• Education Forums

A Celebration of Community

Louise Packard
July 11, 2019

I started attending services at Trinity when I joined the staff in 2001, but it took me a couple of years to settle on where to sit. My children were young then and choosing the center aisle seemed a bit presumptuous; the pulpit side beckoned because it was bursting with families and late arrivals like us; ultimately we settled on the eagle lectern side, a quieter neighborhood that nevertheless seemed to tolerate the squabbles and fusses of a 2 and 5 year old vying for their mother’s attention.

I love my pew family, which like any family has grown and shifted over the years. The Steuls, Humphreys, Walches, Stantons all watched my children grow up, join the choir and head off to college. New children took their places: Zugs, Allens, Koesters, Nortons, and Morgans. I appreciate all of the great singing voices around me including Chuck and Perry, David, Keith, Don and Steve. For many years, I shared a pew with Alex and Chris; together we watched our daughters singing side by side in the choir.  At a “right side pew brunch” hosted by the Allens one year, I met Dewey and David who became dear friends and the design team for my house renovation. Across the aisle, Libby served as sponsor at my daughter’s confirmation. How blessed I have been to be surrounded and supported by people I have known and who have known me for so many years!

Long-term community is a priceless gift we give each other week in and week out. It is also a gift that we, Trinity Church and Trinity Boston Foundation, have, for 20 years, been giving to the students who join TEEP, the Trinity Education for Excellence Program. Last week, the newest arrivals, rising 7th graders from across Boston, gathered with the TEEP community in the Forum for their first morning meeting. They watched the returning 8th and 9th graders greet each other with joy. They followed the leadership of high school students, their summer counselors, who have been part of TEEP since they were in 7th grade. They met college students who had returned as supervisors. And running the meeting was the person who had recruited them to join TEEP, Julian Grullon, a college graduate working full time for Trinity, who had once been a new kid at TEEP just like them.

TEEP’s mission is to co-create a safe and supportive community with youth of color where every member is inspired to discover, empowered to achieve, and individually affirmed. The secret sauce is the pipeline structure, with only one point of entry at the end of sixth grade. The social and emotional learning skills TEEP helps students develop are achieved over multiple years in the context of this stable and supportive community. Shy and insecure seventh graders become confident leaders in high school, with paid summer jobs as TEEP counselors. The experience sets them up for academic success and to be lifelong contributors to their communities.

On Saturday, August 3rd, at 11am, we will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of TEEP. The event will bring the TEEP community, students and their families, TEEP alumni and long-time staff and volunteers, together with the parish family that launched the program and has helped sustain it since 1999. TEEP Founding Director Paul Bowen will be with us as will the Rev. William Barnwell, who many will remember as the priest who not only brought us TEEP but also the Trinity Boston Counseling Center. We will greet each other afterward at a picnic in Copley Square.  Bring a blanket and sunscreen. I look forward to seeing you there!


Louise Burnham Packard

Executive Director, Trinity Boston Foundation


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