“We are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong.”
That’s the message students in the Berklee City Music High School Academy delivered at the opening of the 2013 PEAR Leadership Conference, co-hosted by Boston After School & Beyond in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art on March 11. Performing James Taylor’s “Shed a Little Light,” the students demonstrated remarkable poise and confidence—tangible evidence of what Boston has accomplished over the past decade to strengthen students’ learning opportunities and development both in and out of school.
Their performance was a fitting beginning to the day-long conference, Learning, It’s Personal!, which focused on transitioning from innovative stand-alone programs to youth-serving systems that cut across the education, youth development, and mental health sectors. As Boston Beyond Executive Director Chris Smith pointed out, “No one entity, even if it’s as big as a school system, can do this work alone.” Conference participants ran the gamut, from public school officials and after-school providers, to policemen, counselors, and representatives of faith communities. Continue reading