At this time of heightened awareness, we have an opportunity and an obligation to acknowledge the historical injustice and ongoing harm suffered by communities of color across our country. It’s time for everyone to find their voice and stand together with those pushing for reform to create a better future for our children. J2 is especially proud to support a local organization fighting to empower disadvantaged youth in Boston, EVkids.
Founded in 1980, EVkids helps low-income, academically vulnerable children and teens succeed in school and life through its two programs, EVkids Tutoring and EVkids Summer Camp. These programs focus on strengthening academic competence, organizational habits, self-confidence, and other life skills.
EVkids Tutoring provides 1-on-1 academic mentoring for children in grades 4 – 12. College students from Boston College, Harvard, Northeastern, Tufts, and other Boston-area schools provide the tutoring, each maintaining their role for many years and forming personal, multi-year relationships with their students. In addition, professional staff closely support the tutoring pairs, providing family engagement and school advocacy to ensure that each child is getting what he or she needs. During high school, the EVkids College Success Project ensures these first-generation college attendees get all the support they need as they select, apply to, figure out how to pay for, and enroll in college. Once they are in college, EVkids continues to support a mentoring relationship to help them earn their degree.
By working together on the good days and the bad, Tutoring pairs form a unique kind of bond. When Miguel Perez-Luna (Harvard ’15) met 8th-grader Alvaro, they spent a lot of time plugging through math problems and talking about soccer, Alvaro’s first love. Miguel quickly learned he had better keep up with soccer stats if he wanted to build a relationship with Alvaro, so he started following international leagues as well. Now, Miguel is a high school math teacher, and Alvaro is a rising college junior, and Alvaro still knows who to call when a problem set trips him up.
EVkids Summer Camp inspires in campers a sense of self, a sense of community, and a sense of the world around them through family-style community living in the Green Mountains of Vermont. With a 2-to-1 camper to staff ratio, campers receive necessary support while building character, community, and sportsmanship by participating in structured camp activities. To ensure the health and safety of their campers during the COVID-19 pandemic, EVkids Summer Camp 2020 has gone virtual. Even online, they will maintain their 2-to-1 camper to staff ratio as children make crafts, play songs, and share their personal experiences from the safety of their homes.
For some campers, a week or two in Vermont is life-changing. Tonya Pickett was a camper in the late 80s during the time her family lived in a homeless shelter. Before she went to Camp, Tonya didn’t know that “there were people in the world who wanted to help.” Camp taught her there was a world outside of her current situation, and she would find her way there. Now, after a successful career, she sends her two kids, ages 12 and 15, to Camp every year, so they too can understand that there is a whole world out there.
By building a caring community of support where success thrives as everyone works together, EVkids believes that the kids and tutors will become integral parts of a more socially just and compassionate world. J2 is proud to support the organization through board service, annual giving, and the development of program management and tutor recruiting software on the Salesforce platform.
We strongly encourage you to check out the EVkids website for more information on how the EVkids team is doubling their efforts to help each child reach his or her fullest potential and build an inclusive community based on mutual respect and understanding. Especially during this difficult time, any donations will make a huge difference.