By: Jen Russon
For over thirty years, kindergartners attending school in Coral Springs are shuttled to Kiwanis Park for their annual Safety Town field trip, where Mary Jamieson Boast coordinates the summer program.
“I’ve been a volunteer here since day one, and like to say I love my career. I’m a volunteer,” said Mary, adding that she put family first when her children, Jonathan and Kristina, were small.
The Boasts moved to Coral Springs from Montreal in the 1980s. Mary and Gordon live not far from Kiwanis Park and have always been active volunteers.
Mary, known as “Ms. Mary,” said in May of 1987, a group of children were riding their bicycles around her community when five-year-old Seth Adams was hit by a car.
“Seth was critically injured. He still has problems. His parents and I, and all the other moms, decided we never wanted to see anything like that happen to a child again.”
When the group approached the city about funding a safety program, they got it. Mary and others with small children in the community met with the National Director of a Safety Town program in Ohio. They adopted its curriculum for teaching it in the city.
Mary said, at first, she and Debbie Lietzke, a preschool teacher, traveled to elementary schools around town, teaching kindergartners about stranger danger, fire and water safety, and how to cross the street.
“The number of schools grew so rapidly, we went to the PD and said ‘oh my gosh, this is too much for us, could you take over please?’” she recalls.
Coral Springs Police did just that, providing a double-wide trailer, so Mary could help create curriculum for the thousands of children who matriculate through Safety Town each year, and, now, due to COVID-19, virtually.
When hurricanes damaged the trailer, the city came through once again by constructing a new building that opened in Kiwanis Park in 2015.
This month, Parks and Recreation Director Rob Hunter called Mary and told her she was recommended as the Coral Springs resident most deserving of having the Safety Town building named after her.
On February 17, Mayor Scott Brook and five city commissioners voted unanimously to name the building located at 520 Ramblewood Drive, ‘Ms. Mary’s Place’.
“I’m honored, and I’m humbled,” said Boast. “That’s how everyone knows me. I don’t need my full name up there. I’m Ms. Mary.”
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- Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.
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