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Letter: Changes at Mattahunt campus will impact schedules, programs

Dear Mattapan Community:

The Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership (MWP) would like to take a moment to thank all of the organizations, agencies, community leaders and families who have worked together with the partnership to serve the needs of children, youth, and families this past year. In the spirit of cooperation, it is important that everyone be kept abreast of shifts that impact programming at the Center. Today, I write on behalf of the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership to share a number of important developments taking place at the Center that will impact programming this fall.

As you know, the MWP Community Center is adjacent to the Mattahunt Elementary School. Much of the programming at the Center takes place as the school day ends in order to accommodate the school’s facility needs. During the upcoming 2013-2014 school year, the Mattahunt Elementary School will change its hours from opening at 7:20 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. to opening from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. This change in hours of operation has created a shift in after school/extended day programming at the school and in turn programming at the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership Community Center has had to change.

With the change to a 9a.m. to 4p.m. school day, the Boys and Girls Club’s leadership has made the decision to end its programming at the MWP Community Center and the Mattahunt Elementary School. The reasoning behind this change is that the remaining hours after the school day do not provide sufficient time for the Boys and Girls Club to run its Shared Space charter program. We understand that this decision was not made lightly, as the Boys and Girls Club’s leaders support the work and mission of the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership at the Center. We have valued our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, appreciate all of their efforts and thank them for their involvement these past two years.

Although the change in hours will significantly impact the Center, the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership remains committed to maintaining the vision of a Center informed by the Mattapan community’s voice and needs. We have already begun discussions to ensure programs will be available to children, youth and families this upcoming year, including the development of an afterschool program focused on arts and education. A full schedule of programs and activities can be found at http://www.wheelock.edu/mattahunt or picked up at the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership Community Center.

During the summer months, the MWP met with the new principal of the Mattahunt Elementary School, Genteen Lacet, to ensure effective collaboration. We look forward to working with Principal Lacet to support the Mattahunt Elementary School’s efforts to improve academic performance. To that end, we are exploring new academic support initiatives through corporate donations, such as the recently announced partnership with Santander Universities/Sovereign Bank, to create programs focused on financial literacy, college access, and career awareness at the Center this year.

Lastly, as we look to the Center’s future, it is also important to reflect on the progress made to date. All of the many accomplishments of the Center are an outcome of the priorities indicated by the Community Engagement Planning Process—these priorities will continue to guide our future work together. In just two years, the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership Community Center re-opened its doors and now serves nearly 200 families a day. The Center’s pool and computer room have become hubs of activity for the community. Approximately $300,000 in funding has been brought to the Center through outside donors and 5,000 hours have been volunteered to the Center through 500 volunteer events organized by MWP Community Center staff. In addition, we have facilitated over 20 unique community partnerships and collaborations while increasing the capacity of existing partners. For example, since becoming a MWP partner two years ago, the Boys and Girls Club was able to double their service population, delivering programs to 100 students. Additionally, the service capacity of the P.A.C.E. program increased from 25 students to now having a potential to serve 120 students. We are incredibly proud of these accomplishments.

Wheelock College remains committed to being a strong managing partner at the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership Community Center –a Center that continues to be driven by your needs and input. This will continue. As we move forward, Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership seeks additional ways to draw from the College’s expertise in human services and academic instruction. This upcoming year the Wheelock College Social Work Department will house two social work interns on-site at the Center as a first step to providing on-site mental health services in collaboration with Mattapan Community Health Center. In addition, Wheelock has created a graduate assistantship, student practicum and independent study course linked to the Center as a way for the community and the college to continue to mutually benefit and learn from one another. As the MWP looks forward to the upcoming academic year, we remain excited about our work with the Mattapan community and stand ready to partner and provide opportunities for you.

If you have any questions, concerns, thoughts or ideas about these changes, and/or questions about upcoming programs, please do not hesitate to contact the MWP Community Center Director, Rashad Cope at 617-635-5159 or email at rcope@wheelock.edu.

Respectfully,

Rashad Cope, Director
On Behalf of the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership