Among the programs of SSYP is our College Access and Success Program. In addition to supporting our teens who are in high school make a solid plan for their post-graduation lives, we also continue to offer mentoring and support to alumni once they are IN college (or another type of program).
One of our alumna, Perla Fernandez, graduated from BPS's Urban Science Academy in 2010. She and we were SO excited when she was accepted into and began attending Wheelock College, as the college has excellent justice-focused academic programs and we could continue to see her since she was right here in Boston!
In 2014, Perla returned to St. Stephen's as part of one of her Wheelock classes, to serve as an Ubuntu Arts student facilitator. She helped a team of SSYP teens learn about the South African philosophy of Ubuntu. Perla served as a mentor for this group of youth by creating a safe space and leading discussions about discrimination, violence, peace, and social justice. Together, they created art [see attached] in response to their learning and feelings that was displayed at Wheelock College’s Towne Art Gallery AND qualified to be displayed at the State House for the annual Violence Transformed exhibit.
And now, that same piece of art will be going to the National Museum of Afro American Artists for an exhibit later this month!! Congratulations, Perla, for this recognition of your project and for your upcoming graduation from UMass Boston with a Master's degree in Elementary Education! We are so proud of you and your hard work!
Special thanks to Wheelock Professor Ann E. Tobey, of the Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Program, for this information and for your dedicated commitment to running the Ubuntu Arts program every year!
By Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs