4Boston Marks 20 Years
Hundreds of 4Boston supporters, participants and former members marked the program’s 20th anniversary last weekend with a celebratory event in Gasson Hall.
The day, which included workshops and an alumni panel, offered opportunities for reflection on a program that has meant so much not only to the needy, marginalized and lonely in Boston but also to the BC students whose lives have been changed by the volunteer experience.
Informed by the Jesuit ideal of service to others, 4Boston student volunteers commit to four hours of weekly service at a Boston social service, health or education placement site and to weekly group reflection. Sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry, the organization is dedicated to community, spirituality, and social justice. Organizers say the goal of 4Boston is for students to grow “intellectually, morally, and spiritually through regular service to others and disciplined reflection on that service.”
When 4Boston started in 1992, it sent BC volunteers to 16 placements in Boston. Today, nearly 400 volunteers serve at 20 placement sites throughout the area.
According to 4Boston graduate assistant Marc Mescher, a student in the School of Theology and Ministry, 4Boston is believed to be one of the nation’s largest weekly college student-run service organizations.
“I am so profoundly impressed by the way these students take these ideals of Jesuit education and so selflessly and generously put them into practice,” said Mescher. “I am inspired by the way our students integrate 4Boston's three pillars into their lives, becoming ‘Contemplatives in Action’ who see service not as an extra-curricular activity or gesture of voluntary benevolence, but as an intentional way of being in the world.”
Joseph Marik ’06 did his 4Boston service through Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly, where he made a lasting connection with Boston resident Moysey Banchevsky. Marik, who lives in Denver, has visited Banchevsky twice a year since graduating six years ago.
“This has not been easy as I have lived all over the place but my decision to do so is immediately reinforced the minute I step into his apartment,” wrote Marik in comments he sent to the celebration event. “I can't even begin to share stories from the interesting life he has led but trust [me] that he is a very kind man who loves all of the people in his life.”
“When I think of the reach of 4Boston, I am astonished,” wrote Ann Mehl ’95, one of the 4Boston founders. “What difference does one volunteer make? A lot, as it turns out.”
For more information on 4Boston, see the program website at www.bc.edu/4boston