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Stepping Up for Education

by Deb Bastien

Breakthrough Greater Boston hosted its annual gala last week, and I felt fortunate to be one of the over 400 individuals in attendance. Founded in Cambridge, Breakthrough has been providing year-round educational services to low-income middle and high school students since 1992. For these students, the rigorous six-year (yes, six!) and tuition-free (yes, free!) out-of-school program makes all the difference in achieving academic success and attending college.

The evening was abuzz with mingling, tasting of local eats, and making of bouncy balls (a science demo led by Breakthrough students). Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick was presented with the inaugural Breakthrough Spirit Award in recognition of his efforts to address educational inequity. All of this unfolded against the expansive views of the Boston Harbor. Even so the main event was listening to the students.

Current and former students spoke with eloquence beyond their years about their time at Breakthrough and the personal impact it has had. I didn't have to be convinced of Breakthrough's impressive work but the students' stories put a face on how such programming transforms lives. Kate and I are honored to play an ever-so-small role by donating notebooks to be used as part of the gala's giveaway and would like to thank the Breakthrough team and its students for a wonderful night. Not surprisingly, it an enormous success (I encourage you to read their recap here)!

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