Wheelock Furthering Community Learning and Collaboration

August 07, 2014

Wheelock College announced today a total of $33,000 in funding that will bolster high impact community programs in Boston. The McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation has granted $30,000 to advance the College's mission to improve the lives of children and their families at the Mattahunt Community Center in Mattapan, MA and through the Ubuntu Arts program. Also to the Mattahunt Center, People's United Community Foundation has granted $3,000 for a partnership with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) and English for New Bostonians (ENB) to provide family engagement programming for immigrant families.

"We are very pleased to deepen our relationships with the McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation and People's United Community Foundation; both organizations are deeply committed to improving access to education for deserving students," said Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President of Wheelock College. "We are truly excited to work together to expand opportunities where children and youth can thrive, families are supported, and those who work with children and families are appreciated."

The Geneviève McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation, a foundation established in 2001 to realize the vision of its founder, Geneviève McMillan (1922-2008), and to commemorate the life and work of her friend, the artist Reba Stewart (1930-1971). This generous gift includes $20,000 to the PUSH Academy at the Mattahunt Community Center to provide youth leadership and developmental experiences. This out-of-school-time and summer program believes in pushing youth towards achievement. PUSH engages elementary and middle school students in interactive learning (math, science, creative writing, technology, money management and college awareness) to build college awareness, advocacy, and writing skills. The program currently serves 32 students in grades 3rd - 6th. Since 2010, Wheelock College has remained committed to improving the lives of children and families in Mattapan through the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership at the Center. The Mattahunt Community Center has partnered with over 35 different organizations offering different programs for children and adults.

The Foundation has also granted $10,000 to Ubuntu Arts, a unique college-community initiative that is embedded in the undergraduate senior capstone course in the Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Department at Wheelock. Ubuntu is a worldview that comes to us from the Bantu language groups of Sub-Saharan Africa, and was introduced to us by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa during his visit to Wheelock to accept an honorary degree. Loosely translated from the Bantu languages of Sub Saharan Africa, Ubuntu means "I am because you are." Each spring semester, students immerse themselves in surrounding communities to support existing groups of youth as they learn about the worldview of Ubuntu, consider social and/or personal issues that are important to them, and create collaborative works of art for exhibition that reflect their concerns and their conceptualizations of Ubuntu.

The funding will allow the program to broaden its reach and to create a more deeply enriching personal and developmental experience for its young artists. Funding provides for payments to sites for art-making supplies, retaining artistic mentor support, offering cameras for loan, distributing the call for youth art, creation of advertising materials, documenting the process of Ubuntu Arts, and much more.

Also to the Mattahunt Community Center, People's United Community Foundation, the charitable arm of People's United Bank, is funding a collaborative effort to provide English as a Second Language (ESL) support through ENB's parent engagement curriculum, ESL classes, and parent advocacy. The Foundation's mission is "...to invest in programs and services that enhance the quality of life for residents, promote the economic development and well-being of neighborhoods and support the educational and developmental needs of children and youth, with special emphasis given to programs and services in low-income areas."

For more information about Wheelock's community partnerships and programs, visit www.wheelock.edu/externalaffairs

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