Derived from the Swahili word for "terrible disaster," the term maafa is commonly used to describe the experience of African slaves who traversed the Middle Passage to the Americas. Maafa refers not only to the countless lives that were lost during this journey, but also to the powerful resilience of those who survived.
Today we find that middle school students in Boston, many of whom are descendents of these survivors, are encountering a middle passage of their own. As they traverse the dangerous path from childhood to young adulthood, many of them lose their way. The Maafa Mentoring Program is designed to guide youth at risk for dropping out of school through the turbulent waters of the middle grades by pairing them with college student and young adult mentors who support their academic and social development. Our goal is to motivate youth to stay in school and equip them with the life skills for success, so that their maafa transition from childhood to young adulthood will not end in tragedy and anguish, but in triumph and achievement.
The Maafa Mentoring Program serves youth from several Boston Public Schools in the Roxbury/Dorchester area that have been identified by faculty as being at-risk of dropping out of school or as having other social difficulties. College students and recent graduates from a variety of schools, including Northeastern University, Lesley University, and Bentley College serve as mentors to these youth. Mentors and mentees meet on a weekly basis for two hours at the Roxbury Renaissance Center, in which they foster a relationship through conversation, playing games, cooking, and helping with homework. The Maafa Mentoring Program also offers bi-weekly group activities and workshops to help the mentees enhance their life skills.
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Tuesday, September 8th
Back to School Kickoff
Tuesday, September 15th
Thursday, October 15th