Learn more about our ambitious new Initiative: Boston Uncornered

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Meet Our Students:

Growing up, Alex longed for a male role model. With his father absent from his life, this longing eventually led him to the streets where a gang became his family. Having finally found the acceptance he’d been searching for, Alex began running the streets to fit in with his peers and was arrested many times. Dropping out of high school in ninth grade, Alex continued on this path until it eventually resulted in his incarceration at age 17. Alex spent the next eight years in prison having to watch his daughter grow up through pictures, so upon his release he vowed to never spend that much time away from her again. Alex has been free for four years now and, with help from College Bound, has remained committed to furthering his education. This June, he completed his final HiSet exam. This fall, Alex will be studying automotive technology at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and he says that “in a few years I’ll have my own shop and my daughter will have the stable life I never had. I’m still me – I just see life differently now. I see beyond the corner”.

Naomie is the model of persistence. She has lived in several different shelters and endured more than one abusive relationship, but never gave up her dream of a better life for herself and her two children. Despite those challenges Naomie still found time to invest in her education when she turned to College Bound. With the help of College Bound’s Boston Uncornered program, Naomie was able to earn her GED in 2016 and enroll at Roxbury Community College.  “It is so rewarding every time I walk on campus,” she says, “and the money allows me to care for myself and my children while continuing to go to school.” Today she is studying business management with the hope of one day owning her own hairdressing salon and boutique.


Antonio was raised in Dorchester with family members who were heavily involved with drugs. By the fifth grade he began selling drugs and running the streets with gangs. “I needed that family at home, that love, and I didn’t have it. So I searched for it on the streets,” he said. At age 20 Antonio was shot in the leg. Fueled with anger over the injury he began living a very chaotic lifestyle and making reckless decisions, one of which landed him in prison serving a 10 year sentence. In prison he earned his GED and developed an interest in giving back to his community. He was released in June of 2016 and started at College Bound that October. Less than a year later, Antonio will start attending Bunker Hill Community College to study sociology so he can become a motivational speaker for kids.



In his teens, Matt got caught up in the fast money of the streets. After years of running in gangs and selling drugs, Matt was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. Once out of prison Matt began looking for jobs, but with a criminal record his options were limited. In 2014, the mother of Matt’s daughter was shot and killed. As a newly single father, he knew the streets and prison were no longer an option. It was then that he turned to College Bound. Our Boston Uncornered initiative is helping Matt provide for his daughter Madison while attending human services classes at Bunker Hill Community College. “I never would have thought to come to school at my age because I have bills,” he says. “The [College Bound] stipend eases a lot for me.” This May marks the end of Matt’s first semester at Bunker Hill Community College. He hopes to earn his associate degree in 2019 and eventually work his way up to a master’s degree. “After college, my ultimate goal is to run a nonprofit. I’ve seen how College Bound can help people. I’ve experienced it firsthand and want to continue that work.”


Finelli has now been out of jail for two years – this is the longest he’s gone without going to jail or getting in trouble since his first arrest. He learned about College Bound from his cousin who is in its programming. Finelli was skeptical at first but his cousin introduced him to one of College Bound’s community-based College Readiness Advisors, who helped him figure out a plan to move forward and believe that he could succeed in school/college.  He joined College Bound’s maritime apprenticeship and began working on his technical skills, exploring possible career paths in the sector. Finelli says his College Readiness Advisor, Will Dunn helps him stay focused, gives him positive ideas, guides him and supports him, “Growing up I never had that guidance. Will has really changed my life. I have someone to talk to if I have problems, he gives me advice and be believes in me. Having someone believe in me, it makes me realize that I could really be someone in life and not just behind bars. It makes me believe in myself.” After participating in the maritime apprenticeship and progressing through Bridge to College courses, Finelli is excited to attend college this fall to study electric power utility. He hopes to own his own business one day, and create a stable life for his family and commun