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Roxbury Multi-Service to mark 50th anniversary with gala celebration

Nate Homan | 7/18/2014, 6 a.m.

The Roxbury Multi-Service Center Inc. is hosting their 50th anniversary on Thursday, July 24, 2014 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Columbia Point.

To mark the occasion, RMSC will honor Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., one of the nation’s leading and region’s largest human services agencies, which is responsible for writing the Ford Foundation demonstration grant that funded the creation of RMSC. Hubie Jones, founding executive director of RMSC, will also be honored.

“We are very excited to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. With this also being the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Bill, the leadership provided by this year’s honorees enabled RMSC to provide critical comprehensive behavioral health services and educational programs to many of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods during a very turbulent time in American history,” Carole Montgomery, executive director of RMSC said in a press release.

“It speaks volumes to the level of commitment from our staff, the support from the community, and the dedication of our volunteers that we have been serving the community for so long.”

RMSC opened their doors on Blue Hill Avenue on January 3, 1965, working as a branch of ABCD in an effort to serve the Roxbury and North Dorchester neighborhoods.

“Our longstanding relationship with RMSC has been very successful for the community,” ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew said in a press release. “Together we have helped thousands of Boston’s most vulnerable residents by providing needed services, counseling and advocacy.”

The program began as a case-by-case operation emphasizing on serving families by providing casework, employment, housing, legal and mental health services. These programs ranged from summer camps, reading labs, counseling and housing for the homeless.

RMSC broadened their scope in the 1960’s, focusing on neighborhood improvement and education reform. RMSC fought for the passage of Chapter 766 which guarantees the right of young people with special needs to an educational program best suited to their needs as a founding member of the Task Force on Children Out of Schools, which is now Massachusetts Advocates for Children. The Task Force also had a direct hand in fighting for the first national bi-lingual education law in 1971.

In the 2000’s, RMSC changed their approach and returned to their core philosophy of focusing on the specific individual needs of families and children. There are three facilities in Boston that focus on three different areas of service: Education, Behavioral heal and housing.

“Throughout its 50-year history, RMSC has served as a leading hub of social activism and has addressed issues of national concern. Many staff went on to become leaders in urban revitalization in Boston and beyond,” continued Montgomery. “As we move into our sixth decade, we want to enhance and extend services within our core areas, expand strategic alliances to increase service delivery – and even venture into new areas – while remaining affordable and accessible.