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Friday, May 13, 2022

Boys in the Wood Meet the Men of Motown
by Pat Williams

A few weeks ago, I met Emmanuel Fairley-Pittman through my client Broadway In Boston. Fairley-Pittman teaches third through fifth grade students at the Henry Grew Elementary School in Hyde Park. Earlier this year, Fairley-Pittman and his colleague Frank Wilburn created Boys in the Wood (World Optimizing Our Destinies), a five-week enrichment program for 3rd through 5th graders. The objectives of the program are to create brotherhood; learn about one’s self and others; explore and learn in new places (outside of school); and develop one’s identity to lead a productive and meaningful life. Boys in the Wood is modeled after GLAM, a similar program for young girls, “The motivation behind this program is really just exposing this group of boys to different experiences. For me, this program is really about being a young boy that just experiences fun,” said Fairley-Pittman.

Fairley-Pittman launched the inaugural session of Boys in the Wood in late March. Some of the planned activities included hiking in the Blue Hills, working out at a minority owned gym, attending a Red Sox game and the piece de resistance, going to the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, as well as hosting a talkback with cast members at the school. Attending the play and hosting the talkback was facilitated by Broadway In Boston’s Director of Marketing, Andrew Darcey, “The boys loved the show, and not only because it was an extremely well-executed performance. I think they were struck by the entire experience, taking the train into the city, the crowds, the ambiance and energy of the theater. The entire evening was something that they will think about and relive, and hopefully build upon as they continue to explore new spaces and events.”

Fairley-Pittman described the reaction of “David,” a student who had never attended a play, “[David] surprised me greatly. Before the show, he wasn't certain about going; he was convinced he wouldn't like it and, believe it or not, was concerned about being out too late. To mine and his mother's surprise though, he loved it. David was very excited to meet Otis, one of the group’s founding members played by Marcus Paul James.

The last event of the 2022 program was attending a Red Sox game on May 5th. Unfortunately, the Sox lost to the Los Angeles Angels. Despite the loss, Fairley-Pittman feels that the program has been a great success, “Overall, it was an amazing experience that I hope we are able to replicate with future groups and theaters here in Boston.”

If your business/organization is interested in providing a space or activities for the Boys in the Wood program, please send your name, name of your business/organization, phone number and email address to