- Awards/Honorees -
Brenda Clark, 2020 Community spirit award
If you walk by FCC on a given morning, you’re likely to see longtime Fenway resident and 2020 Community Spirit Award recipient, Brenda Clark, holding court inside. Brenda first came upon FCC in September 2018 and has been a fixture ever since. She currently serves on multiple committees at FCC including: Programming and Health & Wellness for All. When Brenda helping to develop programs or calling out number at the weekly Friday afternoon Bingo game, you can find her participating in most of FCC’s many programs and most importantly, being a friend to anyone and everyone who visits the Center.
“I love that we have people of all ages who come to FCC for programs,” said Brenda, “People need a place to go to be able to learn and express themselves and the Center is the perfect place for everyone!”
Following a long career with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) as Senior Vocational Counselor, Brenda retired in 2018 and has been coming to FCC on a nearly daily basis ever since. At MRC, Brenda helped individuals with disabilities find employment, access housing resources, and helped clients with furthering their education. Brenda continues to play a similar role at FCC supporting community members from all walks of life sometimes by simply listening.
“I just enjoy being around people and I love trying to help and assist people in the community. It makes me happiest to help someone find something they’re interested in,” said Brenda.
Brenda grew up in Roxbury as the fifth of 11 children! She is not only a longtime Fenway resident (since 2002), but she’s also a mother, a grandmother, and even a great grandmother who loves to be surrounded by her many friends and family members. As she looks to the rest of 2020 and beyond, Brenda looks forward to continuing to become more involved with various groups and communities in Fenway, the neighborhood she calls home.
Stephen Sorkin, honoree
Stephen Sorkin moved to the Fenway in 1978 to do what he loved – teach theatre. He taught acting and directing at Emerson College and the Boston Conservatory. In his first few years here, he started a theatre company of his own – Suffolk Theatre.
Stephen brought his love of the Fenway and his love of the theatre together one last time, teaching his class “Acting is Believing” at the Fenway Community Center in the Fall of 2018 and culminating in a performance in January of 2019. Stephen built an amazing community out of the most diverse set of people and skills one could imagine. “This experience brought Stephen the greatest joy of his last years,” said his wife, Karla.
The Fenway offered so many things that Stephen loved. There is art, music, theatre of course, life on the streets, urban gardening. He loved conversations, especially political ones, and he had them with everyone he met. To Stephen that was building community.
Whatever Stephen did, he did it with passion and dedication. He spent hours making his garden beautiful, and he became an area coordinator in the Victory Gardens. Stephen was a co-chair of the Neighborhood Improvement Committee. He had struggles working for the rights of Fenway residents, but he turned those he struggled with into wonderful friends. He worked hard to clean up the problems on the streets, but he always brought those people on the streets tomatoes from his garden, brought them clothing, and of course had long conversations.
He leaves his wife Karla Rideout, his daughter Jessica Sorkin and son Eben Sorkin, stepchildren Brian and Renee, as well as seven grandchildren.