Arthur F. Blanchard Trust awards the LEAH Project at Health Resources in Action $1.2 Million

Contact: Lisa Aslan, The LEAH Project at Health Resources in Action, 617-279-2281 

Boston, November 2017 – The LEAH Project at Health Resources in Action received a 3-year $1.2 million grant through the BNY Mellon YouthLeaders program, funded by the Arthur F. Blanchard Trust. This initiative will provide youth with meaningful job responsibilities, promote career readiness and leadership skills, and expose youth to college and career pathways with a focus on technology.

 “Health Resources in Action is proud to support youth programs like the LEAH Project and is honored to have been chosen as a partner for this exciting initiative from the BNY Mellon YouthLeaders Program to provide Boston’s youth with opportunities to explore the technology field while also receiving much needed wraparound services,” HRiA President Steven Ridini said.

 The Leaders through Education, Action and Hope (LEAH) Project’s mission is to cultivate the power of youth to transform their lives and communities through science, education, and service. LEAH is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), college readiness, and workforce development program for low-income Boston Public School (BPS) high school students of color.  

 “We are thrilled to receive this multi-year, technology-focused grant to expand the LEAH Project’s programming to technology so that our young people do not get shut out of one of Boston’s fastest growing labor markets. These funds will also enable us to provide college and career readiness to more Boston high school youth participants than ever before,” Lisa Aslan, LEAH Program Manager said.

 Through the BNY Mellon YouthLeaders Program funding and in partnership with Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn at the South End Technology Center and Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) at UMass Boston, the LEAH Project will provide year-round internships for 36 Boston Public School high school students. The LEAH Project will also provide opportunities for youth to explore STEM topics and careers (with a technology focus), get ready for college, and learn professional skills. Youth are trained to teach STEM curricula to elementary school students at afterschool programs, take part in STEM workshops and classes, and participate in college visits. Youth develop their own STEM skills and knowledge and reinforce these skills as they learn to be teachers to elementary school students.

 Newly expanded programming for Boston’s youth will include:
- Computer science courses with BATEC at UMass Boston.
- Teaching a new technology-focused curriculum to elementary school students in after school programs developed by partner Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn.
-  Meetings with a “Technology Speaker’s Bureau”, a group of technology professionals who will share over several meetings their academic and career pathways.
-  Technology-focused internships for seniors that synthesize the professional development and technology knowledge they have gained during their three years in the program.

 With previous funding from the Arthur Blanchard Trust, the LEAH Project funded six YouthLeaders positions, including LEAH alumnus, Andrianne, who is a freshman at Smith College this fall. Andrianne had the following to say about her experience as a YouthLeader with the LEAH Project:

 “I would not be the person I am today without LEAH. On a professional level, they have taught me responsibility, dedication, and time management. On a personal level, they have given me the encouragement and support to grow and pursue my passions. In addition to being a socially conscious engineer, I hope to pave the way for future female engineers by serving as a role model to the young girls that I work with and let them know that engineering is a field that they could enter as well.”

 The LEAH Project looks forward to leveraging the generous grant from the Arthur F. Blanchard Trust to continue providing STEM career exploration with a technology focus as well as college and career readiness support to more of Boston’s high school youth just like Andrianne.

  “At BNY Mellon, we recognize that promoting pathways to STEM careers for young people is fundamental to building a workforce that is stronger at problem-solving and innovating, ultimately creating products and services that positively impact the lives of individuals and communities,” explained Vicary Graham, President of BNY Mellon New England. “Our YouthLeaders program, funded by the Arthur F. Blanchard Trust, provides a multi-year, meaningful work experience during students’ high school years that enhances their capacity to excel in both a professional and academic environment. For 23 years, the program has had an incredible impact on hundreds of students from low-to-moderate income families in Greater Boston. Nearly 100 percent of the program’s participants have graduated from high school, and 90 percent of them go on to college. We are tremendously proud of the program’s exceptional outcomes, and thrilled to partner with The LEAH Project to provide the next generation with valuable 21st century skills.”