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In This Issue:
-Milton Little, United Way President and CEO
Jeff Wise of the Emergency Department was a mentor to SSJP students, from left, Yiu Wing Wu, Natasha
Jimenez and Adam Smith.
Porsha Eden, who graduated from Boston Latin Academy this spring, is grateful for the opportunity to be seen and heard through BWH’s Student Success Jobs Program (SSJP).
“Invisible are those who live and represent health disparity statistics,” Eden said last week during the program’s graduation ceremony in the Bornstein Amphitheater. “As students of SSJP, we were given the opportunity to not be invisible, but rather to be seen through our passion, intellect and direction. Through these elements, it is our responsibility to stand firm in our purpose, not only in society, but in the medical field.”
Eden, who will study public health at Wellesley College this fall, is one of 33 high school students who graduated from SSJP last week. Through the year-long internship program, these students—sophomores, juniors and seniors from six Boston high schools—work in BWH departments and are assigned to a staff member who is their mentor throughout the internship.
During the ceremony, Amy Belyea, youth programs manager, presented the students’ mentors with a framed photo and letter of appreciation from their student.
Keynote speaker Milton J. Little, CEO and president of United Way of Massachusetts Bay, encouraged students to thank their mentors by helping others. “Since you have been so blessed by people who have cared so much for you, do your best to do that for someone else,” he said.
Little said that it’s rare to hear about youth doing good deeds because the news media focuses on negative stories about teenagers, like youth gangs. “We need to introduce them to the SSJP gang,” he said. “You’re a gang of achievers. You’re going to make your communities a whole lot better.”
Aileen Perez, the valedictorian of New Mission High School, is one SSJP graduate who plans to make her community safer. She has dreamed of being a nurse since her mother died of liver cancer six years ago. This fall, Perez will study nursing at Boston College, taking her one step closer to her goal of becoming a certified forensic nurse. “I have an interest in finding out why people die, how people die and finding evidence at crime cases about the person that just died…in order to help make society a little safer,” Perez said.
During the graduation, JudyAnn Bigby, MD, director of Community Health Programs, presented the first SSJP college scholarships to eight 12th-grade students: Eden, Perez, Judelsy Gonzalez, Natasha Jimenez, Stephanie Mbawuike, Stephanie Pierre, Rachel Williams and Yiu Wing Wu.
Other SSJP graduates are Madeline Cruz, Jessie Gomez, Eraj Mashmasarmi, April Lamrock, Lyse Lucien, Christina Tabuteau, Jazzmine Williams, Jaleesa Vazquez, Ruddyneris Lara, Jennifer Rodriguez, Trejonda Moment, Lagella Fede, Sherley Blanc, Lisa Saunders, Madeligne Tena, Joanne Bruny, Adaobi Onyekwu, Kevin Le, Xuchil Peguero, Olufunke Buraimoh, Max Clermont, Gladys Fashote, Mofei Xu, Tanya Young and Adam Smith.