Friday, May 11, 2012

$10 million gift benefits youth programs

DETERMINED TO SUCCEED: From left, Merdones speaks at Boston City Hall while Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville, Slavin and Johnson look on. Photo courtesy of Lightchaser Photography.

When Zazil Merdones of West Roxbury heads to Fitchburg State University to study nursing this fall, she will have a $5,000 annual scholarship from the MGH and a college coach to help her succeed academically and graduate. Merdones is an MGH Bicentennial Scholar, one of 26 students in the graduating class of 2012 from Boston, Chelsea and Revere who are receiving mentorship and academic and financial support from the MGH as they pursue their college dreams. With a new $10 million gift from Partners HealthCare and its founding hospitals, the MGH and BWH, hundreds of additional students involved in both institutions’ youth achievement programs will benefit in the years ahead.

The gift was announced May 3 at Boston City Hall by Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, and is in part inspired by the MGH Bicentennial Scholars program, which was created by the MGH in 2011 as a gift to the community in honor of its bicentennial. Merdones and MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, were among those who addressed guests gathered for the May 3 announcement, including Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson, PhD.

“Since we created this program, we have been asking ourselves how we could offer it to additional classes of students,” said Slavin. “I am so pleased to say today that the funds from the Partners scholarship program will allow us to establish additional cohorts totaling 145 students, who, like Zazil, will receive this support, extending our program over the next 10 years. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

Merdones spoke about her journey from being an indifferent middle school student to a motivated high school senior determined to attend college. As MGH Bicentennial Scholars, Merdones and the other students have received comprehensive support for the past two years including SAT prep, college tours, mentoring, financial aid counseling and employment opportunities. All 26 Bicentennial Scholars were accepted to college.

Read more articles from the 5/11/12 Hotline issue.


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