This story written by Ben Corriette, Youth Director of the Beverly Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The morning of Saturday, September 17, was sunny yet brisk at the Gibson & Doherty playground in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The Southern New England Conference Youth Ministries trailer unloaded chairs and tables as the day’s activities were soon to begin. This day was no ordinary day, as Seventh-day Adventists from all across the Southern New England Conference and Northeastern Conference territories converged on Dorchester to participate in Compassion Boston’s annual “Impact” community service initiative.
Participants had signed up to take part in community service projects throughout the greater Dorchester and Roxbury communities from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There were groups volunteering at the Children’s Village, Franklin Zoo, Roxbury YMCA, Haynes School and other local venues. While the volunteers were out beautifying many of the area schools, libraries and public facilities, a community health fair was held at the Gibson & Doherty playground, where there were booths for massages, Adventist literature, eye exams, blood pressure checks, health food demonstrations, general consultation, health screening and more, all provided at no charge. Music at the event was provided by a live band, a mass choir of volunteers, and local Christian hip-hop group, Undivided 2.
If you have watched the news recently, it is no secret that the community of Dorchester could use a healthy serving of love and compassion. Candice Gartley, director of the Dorchester Athletic Sports League (DASL), commented at how grateful she was to have the grounds of the DASL offices receive a well-needed grooming by Impact Dorchester volunteers.
After the community service projects concluded and the volunteers returned to the Gibson & Doherty playground, there was a “March for Peace” led by a Pathfinder drum corps, and escorted by Adventist Community Service volunteers, which commenced from the playground, circled through the local neighborhood, and then concluded back at the playground. Unfortunately, Dorchester has been recently known for being plagued with gang violence, drug trafficking, and prostitution. The Impact Dorchester event helped to bring much needed hope to the community, demonstrating Jesus’ love to its residents.