Like most urban cities, Boston has neighborhoods that are stuck in cycles of dysfunction that lead to a lack of opportunity. Each generation tends to mirror the previous, leaving communities and their residents impoverished for generations. Unfortunately, many efforts to mitigate this challenge do not result in community-wide change. At College Bound, we understand how vital it is to go beyond individuals to transform the entire community.
We employ an intervention model designed to identify, engage and serve the most influential and disconnected young people in the community, whom we call “Core Influencers”. Many of these young people are gang-involved and drive the violence in the streets. Once the Core Influencers are on the path to success, they can serve as a constructive force within the community to drive positive change. In this way, we use a super-user strategy to break the dysfunctional cycles and create a college-bound culture in the neighborhoods we serve.
Our approach is two-fold, focusing on both prevention and intervention to establish a continuum of services for the community. Using this model, we are able to ensure students remain on track and help those who have disconnected get back on the path to college graduation.
At College Bound, we serve the students that other programs leave behind; those deemed too difficult and costly to engage. Our students live below the poverty line and are behind in their academic development. Many have served time in correctional facilities, are active gang members and have dropped out of multiple high schools. They are diverse and represent a wide range of backgrounds. Ninety-six percent of our students are people of color.