Boston Globe 1981: GFC and Mattos Field host only summer program for special needs kids on the North Shore #GloucesterMA

“The next time things are going badly — and I am convinced that too many of our young people are headed straight to hell — then I am going to recall Joe Favazza.

Then I will relive that scene on Portagee Hill (that’s what it’s called) the other morning when the brave van pulled up at the GFC building. Lawrence (not his real name) was sitting in the van, and Favazza was standing there waiting in the early morning summer sunshine, and then I will get the feeling again that everything is going to turn out all right after all.

“…The GFC was sponsoring a part for 20 handicapped children, including Lawrence. Favazza is an aide at the not so great salary of $85 a week in the summer recreation and educational program…”

“…Now let me tell you about Joe Favazza. He is 28 and 6 feet 2, wears shorts and tee shirt and a baseball hat. He is low-key and gentle. He served in the Army, works as a part-time Gloucester Times sportswriter and next month will be a Boston State junior and hopes to teach special needs children. He comes from a large Italian family, and that means closeness and the traditional Sunday noon dinners at his parents’ home on Middle street. His father is a Fuller school janitor who always was particularly helpful and gentle with the special-needs children there. Perhaps that virtue runs in the family…”

“Later there was a big luncheon for the kids and then they went to the adjacent Mattos playground…”

“Joanne kelly directs the summer program…led a group of parents and teachers to the school committee and outlined the case.”

“…Gloucester, rowdy and unfashionable and wonderful old Gloucester, became the only North Shore city with a summer program for special needs kids…”

excerpts | “Very Special and Inspiring” by Jeremiah Murphy, Boston Globe, Metro North, Aug 11, 1981

Gloucester Fraternity Club (GFC) website

From Gloucester Archives:

THIS PLAYGROUND IS NAMED IN MEMORY OF JOSEPH S. MATTOS, JR.

BORN OCT. 4TH, 1899

KILLED IN ACTION OCT. 5TH 1918

DEDICATED 1935 IN HONOR OF: Joseph S. Mattos, Jr.,

Born in Gloucester on October 4, 1899, son of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph S. Mattos. Entered military service at the age of 16, with his mother’s blessing. Sent to France on August 13, 1917 as a member of Battery A, 5th United States Field Artillery, regular army. Private Mattos was killed in action on October 5, 1918, the day after his 19th birthday.

One thought on “Boston Globe 1981: GFC and Mattos Field host only summer program for special needs kids on the North Shore #GloucesterMA

  1. Oh how this makes my heart sing and also fill with sadness. Our Softball Buddies team that we have had the pleasure of hosting at Mattos Field has been on hold as Covid was part of our lives. We are hoping to be able to host them again at Mattos but without a favorable ending to our story it might be the end to our beloved Mattos Field. But you can help, we are raising funds to Save Mattos Field. We have a Go Fund Me page and are also selling tickets for a 49cc Wolf Scooter. Contact me Patti Amaral anytime and ask me how?

    Liked by 1 person

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