For many students, college is an expectation. While for many others, college is simply a dream. Minds Matter Boston is an organization dedicated to making college a reality for those who consider college as something out of reach.
“So many – 78 percent – of our mentees are from families where they are the first person in their family to go to college,” says Rachel Kanter, President of the Minds Matter Boston Chapter. “We have the opportunity to break that cycle.”
Minds Matter was started in New York in 1991 as a volunteer-based organization to provide high-achieving, low-income high school students prepare for college. Through ACT and SAT preparation, general application and essay assistance, as well as developing community service skills, mentors pair up with their mentee for two to three years of guidance and support in achieving their academic goals.
Since Minds Matter opened its doors in Boston, in 2003, the chapter has expanded to include 17 schools throughout Cambridge and Greater Boston. This year, the chapter continues its largest fundraiser with the annual spring soiree on June 9, held at Coppersmith in South Boston. The soiree is an opportunity to raise awareness about the organization, to acknowledge the mentors, and of course the mentees, for all their hard work.
“It’s a fully volunteer based organization with 144 mentors to 72 mentees,” says Meaghan Mahoney, a Board Member at Minds Matter Boston. “It is important to recognize the volunteers who have committed their time every Saturday morning, for at least three years, to guide the lives of these mentees.”
Last year, hundreds of young professionals came together to give back to the Boston community and Minds Matter is looking forward to a similar turnout, again, this year.
“Historically, the soiree has helped fund around 30 percent of the operative budget. The event helps us continue to do what we want to do,” says Kanter. “This year, it will be a cocktail party with h’orderves, an open bar, music, a silent auction and presentations from members of the organization.”
Ticket sales for the event opened this week, with proceeds contributing directly to three years of support for these high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Not only do profits assist in providing an academic environment for the mentees to study on Saturday mornings at MIT’s campus, but it also funds the summer programs that give mentees an introduction into the reality of college.
“The summer program gives them an opportunity to have a great campus experience and it’s almost like a practice round,” says Mahoney. “We send these students to Harvard, MIT, NYU, Brown, Stanford, for them to realize this is what college is and get them excited about what we want them to do, which is successfully go to college.”
“It’s a dry run of applying to colleges with the competitive process of getting recommendations, personal statements, grades and scholarship material together,” says Kanter. “It’s a great experience to learn how to navigate applying and by the time they are seniors, applying for college is a little less scary.”
The summer program, the fundraising, the dedication of the mentors and the national support of the organization all keep Minds Matter going, with 100 percent of mentees accepted into four-year colleges across the country – improving the lives of students for the long term.
For more information on the soiree and to purchase tickets click here.