by the court and decorated by the children who also wrote individual holiday notes inserted in each bag. This collaborative effort, “Cold Hands, Warm Hearts” is a lesson in empathy planned by South Boston Probation Officer Barbara Loftus and Tynan Principal Leslie Gant. This year marks the fourth year South Boston Probation and the school have worked together on this project.
Today, Loftus, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Marynel Sanchez, and Probation Officer Shelly Dunner met with the children at the school to thank the students for participating and to pick up the colorfully decorated bags that will be assembled and distributed to local senior citizens, residents of the Pine Street Inn, as well as homeless individuals on the street.
“I was taught by my parents that empathy, respect and giving back is a very important trait to have and practice. I tried to pass this lesson on as I have worked with children in and out of the Probation Department, showing empathy and respect for all,” said Loftus. “Now, we are able to reach out to six schools in South Boston and let the children learn, express empathy and their feelings on these gift bags. It is my hope that as the elderly and the homeless look at the childrens’ drawings and read their letters, they will enjoy the gifts, and know that they are important. There are people who care about them.”
“I think it is important to teach the children to be selfless and to introduce the concept of generosity and the importance of being in service to others. This is part of our four core values here at the Tynan which is to be kind, safe, respectful, and to be in service to others,” said Principal Gant.
South Boston Probation is providing 161 Christmas bags filled with cold weather gear such as hats, gloves, hand warmers, socks, and holiday goodies, including cookies, candies, granola bars, tea and hot chocolate. Loftus said 90 of the bags will be distributed to three nursing homes: Marion Manor, Compass, and Neighborhood House Senior Center. Twenty-five bags will be delivered to Pine Street and 46 bags to individuals on the street.
In addition to the Tynan School, three other Boston Public Schools-- Oliver Hazard Perry, J F Condon, and Michael J. Perkins; two Catholic schools— South Boston Catholic Academy and St. Peters; and the Laboure Afterschool Program—are all participating in the court’s Cold Hands, Warm Hearts effort.
The South Boston Probation Department is one of eight divisions of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) Probation Departments. The other BMC’s are Brighton, Central, Charlestown, Dorchester, East Boston, Roxbury, South Boston, and West Roxbury.
Photo at the top: From left: Tynan School Fifth Grade teacher Sandra Taylor, South Boston Probation Officer Barbara Loftus, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Marynel Sanchez, and Probation Officer Shelly Dunner surrounded by Tynan School 5th graders.