At Camp Harbor View, we often ask ourselves if we’re doing enough. Are we doing enough for our campers, Leaders in Training and staff? Are we doing enough for the families of the youth we serve? About six months ago, we decided that the answer to the last of those important questions was “NO.”
When the Boston Globe published its recent series on racial income disparity in Boston, one of the stunning statistics shared was that the average net worth of families of color in the city is $8.00. That’s not a typo – $8.00. Camp Harbor View has always been committed to promoting equity and opportunity in Boston, but this series stirred our desire to do more. Encouraged and supported by the Board of Directors, we decided to begin with Camp Harbor View families; to learn from them about the obstacles and hurdles they face with respect to economic mobility and to work with them to design pilot solutions to some of the most intractable problems they encounter.
We have taken the first step by engaging the services of the consulting team of Turahn Dorsey and Reverend Mariama White-Hammond to lead us through a process of information-gathering with families and LITs from our program, and then to work with family representatives and an advisory board composed of corporate leaders to create short and long-term solutions of varying size and scope.
Racial and economic inequality has long been the norm in Boston. We know that we cannot fix a problem of this magnitude, but we believe that we might be able to have an impact on at least a small group of families. Perhaps that grows into something more substantial and perhaps we will create a model that can be replicated. We realize this is a tall order, but we feel a deep responsibility to the families who have placed their trust in us, so we’re off and running. We’ll keep you posted.