This past Sunday, roughly 250 people came together to celebrate the Josephine A. Fiorentino Center at Charlesview. As many times as I have been in the Community Center space as it was under construction and coming to completion, the Center felt new and alive as residents of Charlesview, their Allston-Brighton neighbors, and well wishers from farther afield crowded into the space.
The Fiorentino Center is the first neighborhood community center of its kind to be open in North Allston-Brighton. It features a computer center with free wi-fi, desktops, and laptops donated by Google (who are also an investor in the Charlesview development), an arts room, adult learning classroom, and a large meeting space. Beginning this fall, the spaces will be filled with progammming every day of the week as Charlesview, Inc’s Executive Director Jo-Ann Barbour has been busy lining up programming with partners from throughout Allston-Brighton.
On Sunday, it was standing room only in the meeting room. Fr Glynn of St Anthony’s Parish and chair of the Charlesview, Inc Board delivered opening remarks and a benediction – both just a bit longer than his famous one sentence sermon from mass that morning. His remarks captured perfectly the aspiration for the Fiorentino Center and what it had already become that day, “a magnet in the center of the Allston-Brighton community, for all to use and for all to be nourished by.” Josephine Fiorentino’s son Lawrence delivered the keynote, paying homage to his mother’s memory and spirit. Josephine was a community leader in Charlesview, Barry’s Corner, and Allston-Brighton at large, a mother to the whole community. As community leader Ray Mellone said to me under the watchful eye of Josephine’s portrait, “We would do good to live up to her ideals.”