WBZ Cares: GreenLight Is Life Changing

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling the GreenLight Fund, a non-profit organization that helps transform the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to identify critical needs, import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that can have a significant, measurable impact, and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city.

The GreenLight Fund, founded in Boston 15 years ago, is a non-profit organization that helps to improve the lives of local low-income families. 

“There are great non-profits doing amazing work here and yet we continue to have gaps and persistent outcomes where low-income families don't have the same opportunities as others in our city,” stated Boston Executive Director Melissa Luna.

GreenLight Fund identifies those unmet needs then brings in proven, innovative solutions from across the country. So far, the organization has invested $9 million dollars to locally launch and support 12 different non-profits in the Greater Boston area.  

“So when Greenlight Fund selects an organization we make a $600,000 investment over 4 years. As they’re coming here, we're guiding them in those first four to five years. If you look at our organizations, the 12 organizations we’re bringing in, we have a really great track record for the number of young people and families that they’re serving, but also sustaining in our city for the long haul,” said Luna.

The latest non-profit it's brought to Boston is the free tech training program Per Scholas (www.perscholas.org/iheart).

“It’s life changing. That’s literally what happened to me,” stated Hector Miranda Vaquer, a Per Scholas graduate.

That’s Hector Miranda Vaquer. He graduated from the initial pilot class in Boston. He moved here from Puerto Rico back in May.

“Since the first day I got here I was searching for jobs. By the first two weeks I had sent 84 applications. I hadn’t received a call back, not even once, Vaquer outlined.

In Puerto Rico, Hector worked in restaurant, so when he got the opportunity to get free tech training and free certification, in under 12 weeks, he jumped on it.

“I actually got the job the same day that we graduated from the Per Scolas program,” Vaquer said.

He now works at a Boston area engineering firm doing in-house tech support.

“I went from basically having to work in the kitchen 32 hours in 3 days, to being able to work only 40 hours and get paid by about three times as much. My life is incredible right now compared to how it was 5 months ago,” Vaquer concluded.

Per Scholas officially launches in Boston with classes offered in October.

For more information visit: www.perscholas.org/iheart

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Shari Small Reports

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