Two brothers and their sister work in public service

Allsopp siblings (from left) Owen, Evelyn, and Dean have left for national service roles since her graduation in June.
Allsopp siblings (from left) Owen, Evelyn, and Dean have left for national service roles since her graduation in June.

CALL TO SERVICE: After graduating from Natick High School in June, the youngest of Martha Allsopp’s three children has left the family’s Sherborn home. Rather than immediately entering college or the workplace, however, she is following her older brothers’ footsteps into national service.

Eighteen-year-old Evelyn left Aug. 8 for an internship with City Year, supporting students at underserved schools in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Owen, 23, is in his second year with Teach For America, as a first-grade teacher on Hawaii’s Big Island while he studies online for his master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.


Dean, 22, traveled on July 29 to Guatemala, where he will be a youth development instructor for two years through the Peace Corps.

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Both sons graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Allsopp said she believes all three of her children developed their sense of service through youth group missions with the Pilgrim Church of Sherborn, which sent them to Jamaica, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, and Appalachia. She also said she has gained inspiration from their commitment to making the world a better place.

“I love hearing about the work my kids are doing and knowing they’re making a difference every single day,” said Allsopp, who has begun looking into Senior Corps programs for ages 55 and older.

GOING THE DISTANCE:B.J. Williams said he has worn a seat belt every time before and every time since the car accident that nearly took his life at age 21 in 2005. He was ejected from the vehicle, being driven by a friend, and suffered a traumatic brain injury, ending his training to play professional hockey — but not his competitive drive.


Following the accident, Williams was hospitalized for four days, rather than the expected three to four weeks. He has channeled the same determination into completing endurance events, inspired by a story about Boston Marathon legends Dick and Rick Hoyt he saw on television in 2007.

Williams has regained full mobility through therapy, but continues to suffer other effects of the injury, including deafness in his right ear, the loss of his senses of smell and taste, and frequent headaches. Yet, he has competed in three Ironman triathlons, and 84 other road races of varying distances.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Williams will begin a 64-mile run from Canaan, N.Y., to Longmeadow, with the goal of raising $6,400 for a Westborough-based organization, the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.

The distance and the fund-raising goal reflect a sobering statistic: 64,000 people suffer a traumatic brain injury each year in Massachusetts, according to the association.

Initially a volunteer speaker, Williams has been manager of prevention and court-related programs at the advocacy organization since 2010.


He hopes his overnight trek Friday will be another outlet for raising funds for survivor resources, along with awareness of brain-injury consequences and prevention measures such as wearing seat belts and helmets and not texting while driving.

“If I can inspire or help even one other survivor,” he said, “then awesome.”

Williams expects to complete the run Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon. He invites the public to join him along the route, which can be viewed at www.bwilliams59.wix.com/ 64milesfor64000, or donate at www.gofundme.com/brrs2o. More information about advocacy association is available at www.biama.org.

NEW TOOLS FOR SCHOOL: Shira Androphy (inset), a history teacher at Gann Academy in Waltham, was among 31 K-12 educators selected nationwide to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute, held recently in Washington, D.C.

The five-day program offered strategies for classroom use of primary sources, which are original documents and objects such as photographs, letters, newspapers, maps, and interviews detailing first-hand experiences in a particular time period. In addition, participants explored some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the library’s website.

Androphy, who is entering her fourth year teaching at the pluralistic Jewish high school, said she was “thrilled” with the opportunity to gain professional development in an institution so steeped in history. In addition to networking with fellow educators from across the country, the Somerville resident further researched her personal interest in the history of school desegregation and the busing crisis in Boston.

Androphy is already revising lessons plans, she said. “Instead of using a photograph in a PowerPoint or handout just so students will have something to look at, now I’ll be using it to pique their interest and get them to ask more questions,” she said. “At Gann, we’re working toward student-driven and student-focused learning, and now I feel more equipped with these tools in my teacher tool box to do more of that.”

The Library of Congress offers access to its classroom materials and teaching tools at www. loc.gov/teachers.

OPENING MINDS: Greater Boston PFLAG — or Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people — has been awarded a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation of Philadelphia.

Given in recognition of the Waltham-based nonprofit’s commitment to raising awareness of LGBTQ issues, the grant will support its Safe Schools and Communities program and help fund its Trainers Training program.

Tom Bourdon, president of Greater Boston PFLAG, said growing demand for support, education, and advocacy has caused a “critical need” for more trainers and facilitators. Greater Boston PFLAG has participated in more than 250 presentations in the past year, an increase of 23 percent from the previous year, and the number of support groups has grown from 13 to 16 statewide.

Bourdon said there is “no excuse” for some LGBTQ individuals being made to feel unwelcome, unsafe, or shameful of their identity.

“With this grant,” he said, “we have an opportunity to reach out to more diverse neighborhoods, as well as faith- and community-based organizations and community health organizations.”

For more information, visit www.gbpflag.org.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cindy-cantrell20@gmail.com.