The award honors a young leader who has made a positive impact and whose civic, social, and community leadership sets an inspiring example to the community. Gaeta was chosen from dozens of candidates for his work helping to keep East Boston High School students in school and on track to graduate on time.
“When a student fails even one credited course their odds go up of not graduating on time, or worse, dropping out altogether,” says Gaeta. “In East Boston, the situation is even worse. More than 100 students are not moving up to the next grade and half of those students are expected to drop out. As someone from the community, who went to East Boston High, it’s important to me to help change the fate for these students.”
In partnership with East Boston High, Gaeta helped to launch a program at the East Boston Y to build a Credit Recovery (CR) Center for high school student on site. Students work at their own pace to recover missed credits they need to graduate. Since the CR Center opened its doors, 73 students participated and successfully completed 97 courses. This allowed fifteen at-risk students to graduate with the class of 2014.
Unlike the school setting where the majority of credit recovery programs are held, the air-conditioned CR Center at the Y is well equipped, comfortable and welcoming. An East Boston High guidance counselor is onsite, able to help students gain access to the online curriculum, problem solve and ensure that the students stay focused. As an added incentive, a free unrestricted Y membership is provided to students who enroll in the program. A free, healthy snack is available for students as well.
During the summer of 2014, Gaeta also managed a summer program that provided free access to more than 800 activities for more than 10,000 teens across the City of Boston.
“One third of the population in Boston is under the age of 35, and each of these people has the power to make a difference in the community. The Community Call Young Leader Award is an opportunity to recognize someone who is in this group that sets an example of giving back,” said Carolyn Edwards, Executive Director of Community Call. “Joseph exemplifies someone who has taken the time to invest in his community with outstanding results and serves as a wonderful role model to our students.”
Community Call works to develop critical thinking, confidence and self-empowerment with Boston area at-risk high school students through community event planning. Students of Community Call are inspired to look beyond themselves and collaborate with their peers to identify a social need, develop a plan and produce an event that benefits the broader community. Students learn organizational, business, and life skills influencing all aspects of their lives.
The Community Call 2014 Young Leader Award is presented to provide role models to its students regarding the impact they can have on their community. The award was inspired by the work of community activist Lenny Zakim to help identify young role models. Presenting the award for
a second year is Lenny Zakim’s son, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim.
The award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Pegasystems’ Stand-Up Boston Comedy Challenge at Laugh Boston, 425 Summer Street, in Boston’s Seaport District.
About the YMCA of Greater Boston
The YMCA of Greater Boston is the state’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities. Every day the Y works with thousands of men, women and children to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. With 13 branches in and around Boston, the Y partners with 250 organizations to meet unique needs of the communities it serves. The Y is committed to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
About Community Call
Community Call's (www.communitycall.org) mission is to develop critical thinking, confidence, and self-empowerment with Boston area at-risk and opportunity high school students through community event planning. Our students are inspired to look beyond themselves and collaborate with their peers to identify a social need, develop a plan, and produce an event that benefits the broader community. Students learn organizational, business, and life skills influencing all aspects of their lives.
Our enrichment program produces a variety of entirely student-run community events providing unparalleled opportunities to learn first-hand about business and leadership and giving back to the community. By using their passion, talents, and skills, these students are more likely to believe that they can make a difference in their community while making a difference in their own lives.