The Jordan Boys and Girls Club honored former executive director Michelle Perez Vichot at an outdoor play space dedication ceremony Aug. 18 at the club on Willow Street.
During the impressive ceremony, the club officially unveiled a plaque naming the play area on the Congress Avenue side the “Michelle Perez Vichot Members Patio.”
Perez Vichot served as JGBC executive director before taking a position at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston main office. She is now the chief executive officer at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica.
Current JGBC Executive Director Gena Centrella led the speaking program in honor of her esteemed colleague, Perez Vichot, who had a positive, uplifting impact on the community’s youth at the club that was founded by Josh Kraft.
“Today, we’re here to celebrate Michelle and her commitment to the Boys and Girls Club for the past 22 years,” began Centrella. “We just wanted to capture her legacy of community compassion with a space out here. We just really appreciate everything that you’ve done for us.”
Mark Robinson, a member of the club’s advisory board, lauded Perez Vichot as a person “who means so much to so many different people.”
“To parents, she’s a guardian angel, someone you’re so grateful to have in your life,” said Robinson. “To children, she’s a role model, someone you look forward to seeing every day. To friends, she’s loyal, honest, sincere.
“The heart of this place is Michelle, and this is the reason we stayed,” added Robinson. “It’s her sincere empathy, and everything she does for every single person here, that’s why we keep coming back and continue to support the club. It’s why parents are so happy to have her and it’s why this club will live forever because of what’s she done. Michelle, we all love you.”
Anthony Rubiera, an alumnus of the club, said Michelle was an inspiration to him during his years as a member of the club.
“With Michelle, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” Rubiera told the gathering. “She helped me build a lot of friendships. She just gave me this energy, this vibe. Little by little, she made me come out of my shell. She always took time out of her day to help me out. I want to thank you, Michelle, and I love you so much.”
As the guest of honor made her way to the microphone, the attendees applauded warmly.
“I’m beyond words,” Michelle said humbly. “I’m so touched to have something in this building have my name on it, in a building that I love and in a community that I love.”
Michelle acknowledged “all of my families here – the Chelsea family, the main office family, the advisory board family, the staff family – and my new work family from Billerica.”
“I just could not be more appreciative of this honor – thank you so much,” she concluded.
This was Michelle Perez Vichot’s moment, a tribute to a shining star who became a role model for hundreds of Chelsea kids. She made a daily difference to Chelsea parents, who entrusted her with providing a safe environment where their children could prosper and set their foundation to a bright future.