Monthly Archives: June 2012

Highland Street Free Fun Fridays!

Click here to download and print the 2012 Free Fun Fridays Calendar

Highland Street Foundation, a huge supporter of Big Sister Association, sponsors Free Fun Fridays, a series in which Massachusetts residents and tourists can visit designated cultural attractions all around Boston for free on Fridays throughout the summer. Check out the calendar of dates and locations listed below for fun match activities to enjoy all summer long! Follow the Highland Street Foundation on twitter @HighlandStreet for updates.

June 29


Lenox, MA

Isabella Steward Gardner Museum

Boston, MA

Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody, MA

Heritage Museums and Gardens

Sandwich, MA

Museum of African American History

Boston, MA

July 6

Boston Children’s Museum

Boston, MA

Stone Zoo

Stoneham, MA

Cape Cod Museum of Art

Dennis, MA

Wenham Museum

Wenham, MA

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Williamstown, MA

July 13

Franklin Park Zoo

Boston, MA

Children’s Museum at Holyoke

Holyoke, MA

Danforth Museum of Art

Framingham, MA

Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum

Lincoln, MA

Reagle Music Theatre

Waltham, MA

July 20

Buttonwood Park Zoo

New Bedford, MA

Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center

Lincoln, MA

Hancock Shaker Village

Pittsfield, MA

Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

Provincetown, MA

Higgins Armory Museum

Worchester, MA

 July 27

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Boston, MA

Children’s Museum in Easton

Easton, MA

Springfield Museums

Springfield, MA

N.E. Historic Genealogical Society

Boston , MA

New Repertory Theatre

Watertown, MA

August 3rd

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston, MA

Norman Rockwell Museum

Stockbridge, MA

Amelia Park Children’s Museum

Westfield, MA

Fuller Craft Museum

Brockton, MA

Arnold Arboretum

Boston, MA

August 10

Battleship Cove

Fall River, MA

Berkshire Museum

Pittsfield, MA

Cape Cod Children’s Museum

Mashpee, MA

Fruitland’s Museum

Cambridge, MA

The Sports Museum

Boston, MA

August 17

Institute of Contemporary Art

Boston, MA

Edward Gorey House

Yarmouth Port, MA

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford, MA

Garden in the Woods

Framingham, MA

Concord Museum

Concord, MA

August 24

Boston Harbor Island Alliance

Boston, MA

USS Constitution Museum

Charlestown, MA

American Textile History Museum

Lowell, MA

Old Sturbridge Village

Sturbridge, MA

Basketball Hall of Fame

Springfield, MA

August 31

JFK Library and Museum

Boston, MA

Plimoth Plantation

Plimoth, MA

The Discovery Museums

Acton, MA

Mass Moca

North Adams, MA


Worchester, MA

*Free Fun Fridays 2012 Special Instructions

Tanglewood Family Fun Fest (June 29, 2012)

On Friday, June 29 from 4-7pm, families are invited to enjoy the beauty of the Tanglewood campus while taking part in an educational scavenger hunt, watching a live musical performance and partaking in other fun family activities. The event is free, but advance registration is recommended. Visit for more information and to register.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (June 29, 2012)

Free timed tickets will be available at the museum entrance on Friday, June 29 starting at 11 am. To ensure that everyone’s experience at the Museum is pleasant, tickets are timed for entry every thirty minutes beginning at 11 am, with the last entry at 4 pm. Tickets will be distributed until museum capacity for the entire day is reached, so the ticket(s) you receive may be for a time slot an hour or two later than you arrive. Admission includes access to the entire museum.

Museum of African American History (June 29, 2012)

Please note that this includes free admission both museums – in Boston (46 Joy Street, Beacon Hill) and Nantucket (29 York Street).

Reagle Music Theatre (July 13, 2012)

This is an afternoon performance (2:00 p.m.) of Bye, Bye Birdie starring Tony Award Nominee Anita Gillette. This venue has a 1,000-seat capacity – no reservations accepted. Tickets will be distributed the day of the performance at the theatre, on a first-come first-serve basis (limit of four per person), between 8:00am and 2:00pm. The theatre is located at Waltham High School, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham. Unfortunately, children under 5 are not permitted in the theatre.

New Repertory Theater (July 27, 2012)

There will be two performances (2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.) of Tales of Poe based on the writings of Edgar Allen Poe in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. This venue has a 340-seat capacity – no reservations accepted. Tickets will be distributed at the theatre, on a first-come first-serve basis, starting two hours before each performance.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (July 27, 2012)

This is a nighttime performance of the political drama CORIOLANUS as part of CSC’s 17th season of Shakespeare on the Common. The performance will begin at 8:00pm at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common and has a running time of approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Note: This play may not be appropriate for all ages.  Parental discretion is advised.

Boston Harbor Islands (August 24, 2012)

This is a free ferry ride to either (or both) of the two most popular Boston Harbor Islands – Georges Island (with historic Fort Warren and ranger-guided tours) and Spectacle Island (with a life-guard supervised beach and 5 miles of hiking trails).

Free tickets for the Harbor Islands Express Ferry will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis at Long Wharf-North, 66 Long Wharf, in downtown Boston (near the Aquarium subway station). The ticket window will open at 8:00 a.m. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes starting at 8:30 am, with a 3 hour window to return. Each adult in line may pick up a maximum of 4 tickets. (There will be no special arrangements for groups of more than 4 to be on the same ferry). Tickets will be handed out for the earliest ferry, then the next, and so on, until all ferry seats for the day are distributed – last year, all tickets were distributed by 10:30 am.

Big Sister: Celebrating the Power of Human Connection

Big Sister presents our latest video that illustrates why every girl can reach her full potential through positive mentoring relationships with women. Five short stories from Big and Little Sisters, reveal how the power of human connection can change lives for the better, forever.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can contribute to Big Sister’s mentoring programs, stop by our website. Inspire a girl. Transform our Community.

Thank you to Liberty Mutual for production.


Big Sister Anouschka Riley and Little Sister Abby

Big Sister Eneida Roman-Olivieri and Little Sister Migleila

Big Sister Marisa Jones and Little Sister Suzanne Cho

Former Little Sisters Donna Thach, Lianne Shackleford-Hughes, and Dara Glynn

Don’t Be Sorry

Written by Sarah MacDonald, Executive Assistant at Big Sister Association

“I’m sorry” is a phrase that I hear a lot. This could be because I spend a lot of time with polite, well-mannered people. Or, it could be because I spend a lot of time with women. I’ve noticed that many women are quick to apologize when they make a mistake at work or even when they bump into someone in the hallway. Of course, if you have the human trait of imperfection and make an error, or if you have your eyes on the floor and walk right into a co-worker, an apology is an appropriate response. However, many times when I hear “I’m sorry” it’s not really a reaction to an apology-worthy act. I might hear “I’m sorry” when a woman needs to pass by me on the subway, when something unfortunate happens that’s not her fault, or when I can’t hear what she says and she has to repeat it. None of these scenarios really seem to me like they should make the ‘offender’ feel apologetic.

I myself am a culprit of over-apologizing. I first noticed this quality of mine the time that I was rammed into on the sidewalk by a rollerblader and the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” Why was I apologizing? I had been obeying the rules of the sidewalk (that is, I had been walking, not blading) and I had done nothing to cause the accident. Yet an apology was an automatic response, the words tumbling from my lips the way that the rollerblader had tumbled into me. I should mention here that the rollerblader simply accepted my apology and offered none of his own in return. Why is this?

A recent University of Waterloo study, which was published in the September 2010 issue of Psychological Science, might hold some answers. Of the 66 study participants, women consistently apologized more than men did; however, women also reported having committed more apology-worthy offenses. When they believed that they committed an offense, men apologized just as often as women. So, perhaps the problem isn’t only that many women have “I’m sorry” set as a kneejerk reaction the way that I did during my encounter with the wayward rollerblader. Maybe the problem is also that if I had spent some more time thinking about it, I would have started to wonder: was I walking too fast? Was I on the wrong part of the sidewalk? Was this really my fault after all? Women, it seems, are not only prone to apologizing but are prone to thinking that they have done something wrong.

In my opinion, one reason for this is that women strive for perfection and are rattled when perfection is not achieved, whether it’s our fault or not. We feel responsible for problems and mistakes that are not our own because they impede our vision of perfection. This is true for me, as well; I wish for perfection and often hold myself accountable when things go awry, no matter the reason. This perfectionism becomes so ingrained in us that we automatically apologize for things that are out of our control, like getting bumped into by someone on the sidewalk. And though I believe that women should be strong and confident, and that we should not carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, I still wonder if our tendency to over-apologize beats the alternative. If we so often determine that we have committed an apology-worthy act, then at least that means we care about right and wrong. We strive to be our best and we want people to know that we value their feelings. And as much as I don’t want to say “I’m sorry” when I’m guilty of nothing, I don’t want to say nothing when I’m guilty of something, either. Finding the balance between over- and under-apologizing is a challenge, but a worthy challenge that I believe we women are capable of meeting.

What do you think about the phenomenon of over-apologizing? Do you notice women saying “I’m sorry” more than men? Why do you think that is?

Interview with Helen Drinan, President of Simmons College

Helen Drinan is the president of Simmons College, an all-women’s school located in Boston. Recently, Big Sister had the opportunity to interview her about the importance of mentors, community partnerships, and education.

In a recent op-ed, you advocated for the importance of role models. Can you tell us about one mentor you’ve had in your life? How has he or she helped you to achieve success?

When I was in high school, I studied Latin and did very well in the subject. Not only did I enjoy the work of understanding this long dead language, but also I so admired my teacher, Miss Martha Vining. I was fortunate to do all my Latin courses with her. She was a role model long before she became a mentor. Initially, I was impressed with her command of the subject, her cool demeanor under pressure, and her attention to each student accompanied by her control of the class. As I moved from second to third to fourth year Latin, I became more eager for her advice and guidance, and she offered that generously.  I will never forget that she advised me to pace myself over my academic choices, suggesting that doing very well with a focus was better than spreading myself too thin over things less important to me. Today I understand that advice as finding something for which you have a passion, and throwing yourself into that. A lifelong benefit from one piece of well crafted insight!

Big Sister and Simmons College have had an excellent partnership for many years. Why are partnerships like ours so important for women and girl-serving organizations?  

The development of girls to women is a continuous, life-long process with a series of different challenges and opportunities along the way. Big Sister and Simmons share complementary missions, which support this continuous process. Big Sister is an organization that encourages girls as they move into young womanhood, while Simmons serves young women as they take their full place in adulthood.  By partnering with like-minded organizations, we increase the knowledge, efficacy, and reputation of each other’s efforts.

Simmons College is an all-women’s school.  What do you think are the benefits of a gender specific education?  

I believe that women’s colleges continue to offer today what they have always offered — the opportunity for capable and talented women to try out any leadership role to which they might aspire; to present themselves in the classroom without concern about male competition or approval; and to experiment with academic and non academic interests which help them to determine who they wish to be in adulthood. In an atmosphere of support, they have the opportunity to try out skills so necessary for later success, and to do so without the stress of gender based social complexity.

What are some of the challenges facing young women entering the business world today?  

Still in our country and culture, there are subtle and strong biases related to what women are well suited to do, and top leadership spots in business remain a big concern for many decision makers. It is also the case that women are perceived as greater risks when given opportunities, so much so that research demonstrates that women tend to be promoted on performance, while men are promoted on potential. A critical experience for anyone successful in business is having profit and loss responsibility; women are less likely to get these assignments and more likely to get staff roles, which tend to divert careers away from the top leadership roles. And finally, the question of having children adds complexity to choices for women, and increasingly, for men.

You are a member of the board of leaders for 2020 Women on Boards, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women on U.S. public boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.  Are you seeing a steady growth of leadership opportunities for women?

During the course of my career, I have seen enormous breakthroughs in terms of legal and legislative support for equal opportunity and equal pay, as well as protections against discrimination. When I first started out, women were not admitted to the most prestigious business schools, and they were not allowed in most bank lending officer training programs. Today, those things do not happen. However, the hope that once the pipeline of talented women was full, there would come a time of parity in opportunity has not been realized. We have made progress in fits and starts, rather than in “steady” steps, and I believe that will continue for the foreseeable future. The culture has to be supportive of this continuous shift, and the challenge of culture change is enormous, resulting in slower progress than many of us had hoped for.

What advice would you give to girls and young women who want to someday become leaders in the Boston community?  

It is always important to be as clear as possible about what you would like to achieve and what you are willing to do to get there. Then, it is imperative to get the best possible education you can for your chosen field, recognizing that we all need to be life-long learners, as most fields are evolving so rapidly. Next, it is very important to think through the kind of work experience necessary to prepare you for your ultimate goal, and to be very intentional about those experiences as you change jobs over your career. Never forget about the people you will need to support, guide, and encourage you — professional friends, role models, mentors, and sponsors — and do a great job building and sustaining your network.  In the end, clear goals and the help of great people will move talented and motivated people to great heights.

Big Sister Celebrates Dorchester Day

On Sunday, June 3rd, Big Sister Staff, members of the Diversity Council, Big and Little Sisters, and Big Sister and At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley marched in the Dorchester Day Parade to raise awareness of our need for more Big Sisters in the Dorchester community.

Although the day started off cloudy, the rain held off so participants could walk, and sometimes dance, their way the 3.2 miles down Dorchester Ave.

Thanks to the Dot Out float we stayed entertained with music by Donna Summer, Lady Gaga, and Madonna.

Big Sister and At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, sporting her Big Sister t-shirt, walked with Little Sisters Aniah from Dorchester and Nailea from Boston.

Big Sister CEO Deb Re and Big Sister Recruitment Coordinator Jillian DiBenedettomet Senatorial Candidate Elizabeth Warren and snapped a quick picture.

Thank you Dorchester and parade organizers for such a great day! We currently need 50 Big Sisters in Dorchester. If you have been thinking about becoming a Big Sister, stop by our website at to fill out an application.