Alvaro “John” Paolo was often thought of as the Bocce King in Boston’s North End. An active community volunteer, he ran bocce ball tournaments every year as a fundraiser for North End Against Drugs. Later in life, he developed macular degeneration, a progressive condition that affects the retina and causes vision loss. But that didn’t slow him down: He continued to run (and win!) these popular community tournaments.
Sadly, Paolo passed away in 2012 from a brain injury, but his daughter Linda LoPriore has continued his legacy of giving back to the community. With help from her family and friends, she took over the tournament and renamed it the Johnny Paolo Bocce Tournament in his memory.
For nine years, the annual event funded scholarships for local kids in her dad’s name. But on the tenth anniversary in 2022, Linda decided to grow the tournament. She formed a 501(c)(3) and donated all of the proceeds to the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts in her dad’s honor.
Perkins just made sense, and I know this would make him very happy.”Linda LoPriore
This year, Perkins School for the Blind is honored to be the recipient of the tournament’s proceeds. With macular degeneration being hereditary, Paolo was very focused on educating his family about the condition and raising awareness in the community. Linda explained, “Perkins just made sense, and I know this would make him very happy.”
The Alvaro “John” Paolo Bocce Court at Langone Park in Boston’s North End was dedicated in Paolo’s memory in 2015 by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. The Perkins community is invited to stop by and cheer on this year’s competitors on Sunday, July 30, 2023 from 11:00am-4:00pm.