Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Awards Grant to Freedom House to Deliver STEM Programs to Inner-City Youth

Published: Sep 05, 2013

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WALTHAM, Mass. — The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced today that it has awarded a grant of $10,000 to Freedom House, Inc., based in Grove Hall, Mass. Freedom House is an organization dedicated to advancing education, technology and leadership skills for inner-city youth.

The funds will be used to enhance the current activities of Freedom House’s Global Classroom operations -- specifically, in offering high school students onsite math tutorials and technology training in basic computer applications. The MLSC’s grant builds upon the Patrick Administration’s strategy and the MLSC’s efforts to further strengthen and enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational opportunities across Massachusetts, while ensuring access for students from diverse backgrounds. Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President and CEO of the MLSC, serves on the Governor’s STEM Council.

While Massachusetts leads the nation in student math and science proficiency, the MLSC has identified expanded access to quality STEM education programs as an important workforce development priority to enable students to better compete in the fast-moving, technology-based and global 21st century. Serving high school and college-level students primarily in the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester, Freedom House is dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap that exists for youth from underserved, inner-city communities. Through its Global Classroom programs, the organization strives to provide a broader exposure to areas of global learning and competitive skills training to prepare inner-city youth for advanced education and entry into the global workforce. The MLSC grant enables Freedom House to strengthen the math skills training portion of the program, with the objective of improving students’ college-readiness level and helping to develop more competitive outcomes to their college experience.

“Increased access to STEM education is essential to Massachusetts’ future economic competitiveness, including our strength as a global leader in the life sciences,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Freedom House reaches some of our most underserved youth, and this grant is another step in closing the achievement gap and giving all of our students the opportunity to succeed.”

“In our innovation-based economy it is vital that young people from all backgrounds have access to quality STEM educational opportunities,” said Windham-Bannister. “This grant will allow Freedom House to provide more students with an equal opportunity to excel in technology-based education and careers. Our ultimate goal is to increase inclusion and diversity in the life sciences sectors.”

Freedom House has found that too often students graduating from high school are not fully prepared for the rigors of college academics. In particular, many students fail to place in college-level math courses, requiring them to take and pay tuition for remedial math courses. Freedom House’s innovative programming, supported by organizations such as the MLSC, offers students the opportunity to improve their math and computer competency at no cost, which enables them to be better prepared for college and, ultimately, the workforce.

“We are extremely pleased to have the financial support of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the onsite tutorial expertise the grant will provide,” said Katrina Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Freedom House. “This vital financial contribution will enable us to extend our reach and continue our successful effort to support our inner-city students to excel in the competitive STEM skills so critical to college readiness and future career success.”

The Freedom House Global Classroom provides a multi-faceted structure including:

- The Timothy Smith Computer Lab, delivering multi-lingual computer, math, English, and science classes through onsite technology.

- UniversityNow, providing affordable, high-quality, post-secondary online coursework for high school and college students.

- Academic Competition & Challenge, focusing on literacy/writing skills and STEM training.

- The Global Exchange, promoting virtual and physical collaborations with shared-mission organizations and communities in other countries.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

About Freedom House

For 64 years, Freedom House has served as a hub for Boston’s diverse urban community and a catalyst to promoting equality and civil rights. Today, Freedom House’s mission is to transform the economic and cultural fabric of high-need communities through education and leadership development, and its vision is to be an educational beacon in the community that will inspire, educate and motivate all people to commit to lifelong learning and civic engagement. Freedom House is committed to its work of devising strategies to overcome systemic educational and social justice issues, and policies that affect Boston’s inner city communities particularly in raising academic achievement in high school and increasing student persistence towards post-secondary graduation. Most recently, the organization has evolved to focus on Vision 2015 which bridges its civil rights legacy to the 21st century need to advance education, technology, and leadership development in the inner-city Boston communities through programs such as PUSH (Preparing Urban Students for Success in High School and Higher Education), CommUniversity, and the Global Classroom. Learn more at www.freedomhouse.com.

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