The Challenge

Boston, like most urban cities, has neighborhoods that are stuck in challenges of poverty, violence and dysfunction - which encourage each generation to mirror the last. They remain impoverished for decades, unable to unlock the potential of individuals and the cities themselves. One major focus for change is education reform. But most of these efforts, like Charter schools, focus on students who need only a little help. At best, the results are better educated youth who can then afford to move out of their challenged neighborhoods to live in safer ones, leaving the dysfunctional areas stuck. 

Our Approach

College Bound employs a place-based strategy to identify, engage and serve the most influential and disconnected youth. Doing this will create a shift in the system - moving from a small number of individuals in Dorchester that is college bound to a community where the majority are pursuing higher education. Further, when the few young people who are most disruptive are in college and on the path to success, they stop creating mayhem on our streets and no longer serve as a seductive force luring the next generation and continuing the cycle. As a community, our best chance of sustained change and widespread impact is to focus on those who are the biggest influencers - a ‘super user’ strategy. 

The Work

College Bound will end the dysfunctional cycles in Dorchester by engaging the few young people who disproportionately disrupt Boston’s largest and most challenged neighborhood. With a mission to equip students with the skills, attitude and experience to graduate from college, we currently serve 900 students. Over the next five years, we plan to increase this number by 35% and quadruple the number of students matriculating into college. 

Our focus is on two areas -- 1. Prevention: We will identify and recruit families with children aged 0 to 13, who are especially at risk of not reaching post-secondary education, into our high quality pre-school and after school programs, ensuring that students enter and advance through school at or above grade level and entire families have the expectation of college. 2. Intervention: We will identify and recruit adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 27, who are disruptive and have dropped out, been pushed out or are in danger of dropping out of school into our college preparation programs. We use an intervention model that focuses on both skills and motivation working through a proved youth development framework that provides academic tutoring, mentoring and enrichment opportunities. Our educators are skilled at meeting these students where they are and leading them to a place they never believed they could be.