Earthen Vessels Tutoring Program

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The mission of Earthen Vessels is to empower at-risk inner-city children and teens from a variety of racial and ethnic background to build self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect and personal responsibility, within a community which challenges traditional barriers of sex, race, culture and class.

Earthen Vessels ' financial and other data may be found on the national repertory of non-profit agencies, GuideStar, by clicking on logo:



Earthen Vessels was founded as a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation in 1980 by Brian and Marie-Claude Thompson. The organization has grown to encompass three programs: the Summer Camp, the Scholarship Fund and the Tutoring Program.

The original program, the Summer Camp, brings some 30 adolescents from Dorchester and surrounding inner-city Boston neighborhoods to rural Vermont each summer for intensive two-week experiences of community away from the pressures and dangers of urban life. The camp emphasizes teamwork and peaceful conflict resolution. Some campers return to the camp as counselors in later years through our Leadership Training Program The recently developed Scholarship Fund has made small grants to help students participating in other Earthen Vessels programs to pay for tuition at private or parochial high schools.

Tutoring Program

The Tutoring Program helps each youngster build self-esteem, confidence, academic achievement, personal character and appreciation for diversity, while leading tutors to a deeper understanding of social justice.

In 1985 Earthen Vessels began matching youth from Dorchester and surrounding neighborhoods with Harvard students who volunteer to serve as academic tutors and personal mentors. The Executive Director of Earthen Vessels also acts as Program Director of the Tutoring Program. Since 1990, the Educational Coordinator, a full-time advocate for the youth in their schools, has been building bridges between the tutors, teachers and parents of each youngster.


Community Need

Most of our youth are from Dorchester, where the poverty rate is well above average, many families deal with unemployment and single-parenting, and schools struggle to provide adequate services. Children growing up in such an environment are in desperate need of additional adult support and mentoring in their academic and personal challenges.

In contrast, our tutors are students at Harvard University, which provides an elaborate support structure and a safe environment for growth. Among students at prestigious universities there is often a fundamental lack of understanding of the problems faced by people, particularly children, in the inner-city. Though some Harvard students do come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they are the exception. Cambridge is a mere ten miles from Dorchester, yet most Harvard students never set foot in Dorchester, and in fact are warned not to go there.

We find that after being matched with an at-risk youth, our tutors rise to the challenge, sharing their sense of academic motivation and discipline and becoming dependable and trusted friends for the tutees. The youth also rise to the challenge (some faster than others!) of coming to tutoring regularly and on time, bringing the necessary materials and developing a positive attitude towards improving their schoolwork and envisioning their future in an open-ended way.

Since we began the Tutoring Program in 1985, the importance of mentoring for at-risk youth has become more widely recognized in the media and in academic research. We have seen the effects of mentoring relationships, and believe that all children need and deserve an older person who cares about them and is consistently available for them.

While many service programs grow solely from one community, we see our work in connecting these two communities as a valuable strategy for growth for both groups of participants. Our staff and board members are also a diverse mix of persons from both Cambridge and Dorchester.

Tutor and tutee hard at work in Dorchester

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Tutoring Sessions

Our 45 tutor-tutee pairs are split into three groups: one group meets on Tuesdays, another on Wednesdays, and the third group on Thursdays. The night before tutoring, each tutor tries to call his or her tutee. The Educational Coordinator or the Program Director try to call as well. These phone calls serve as reminders to the youth, and provide an opportunity to talk about any materials needed for the next day, such as specific school books or a report card.

Tutoring occurs in the basement of St. Christopher Church on Columbia Point (now known as Harbor Point) in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. Tutees arrive on foot or are picked up in the Earthen Vessels van. At the beginning of the 90-minute session we spend a few minutes with light conversation and high-energy snacks.

For the remainder of the 90-minute session, tutors and tutees work in their pairs on school work, academic drills, and for a lesser amount of time, personal issues. Tutors have developed their own teaching plans and themes over weeks and months, and many spend the first few minutes of the session checking our library of texts and stories for the right book to illustrate the material. Tutoring generally focuses on the reading, writing, critical thinking, math and basic organizational skills (such as keeping a homework planner) that the tutees so often lack.

The Tutoring Program also runs two "tutor-tutee days" each year. Tutees are brought to Harvard for a Saturday afternoon of games and discussion on topics such as "responsibility" and "relationships." Seeing where their tutors live and discussing these issues often takes the mentoring relationships to a deeper level. Many pairs also get together outside of tutoring sessions, on their own initiative, to work on the tutee's academic and personal challenges or simply to enjoy a movie, a ball game or other outing together.

Excerpt from an Interview: Atyra Taylor and Kara Lewis

Kara: Remember when I showed up at your house with Marie-Claude and Julie? I told your mom you were really bright and had a lot of potential. After that your participation in tutoring improved. We've been together three years now . And we've seen each other in the summer. Last year we went to Fanueil Hall for your birthday. This summer we went to the Lilith Fair concert.

Atyra: We had this deal:. I had been going to Madison which really wasn't challenging enough for me. I hardly had any homework. Kara promised me if I changed to a harder school she'd take me to the concert.

Kara: The most important part of my experience in the program is my relationship with Atyra. Our friendship has grown so much in the past couple of years. It's not really a tutor-student relationship. We talk on the phone, and go places together outside of tutoring. And now I see a tremendous difference in her. Fenway expects more from her , and she was one of two students nominated for the summer service program.

Atyra: It's like I can count on Kara for things. I think we feel comfortable with each other. We can do a little more together in the summer, but also on the tutor-tutee days during the school year. I go over to Harvard then.

Kara: What's wonderful about this program is that it provides for making friends with your tutee. In other programs you have a different tutee each time. Here we grow into a family. That's what I like about camp too. Even the way we sit at camp, with Marie-Claude at the head of one table and Brian at the head of the other, with counselors and campers in between.


Some tutees are referred to the program by their teachers and school administrators, or by neighborhood social service agencies like Project Hope. Others follow their older siblings into the program. We even have tutees who recruit their friends! By this word-of-mouth advertisement of our work, we have easily filled our 45 spots and keep a growing, "first-come/first-served" waiting list. We find this program size to be appropriate for our space limitations. It also allows our staff to give each youth the individual attention he or she deserves.

All of our youth are from Dorchester and Roxbury. The current group includes 20 African-American tutees, 17 Latinos, 3 Cape Verdeans, 3 from the Caribbean and 2 whites. Twenty-two are girls and 23 are boys. The 45 tutees attend 30 different schools. Eighty-two percent attend public schools; the remainder are in Catholic schools. We do not accept tutees from upper- or middle-class families, and we do not charge a fee for tutoring. We feel that even a small fee would discourage some families from participating, and rather than making money the basis of families' commitment to the program, we prefer to build friendships between tutees and their tutors that the youth and their families come to value.

Our tutors are a mix of college students from the US and abroad; about one-third are people of color. Tutor-tutee pairs are always matched by gender, and when possible, by race and ethnicity, in order to provide the youth role models with whom they can more easily identify. Many pairs have found their shared experiences, whether by gender, ethnicity, status as students or personal interests, to be especially valuable for building a close relationship.

We have had extraordinary success at keeping our tutees in the Tutoring Program (and in school). Twenty-two of the tutees have been in the program more than three years including 8 for 4 years, 4 for 5 years, 3 for 6 years and one for 7 years).

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Quotes from Year-End Tutee Evaluations

"I have learned a lot about myself and tutoring has helped me in the process."

"It helped me to stay positive and to learn how to be respectful."

"It keeps me off the streets."

"I learned about making good decisions."

"I learned not to fight because you can't fight here."

"It taught me to be open and respect others."

"Tutoring helped me in my weaker subjects."

"Tutoring helped me not to forget my homework and helped me concentrate more on my work."

"I can learn a lot."

"It's easier to do my homework here than at home because there's no one at home to help me."

"I like finishing my homework and getting it right."

"Tutoring is one of the only things that keeps me going when it comes to school."


Tutors are recruited by word-of-mouth and with the help of the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student Center. At the beginning of each school year a new set of tutors are trained by the Educational Coordinator and the Program Director in all-day sessions. At the beginning of a tutoring relationship (and every September thereafter), tutors give their tutees a standard reading test to gauge their reading ability in English.

Tutors commit to attending weekly 90-minute tutoring sessions, tutor-tutee days and weekly tutor meetings for discussion and mutual support. They also have individual meetings with the Program Director and Educational Coordinator to devise or revise a learning plan for their tutee. In total, the average tutor contributes 80 hours to the Tutoring Program in a school year: 24 hours of meetings, 8 hours with their tutees on tutor-tutee days and 48 hours of tutoring time. Some tutor-tutees also meet together for basketball games, ice skating trips or other outings which provide time for added mentoring and friendship.

In some programs tutors are paid. We remain with volunteer tutors, for we believe that tutors who make this commitment without pay are more likely to build trust and a long-term relationship with their tutees. Rather than seeing their participation as a job, many tutors say that Earthen Vessels was the most important thing they did during their four years in college. The significant number of tutors who continue to participate in the program beyond college, as continuing tutors, financial contributors and staff, is testimony to its impact on them. (Our first two Educational Coordinators were former tutors; Julie Whitman, with 10 years of EV experience, has joined our board and will again direct one camp session this summer; another tutor, Luis Girón, has been with the program from the outset, tutoring for fourteen years through Bachelor's, Master's, and doctoral degrees. He finished his Ph.D. in September 1997 and continues to tutor while teaching at Harvard, where he recently received an award for his outreach service to the larger community!) For all, it profoundly affects the way they view questions of social and economic justice, as well as their own responsibility towards the disadvantaged in our society. It is a life-transforming experience. As many of our tutors will become prominent in various fields of work, we see our program as vital for developing a social conscience in our nation's future leaders.


Quotes from Graduating Tutors

My EV experience impacted me in a lot of ways, but if I had to narrow it down to one or two things I'd have to say it really helped me to develop a sense of compassion...EV really has helped me to develop a greater sense of understanding and patience... Because of the one-on-one relationship with your tutee, you develop this bond, a relationship, with a special someone outside of the Harvard environment. (Bert Bangayan tutored for 4 years)

I really loved working with Tiny and teaching her. It opened a gateway for me to explore education, which is what I'm going into, so that's the greatest thing that EV has given me. I'd never really considered teaching before, and it really opened that for me. EV has been one of the best experiences I've had at Harvard. (Bernadine Lleto tutored for 4 years)

I feel that EV has impacted me by making me realize that whatever I choose to do in life, whatever career path I choose, I want to do it with a social conscience... My most rewarding experience with Kenaya was seeing her graduate this year... What I learned in EV is that when you commit to a relationship like the one you form at EV, you have to remember that the other person is depending on you, and it's not something you can just take lightly... A one-on-one relationship like that can be rewarding to both parties. In my overall experience at Harvard, it ranks as one of the top experiences and the most important one... Next year, I will be teaching in Arizona with Teach For America. I think EV has had a lot to do with my choosing to go in that direction. I hope to continue a similar type of service next year and in the future, whatever I choose to do. (Cristina Delgadillo tutored for 4 years)


Program Director & Educational Coordinator

The interaction between tutors and tutees works because of the strong team of our Tutoring Program Director and our Educational Coordinator. Joseph Tierney studied a group of college-student mentoring programs around the country and found, "Programs that did offer significant staff support to help students balance demands were the most successful in bringing mentors and youth together consistently, thereby setting the stage for the formation of constructive relationships."

The roles of Earthen Vessels Executive Director and Program Director of the organization's three programs added up to one much-more-than-full-time position, long held by Marie-Claude Thompson. We have recently hired a new Program Director, Lauren Ravello, who was a social worker for five years and recently finished her M.A. in Education at UMassBoston. Heather Lufkin, our Educational Coordinator for the past two years, has returned to full-time teaching. She leaves a permanent legacy and very big shoes to fill for Laura Coens. She comes well-equipped, with an M.A. in Education from Harvard. The Educational Coordinator serves both as an advocate for the youth in their schools and as a facilitator for the tutor-tutee relationships. Her responsibilities become as complex and multi-faceted as the lives of the young people she serves. She seeks to develop the necessary means of communication, understanding and mutual support among all those concerned with each youngster's education and development: tutors, tutees and their families and teachers and other personnel within many schools. The program currently serves youngsters from 31 different families attending 30 different schools. Her regular communication with teachers, parents and tutors helps the entire Program staff work with each tutee&emdash;and his or her family&emdash;in a holistic and coordinated manner. We are now actively seeking a new Educational Coordinator: Laura is expecting her first child this summer (see Job Descriptions).

The Educational Coordinator and Program Director also train new tutors, run weekly group tutor meetings, meet three times annually with each tutor to discuss reports from their tutee's teachers and to develop an appropriate learning plan for the upcoming tutoring sessions, research new educational materials and select those most appropriate for each child, supervise all tutoring sessions, and work with parents to better serve the academic needs of the youth.

Through regular personal contact between our staff, the youth, their parents and their teachers, we have been able to offer an unparalleled multi-faceted support system for youngsters and their families which goes far beyond merely academic or subject-matter tutoring.

Constituencies and Coordination

The Earthen Vessels Tutoring Program seeks to be accountable to the families, teachers and schools of the participating youth. The key to this accountability is the time and effort devoted by the Educational Coordinator, who is in regular contact with all these groups. In a typical week the Educational Coordinator might visit six schools, talk with 12 teachers and administrators about tutees' progress and visit with two families. As a complement to conversations between the Educational Coordinator and teachers, we send an evaluation form to all our tutees' teachers at the end of each school year. The Educational Coordinator and the Program Director together make "home visits" to tutees' families to work more effectively with them. We coordinate our work with several local agencies, especially Project Care and Concern, which works with families on Harbor (Columbia) Point, and Project Hope, a multi-faceted family service and transitional shelter in Uphams Corner. These collaborations allow for long-term follow-up which would otherwise not take place.

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Quotes from School Personnel

Your interest and support of the students, especially Kenaya, have been invaluable. As much as we want to give individual assistance to students, it is not always possible. To have a program in place which supports not only the students but also the school is wonderful. I believe firmly that those students ordinarily progress at a greater rate when they feel that someone cares... I feel sure that Kenaya would not have found the right College Program to meet her needs if it had not been for your persistence and help... Your visits with the teachers are definitely worthwhile. It helps all of us to focus in on a student and prevents her from falling through the cracks. We become more aware of who she is and what difficulties she is experiencing... (Sister Patricia Kelly, Guidance Counselor, Monsignor Ryan Memorial High)

I feel that Earthen Vessels has been a wonderful, supportive help for many students at Cathedral High School over the years. As a long-time educator of young teen-age men and women, I know that they need lots of support and a lot of 'listening to' and lots of individual attention; the unmet needs in today's concept of family and community. Often, in a class setting this cannot happen enough, so what a grace and gift when someone beyond school helps out too. (Agnes Stapleton, S.N.D., Teacher, Cathedral High School)

Seeing someone follow through so much got me hooked on the program. I know how important it is to visit a site, and you obviously made that a priority. That's the key to having a successful collaboration... We didn't often see great things from José, but you would come in and tell me positive things that he was doing. That was helpful in keeping up hope over here. (Susan Trotz, Guidance Counselor, Shaw Middle School)

"I have consistently been impressed by the time and dedication that you have shown when trying to help Jermaine emotionally and academically... You are a true professional dedicated to often thankless work. There are too few like you. It's been a pleasure dealing with you." (Liz Kurkjian-Henry,Teacher, Edision Middle School)

"Mark has improved with handing in his homework assignments as well as staying on task more. He is more focused now than he ever was this year, and I am very proud of him... Thanks for all of your help!" (Chrissy Capiola, Teacher, Dever Elementary School)

"The relationship between MRM and Earthen Vessels has been a wonderful one! Carrie does a great job -- the students benefit tremendously from your program -- and the faculty appreciates the 'extra' support and concern from your program! I am a firm believer in the 'it takes a village' philosophy to helping kids -- Earthen Vessels is a great team player! Thank you for your work!" (Ms. Reardon, Principal, Monsignor Ryan Memorial High School)

"You are the only organization that actually is up on the kids. Thank you!" (Ms. Drain, Teacher, Wilson Middle School)


For most of our tutees, the Earthen Vessels Tutoring Program is a part of their life for several years. During that time, our goals are that the youth build their self-esteem, confidence, academic achievement and personal character. A central goal for the program is to build mutual understanding across boundaries of sex, race and culture. In pursuit of this, conflict resolution strategies are introduced, often with great success, when tutees fight with their peers.

We use the word "goals" on a regular basis with our youth as well. At the end of each school grading period, tutors help their tutees to decide upon specific goals for the next grading period. Tutees may decide on striving for an A in English, for example, or a B or higher in every subject. At the end of each tutoring session, we stand together in a circle and often talk about our goals and celebrate when tutees achieve them.


Along with our goals, we hold specific objectives for each school year that can be precisely evaluated: each tutee should stay in school (an exploit for some!) and have high attendance at tutoring. We encourage them to think seriously about continuing their education in college.

Dropout Rate: Among our 45 tutees, not one dropped out of school in 1998-99. [Two left temporarily, one to have a baby, but both are back in school.] In comparison, the reported dropout rate for all students in Boston Public High Schools was 10%. It must also be noted that our target population is more at-risk than the school population at large.

Attendance at tutoring: Although most of our tutees receive little parental supervision during the afternoon, their attendance rate at the Tutoring Program is quite high. In 1997-98 our success rate for tutor-tutee pairing (that is, both were in attendance) was 72%, which is considered higher than average for tutoring programs. We have been working hard to raise the pairing rate: last year 13 pairs had a pairing rate of 100% in the fall, 10 pairs in the spring, and 8 pairs for the entire school year. This past fall, 25 tutees had perfect attendance and 24 pairs had a pairing success rate of 100% (compared to 13 in fall '98), and most of the other pairs missed a single session. The overall pairing success rate was a very high 91%.

We will continue to gather these statistics during the current school year and beyond. As more youth complete our program over the years, we look forward to seeing what they achieve after high school as well. We strongly support our youth as they apply to exam high schools and colleges. Four of five seniors graduating in 1998 went on to college, the fifth to the Marines.

Several of our tutees have already graduated from college, including one formerly homeless Puerto Rican youngster who graduated from Tufts, where he held student leadership positions in the Hispanic community; he now works as a recruiter for the ABC (A Better Chance) program in the Boston schools to give back some of what he received. (After hearing him speak of his experience, the Greeley Foundation invited him to join their Board of Directors.) A young African-American woman graduated from Emerson College in 1998 after four years on the Dean's List and is now news anchor for MediaOne in Lawrence.

Through the past 14 years we have grown confident that our support raises academic success in school. The largest study of our specific project design, a combination of tutoring, mentoring and advocacy, was of Project RAISE in Baltimore, published in 1991. The researchers found positive, statistically significant effects on school attendance and English grades. Earthen Vessels' tutoring focus on reading and writing in English is especially important for those tutees who do not speak English at home.

The work of Earthen Vessels has been noted in the larger community as well: Marie-Claude Thompson was commended in 1995 at the 21st Annual ABCD Community Awards Dinner.


Brian, Carrie and Marie-Claude on the trail in Vermont


Lauren Ravello, who holds an M.A. in Education from the University of Massachusetts Boston and has five years of experience as a social worker, joined Earthen Vessels in September 2003 as Program Director for the Tutoring Program. She has a long history with Earthen Vessels and brings first-hand and hands-on experience with the obstacles our kids and their families face.

Laura Coens, who holds an M.A. in Education from Harvard University, joined Earthen Vessels as Educational Coordinator in September 2003. Like her predecessors, Heather Lufkin, Carrie Gilmore and Julie Whitman, she has been accepted by school personnel as a supportive professional colleague, and by children and their families as a competent, dedicated mentor and dependable friend. She is carrying on the strong Earthen Vessels tradition of multi-faceted service to young people and their families.

Simone Charpentier brings some twenty years of social work experience to a brand-new half-time position as our Family Advocate. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and has worked in the inner city not only in Boston but also in the South Bronx and in Latin America. She will help families gain access to services and opportunities, and to become a more integral part of the Earthen Vessels program.

Marie-Claude Thompson has been the full-time Executive Director of Earthen Vessels since 1980. She also serves as Director of the Summer Camp and Scholarship Fund. Mrs. Thompson has broad experience in youth work, education and administration. She holds a degree in business administration (Paris), an M.A. in French literature (Harvard) and an M.Div. (Weston School of Divinity). Marie-Claude also serves as a chaplain at the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student Center.

Brian Thompson is President of the Earthen Vessels Board of Directors and oversees fundraising and development. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where he is Professor of French, since 1968. He is currently Chair of the Department of Modern Languages. Widely known for his literary studies and pedagogical workshops, he has lectured, published and appeared on radio and television here and abroad. Mr. Thompson has broad experience with young people and has worked at summer camps in Maine, Pennsylvania and New York. He has co-directed Earthen Vessels camp in Vermont since 1980.


Earthen Vessels functions with a minimum of administrative and overhead costs, benefits from significant in-kind contributions and pro bono services, and devotes an overwhelming percentage of its resources to direct services (93.5% in the 1999 budget). The Tutoring Program works financially because of two tremendous resources: (1) over 3000 volunteer hours from our Harvard tutors each year; (2) a growing number of individual contributors in the Boston area and beyond, now some 300 strong, including many former tutors and their parents. In fact, because our tutors eventually graduate from Harvard and become "alumni" of our program, we have a naturally growing donor base. The individual contributions, arising from our carefully targeted fund-raising mailings and a series of small get-togethers we initiated two years ago, have grown from $7000 in 1991 to over $40,000 in 1999.  In addition, the generous support we receive from Foundations and Corporations is essential to the success of our program.

We have also received many in-kind donations, including space for tutoring, meetings and our office. From the outset, Mrs. Thompson donated her time. In 1998 we began to pay her an increasing percentage of her salary, so as to have the funds to hire a replacement when she retires.

We include in our budget for the Tutoring Program the amount needed to pay the Educational Coordinator's salary and benefits, as well as a partial salary for the Program Director. Meeting these staffing needs has been our primary financial challenge from year to year. To complete our funding of the Tutoring Program, we turn to the foundation community. We have shown the necessary mix of advocacy and coordination that this program brings to our youth. In response, many foundations have supported us over the past few years: the Boston Globe Foundation, the Hyams Foundation, the Stride Rite Charitable Foundation, the Polaroid Foundation, the Campaign for Human Development, the Ratshesky Foundation, the Dana McLean Greeley Foundation for Peace and Justice, the Schrafft Charitable Foundation, the Adelard A. and Valeda Lea Roy Foundation, the TJX Foundation, Millipore Foundation, Orvill Forté Charitable Foundation, the State Street Foundation, the Linden Foundation, the George A. Ramlose Foundation, The Robins&emdash;de Beaumont Foundation, the Eastern Enterprises Foundation, the Fuller Foundation, the George A. and Jane A. Mifflin Foundation, the Walter Noonan Trust and the Clipper Ship Foundation. These grants have just begun to be sufficient to meet the immediate need, however, and, with the notable exception of a 3-year $30,000 grant from the Polaroid Foundation, have generally not been multi-year grants.

We have begun to develop new approaches and funding sources to guarantee the viability of the Tutoring Program positions, which are essential to the effectiveness and integrity of the Tutoring Program.

To further develop our funding base, we are working to better publicize our program. We have begun working with selected tutors to write about their experiences in the tutoring program for submission to relevant newsletters and magazines. This publicity also serves another hope: that copies of our program might grow between other colleges and inner-city communities. In support of potential replication, we are writing documents about our history and our current procedures that we will distribute to those interested in replicating our strategies. Several elements of our approach have already been incorporated into other tutoring or mentoring programs.

Profile: Sean Boyd and Sal Gogliormella

Thanks in part to the perseverance of his tutor, Sean Boyd, a senior at Charlestown High School, made a remarkable turn-about and is confidently headed to college and law school. Sal, his tutor, still remembers the early days: driving around the streets of Harbor Point with the Program Director looking for a very reluctant and unmotivated Sean, whose attendance at tutoring was spotty at best. His attendance at school was even worse: he saw no point in schoolwork and had no notion of a future of any kind. As a result, he was bringing home a very consistent report card: straight Fs!

Despite his tutee's initial lack of enthusiasm, Sal stuck by him, helping him with his algebra or other homework whenever he actually made it to tutoring while trying to instill in him a sense of structure, direction and confidence in his own abilities. By the next year, Sean was doing most of his homework alone and using his regular sessions with Sal for more "interesting" things, like discussing his dream of becoming a screenwriter. In the meantime, his grades were all up to C or better.

When both Sean and Sal began their respective senior years , it was with a bang: Sean announced to the entire tutoring community that he would not only be graduating in the spring, like Sal, but was going to get straight As all year to boot. And he did just that: he was one of only three students at Charlestown High on the High Honor Roll! He continued not only to dream of the future, but to take the steps necessary to make his dreams come true. His senior spring break included a college visit to Howard University, and he's looking forward to following Sal's lead to law school. He still wants to write screen plays. And he knows he can do it.

Sal, meanwhile, credits the Earthen Vessels community and, especially, his deepening friendship with Sean, for a considerable change in his own future plans. He had been looking to law school essentially as a ticket to an expensive car and a briefcase full of money. He now plans to devote himself in one way or another to public service law, to give something back for all he has received and to help those like Sean who start off life with fewer advantages and opportunities.

How can I help?

If you would like to help us help inner-city youngsters and their families, please send us a tax-deductible donation which we will put to good use with a very minimum of overhead expense. You can check out our financial statement on the national database of charities at Make your check out to Earthen Vessels and send it to us at 170 Appleton Street, Cambridge MA 02138. We would be delighted to speak to you about our work. Feel free to call us at (617) 497-0759 or 287-7569 or contact us by email: or

Earthen Vessels ' financial and other data may be found on the national repertory of non-profit agencies, GuideStar, by clicking on logo:


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