So many were touched by the beautiful piece Bo Abrams wrote last week in memory of Gloucester’s beloved Jim Dowd and his brother, Johnny. In it, she shares what a difference mentors and caring adults made in Jim’s life, and how painful it was for him that they were missing from Johnny’s:
Jim talked a lot about all the people who mentored him along the way from the time he was about 12. It wasn’t any one person. But it was one person at time, one interest at a time, one program at a time, that helped him survive to get to the next thing. Someone to give a nudge to stick with it when something was hard. Someone to suggest a book or a program. Someone to talk about colleges or vocations or hopes and dreams.
Johnny never had that. Jim hated that.
Bo goes on the explain that here in Gloucester, the Gloucester Education Foundation is a key resource that helps hook kids into their passions and interests, and connect them to the supports they need:
Which leads me to Gloucester Education Foundation. They are the reason there is a band program and a hundred other programs that make sure practically every kid has something they can connect to in school. And they’re adding more. GEF is starting a mentor program at the high school in conjunction with Wellspring. And they just helped GHS get a grant to bring in an administrator in the vocational program. They are also beginning a student advisory group so students can have a say in GEF leadership which offers a stipend, because you can’t do internships for free if you have to make money.
In the five days since Bo shared this post and created a fundraiser for the new Jim Dowd Fund at GEF, Jim’s family and friends have raised over $15,000 to support mentoring and student leadership opportunities for Gloucester students. This is a testament to how loved Jim and Johnny were, how beautifully (and honestly) Bo wrote about them, and the insightful way she connected their divergent paths to the work GEF has done – and can do more of – to support students.
We’re looking to grow this fund even more, so that we can help the Gloucester schools provide new opportunities to excite and engage our kids, to connect them with a caring adult or help them discover their voice. Consider a contribution to GEF in memory of Jim and Johnny, and in support of Gloucester students like both of them.