Chelsea REACH’s program visited the City Council Monday, Oct. 6. Chelsea Public School Superintendent, Representatives of Chelsea School Committee, Program Staff of all levels, Program Oversight Committee Members, and graduates joined current REACH students of all ages in Council Chambers to receive a well-deserved Resolution submitted by Councillor Dan Cortell and adopted by follow Councillors.
Chelsea REACH is a year-round after school/out-of-school program that began in 2008 with a mission to significantly increase the number of public school students who graduate from Chelsea High School, pursue higher education, have successful and fulfilling careers and are engaged members of their community. Its kids are comprised of 120 ethnically, socio-economically and academically diverse students from all three middle schools and Chelsea High. Each student voluntarily enters and continues in the program that demands attendance Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. during the school year and noon to 5 p.m. in the summer. Through the formation of positive and sustained personal relationships with dedicated staff made up of Program Leaders, Group Leaders, Graduation Coaches and Mentors that include several upper class program graduates, students receive tutoring, homework assistance, guidance and emotional support. REACH students are engaged in enrichment classes, community service learning and project-based education the most recent product of which City Council deemed worthy of commendation.
This summer’s endeavor was Babson Collage’s six-weeks entrepreneurship curriculum geared toward teaching youth the skills needed to start, own and operate a business by setting goals, developing a business plan, establishing a budget, seeking investors, providing customer service and making sales. The project culminated on Aug. 5 with “Lemonade Day” during which students set up their lemonade stands at strategically chosen locations throughout Chelsea to compete with each other to see which group could generate the most profit.
After successfully completing the curriculum and generating money from the final challenge, Chelsea REACH took lessons learned one step further. Expressing a shared desire to give back to the community, REACH students voted to donate a portion of profits to those less fortunate than themselves – selecting The Jimmy Fund as the beneficiary. For success, sacrifice, compassion and generosity, Chelsea City Council unanimously voted to acknowledge these acts.
While the kids were the focus of City Council’s recent attention, the REACH Program has earned praise of its own from the likes of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that, after an extremely competitive process, promoted it to “Exemplary” status while Bank NY Mellon recently selected it as one of only six Greater Boston youth serving organizations to participate in their prestigious “Youth Leaders” initiative. These accolades were at least partially the result of all 23 of the first cohort of REACH 7th graders still in district graduating Chelsea High in 2013, followed by the second group at last May’s commencement – also without a dropout.
Behind every one of the REACH Program’s impressive statistics demonstrating remarkable success there are Chelsea kids wholly committed to their own futures.
“They’re making daily choices and noteworthy sacrifices for the purpose of working toward bright futures”, remarked Cortell. “They are real good kids doing real good things and it was our honor to have them in up”.