Lifelong Salem resident Tim Shea was inducted into the Salem State University Civic Engagement Hall of Fame on April 25 for his work with the Greater Salem Boys and Girls Club.
Shea is a former board member and current advisor for the organization, but his involvement with the program really began when he and his four brothers would walk from their childhood home on Derby Street to an early version of the Boys and Girls Club, then known as the Salem Boys Fraternity.
Photo by Joe Benavidez via Salem State University
"Much bigger, and girls," are the two major differences Shea points out between the organization of his childhood and the current Boys and Girls club.
As the athletic director at Salem State, Shea makes certain that the university's athletic facilities are open to use by the Boys and Girls Club whenever possible. He traces his basketball career at Salem High School and Assumption College to his days playing in the undersized gym at the Boys Fraternity.
"There's a lot of coordination of facilities with our club, which we really appreciate," said executive director Joanne Scott.
As one of the most successful women's basketball coaches in NCAA history, Shea would arrange for his players to serve as mentors to the girls involved with Girls, Inc., of Lynn. He has also connected Salem State athletes to the Salem Parks and Recreation Department and arranged for them to coach youth sports. Those families who cannot afford the cost of Shea's summer basketball camp receive free tuition for their children, and neighborhoods in need have received sneaker donations from Shea in the past.
But it is his work with the Boys and Girls Club that earned him one of three annual spots out of nearly 50 applicants for the Civic Engagement Hall of Fame. Salem State donated $500 to the Boys and Girls Club in Shea's honor, and program director Jodi Sperling plans to use the money to outfit the club's recently founded girls basketball teams.Aside from providing necessary facilities and instruction for athletics, Shea's knowledge of the area makes him an invaluable member of the advisory board when questions surrounding the club arise.
"Often times I will talk to him about potential locations for our new club, when we?re looking forward to where our next location will be," Scott said. "I'll ask him what he thinks because of his history and his familiarity of everything that has to do with Salem. So he's a very valuable councilor for us."