Eastwood earns Woman of Excellence Award

On April 10, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

At the recent Somerville Commission for Women’s Annual Women’s History Month Reception, Marylin Eastwood, East Branch Librarian, received the 2013 Woman of Excellence Award from the Commission for Women. Representative Denise Provost, (left), Marylin Eastwood, East Branch Librarian, (right)

Representative Denise Provost, (left), Marylin Eastwood, East Branch Librarian, (right)

By Cathleen Twardzik

The awards for Somerville’s Woman of Excellence, as well as of Best Service Provider to Women were presented recently at the Somerville Commission for Women’s Annual Women’s History Month Reception.

This year, Marylin Eastwood, East Branch Librarian, received the 2013 Woman of Excellence Award from the Commission for Women “because she directs the English as a Second Language program with grace and skill, creates programming that is inviting to diverse communities and families at the east branch library, and makes the library a comfortable place for youth after school,” said Sonja Darai of the Office of Somerville Commissions, which includes the Somerville Commission for Women.

Additionally, Somerville Public Libraries was honored with the 2013 Best Service Provider to Women Award “because it has made major strides to be a vibrant component to individuals, families, kids, teens, and women’s lives.  Women receive so much from the library when they, themselves, can benefit from programming, but also have a place for their whole family,” said Darai.

At this year’s reception, the keynote speaker was Dr. Karen Hacker of the Institute for Community Health. “During these very difficult financial times, the library has strived to be comprehensive in job search assistance, language improvement, homework help, community engagement, baby care and child rearing programming, and loving books,” she said.

Commissioners nominate women from Somerville each year. Beginning in March 2005, a reception has been part of the Somerville Commission for Women’s March Women’s History Month, and since 2006, the commission has been presenting awards to an organization for Best Service Provider to Women, as well bestowing the award for Woman of Excellence to a deserving Somerville woman for her service to women.

At present, reception attendees include elected officials, community leaders and the Somerville Police Department.

In 2005, the First Women’s History Reception took place at city hall in Somerville.  Since 2006, the event has occurred on an annual basis at the Visiting Nurses Association.

For additional information, interested individuals may contact the Office of Somerville Commissions at commissions@somervillema.gov or call (617) 625-6600, ext. 2400.


2 Responses to “Eastwood earns Woman of Excellence Award”

  1. The East Somerville public library branch, sure a place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, to name only these ones, All, also thanks to Ms. Marilyn Eastwood Congratulations!

  2. Bostom says:

    Allow me, at least this once, to offer some sincere and more than just well-deserved praise to an employee of the City of Somerville, Marylin Eastwood. She is indeed a “Woman of Excellence” and the embodiment of what a city employee should be. She has extended and enhanced all the services offered at the East Branch Library on Broadway to a degree you might not think possible given its physical limitations of space, condition, and location. Every hour it’s open, the East Branch Library is a beacon for the neighborhood’s residents, many of them not native speakers of English, through books, computers, activities and especially the volunteer supported ESL (English as a Second Language) program she created and which now flourishes three nights a week in all three of the city’s libraries. It’s a shining example of just how much one woman with an idea and a lot of enthusiasm (not to mention a lot of hard work) has created at almost no cost to the city and its citizens it benefits so much.

    Her determination and enthusiasm have inspired dozens of volunteer tutors who give their time, some more than one evening a week and some for years now, to tutor Somerville’s newest residents in the basics of the English language. I have seen (and met) students from her classes who have progressed – in what I think is an amazingly short period – from a vocabulary limited to “Hello, my name is _____ ” to fluent mastery of our none-too-easy to learn English language. Her success stories are both endless and inspiring.

    Speaking English is perhaps the single most important factor in getting a first job and then getting a better one. English proficiency changes an immigrant from someone dependent on others who can barely function here to a hard-working, tax-paying, community-oriented Somervillian, and so many of her students will tell you how much they owe to the Somerville Library based ESL program that exists today because of Ms. Eastwood’s determination and enthusiasm.

    At the same time, the volunteers who give their time and energy have told me that they get as much or more out of the program as do the students. If a tutor can convey only one concept in a lesson (my favorite and one we could all brush up on: the differences between “their”, “there”, and they’re”) they’ve made a breakthrough for that student and earned no small amount of satisfaction themselves. The tutors range from Somerville High students, whose poise and dedication never cease to amaze, to Tufts students, ordinary citizens of all ages and skill levels, and even some Somerville seniors. The students range from dozens of countries and come from every background, age, and level of proficiency. It’s amazing to see some students come from one job they do in the daytime to another they work at night, all for an hour or two of English instruction in between in an effort to make a better life for themselves and their families. Both students and tutors represent an amazing cross-section of Somerville’s residents – all of them working together and all of them improving our city one person at a time.

    Marylin Eastwood’s tireless dedication to the idea that a common understanding of English unites and expands us all, whether you’re a student or a tutor makes her more than worthy of the “Woman of Excellence” award because she’s just that. There’s no better way to honor her work than by becoming part of it, either as a student or a tutor, so….

    ….OK, here’s the pitch: classes are available Monday evenings at the East Branch on Broadway, Tuesdays at the Central Library on Highland Avenue, and Thursday at the West Branch Library on College Avenue just outside Davis Square. More information, class hours, an application form and guidelines for volunteers, and much more information about what the City of Somerville’s libraries offer is available online by going to: http://www.somervillepubliclibrary.org/esl.html or by calling the East Branch at 617-623-5000 to inquire about how you can join Marylin and her dedicated volunteers in the program as either a tutor or as a student.

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