Thelma D. Burns
Thelma D. Burns, tireless community activist, advocate and volunteer, will be honored on May 20 at the dedication of ABCD’s Thelma D. Burns Building. The event, hosted by ABCD Board Chair John P. McGahan and ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew, is the grand opening of the centerpiece of the newly created ABCD Roxbury/North Dorchester Campus at 565-575 Warren Street, Roxbury.
“ABCD is very pleased to have this opportunity to honor Thelma for her significant work for Boston’s people and neighborhoods,” said Drew. “There is no one with a bigger heart and stronger dedication and capability to getting things done.”
Thelma Burns has served on the ABCD Board of Directors for more than 35 years including stints as Board Chair, Vice Chair and Committee Chair. A longtime Dorchester resident, she has headed the ABCD Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center board for more than 15 years. She also has chaired or served on countless other community boards including Central Boston Elder Services, the Mayor’s Senior Advisory Council, Roxbury YMCA and more.
For 28 years she served as METCO director for the Belmont Public Schools, retiring in 2008. Thelma received her Bachelor’s in Education from Boston University and her Master’s of Education in Administration from Harvard University. She also is a Registered Nurse.
Always at the forefront of social justice initiatives, in 1968 she was a Robert F. Kennedy Fellow in Washington, DC.
A two-time cancer survivor, Burns praises the work of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she volunteers. She also is a member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Faith-based Cancer Disparities Network.
The Thelma D. Burns Building is the focal point of a three-building ABCD Roxbury-North Dorchester Campus in the Grove Hall neighborhood where Roxbury and North Dorchester come together. Two other campus buildings house the ABCD Roxbury-North Dorchester Neighborhood Opportunity Center and ABCD Walnut Grove Head Start. An intergenerational community garden and quiet areas are planned for green space that connects the buildings.