Book details 25 years of work at local halfway house

July 20, 2007
By

John Swan

Author James Earle Kyle greeted friends with eloquence in both carriage and countenance as they entered the First Unitarian Church of JP to celebrate the release of his second book, “Longing to Belong: A Matter of the Heart.” The book, in word and illustrations, chronicles Kyle’s quarter century counseling troubled boys at Community Caring’s Brenda Hamlett and Charlie Hauck House on Perkins Street.

One of the first people he greeted was Dr. Severyn Bruyn, retired professor of economics and sociology at Boston College. Kyle, 71, and a little weak from recent chemotherapy treatments, smiled serenely from his tall frame and bent down to hug his excited friend.

“He’s a wonderful man, gets right to the heart of things,” said Bruyn after congratulating Kyle. “James turns these kids on, not with charisma, but through a quiet way. They’re drawn to his sense of peace and thoughtfulness.”

Bruyn, who hosts a discussion group on dreams and clairvoyant Edgar Cayce that Kyle is active in, called Kyle “a silent leader… who knows more in a motivational and spiritual sense than most professors. I see him as a medium.”

Kyle, whose boys call him “Pops” waved his hand dismissively.

Kyle’s first book was titled “Dreams, The Mother Language: The Interruptive Encyclopedia.”

“It’s kind of a practical application of dreams in our daily lives,” Kyle said.

In his new his book, Kyle writes about the pain and joy, successes and failures of the boys that have passed through the halfway house, and challenges readers to see this hidden part of society.

“These kids come from broken homes, DSS [the Department of Social Services], foster care, and have not experienced much inclusiveness. The message is that we can help them improve their quality of life and be more independent citizens who respect themselves and others,” said Kyle, who is on a leave of absence from work as he recovers from recent surgery.

“But we have to inform the public they exist. We need more funds for facilities, training, trips and scholarships. We need to reach out with patience and cross the line that divides us. I hope the community as a whole can take that step,” he said.

“Today you’ve taken us to the mountain top,” said colleague Gerry Wright, founder of Community Caring, during the ceremony. But he reminded everyone that they need to also come down “to the frontline trenches.”

“Looking around, I’m glad to see this is an intergenerational group, because that’s my life,” Kyle said, speaking to scores of friends and family of his years as youth counselor, as well as a case worker and violence prevention coordinator for seniors.

Kyle’s daughter Arleana Adams, a medical office coordinator in Connecticut, said she is proud of her father and his accomplishments. “He’s always been a strong spiritual light. He’s just a very open-minded, well-rounded, loving person.”

Kyle finished his address by reading a poem of his. It ended, “Don’t quit. Join hands. Take a stand. Make it grand. Yes we can. Yes we can.”

Rev. Catherine Reed, assistant chaplain at the College of the Holly Cross, gave the invocation.

For information on where to get the book, contact Pax Luna Press at 282-8881 or visit www.paxlunapress.com.