Roca’s Founder Molly Baldwin to Speak at ‘Disrupting the Poverty Cycle Conference 2014’

On Thursday, April 10, Molly Baldwin of Chelsea-based non-profit Roca will be speaking at the 2014 Disrupting the Poverty Cycle Conference hosted at UMass Boston.

Baldwin’s work as Founder and CEO of Roca – an organization dedicated to moving high-risk young people out of violence and poverty – has gained significant notoriety of late due to Roca’s cutting edge partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts aimed at reducing incarceration and increasing employment among justice system involved young men around the state.

Roca also serves roughly 200 high-risk young mothers per year, helping them change destructive behaviors, and gain economic and social stability. Baldwin will focus her comments at the conference largely on Roca’s successful work with these young women.

According to the conference organizers, the mission of this year’s program is “to provide the opportunity for pioneering stakeholders across diverse sectors to share practical emerging approaches to engage low-income families in a journey to economic self-sufficiency. Experts in program delivery, applied research, public policy, philanthropy, and program participants are invited to this gathering with the purpose of generating cross-sector dialogue among those with a vested interest in seeing low-income families succeed.”

Baldwin will be participating in the event along with many prominent leaders, including keynote speaker Dr. Harry Holzer of Georgetown University, and panelists from respected organizations such as MDRC, Pew Charitable Trusts, CFED, and Jobs for the Future.

For Baldwin, who has worked for almost 30 years on addressing the issue of poverty among teenage and young adult mothers, the conference is an exciting opportunity.

“To be counted among such an esteemed, dedicated group of leaders is a real privilege – but more importantly the conference is creating a much-needed forum to discuss deeply critical issues that have yet to be resolved in this society,” said Baldwin.

More specifically, Baldwin adds, “These days, it’s getting harder and harder for working class and low-income single mothers to make ends meet – particularly with the group of high-risk young mothers that Roca serves. We need to speak openly and honestly about the issues affecting these young women, their children, and explore new approaches for helping them get out of the poverty cycle.”

The one-day conference was created to do just that.

Conference organizers are hoping to accomplish three overarching goals, as stated on the conference website:

•To hold a vital, engaging forum on U.S. poverty and economic mobility rooted in contemporary economic conditions and policy debates;

•To foster cross-pollination between academics, program leaders, public officials, and low-income individuals;

•To leave every attendee of the conference with at least two new ideas that can reshape/improve their work.

To register for the conference, visit Crittenton Women’s Union website at The Conference will be held on Thursday, April 10, 2014 between 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the UMASS Boston Campus Center, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston.

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