LYNN: YOUTH COMMUNITY ADVOCATES SPOKE TO STUDENTS AT BREED MIDDLE SCHOOL AS PART OF A STOP THE VIOLENCE EVENT

Daily Item BY GAYLA CAWLEY| November 20, 2018

LYNN — Go to school. Stay in school. Stay out of trouble.

That was the message delivered to an assembly hall of Breed Middle School students Tuesday morning at a Stop the Violence event, sponsored by Lynn Youth Street Advocacy.

Founded in 2014, the mission of the organization is to steer the city’s youth away from violence.

Item photo by Spenser R. Hasak

Item photo by Spenser R. Hasak

Saddled with the burden of growing up with two parents in jail, Ebony White could have chosen to go down the wrong path. Instead she chose to work hard, graduate from college, and channel her challenges into a career working with at-risk youth in the city.


As a child, White said her father would sell drugs. Her mother got into trouble along with him. When she was in fifth grade, her parents went to jail and didn’t get released until she was a senior in high school, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother.

“Nobody knew what I was dealing with at home,” White said. “School was always No. 1. No matter what I was going through, I would always come to school every day and get good grades and knew that I was going to college. I made that my goal.”

Basketball became her outlet. She played as a student at Breed Middle School and all four years at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. During high school, she met girls on the team who also had family issues.

For the first time, she said she felt like she had the family she needed and started to get comfortable with the reality that her parents weren’t in her life, but she couldn’t allow their choices to affect her.

White, a Newbury College graduate and assistant director of youth services at Centerboard, encouraged Breed students to break the cycle and speak up if they’re struggling, as there are people there to help.

“I’m taking my story and the things I’ve experienced and I’ve turned those into positive things and I’m giving back to my community by putting services in place to help kids,” White said. “We all go through things. We all have things we experience on a day-to-day basis. Some are bigger than others. But I just want you to remember that people care about you.”

Anthony Seaforth, founder and director of the No Ceilings Movement, said it is a violent time in the city, but urged the kids to get involved in afterschool programs, keep busy and stay off the streets.

LYNN — Go to school. Stay in school. Stay out of trouble.

That was the message delivered to an assembly hall of Breed Middle School students Tuesday morning at a Stop the Violence event, sponsored by Lynn Youth Street Advocacy.

Founded in 2014, the mission of the organization is to steer the city’s youth away from violence.

Saddled with the burden of growing up with two parents in jail, Ebony White could have chosen to go down the wrong path. Instead she chose to work hard, graduate from college, and channel her challenges into a career working with at-risk youth in the city.

As a child, White said her father would sell drugs. Her mother got into trouble along with him. When she was in fifth grade, her parents went to jail and didn’t get released until she was a senior in high school, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother.

“Nobody knew what I was dealing with at home,” White said. “School was always No. 1. No matter what I was going through, I would always come to school every day and get good grades and knew that I was going to college. I made that my goal.”

Basketball became her outlet. She played as a student at Breed Middle School and all four years at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. During high school, she met girls on the team who also had family issues.

For the first time, she said she felt like she had the family she needed and started to get comfortable with the reality that her parents weren’t in her life, but she couldn’t allow their choices to affect her.

White, a Newbury College graduate and assistant director of youth services at Centerboard, encouraged Breed students to break the cycle and speak up if they’re struggling, as there are people there to help.

“I’m taking my story and the things I’ve experienced and I’ve turned those into positive things and I’m giving back to my community by putting services in place to help kids,” White said. “We all go through things. We all have things we experience on a day-to-day basis. Some are bigger than others. But I just want you to remember that people care about you.”

Anthony Seaforth, founder and director of the No Ceilings Movement, said it is a violent time in the city, but urged the kids to get involved in afterschool programs, keep busy and stay off the streets.

“If you focus on school first, success will follow,” Seaforth said. “(With the) violence in Lynn, what comes from that is people who have risen above it and have become successful.”

At No Ceilings, Seaforth works with student athletes who aspire to go professional, but the biggest thing holding them back is their schoolwork. The academic mentoring program makes sure their focus is on school.

Seaforth said he was one of those student athletes. He never took school seriously until he got to the ninth grade and was told he couldn’t play football because he didn’t have the grades. Tenth grade presented the same scenario, which prompted him to focus hard on school and boost his grades.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be in the NFL and it stopped really quickly when I didn’t do what I needed to do in school,” Seaforth said. “But once I got back on track, I had the opportunity to go to college, was very successful and played football all four years.”


Centerboard Celebrates High Rock Tower Lighting

Article By Seth Albaum @LynnHappens

Centerboard hosted a celebration at their headquarters in City Hall Square Thursday night. With help from donors and through Patronicity and MassDevelopment, they are able to keep the lights on at High Rock Tower and complete the project by eventually lighting all sides.

The Illumination of High Rock Tower will:

  1. Substantially brighten the tower and park, reducing current concerns about public safety;
  2. Position the tower to serve as an informational beacon – high-tech lights will be programmed to change color warning people of approaching weather, as Boston’s John Hancock does;
  3. Make the tower a central part of celebrations since illuminations are programmable for specific holiday celebrations and causes (i.e. Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Gay Pride, Fourth of July, etc.);
  4. Provide a beautiful outdoor venue for events of all kinds (ice sculpture contests, weddings, concerts, etc.), that attracts visitors to the area and increases revenue to businesses;
  5. Highlight the tower and generate interest from the local community to explore the tower observatory;
  6. Allow for the tower to be used as a much-needed landmark, day or night, for finding your way around Lynn. 

The idea comes from local photographer Jason Taglieri, who pitched it to Centerboard. The lighting designer is Joey Nicotera of Retonica.

Mayor McGee was there to praise the project and other local pols were present to join in the celebration.

Keep your eyes on the tower!

The Lights Will Stay On At Lynn's High Rock Tower Thanks To A Crowdfunding Campaign

BY BILL BROTHERTON January 16, 2018 Itemlive.com

LYNN – When Kim Hopkins worked directly with youth and families, she made one thing perfectly clear: “Don’t ever bring kids to High Rock park after dusk. It’s not safe.” She was not the only one who felt that way.

Now, the grant writer for City Square-based nonprofit Centerboard encourages residents and visitors to check out the 170-foot-tall stone High Rock Tower, which offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Boston skyline and planes taking off and landing at Logan airport. She’s not alone in her praise for the underappreciated historic stone structure and its 4.5 acres in the heart of downtown Lynn.

What caused Hopkins and others to see High Rock in a different light? Bright colorful LED lights, that’s what. The illumination of the tower has reduced concerns about public safety, she said.

In March 2016, Centerboard, whose mission is to revitalize communities by investing in their people and places, invited renowned Retonica lighting designer Joey Nicotera to demonstrate how lighting could transform this neglected area. The response from city officials, business leaders and residents was unanimously positive.

HighRock2-1300x650.jpg

In October, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Boston Foundation, two sides of the tower were illuminated. Centerboard began a Light Campaign with the help of Patronicity and MassDevelopment seeking to raise $20,000 in donations to fund a permanent, state-of-the art, programmable lighting display. That number was met, actually surpassed, triggering a matching grant, allowing for the illumination of the entire tower with 48 LED lights, and the installation of a second programmable laser.

Hopkins said Centerboard envisions High Rock Tower and its observatory (home to the city’s large telescope with lenses powerful enough to view the rings of Saturn, Jupiter and her moons, and our moon’s surface) as a model of public safety, a venue for community gatherings and weddings, outdoor performances, an informational weather beacon like Boston’s Hancock Tower, a central part of celebrations since illuminations are programmable for specific holiday celebrations, a historical attraction for visitors, and an ever-changing art installation that can be seen for miles.

Tomorrow, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., Centerboard will celebrate the lighting campaign’s success in its Visionspace Gallery, 16 City Hall Square. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. Hopkins said party plans also include displaying the names of supporters and donors on the side of the tower. She added that a simulation on New Year’s Eve of a ball dropping a la Times Square is also in the works.

Weather permitting, the full installation should be completed within a few weeks.

Hopkins said the idea was planted about two years ago when Lynn photographer Jason Taglieri suggested at a Centerboard meeting “Wouldn’t it be great if we lit that tower up.” City agencies and elected officials have been on board since Day One she added.

Hopkins credits the Beyond Walls project for showing people that public art was possible. “There was a surge of support for us. We were able to capitalize on their energy and accomplishment. People see Lynn in a different light now. The city is attracting attention. A lot of good things are happening downtown and throughout the city. We all hope people visit, stay and spend money in our businesses and restaurants.

“It puts Lynn in a positive light. That City of Sin thing is so old and not true. There’s a whole different vibe here now. We can all feel it.”