On Friday, October 8, Julie Mulvey P'17,'21,'26 addressed the St. Sebastian's community in Ward Hall with stories about people who have not been given equal opportunities in their lives. She and her family were inspired by the work of members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD officers mentor kids from Watts, a poor area of Los Angeles plagued with heavy gang violence, through a program called Operation Progress. The program pairs kids from Watts with a police mentor and sends them to a private Catholic school. Many of the officers were providing tuition, school supplies, activity fees, etc. out of their own pockets. Mrs. Mulvey spoke about how W2B is hoping to impact the lives of many kids from Watts and give them the support they need when they go off to college.
In April of 2019, the Mulvey family created Watts 2 Boston ("W2B"), a non-profit organization as a resource for a few LAPD Officers. They saw a niche where some kids needed added support and a break from the violence and the struggle of growing up in the projects that are controlled by gangs. W2B also facilitates a Family Mentor Program where families from Boston reach out to a student from Watts via Zoom calls to provide extra support, guidance, and resources. Eventually, students will visit the family in Boston to look at colleges, spend time with their mentor family, and get a break from living in a high crime area.
LAPD Lieutenant Ryan Whiteman then spoke about what life is like in Watts, how it is controlled by gangs and how it's very dangerous. He told the boys they should look at their opportunity of education to not just help themselves, but also others, and that by understanding the power of thoughts, words, and actions, they can make a difference. A Boston College graduate, Jennifer Alvarado, who is from Watts, shared her success story of how she was helped by the Watts 2 Boston program. She talked about her life in Watts, how the public schools were dangerous and the academics were negatively affected by the disrupted behavior. She was set up with an LAPD officer and was offered a free ride to an all-girls Catholic school and went on to Boston College and stayed with the Mulvey family while doing so. She also encouraged the St. Sebastian's students to make a difference by taking advantage of their Catholic education, to open up their hearts and take a chance on others.
Thank you to the Mulvey family, members of the LAPD and Jennifer for inspiring our students to make a difference!