Upham's Corner Online

Kroc Center Dedication - Just Keep Lovin'

Posted: April 21, 2011     Nancy J Conrad
Long in the making, the Kroc Center represents the dream of a community, fostered by a process that straddled well over 100 design meetings and to which were invited any member of the community who wished to participate - freely open.

Kroc Center DedicationOpportunity, access, safe space and a place to heal - these were just some of the characteristics that were to be embodied in the community center.  So many lives of area residents have been touched by violence including the murder of loved ones.  The fabric of darkness continues to this day. 

Upham's Corner has long struggled with poverty, illiteracy, racial tension and isolation.

The greater Upham's Corner community is a diverse mixture of many ethnic groups: Cape Verdean, Afro-American, Latino, Irish and from throughout the African continent.  Some of the groups cluster and create their own neighborhoods with clear boundaries.  

Columbia Rd., Dudley Street, the train tracks, East Cottage St., Hancock Street - these all behave as turf lines and subtle forms of socio-economic and racial segregation.  

The Kroc Center calls out and declares that it has no boundaries within.  Everyone is welcome.  Turf may exist on the outside of the building but it disappears as you walk through the front doors.

In its programming the Kroc Center has committed to offering programs to build up and support the physical, mental and spiritual components of the body.  The body is not just each of us individually but the community as a whole.  The "Peace Chapel" provides an alternative model that says we can settle our differences in quiet conversation and not with the gun.

Linda Wendfeldt, daughter of Ray and Joan Kroc gave one of the more moving speeches in the afternoon of the building's dedication on April 2, 2011.  Ms. Wendfeldt shared with us that shortly before her mother's passing, she and her mom learned that Joan's time was near. 

They were together talking in Joan's dressing room.  "What are we going to do without you?" she asked her mom.  The answer?  "Just keep lovin'."

The Salvation Army's Kroc Center is a partnership of love - the Kroc Foundation, the Salvation Army, the City of Boston and the community (and we can't forget John Hamill).  As we pass by our beautiful, spiritually blessed center, may we remember that the people within are loving and being loved.  They are nourishing and being nourished, guiding and challenging both youth and adults to do their best and become their best.

Opportunity abounds for everyone in the community to get involved with the Kroc Center, not just on the receiving end but volunteering as well - time, tithes and talents.  Give a little and get a lot more in return.

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