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The annual event recognized efforts made in the community to empower Boston’s youth.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the virtual Boston Scores Celebration, an annual event that recognizes the leaders in our community dedicated to empowering Boston’s youth. It was an inspiring night focused on the impactful work of Boston Scores, a nonprofit that provides urban youth with team-based education programs that promote health and well-being, academic engagement, and civic leadership.
As soon as the event began, it became clear it was not just a celebration; it was a call to action, addressing the current climate of social and racial injustice and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, and acknowledging our role in the solution when it comes to the protection, care and personal development of youth.
The Boston Scores Celebration, of which Progress was a proud sponsor, kicked off with a welcome address from Mark Ott, co-chair of the Boston Scores Event Committee, and a message from the Boston Scores team, in which they shared how they transformed the program to continue serving and empowering youth during the pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, Program Director Ivelisse Mendoza detailed how students were struggling with self-isolation, not having access to their friends or trusting adults, and of course, the “emotional stress of living through a pandemic.” Boston Scores worked tirelessly to build a complete, virtual program that would provide the support and resources students needed to prosper and enhance their leadership skills. Through a new program called Poets for Good, students were able to connect with kids from different schools and create their own businesses all while giving back to their communities. You can learn more about the Poets for Good program here.
It was truly great hearing about organization’s dedication to serving youth in Boston, being mindful of the specific challenges their students were facing. According to Boston Scores, they have seen “how the COVID-19 crisis is disproportionately affecting the kids in (their) communities in ways far too often unseen or overlooked. The majority of Boston Scores participants grow up in historically marginalized communities facing economic, cultural, and language barriers.”
Keynote speaker Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union, touched on important topics relating to social and racial injustice and the detrimental impact of COVID-19. Ongoing protests, the Black Lives Matter movement, and countless voices and actions are rising up against hate and working toward an inclusive society for all.
“Youth are demanding a change, and we are here to help them,” Tang said.
Educators and all involved with Boston Scores will do everything necessary to unlock the full potential of their students’ body, mind and soul, to not only benefit the students, but our communities and our world. These are times when we need strong leaders, and we must give youth the tools they need to become our leaders of tomorrow.
To watch Tang’s full speech, click here.
David Chang and Nicole Chang were honored by Boston Scores.
Following her call to action, the Boston Scores’ Leadership Award was presented to David Chang, former board chair, and Nicole Chang, former event committee chair, for all their contributions to the nonprofit, and consequentially Boston youth, during their 15 years with the organization.
To close the night, Boston's first-ever Youth Poet Laureate, Alondra Bobadilla, premiered her original poem "Tomorrow” on what it means to empower youth to become leaders, declaring “Invest in us,” and “honor us with your love and action.” Watch her powerful performance below.
The first-ever virtual gala was a huge success, raising $285,000 (and counting) and had more than 200 viewers tune in.
I am grateful to have been able to attend the event and am truly inspired by the work from Boston Scores. This year has been a trying year, but hearing about a nonprofit’s never-ending commitment to empower youth and effect change adds a bit of hope into the mix. If more people focus on the education, care and personal development of youth like Boston Scores does, the future will be lined up with a lot of great leaders paving the way for a more inclusive society for all.
To learn more about the program and all the ways you can get involved, click here.
Learn about Progress for Tomorrow
Danielle is a Communications Specialist at Progress, where she is also on the leadership team of the employee resource group, Progress for Her, and an Advisory Committee member on Progress’ Inclusion & Diversity Committee. When she’s not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.
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