And Now For Something Completely Different

I have so many food-related stories to tell you all! I finally made the fig and bacon Brussels sprouts! I ate more unusual pig parts! Strange seafood was tried!

But you’re going to hear about all of those things tomorrow.

Today I’m going to write about something that has very little to do with food, but it’s important to me and I hope that you’ll bear with me. It’s about education.

You see, when I was a kid, I grew up in a pretty small town outside of Boston. It wasn’t exactly the country, (and even less so, now) but it was hardly a city. By the time I graduated high school, there were only 52 kids in my entire class. That boiled down to a lot of individual attention in school, which I needed. I was smart and capable but had difficulties due to some minor learning disabilities having to do with writing (these have largely cleared up thanks to the rise of the personal computer. I can write, as long as it has nothing to do with physically making marks on paper) and having several teachers take an interest in making sure that I didn’t just waste away almost certainly got me through high school. I was also lucky enough to have parents who cared to help me and who believed I had the tools to succeed, if I could just tap into them.

The thing is, many kids, especially in an urban setting, are not so lucky. Their parents and their teachers DO truly care about them, of course, but there are too many students who need too much help for their teachers to put as much time into them as mine did into me, and those same kids often have parents who are stretched thin trying to keep them fed, or who want to help them with their schoolwork but don’t have the tools themselves.

Fortunately, there are organizations that are trying to fill that gap. I’ve been involved with one of them, Boston Partners in Education, for eight years in one capacity or another. What they do is work to fill the need for individual attention for Boston Public School students by providing them with volunteer academic mentors. These are people who give up their time to spend an hour or more, once a week, helping kids in the subjects they’re struggling in. Along the way they develop a connection with those kids, and are sometimes able to help them in other ways. Since 2001 I’ve been an academic mentor for Boston Partners. In 2006 I increased my involvement with the organization and began working for them, first as a program manager and eventually as Program Director. Now, in 2009, I’m committing myself to Boston Partners even more.

As of today, I’m going to be training for the 2010 Boston Marathon®. This is a big honor, and the culmination of one of my other interests, running, but I’m able to do it because of Boston Partners. They’ve given me a number – in return I’ve committed to raising $4,000. I’m nervous about the size of that goal, but excited at the same time – excited to meet such a challenge, and excited about what it means for the organization I care so much about.

Clearly, I’m writing about this here because I’m hoping that some of you will sponsor me. Some of you already have, and that’s amazing. For those of you who would like to do so, I have an online donation page at My first fundraising goal is $1,000 by December 13th – a quarter of my goal.

However, donations are not all I’m looking for, and I hope I have something to offer in return! The main thing I need is support. Starting today, when I run my first official two miles of training, until I cross the finish line on April 19th, I will run 576.2 miles. I will be so grateful for any words of encouragement that you can offer, and I hope that those of you who know me personally will come out and cheer on race day.

I’m also going to be running some fun events, and many of those are related to food! Starting this week I’ll be raffling off a chance to win a homemade holiday pie, and I’ll be selling cookies at a few local events. Raffle tickets will be a dollar each – five dollars will get you six tickets. Feel free to contact me via email if you’d like tickets, or make a donation on the Firstgiving page and put RAFFLE in the comments. Comment me if you’d like more info about where I’ll be with cookies for sale.

Coming up will be more baked goods, some trivia, and a lot of other good times with fun people! I hope you’ll forgive the occasional hijacking of this blog for updates on my training and goals. This is a big part of my life and I thank you all for helping me with it!


3 responses to “And Now For Something Completely Different

  1. Pingback: Twitted by EMMcGrath

  2. Congrats on entering the Boston Marathon. You are doing it for a good cause too! Good luck.

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