Success Boston Coaches | City of Ideas
October is "College Month" in the Boston Public Schools, so this month we are beginning a series of posts to introduce you to some of the students and coaches who are making our Success Boston partnership shine.
Success Boston coaches play a powerful role. Today, meet two of them: Fernando Rodriguez from Sociedad Latina, and Patrice Charlot of Bottom Line.
Fernando Rodriguez, Sociedad Latina: A SB graduate gives backMy name is Fernando Rodriguez and I am a first year Success Boston coach. I was born in Puerto Rico but I moved to Boston when I was three and it has been my home ever since.
Growing up I had a big family - it was my older brother, my younger sister and my mom. My mother worked hard to provide for us, but without any knowledge on the college application process it was difficult to envision myself or my siblings enrolling. With the help of Success Boston and Bottom Line, though, I was able attend Framingham State University. I myself am a product of Success Boston coaching and my coaches are a big reason why I have a Bachelor's degree in Sociology.
The world turns full circle, and today I myself am a Success Boston coach for Sociedad Latina, a non-profit organization located at the heart of Roxbury next to Mission Hill. Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has been in the community servicing the youth and preparing the next generation of Latino leaders. We offer various ways for students to get involved through our Pathways to Success model. Our youth have the opportunity to participate in programming designed to build skills in four areas, Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement, and Arts & Culture.
How has the transition been from Success Boston student to Success Boston coach?
Being raised in Mission Hill, and going to school at the John D O’Bryant (High School) allowed me to feel the impact of Sociedad’s presence on the community, which is why I joined the organization. I have been a Success Boston coach for just 6 months now, but having been coached myself and having interned at Bottom Line makes the work feel familiar. I have a caseload of 35 incoming freshmen at college, and another 35 who are returning students. The majority of students I coach attend Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Bunker Hill Community College and Endicott College.
What do you get out of the coaching role?
The reason I signed up to be a Success coach was because after one year of being graduated from college I realized I wanted to feel fulfilled in my work. I wanted a job that was in my community and would allow me to give back. There are so many students in Boston with limitless potential and I don’t want anything stopping them from their success. I never thought I could reach so many people at once, and in my role as a coach I am able to build meaningful relationships and help students define and achieve their own success. One thing I look forward to this fall is building meaningful connections with my students and getting to put faces to names.
Patrice Charlot, Bottom Line: Helping a new generation of first-generation studentMy name is Patrice Charlot and I am a Haitian-American who was born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts. I attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and double majored in Public Health and Sociology. I was raised by my mother who came to the United States in her 20s. For that reason, she straddled two worlds – her traditional Haitian upbringing in the face of the US’s progressive nature. These influences have made their way into the lives of myself, as well as my two younger sisters, and have greatly shaped our identities.
What drew you toward Bottom Line (and Success Boston)?
While at UMass, I was an RA for first-year residence halls for 3 years. This fostered a love for Higher Education, and was a central part of my attraction to Bottom Line. Bottom Line’s mission of helping low-income, first-generation students get into college, graduate from college, and go far in life spoke to me personally, and I wanted nothing more than to be a part of an organization such as this one.
As I go into my second year at Bottom Line, I will be working with 90 students at Bridgewater State University and UMass Boston. Through my involvement with Bottom Line, I’ve taken on another hat: Success Boston Coach. Success Boston's ability to provide a collaborative force to support our communities is commendable and dynamic, and I feel lucky to have a hand in it. As we move into October, I look forward to another great year of supporting students through their trials and errors and helping them to develop the strength and resiliency that they have within themselves.
I work with some amazing people, and through Bottom Line and Success Boston, I get to wake up every day and go to a job I love, supporting missions I care about and people I believe in.
Together, the Boston Foundation, the Boston Public Schools (BPS), the City of Boston, Boston Private Industry Council, and 37 area institutions of higher education led by UMass Boston and Bunker Hill Community College join with local nonprofit partners in an effort to double the number of BPS graduates completing college. Learn more about Success Boston at successboston.org