On June 8, in a ceremonial luncheon hosted by the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) Board Member Fabienne Eliacin was selected for the 2017 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award, winning a $25,000 donation for DSNI. The Kraft Family’s foundation awarded $200,000 in grants to 26 volunteers and their respective organizations across New England, with 15 earning a $5,000 prize, and 10 earning $10,000 along with the sole grand prize award given to Eliacin and DSNI.
At the luncheon, Juan Leyton, executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, commended Fabienne’s volunteer efforts on behalf of her community.
“We feel very proud of Fabienne, because she truly deserves this award. She has spent countless hours involved with our work, from our Board of Directors to our work with parents of young children. Her dedication to our community represents a model for the rest of us,” Leyton said.
Eliacin’s path to community leader and volunteer was blazed through her own concern about her daughter’s access to education. Originally from Haiti, Eliacin moved to the Dudley Street neighborhood nine years ago. As the single mother of a daughter with learning disabilities, Eliacin was concerned with finding the appropriate educational programs for her daughter and realized that many families within her community were also struggling for access to resources. Eliacin made the decision to be the change she wanted to see within her community, which she hopes will “only get stronger”.
Today, not only is she on the Board of Directors for DSNI, but she has also served on many different committees and initiatives within the organization including the Sustainable Development Committee, the Education Committee, the Boston Promise Initiative and the Fair Chance for Family Success Initiative. At the Kraft Award luncheon, she spoke on what it means for her to be contribute in all these capacities.
“I represent the voice for the voiceless,” she said. “You never know when it will be your turn for that favor. Volunteering is the most uplifting feeling and it can never be matched by money or fame. It is the right thing to do.”
Eliacin is also an active member of Boston Mothers Care, an organization of women who raise funds and organize benefit events to support those in need in Haiti. Beyond those formal associations, Eliacin also remains a strong advocate for parents with children in the Boston Public School system, regularly attending meetings. All of this is in addition to her work as an Environmental Services Coordinator for the InterContinental Hotel Boston.
“Seeing people in the community acknowledge the work that I’m doing and see the effort that I put in everyday, I’m honored and humbled. It was also amazing to see other people in the community who have been working even longer than me,” she said in an interview with the Reporter. “There’s more work for me to do. Especially now that there are people who are looking to me to continue working on helping the families of our community.”
Eliacin has strong ideas about what she’d like to see from herself and her community organization moving forward.
“In a community that is developing, it is important that we [DSNI] remain focused on strengthening our bonds, working with the city, and working with community leaders and our partners to bring the arts and cultures, safety and social justice, and bring the voices of the youth to the front, those are the things that I would like to see our initiative and community accomplish.”
DSNI will host its annual Multicultural Festival on Sat., Aug. 19 from 1-6 p.m. at Mary Hannon Park on Dudley Street in Dorchester. For more info see www.DSNI.org.