A new initiative aims to double college graduation rates for students from Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan by 2018.
As part of the effort, more than 400 8th- through 11th-grade students will head to the 400-acre Pinnacle Leadership Center in Kensington, N.H., Saturday morning for a weekend of college preparatory workshops, lectures, and activities with the new program CollegeWorks.
The $10 million initiative, founded by Alan and Harriet Lewis, owners of Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation, will work to educate prospective students about the importance of college and everything that goes into it, from loans to grades.
“We’ve been doing this program because we believe in the neighborhood and the talent and abilities of inner-city kids,” said Harriet Lewis, chairwoman of the Grand Circle Foundation. “It’s a real-life program that will honestly teach them about the skills they need to make it into school.”
CollegeWorks will partner with local non-profits, including Bottom Line, to help the students.
“We are thrilled with the investment that Grand Circle Foundation is making in Bottom Line and the students growing up in the poorest communities of Boston,” Mike Wasserman, executive director of Bottom Line MA, said in a statement.
The initiative also includes engagement of a number of neighborhood and community organizations, which will take part in the CollegeWorks program, building an understanding of the importance of college graduation and creating neighborhood based resources.
“The opportunity to get a college education is extremely helpful,” said Lewis a former educator. “It will help financial and it also helps build skills and confidence.”
While the camp and trip out of the city are highlights, the program will be working with the community over the next several years to increase graduations rates through annual $500,000 donations by the Grand Circle Foundation to area groups, internship programs, and leadership camps.