CPCS Students Team With Neighbors, Earn City Grant For Art Project On Mount Vernon Street
A walk down Mount Vernon Street from UMass Boston’s Columbia Point campus to the Walter Denney Youth Center inspired a winning grant proposal from College of Public and Community Service students and the Harbor Point Outreach Partnership, an after-school tutoring and youth enrichment program staffed by students in the university’s service-learning classes and volunteers from the community.
Last Thursday, the students in Joan Arches’s spring Civic Engagement class learned the partnership had received a Love Your Block grant, jointly awarded by the City of Boston, citiesofservice.org, and Americorps. Love Your Block is a program that offers mini-grants for improvement projects in the Dorchester, Roxbury, or Mattapan neighborhoods. The partnership will use the money to install a community family mural on the outside of the John W. McCormack Middle School this spring.
“Mount Vernon Street is rich in the culture and the diversity is magnificent. None of that gets reflected when you walk nearly a mile from the JFK/UMass Station to UMass Boston,” Arches said.
The grant proposal was submitted by the students in Arches’s fall class. In their proposal, Arches’s students deemed the walk “dreary.” Before deciding how best to use the grant money, students developed a survey for families at the Walter Denney Youth Center and in the Harbor Point community. They also hosted a multicultural dinner, at which they facilitated an artwork session with families.
“We wanted to recognize the university, the schools, and all those who live and work on the peninsula,” Arches said. “A mural on the side of the school seemed the most doable and also had the most support from community members.”
“The mural will help build a stronger sense of pride and sense of community and will also help beautify and bring life to this street,” said Catarina Ferreira, a senior human services major from Quincy. As part of the budget group, Ferreira reached out to local businesses for donations and supplies.
“This was my first time writing a grant, and I learned a lot about the community and grant-writing process through this project. This experience encouraged me to continue my work with communities and individuals,” Ferreira said.
Arches is now working on outreach and fundraising with her spring semester students.