Alumni secure $100,000 for youth programs
Research shows that afterschool programs inspire youth not only to learn and do better in school, but also to reach their full potential in life. The study, by Afterschool Alliance, goes on to note that for every child enrolled in such a program, there are two others waiting to enter.
Brian Shea ’14 (above right) does what he can to help open doors. Most recently, he and Gregg Grenier ’12 (left) secured a grant from the Cummings Foundation that will support Bentley's longtime partnership with two public housing communities in Waltham.
Every year, through the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center (BSLCE), about 100 students work with children at Chesterbrook Gardens and Dana Court. They provide mentoring, academic support and enrichment in structured afterschool and evening programs. “They are role models who equip students to succeed — inside and outside the classroom,” explains Shea, senior associate director at the BSLCE and a board member of the Chesterbrook Community Foundation. “We want children and teens to fully understand the steps they need to take to realize a future they want.”
The Cummings Foundation $100k for 100 grant program benefits nonprofits based in and primarily serving Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. The funds will help cover programming at Chesterbrook Gardens and Dana Court when Bentley students are not on campus. Shea and Grenier co-wrote the grant proposal on behalf of the Chesterbrook Community Foundation.
The two have worked with local youth since their student days, collaborating on BSLCE projects such as developing an anti-bullying campaign and starting the Chesterbrook mentoring programs.
“The grant is a tremendous success that reflects the dedication of everyone involved with Chesterbrook,” says Grenier, whose own eight-year commitment included serving as president of the Chesterbrook Community Foundation for 2018-2019. The former Marketing major is development and communications manager at Boston-based COMPASS (Community Providers of Adolescent Services).
Shea sees the grant's potential to “significantly close an opportunity gap” given the positive impact of afterschool programs.
“The students bring a lot of energy, whether in the way they approach their homework or a basketball game,” he says. “These are incredibly vibrant communities that invest in themselves.”