72°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Youth to Campus, Inspiration to the Aspiring

The young and aspiring of Harbor Point were truly shaped on December 9, 2008 as they were given a glimpse of what the future held for them. “Youth to Campus” gave way to the opportunity for elementary students of Harbor Point to visit the UMass Boston campus and explore the limitless potential of college.

Organized by Commonwealth Corps members as part of the Harbor Point Outreach Partnership, these UMass Boston students focused on implementing positive development opportunities by providing a sense of usefulness, belonging, and power.

Katie Wauchope, a College of Public and Community Service student and tutor, explained her role as not only a mentor, but as a friend to the youth as well.

“By centering our attention as both mentors and friends to the youth, we established a sense of bonding that would not be otherwise possible in a formal academic setting”, Wauchope proclaimed. “We achieve results by focusing on the strengths of the youth, rather than their failings.”

The youth arrived to campus promptly and were presented with a short speech by SAEC Coordinator, Mike Metzger. Entitled “With just a Figment of your Imagination”, Metzger spoke about achieving dreams and a sense of imagination without boundaries.

Afterwards, the youth were led on a unique scavenger hunt, which allowed them to explore the different departments of the campus while invoking a sense of community and function. From the Clark Athletic Center to the Healey Library, the youth scouted the campus in search of answers to a wit testing puzzle game organized by the tutors.

Through such means, “Youth to Campus” was deemed a success, expressed fellow tutor Dana Francois.

“Our aim was to act as facilitators through the exhibition of a variety of the amazing programs our university has to offer”, said Francois. “By demostrating how these programs are used to promote learning in a safe and positive enviroment, we hope that the youth will return home from this day feeling that connection and involvement with how our supportive communities can determined their own futures.”

Headed by Professor Joan Arches and coordinated by UMass Boston alumni Claire Sternberg and Director of Community Outreach Suzanne Allmendinger, the Harbor Point Outreach Partnership features a service-learning course in which UMass students are given the opportunity to administer a tutoring program to the youth of the The Walter Denny Youth Center, a branch of the Boys and Girls Club in Harbor Point.

“Adolescence, which is the age group we are working with, is the turning point in the overall life development process. Therefore, this was the time of opportunity for the UMass Boston community to support these young people in a positive way”, said Wauchope. “As a class, we discussed our use of the Positive Youth Development model and how it is connects to the success rate of these youth in attending college. By focusing on involvement with a diverse span of people and places, the youth are enriched through intellectual nurturing to become educated members of society.”

To make this connection true, the tutors designed an afternoon of delight at UMass Boston, with the goal of showing how attending college is possible and how it can expand the range of possibilities of their lives.