Harborlight Community Partners Bestows Honors at the 2014 Celebration Event
This November, Harborlight Community Partners came together with 300 friends for the annual Celebration of Community Partnerships: Planting Seeds of Hope event. Held at Salem’s Kernwood Country Club, the evening convened many of area’s business and civic leaders and garnered the financial support of many businesses around the North Shore.
A tradition of the event is to recognize the efforts of those in the community who have been exceptional in their support not only of Harborlight Community Partners (HCP) but also of others around the North Shore. This year was no exception, with three outstanding honorees. Robert Gillis, HCP Board President, opened the evening reminding attendees of the urgency for the need of affordable homes. It was recently reported that Massachusetts experienced one of the steepest t increases in the nation in our homeless population. We must continue to do what what we do, creating housing for all, said Gillis.
Speakers for the evening included Mrs. Joanne Holbrook Patton, with poignant closing remarks were made by Karen Keating Ansara, HCP Board member and Lead Sponsor through the Ansara Fund for Essex County. The mission of Harborlight Community Partners is about planting seeds of hope that send out strong roots, stated Ansara. We create homes for families, so children can plant roots and grow. We create accessible and supportive congregate housing so our seniors and people living with disabilities can stay near their families and hold onto their roots. We enable persons on low-incomes — whose work we couldn’t live without — live where they work and deepen their roots among us. To read Karen’s full remarks, click here.
Service Partner Award
The Service Partner Award was bestowed upon the Beverly-based Associated Home Care (AHC). This locally-based agency is dedicated to caring for frail elders, and for close to six years, AHC has been providing personal care services for residents of HCP’s affordable properties Harborlight House, Turtle Creek, and Turtle Woods.
In addition, HCP partners with the AHC-affiliated organization Elder Home Options, in the operation of two H.E.A.R.T. Homes (Housing Elders at Residences Together), at which offers affordable service enriched housing to frail, low income elders in Peabody.
Community Partners Award
The Community Partner Award was laudably granted to long-time Beverly resident activists Stella Mae and Toby Seamans. This dynamic duo has, between them, buoyed many organizations and countless people with a gentle, relentless, dedication to not only helping but in creating solutions for the greater good. Their commitment to HCP and neighbors in need go back several years. In the 1980’s Stella Mae and Toby became involved with several recently immigrated Cambodian families. They assisted many with finding housing and housed several in their home. It was at this time that they saw the need for more affordable housing in Beverly.
In 1989, Stella Mae, with other community leaders, founded We Care About Homes (WCAH). WCAH would go on to purchase and rehab several multi -family buildings in Beverly, now part of the Harborlight Community Partners family housing portfolio. In 2003, Toby and Stella Mae became involved in the establishment of River House, a homeless shelter in Beverly. River House opened with 14 beds, with help from NSCAP and later, HCP, River House has served the needs of hundreds of homeless men over the past 14 years. Toby’s dedication to River House has been unmatched. Together, their compassion, energy, and strength of conviction are an inspiration.
Resident Partner Award
The Resident Partner Award honored Mrs. Bette MacNeill, of Beverly and formerly of Hamilton. Bette has been a great friend and committed resident advocate at the HCP’s Turtle Creek. Bette served as a member of the Resident Committee for many years as well as its Moderator, encouraging fellow residents to join in activities and gather ideas for new ones. Bette also began Bingo at Turtle Creek, and ran it for many years. Bette also serves as a member on the Board of First Baptist Beverly Housing for the Elderly. As a result of her advocacy, residents today enjoy an enclosed gazebo, a bocce ball court or can pitch horseshoes, all on-site to encourage activity and connection.