For the last few years we have been working with the non-profit College Bound Dorchester to help them design a research project surrounding their new “Boston Uncornered” program. Boston Uncornered seeks to identify disconnected young people in Boston communities and engage them in programming that will allow them to enroll in and succeed in college. Boston Uncornered differs from similar programs in a few key ways: first, it explicitly targets members of the community who are at-risk of criminal involvement and influential among peers—for example, key members of local gangs or other neighborhood co-offending networks. Second, the program provides stipends to every individual who remains unincarcerated and engaged in the program.
Our work with College Bound Dorchester began with connecting them to resources and helping them think through difficult challenges around building research into their existing operations. As College Bound Dorchester developed their program model, our research team worked with them to consider both small and large ways to learn more about how their program is working. The next step of this process is to conduct a randomized evaluation and some other accompanying analyses so we can develop insights into how strategies such as Boston Uncornered could be used by cities to prevent violence and promote education not just among individuals, but among the networks and communities they connect to.
Photos by Romana Vysatova.