Revere teachers are very accustomed to working with a diverse group of students, but many do not live in Revere and might not be familiar with the neighborhoods their students come from.
Last week The Neighborhood Developer’s, with representatives Vanny Hout and Kristin Janjar, Garfield School teach Gina Jarro, and the Revere Teacher Association, took 10 groups of teachers on a tour of Shirley Avenue and the area, to better understand the local culture.
Stops were made at Costa Park (where residents and their children come to gather and play), the Bagel Bin (an institutional restaurant landmark), Casablanca Bakery (a Moroccon Bakery with sweets and traditional breads), Thmor Da (the best Pho in town) and Argana Café (a Moroccan café), the WEE (Women Empowering Each other) office and the Banana Boat (for an ice cream fix).
“This is where grandmas and grandpas come to play with their grandchildren,” Hout, who grew up in the neighborhood, said. “It really is the jewel of the neighborhood. This is a transient immigrant community. We have a wealth of cultures.”
She noted that the park is just about the only open space in the neighborhood. Many of the homes are triple-deckers with no yards.
The neighborhood is a melting pot of Hispanic, Moroccan, Khmer and more groups. Each group bringing their food and culture to a street often bombarded with commuters getting off the Blue Line.
Also helping out were Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky and TND Volunteer of the year Janice Dumas. Novoselsky pointed out where a Jewish temple once stood and where now housing for veterans is now being built.
Dumas, pointed out one of two little libraries in the neighborhood installed by TND. Dumas said they are well used by the residents and commuters. She was also instrumental in getting “Buttlers” installed so cigarette butts can be recycled.
“The beauty is that it’s multi-lingual, multicultural,” Hout said.
Garfield School Intensive Special Ed teacher Brian McDonald said it was nice to see how everyone connects in the community.
“I’ve grown up in Revere and I have been in this neighborhood all of my life. It’s nice for the parents and families to know that we’re one pretty level ground,” said Garfield teacher Sandra Speziale-Burke. “I eat here. I shop here. It’s been great to see the changes since I was a child.”