Two of Dorchester’s own will be celebrated on Nov. 16 at Wheelock College’s third Passion for Action Leadership Award Dinner. Hosted at the JFK Library & Museum, the biennial dinner will recognize seniors Monique Brunner and Ava Jennings, along with 16 of their fellow Passion for Action Scholarship Program members, for their efforts toward positive social change in their communities, the nation, and the world. The students’ involvement and service directly reflect the college’s mission to “inspire a world of good.”
Boston School Superintendent Dr. Carol R. Johnson and Boston Arts Academy founder and co-headmaster Dr. Linda N. Nathan will be honored with the 2011 Passion for Action Leadership Award.
Brunner and Jennings are two of the first five Passion Scholars, known as “Passioneers,” who entered the program in September 2008. The four-year scholarship is coupled with an academic program to develop recipients’ leadership and community service skills and involvement.
During their four years at Wheelock, scholars must complete a number of community-oriented program components in addition to their academic studies including a community service project each year, two service learning projects and a capstone project presented to the Wheelock community in their senior year.
Double-majoring in human development along with juvenile justice and youth advocacy, Brunner graduated from English High School in 2008 where she served as a student council member and vice president of the National Honor Society. Currently, she is the co-vice president of the Black Student Union and the co-facilitator of Campus Conversations on Race (CCOR).
“I have no other reason why I’m here except for the fact that I’m blessed,” Brunner said.
In addition to her studies and program requirements, Brunner interns at a local facility for young men who have run into trouble.
“It’s a chance to give back to my community as well as to be a voice – someone who’s empowering youth voices because a lot of young men and young women don’t feel like they have a voice.”
Jennings is a Human Development major with a focus in Children, Families & Culture and Early Childhood Education. A 2008 graduate of the O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, she is part of Wheelock’s Jumpstart and Upward Bound programs,
Jennings traveled to Ghana and Benin in West Africa this summer to teach English literacy. “It’s my obligation as a world citizen to be involved in the development of youth,” she said. “I believe every child deserves to be well educated and have all of their sustainable needs met.”
In the hopes of providing care and support for her students, which she believes is key for the positive development of children, Jennings plans to teach in the Boston public schools in a primary classroom.
For more information, visit wheelock.edu.