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VVolunteer opportunity

5th Grade Oral History Project: Spring 2014

Volunteer opportunity

Volunteer Opportunity posted by: Boston Family Boat Building

Posted on: November 19, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity description

In the spring of their 5th grade year our students participate in an oral history project. For the past few years we've worked with the HaleySchool in Roslindale where the focus of this project has been African American involvement in the maritime industry. This year we have partnered with a new school, the Harvard-Kent in Charlestown, and will be working with an additional 60 students. We are currently in the process of developing a new project focusing on the history of the Boston Harbor clean-up. We would love to find volunteers to help us develop this project, and more specifically to help identify and connect with interviewees who will be able to meet with our students a couple of times in April and May, and with assembling a packet of primary source documents for students to read before conducting their interviews.

At the Haley students have conducted the interviews in small groups (4-8 students, ideally it would be 4-5 students per group) with African Americans who either have personal experiences working in the maritime industry or close connections through a relative. Participants have included Jackie Cox-Crite, whose late husband was Alan Rohan Crite, a fine artist who also worked as a draftsman and technical illustrator in the Boston Naval Shipyard. Other participants were Maria Mendes-Hendricks whose grandfather Henrique Mendes was the last Captain of the Schooner Ernestina, and Theodore Walcott, who travelled the world as a merchant marine during WWII and the Korean War. Students then meet with the participants twice. The first meeting tends to be a time for students to get to know the person, and the second is usually more focused on delving into the stories they have to tell. After the second meeting students work together to transcribe recordings of the conversations they had, and then write stories about what they learned. The culmination of the project is a publishing party where students present their interviewees with a book of their work. We plan to keep the same basic structure and timeline with the new project at the Harvard-Kent, but are certainly open to new ideas. We hope to be able to begin making connections with participants in January of 2014.

Tasks we need help with:

  • Researching the Boston Harbor Clean-up.
  • Finding primary source documents for 5th graders to read in order to gain background information.
  • Identifying and contacting people who were involved with the clean-up, or have connections to it in some way. We hope to find at least 10 participants who can commit to the project.

We expect that this project will require a commitment of about 5-10 hours per week.

How to apply

Please send an e-mail to Katy Schramm at


One Marina Park Drive, Suite 11, Boston, MA, 02210, US


Time Commitment

3 months or longer
Time commitment
A lot (10+ hours/week)
Flexible schedule
Start and end dates
January 2014-May 2014