College, career readiness program plans launch in Mattapan

Looking to provide educational opportunities to the Mattapan community, the Mattahunt Community Center on 100 Hebron Street will partner with College Bound Dorchester to provide career and college readiness programming to its visitors.

Rashad O. Cope, director of the Mattahunt Community Center, is looking to enroll 25 young adults between the ages of 17-27 in a six week pilot program that will be focused on GED obtainment and college preparation classes, with the help of College Bound Dorchester.

“If we get young adults to enroll in the program at a successful rate, that will indicate our partnership with College Bound Dorchester,” he said.

Cope said that the College Bound Dorchester organization, located at 18 Samoset St., has been looking to expand partnerships throughout the city and has had success at getting disengaged youth to enroll in colleges.

College Bound Dorchester CEO Mark Culliton said that the organization has helped more than 70 of its participants to graduate from college over the last two years.

“We work with young people that generally are disengaged and/or are disrupting the community that they live, work and go to school in,” Culliton said.

The organization is committed to using education as a means to get young people to have a positive impact on their communities after graduation. Culliton said that the success of these young people will have “a rippling effect” on the success of the community in tackling “generational urban poverty.”

The organization is also working with inmates at the South Bay House of Corrections to help get them into colleges upon their release.

Natalia Urtubey, director of Strategic Partnerships for College Bound Dorchester, said the organization has been looking to partner with an organization like the Mattahunt for quite a while now. The potential partnership came to light through a mutual contact from Wheelock College, a current partner of the Mattahunt Community Center.

The organization is looking to the Mattahunt Community Center to recruit potential students and will hold an information session on Wed., May 14 at the center from 6 – 7:30 pm to gauge how many people are interested.

Urtubey said that the enrollment process will allow them to determine which pilot program to run at the Mattahunt this summer: a High School Equivalency program catered to high school dropouts without GEDs or a Bridge to College Program that will help students with GEDs or diplomas matriculate into a two or four year college.

The pilot program will operate as a summer boot camp with the intension of getting students enrolled in college by the fall semester. There will also be opportunities for participants to receive a $1,000 scholarship to pursue an associate’s degree at a community college.

If 25 people enroll, the program will begin on July 7.

“[Enrollment] will be a great indicator of our long term partnership with College Bound Dorchester,” Cope said. “We have to get people to take advantage of [this program].”