DiChiappari Leads Neighborhood Center

Continuity and strength seen in appointment

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

Maria DiChiappari, a staff member at the Neighborhood Center since January of 1997, has been named the center's director, according to Associate Vice President for State and Community Relations Paul White.

DiChiappari has been the center's acting director since December, and had previously served as assistant director and community service program coordinator.

"Maria has demonstrated her credentials as acting director over the past several months," said White in announcing the appointment. "We wanted continuity and strength, and I am delighted that Maria has accepted the position.

Neighborhood Center Director Maria DiChiappari-"Tying BC into the community to provide resources is very exciting to me. I feel like I'm right where I always wanted to be." (Photo by Gary Gilbert)

"She brings energy, enthusiasm and a wonderful track record of working with faculty and students, and with the various community programs that interface with the Neighborhood Center that benefit the neighborhood and our students."

After graduating from Providence College with a bachelor's degree in humanities in 1991, DiChiappari began her career in the admissions department at the Burdett School, a career-oriented institution in Boston and Worcester, where she worked for four years.

She joined the Neighborhood Center as community service program coordinator, where she developed, expanded and oversaw the popular English-as-a-second-language program and the center's tutoring program that links BC students with Allston-Brighton schoolchildren.

She was named assistant director in October and became acting director when Timothy Burke left to become director of education programs at the Suffolk County Jail.

"Community service has always been part of my life," said DiChiappari, who is completing work on a master's degree in higher education at BC. "Tying BC into the community to provide resources is very exciting to me. I feel like I'm right where I always wanted to be."

During the past year, the number of BC students involved in tutoring has tripled to about 60 and DiChiappari is working to involve more Allston-Brighton schools in the tutoring program. "I hope to see a mentoring program come out of that," she added, reflecting wishes many parents have expressed to her.

The ESL program has doubled in the same period, she added, to about 20 tutors and is in high demand among the neighborhood's immigrant population.

"I think volunteering for students is a crucial part of their development in the college years," DiChiappari said, adding that the Neighborhood Center has a data base of over 400 BC students and alumni looking for community volunteer opportunities. She added that she will continue the center's practice of inviting the community to identify areas where the Neighborhood Center's resources can be put to best use.

The Neighborhood Center opened in a storefront on Washington Street in Brighton Center in 1995, making BC the first university to open such a facility in Boston. In addition to acting as a clearinghouse for information about Boston College in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood, the center regularly recruits volunteers from the ranks of BC students, faculty, staff and alumni, and organizes service days in the community. In addition to operating the ongoing ESL and tutoring programs, it also helps coordinate health-awareness programs in the community.

Return to March 12 menu

Return to Chronicle home page