The following is a press release.
The Dedham Youth Commission sits snugly in small office space at Dedham High School. But their focus and mission are by no means small.
This year the Dedham Youth Commission, in conjunction with the Dedham Savings Foundation, brought together young people from the community to engage in social, educational, recreational, and health programs. They call it “College Bound” and it is a two week summer program for low-income and/or first generation Dedham middle school students.
The focus of the program is to introduce middle- schoolers to the prospect of college, while also promoting self- confidence. Robert Blaney, who heads up the Dedham Youth Commission, has a tall agenda for young people in Dedham. Says Blaney, “So many kids these days just don’t get the opportunity to prepare in advance for their high school years. Once kids know what the expectations are for college, they can be better students and citizens while in high school.
Our College Bound program helps to build an agenda for kids as they start their high school careers, so they have it easy when it comes time to prepare for college. And, by the way, many of the kids in our program never envision themselves as college bound, so this program is extra special for them.”
Management from Dedham Savings had the opportunity to visit the Dedham Youth Commission this summer and observe the program in progress.
There is a rigorous daily agenda filled with academics, social, and career preparedness activities. Upon review of the program in action, Peter Brown, CEO of Dedham Savings had this to say: “All of us at Dedham Savings and our Foundation support programs that help build our youth into successful adults, but this program headed up by Robert Blaney really takes important steps to get kids ready early for their college years. The second week of the program when kids visit colleges in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont make this a strong program for kids who may not have envisioned themselves as college bound. They get to experience college life firsthand.”
In addition to the recent visit, the Dedham Savings Foundation underwrote the program and also had Chief Operating Officer Gerard Lavoie participate by introducing youth in the program to some of the career opportunities available in banking.