Mattpan's Mattahunt Center expands outreach to Haitian parents

The Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership is expanding its cross-sector collaborative partnership for Haitian parent engagement to provide Haitian parents with the tools and the resources needed to become effective, vocal advocates for their children in Mattapan. This initiative is built on the success of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC)'s English for New Bostonians program and uses a comprehensive family-centered approach to replicate that successful effort to the Haitian immigrant population in the Mattapan area.

"Since the inception of the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership in 2010, there has been a standing need identified for adult education services in Mattapan, particularly for the Haitian community" said Rashad Cope, director of the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership. "The benefit of this project will be invaluable -when you match systemic family-community needs with high quality zero-cost services, you see the family-community value increase."

After meeting with Mattapan ABCD back in 2013, Cope learned of their 300-person wait-list for adult ESL services. With this great need, the Center set a strategic priority to expand services at the Mattahunt. During the 2013-2014 school year, Cope was introduced to Giles Li of BCNC and immediately envisioned a joint effort between Mattapan ABCD and the Mattahunt Elementary School, which is attached to the Mattahunt.

"The Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership is built on collaborative partnerships, and we were very interested in being a lead organization in Mattapan to bring this opportunity forward for the Haitian immigrant and Haitian-American children and families this community serves," said Cope.

Mattapan's Mattahunt Community Center, a longtime fixture of the community highly valued by residents, was consolidated in 2010 because of city budget constraints. Wheelock College answered Former Mayor Menino's call for assistance in sustaining programs and services in the neighborhood by forging a five-year public-private partnership with the City of Boston, (BPS), and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) to revive the MCC. The Center is now a community hub serving over 60 Boston-based families a day with a range of recreational, inter-generational, and academically focused programs driven by community priorities.

In 2014, the Haitian Parent Engagement Project coalition was formed with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, English for New Bostonians, ABCD Family Center, the Mattahunt Elementary School, and the Mattahunt Community Center. This project is physically located at the Mattahunt Elementary school and the Mattahunt Community Center. The HPEP Coalition believes the community is faced with an important opportunity to begin making a systemic change in the City of Boston through parents' engagement. The model includes services coordination, parenting classes and workshops, and parent support groups. These services will be offered in both Haitian Creole and English, as needed.

If you are interested in learning more, please call the Mattahunt Community Center at (617) 635-5159

* English Classes: Tuesday & Thursday 9:30am - 1:30pm @ Mattahunt Community Center
* Parent Workshops: Fridays 9:30am and 4:00pm (Nov 20 - Dec 18th) @ Mattahunt Community Center