Gloria DeVine: A Champion of Community Kindness and Service

Whether, she’s in East Boston supporting families in need, doing fundraisers for the Girls Scouts through her Avon business, or decorating her annual Avon tree for the Festival of Trees event to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, Gloria DeVine is always committed to one thing: helping those in need.

DeVine will be leaving the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield after serving for 15 years. Joining the board in 2005, DeVine served as president from 2007 to 2014 and has been the secretary for the past two years.

“I have had the pleasure of working with many outstanding volunteers. Without them, the club would not be in existence today. However, there are always individuals who give more of themselves than is expected. Gloria is one of those individuals,” said Patrick O’Donnell, the former executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield. “She is a tireless worker and involves her family and friends with everything she does. She is always willing to do whatever it takes to improve fundraising and program expansion of the club.”

Growing up, DeVine was surrounded by those who gave back to their community. Her mother worked as a social worker and has a sister who is a nurse.

“It’s been all my life…my family has always helped those in need in the community,” said DeVine. “My sisters and I were always there to help and provide community service.  I continue the family tradition.”

Before becoming a board member for the Club, DeVine worked as a volunteer, organizing the Joseph Padur Memorial Tournament.

As the board president, DeVine describes her term as an “active period” for the Club. DeVine established both the Hall Memorial Pool in Stoneham and opened the Wakefield Club located at the Americal Civic Center. 

Devine explained the importance of having both Clubs to serve the communities of Stoneham and Wakefield while creating “organizational unity.” Instead of referring to each location by town, DeVine simply calls it, “two Clubs and a pool.”

Aside from her work at the Club, DeVine has worked for 21 years at East Boston Social Center as the Family Engagement Director. The organization’s goal is to connect children and families with community services across East Boston. 

Much like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, DeVine’s work in East Boston has become largely different due to the global pandemic, while still being largely needed during a time of social justice. Programs such as Family Playgroups, Family Yoga, Preschool Storytime, Welcome Baby Visits, and Ages & Stages Questionnaires have continued over Zoom.

DeVine noted how the transition into the virtual world was not affordable for everyone. “In the beginning, it was like there’s no way we can do this. But, we have and it’s been great,” said DeVine. “But then you start to see the inequities. Who doesn’t have the internet? Who doesn’t have a computer?”

When she’s not working, DeVine still finds a way to continue her love of helping others. As an Independent Avon representative, DeVine has held fundraisers for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, East Boston Social Center, Dana Farber, the Boston Marathon, and other local organizations. 

“It’s my little side hustle,” said DeVine. “But, I’ve used it a lot for good.”

While DeVine may be  leaving the board, she will be sure to stay involved with the Club in some capacity and will leave a lasting legacy. From being known as the “bingo board” to becoming a presence in community outreach, the board has seen more community members volunteering.

DeVine was instrumental in creating the three two-year term limits for board members in 2014. “It brings in fresh ideas and new people,” said DeVine. “It keeps things going.”   

DeVine plans on being in the Advisory Council in September and eventually the New Building Committee when the time comes. While she will miss serving on the board, DeVine encourages future members to find the same passion and motives she has lived her whole life. 

“The only way you can try is to just keep working at it and keep helping and keep giving,” said DeVine. “I’m giving them my time and as financially as much as I can, and I urge others to do the same.”

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