The annual College Bound Dorchester “We Are Uncornered” gala raised nearly $400,000 this past week. The money raised will be used to support its Boston Uncornered initiative which empowers formerly gang involved youth to go to college by providing social emotional and educational support through peer mentors as well as weekly stipends. More than 300 people attended the gala at the State Room on May 9th.
For the past 14 years, the nonprofit has used education as a means to transform lives and develop positive leaders who drive neighborhood change from within. This year, student speaker Paul Burns spoke about his journey from incarceration to the classroom. Burns is currently enrolled at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology working towards his H/VAC certificate.
“The money I get from Boston Uncornered makes it easier for me to do better and keeps me from thinking of negative ways to make ends meet,” says Burns. “College Bound Dorchester pushed me to push myself. I wouldn’t believe it if I wasn’t living it.”
Over the next three years, College Bound Dorchester will engage more than 500 Core Influencers from six of Boston’s 14 “hotspots”, of violence. In Boston, 3,500 gang members (only one percent of the youth population) are responsible for 74 percent of all shootings in the city on only five percent of the city’s street corners. The organization is working with researchers from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University to evaluate the program with the goal of making it a national model.
Way to go!
About College Bound Dorchester
College Bound Dorchester (CBD) is a nonprofit organization poised to be a national model for using education to end systemic generational urban poverty and violence. Based in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester, potentially the worst section of Boston, Mass. in terms crime and poverty, the organization is spearheading a new initiative to get the dropout, gang-leading, and incarcerated youth into community colleges where they can earn associates degrees, earn a living wage, and positively influence the community around them. CBD calls these youth Core Influencers because their actions and influence impact the safety and potential of their entire communities. Because of their networks and influence, they are the current problem but they are also the solution.
Using Boston’s most distressed neighborhoods as a model, in 2017 CBD formally launched the Boston Uncornered initiative, which provides neighborhood-based mentors, college-focused education and a weekly stipend for highly influential Core Influencers as they pursue the college degrees and career opportunities that enable them to turn away from the “streets” for good – breaking cycles of poverty and violence by transforming neighborhoods from the inside out.
For more information, please visit www.uncornered.org.
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
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