Dean Nuri Chandler-Smith on Boston Uncornered Program

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

College Bound Dorchester, an organization that works with disconnected young people to encourage them to pursue college, announced a new program called Boston Uncornered, which will pay 600 gang-involved youth $400 per week to go to community college.

Partnering with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and Roxbury Community College, College Bound Dorchester hopes providing access to education is the key to improving an entire community. The Boston Uncornered program works off the theory that gang members are “core influencers” in neighborhoods that are most affected by gang violence. The organization hires former gang members to recruit active members to pursue college and careers. An earlier pilot version of the program found that participants in the program were significantly less likely to continue participating in criminal activities.

In an article in Business Insider on the Boston Uncornered program, Nuri Chandler-Smith, Dean of Academic Support and Pathway programs at BHCC, responded to concerns about safety on college campuses where former convicts and gang members are enrolled:

“Plenty of our students have all kinds of backgrounds–criminal and otherwise–and that’s not really relevant to the work we do with them. We’re trying to assist them to move on to the next stage of their life or career, and we shouldn’t hinder them for what they’ve done in the past.”

Read the article in Business Insider.

Read more about Boston Uncornered and the students it serves in The Boston GlobeBoston Herald and WBUR