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Beverly, MA: Proposed CG Program

  • Subject: [cg] Beverly, MA: Proposed CG Program
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 08:27:50 EST

Ebersole offers a helping hand
Friday, December 10, 2004

There is no knowing how Angela Ebersole might lend a helping hand each day.
One day it might be hauling furniture into someone's apartment. Or it could be
helping another family fill out complicated and intimidating paperwork.

     "It's never boring," she said.

     As Beverly Bootstraps outreach assistant, she works with Beverly
residents who need help of all sorts.

     "It is not just a position where you are filling a role," said Ebersole.
"It is about building relationships."

     Ebersole, 22, began at Bootstraps in September 2003, as an intern
helping Andrew DeFranza, the group's former outreach coordinator. Later, she
on board as a staff member.

     A native of Brazil, Ebersole lived in New Jersey when her family first
came to the United States. She eventually settled in Beverly and graduated
Beverly High School in 2000. She graduated from Gordon College, last spring,
with a degree in social work and sociology.

     "I feel like Beverly is my hometown," she said.

     While many social service agencies have a particular niche, and then
often refer people to other places for additional help, Ebersole said
tries to do just about everything it can for the people it helps. She enjoys
the fact that the organization lacks a "clinical approach."

     "There's just a lot more freedom," she said, comparing it to intern
experiences she's had at government agencies. "We have the freedom to create

     While the basics, like food and clothes, form the foundation of the
Bootstraps' offerings, the grassroots organization goes far beyond that,
explained. Some days her job might involve helping someone with housing law
issues, filling out tax forms or accompanying them to a meeting with someone
from the state Department of Transitional Assistance.

     "It's not like we're always solving all their problems as much as we're
giving them support," she said.

     She was attracted to Bootstraps because it serves only Beverly residents
and gives her the ability to build relations with the people she helps.

     Her varied language skills - besides English she also speaks Portuguese
and Spanish - help her communicate with some of the people she helps. Other
times, she is able to point people towards English as a Second Language
where they can acquire language skills that would be necessary at the grocery
store or the Registry of Motor Vehicles, for example.

     In fact, a family from Congo speaks French, and Bootstraps is looking
for a French speaking volunteer.

     When the calls goes out, Ebersole said she is always impressed with the
response from Beverly residents.

     Whether it is a computer they need, or diapers, "generally we get a
pretty good response," she said.

     Among the specially designed services at Bootstraps, was a program begun
several years ago to rehabilitate donated cars and give them out to those who
needed one.

     More recently, Ebersole said she is looking forward to starting a
community gardening programs for children, and beginning a youth entrepreneur
program where youngsters can learn firsthand what it takes to start a

     "We're always looking at doing new things," she said proudly.

     During the holidays, her job becomes much busier.

     "A lot of our time is taken up working out the details and the logistics
of matching up the families with the donors," she said.

     The Christmas season is just one small part of her year, however, and
she sees many families that get a helping hand from Bootstraps around the
holidays who are later able to give back during another part of the year. For
example, they might volunteer at the thrift store, help with food drives or
sort book donations.

     "I really like the fact that the families I've come to know I see at
Christmas and throughout the year," she said.


     While most of us may never need to seek a friendly smile, like
Ebersole's, among numbers of nonprofits, we are nevertheless profoundly lucky
to know
that if we ever should stumble upon hard times Beverly Bootstraps is there,
tucked in the basement catacomb of the First Baptist Church.

     Over the coming weeks, theCitizen staff will profile these courageous
people and their honorable efforts as part of our annual Gifts of Hope
Please consider making a donation that is a gift of hope. A donation of any
size goes a long way.

     Donations should be made payable to Beverly Bootstraps, designated as a
Gift of Hope, and sent directly to: Tom Gifford, Beverly Bootstraps, 221 Cabot
St., Beverly, Mass. 01915

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