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Brian Shea's Fundraiser:

Help At-Risk Youth in Waltham

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BENEFITING: BENTLEY UNIVERSITY

Brian Shea

THE STORY:

I'm trying to raise much-needed funds to set up after-school programs for kids living in low-income housing developments in Waltham, Massachusetts. These programs would be run through the Bentley University Service-Learning Center, where students volunteer tens of thousands of hours every year.

Over the last few years, the Service-Learning Center has developed a wildly successful partnership with the Chesterbrook Gardens low-income housing development. As a result of this partnership, the crime rate has decreased to almost 0% in Chesterbrook and calls to the police department have drastically decreased. In addition, more children from low-income housing in Waltham are attending college than ever before.

The Service-Learning Center is trying to replicate this success at Waltham's two other low-income housing developments: Dana Court and Prospect Hill. Programs there would provide kids with responsible role models, structured activities, and academic assistance.

At-risk children of ages 5-18 could benefit from these programs. At Chesterbrook, we have seen that Bentley students can be incredibly positive influences in the lives of kids. In Waltham, Massachusetts, many of these children and teens desperately need someone to look up to.

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey administered by Waltham High School in 2008, 16 percent of students reported that there is not one teacher or adult in the school that they could turn to if they had a problem, and 7.3 percent said there was not an adult they could talk to outside of school. When asked if in the past year they have been a member of a gang, 10.5 percent of students responded yes, and when asked if in the past year they have ever seriously considered suicide, 13.8 percent said yes. 25.2 percent of teens reported having their first drink of alcohol between the ages of 13 and 14 years old. For marijuana, the highest percentage of affirmative responses was between ages 13 and 16. Finally, when asked if they have used illegal drugs, 24.7 percent responded yes.

By setting up after-school programs, the Bentley Service-Learning Center is trying to provide at-risk youth in Waltham with a bright present and an even brighter future. Your donation would completely change the lives of these children, and it would undoubtedly work wonders for the community.

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