By Rama K. Ramaswamy
Wellesley A Better Chance, a national program that offers young people of color access to top schools, has launched a campaign to purchase a permanent home. For 46 years, their program has helped educate nearly 100 women of color at Wellesley High School, all of whom have graduated and attended college, leading successful careers.
Jay McHale and Ady Balog are co-chairs of the Capital Campaign. said McHale, "Wellesley ABC is nearly 100% supported by the community and our goal is to raise $1.2 million, which we hope will cover the purchase and initial renovations,” said McHale. “We hope to be at our goal by the year's end or sooner, after our Gala on May 4, 2019, AHomeOfOurOwn.”
Wellesley ABC co-presidents Ingrid Houghton and Catherine Ward spoke about ABC with Wellesley Media, which can be seen at https://youtu.be/IRSfdfmmCKY.
“High school can be overwhelming for many kids,” explained Houghton. “Our Wellesley ABC scholars come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and also don't have parents locally.” Wellesley ABC eases the financial strains for their scholars in a variety of ways, including paying for travel home over school vacations and breaks.
Wellesley ABC scholar Precious Lawrence (class of 2005) commented on her experience and said that Wellesley ABC gave her the support systems and confidence, as well as teaching her the study skills she needed (and would need), to meet the academic and social challenges she faced as an inner-city, minority teenager "away from home.” Lawrence added: “Without Wellesley ABC, I wouldn't have got into Fordham University and then law school. Wellesley ABC gives young scholars of color a better chance by giving them the tools to help themselves.”
The Wellesley ABC board has big plans for the continued success of the program, including housing up to eight scholars. “The home we'd like to purchase would be within walking distance of the high school,” explained McHale, “with at least five bedrooms … space for a study hall, [and] dining space for the scholars, so the resident director and resident tutor can continue their nightly family-style dinners. We have the time to take a less-than-perfect home and renovate/rebuild until June 2021. We could even build if the right lot became available.”
Those in Wellesley considering selling a home or land are asked to contact Wellesley ABC: 396 Washington Street, Box 221, Wellesley, MA 02481 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about Wellesley ABC and the May 4th fundraiser at Wellesley College is available at https://www.wellesleyabc.org.