Newton girl writes books for charity

Abby Richmond of Newton has raised more than $3,600 by selling her self-published books to benefit Reading is Fundamental and The Nature Conservancy. Now she is raising money for the Boston-based Music and Youth Initiative through her latest book, Beatric’s Fortune.
Abby Richmond of Newton has raised more than $3,600 by selling her self-published books to benefit Reading is Fundamental and The Nature Conservancy. Now she is raising money for the Boston-based Music and Youth Initiative through her latest book, Beatric’s Fortune.

BOOKS FOR GOOD: Over the last two years, 12-year-old ­Abby Richmond of Newton has raised more than $3,600 by selling $10 copies of two self-published books to benefit Reading is Fundamental and the Nature Conservancy . Her decision to raise money for the Boston-based Music and Youth Initiative through her latest book, “Beatrice’s Fortune,’’ was inspired by her love of music.

Abby, a seventh-grader at the Rashi School in Dedham, loves to sing and has taken piano lessons since age 5.

“I want all kids to be able to play an instrument if they want to,” she said. “Even if they can’t afford lessons.”


Her latest book, 112 pages, chronicles the adventures of Beatrice Taylor, a seventh-grader who enlists fun-loving friends in a mission to find her missing cat. Abby said she enjoys making up characters for her stories, and appreciates the generosity of her extended family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and others who have purchased them.

“I hope they have a good time reading my books, and choose to do something themselves to help’’ an organization they support, Abby said.

For more information, visit her website, www.abbyrichmondbooks.com.

50 YEARS OF ADVOCACY: Although the Autism Services Association was founded in 1963, executive director Joel Smith said, it remains one of the few service providers for adults.

Even more unusual, according to Smith, is the Wellesley organization’s commitment to provide supported employment and community integration programs for those 16 and older with autism and other developmental disabilities.

At the association’s 50th ­jubilee annual meeting on May 13, awards were presented to BayPath Elder Services Inc. of Marlborough as Employer of the Year for its Meals on Wheels program; Wayne Rogers of Somerville as Staff Member of the Year; Damion Dyer of Dorchester as Worker of the Year; and David Rosenzweig of Brighton as Day Habilitation Participant of the Year.


Also, Kathy Slattery of Newton was given the organization’s Special Appreciation Award for her longtime support of its programs.

Speakers featured at the event included pediatric neurologist Dr. Margaret Bauman, who 14 years ago helped establish a supported employment work site at the Massachusetts General Hospital Lurie Center for Autism. In addition to cleaning occupational-therapy toys at the center, ASA clients work at other businesses collecting shopping carts, cleaning school buses, pricing and tagging clothing, cleaning gym equipment, and performing maintenance, housekeeping, and recycling duties.

“There are a lot of programs for children on the autism spectrum, but when those kids grow up, they still need services and ways to participate as contributing members of the community,” Smith said. “We hope more employers will set aside jobs and get in touch with us.”

For more information, call 781-237-0272 or visit www.autismservicesassociation.org.

JUSTICE FOR ALL: The Concord-based Communities for Restorative Justice is running its second annual fund-raising auction through next Sunday.

Based at the Concord Police Department, the nonprofit community-police partnership enables crime victims to develop a voluntary “repair plan” with those who have harmed them in lieu of prosecution. The process also involves supporters of the victim and offender, a police officer representing the referring department, and trained volunteers who assist wrongdoers in taking responsibility for their actions and understanding the harm they caused.

Since Communities for Restorative Justice was established in 2000, 530 cases involving crimes such as vandalism, destruction of property, breaking and entering, and assault and battery have been resolved. Participating towns are Acton, Arlington, Ayer, Bedford, Boxborough, Cambridge, Carlisle, Concord, Groton, Littleton, Stow, and Wellesley.


Restorative justice may include financial restitution, community service, counseling for substance abuse and other issues, and a letter of apology. The entire process, which remains confidential, typically takes a few months.

Executive director Jennifer Larson Sawin said the goal is to make restorative justice available to all those who want and need it.

“Victims who go through the court process are sometimes disappointed when their case doesn’t get called for months, or the result doesn’t meet their needs,” she said. Restorative justice “serves victims more quickly, and also by listening closely to what they really want in the wake of a crime.”

To participate in the fund-raiser, go to www.biddingforgood.com/c4rj. For more information, visit www.c4rj.com.

ONE STEP AT A TIME: In the three decades after Helaine Block of Sudbury and the late Meryl Schwartz of Manhattan met during their freshman year of college, they enjoyed what Block calls “a deeply caring and uncomplicated relationship” cemented by love of laughter.

Since Schwartz succumbed to breast cancer at age 48 in January 2011, Block has continued her friend’s battle against the disease through fund-raisers. On Saturday, she will join the Just ’Cause We Can 3.5-mile Breast Cancer Walk, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, 145 Bolton Road in Harvard.

The event is taking place in tandem with the 11th annual Just ’Cause Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk covering 60 miles next weekend. All proceeds benefit the Thurston Healing Garden and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Gillette Center for Breast Cancer in Boston.


Block, who completed the 60-mile walk in 2011, said her thoughts will once again be with her friend, who always put others first. She noted that Schwartz continued working as a principal at a school for children with learning disabilities until just weeks before her death.

“Research is the key,” Block said, “which is why funding is so critical for prevention.”

For more information, visit www.justcausewalk.org.

ON STAGE: Millis 11-year-old Jack Mullen recently concluded a five-week run as Chip in the NETworks national tour of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.” Jack performed on the West Coast leg of the tour.

By special invitation of the touring company, Jack will reprise the role Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Providence Performing Arts Center, where the show is being performed Friday through next Sunday.

Jack, a musical theater student at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts, was cast through its association with the Broadway Artists Alliance in New York City. He said the experience of meeting new people, performing on different stages, and being part of a national touring company has made him more certain of his ambition.

“When I started classes and performing it was just for fun, but now I would like to do it professionally,” said Jack, a fifth-grader at Millis Middle School. “There are no real words to describe how it feels being on stage and backstage. It’s so much fun!”

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@ globe.com.