On Saturday, October 1st, 2022 we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Janet "Ms. K" Kendrick Sisters of the Center Brunch. This event is named in loving memory of the late Janet Kendrick (1941-2008), or "Ms. K" as she was affectionately known, CCC's former longtime Executive Director who suddenly passed away on July 14, 2008. The Ms. K Brunch celebrates women leaders who have positively impacted CCC and Cambridge, serving as the annual event to bestow the Janet "Ms. K" Kendrick Sister of the Center Award.
This year, we will be honoring the work of longtime CCC Enrollment Manager, Erin Gullage and longtime CCC Lead Teacher, Gail Jones
2022 Sisters of the Center Award Recipients
Gail Jones, a “Coast Girl” of Cambridge, was a "Center Kid" going back four generations of her family that attended, and was active in many clubs at the Cambridge Community Center. She attended the Houghton School and Graduated from Cambridge High and Latin.
Following the birth of her daughter (Dhonyale) She soon became involved with the “Home Base – Early Childhood Program”. This family play, literacy, and school readiness program allowed Gail to have one-on-ones with families to support and promote the importance of learning through home visits.
Years later following the birth of her son (Timmy), and him coming of age, she enrolled him in Head Start and from there she never looked back. Her passion for children and education directed her to further her own education; she enrolled and graduated from Wheelock College with a Degree in Early Childhood Development.
During her educational track, Ms. K, whom she tremendously thanks and is why she stayed committed to CCC for 30+ years before retirement, approached her and asked her to be a Group Leader. She didn’t hesitate because she knew Ms. K’s commitment and the sense of community and family would make CCC a nice place to work.
In addition to being a Group Leader for the after school program, Gail also earned her certificate to be a transportation driver for “Camp Cowemoki”, CCC's Summer Program, as well as throughout the school year.
Gail has made a mark in her community and continues to be recognized by the children she has stayed committed to throughout their years at CCC. 40 Years Later she continues to be the Lead Teacher for the Head Start Program, if you ask her if she’s ready to retire, you will hear her say “NOT YET”.
Erin Gullage was born and raised in Cambridge. She grew up in a two family house on the corner of Hampshire Street and Prospect Street, and went to the Longfellow school. At age 15 she moved to Burlington, but stayed in contact with her Cambridge friends. After high school she attended Fitchburg State College graduating with a B.S. in Sociology. She moved back to Cambridge to live in the Riverside community.
In the summer of 2003 Erin fortuitously saw Ms. K walking down Western Ave. After a friendly conversation Miss Kay invited her to stop by the CCC the following week. When Erin met with Miss Kay and saw the inside of the Center she felt right at home. Miss Kay offered her a job as a Financial Compliance Coordinator and she started a week later. Miss Kay instilled in her the value of having a community where families, friends, and neighbors could always come and feel welcomed.
Erin loved meeting the new children who started each September, especially the younger siblings of the children who were already Center Kids. The laughter, sound of voices, kids stopping into her office to say hi and give hugs. She also loved evening chats with parents coming to pick up their children. They'd stop in her office to say hi and often stayed to talk about their lives. By 2021 Erin had proudly witnessed the 2003 Center kindergarteners grow up and graduate high school.
In June 2021 Erin retired from the CCC as the Enrollment Manager to pursue a career in information technology. She continues to stay actively involved in the CCC.
See below for a recap of our 2019 Sisters of the Center Awards Brunch, honoring Yvonne L. Gittens and Toni A. Phillips!
Video by Local Lenses
Photos by Ryan Burt Photography