OUR STORY: A HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM & ORGANIZATION
MBK617 is a non-profit based out of Dorchester, created to provide mentoring to young men and boys in the Boston community aged 8 and up. The goal is to show the youth that they can make choices that will lead them to increased academic growth and professional opportunities. Through the pursuit of these opportunities, they will grow to become an asset to the community, and leaders of the next generation.
MBK617 was founded in 2014, when six men raised in Dorchester came together to make a change in the neighborhood. They provided knowledge and wisdom to the youth in the community from firsthand experience. Having grown up in the neighborhood and experienced the struggle from the streets of Boston, these six men were uniquely familiar with the pressure to go down the wrong path. They were few people many of the youth in the neighborhood could identify with and relate to on a personal level.
Using their own resources, these men took over 20 young men off the streets of Dorchester and showed them an alternative to their regular lifestyle. They made efforts to take the young men to beaches during the summer, enjoy excursions such as riding ATVs, visit state parks, and show them other parts of Massachusetts. In addition to this, the men held sporting competitions and hosted video game nights on a 16-foot outdoor screen. The biggest lesson we learned from youth in the early days of the program is that they didn’t just want things done for them; they wanted to contribute to their own community and just needed the support and guidance on how to do it. The most memorable activity in MBK617 history was when all the men were able to contribute and raise funds for 13 kids to participate in the AAU basketball league and the transportation to and from the games.
These six men continued to expose the young men in the neighborhood to a new way of life. They were provided knowledge and advice on a broad range of topics such as getting a driving permit, building your credit, pursuing higher education, and job training, The men continue to show the boys ways to establish financial independence through legitimate employment and hard work. They have given these young men a voice of reason and urge to continue life on a positive path.