Fall 2021 PBHA Program Statuses

See a running list of active PBHA programs for Fall 2021

Welcome to the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA)! For 117 years, PBHA and students like you have been collaborating with community partners to meet critical needs in Boston and Cambridge. This year, our neighbors need our support more than ever. 

We hope you are having a joyful, restorative summer and this message finds you, your family, and your friends in good health. My name is Farah, and alongside our Vice President Fahed, we are so honored and excited to warmly welcome all of you back to a (fingers-crossed) in-person Phillips Brooks House Association for the first time in 18 months.

It would be an understatement to say that a lot has changed since our last gathering in the halls of the Phillips Brooks House. We braved (and, let’s be real, continue to brave) an ongoing pandemic that has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives, disproportionately affecting low-income communities of color. From housing to food to employment crises, many of us have struggled, and witnessed those we love dearest struggle, to make ends meet, exacerbated by systems that have failed to value the lives of people — of low-income people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and many more historically marginalized people.

PBHA’s year-round programs are run and staffed by student leaders and deeply grounded in the communities of Greater Boston. Our programs focus both on direct service and structural change in issue areas including education, youth empowerment, housing and homelessness, adult education, immigration, health, legal support and workers’ rights. We are committed to ensuring that every student who wants to participate has the opportunity to serve and has the peer and staff mentorship to grow in the skills and understanding needed to become an effective agent of change.

Below please find the listing of active programs along with the description of their fall model.

To get involved, sign up for any and all of the programs that interest you using our Common Application. In the coming weeks, stay tuned to hear more about opportunities to meet and connect with our student directors through our Instagram and Facebook pages and sign up for our PBHA-Open email list! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at pbha@pbha.org. Some important upcoming dates and events include:

We look forward to seeing you soon, and we’ll leave you with one of our favorite quotes from Lilla Watson:

“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Welcome back home, PBHAers.

With much love & solidarity,

Farah and Fahed
President and Vice President

Fall 2021 Active PBHA Programs

(running list – updated 09/02/21)


Adult Services

Alzheimer’s Buddies – Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies responds to the “loneliness epidemic” by building relationships with senior residents in the Greater Cambridge/Boston community. This fall, volunteer activities may include: connecting with buddies through letter-writing/creative activities, promoting Alzheimer’s awareness, and conducting virtual visits, if resources allow.

Best Buddies – Best Buddies partners with a Cambridge residential home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to foster long lasting friendships between students and the residents living at the home. This fall, meaningful group and one-on-one social events will take place via virtual platforms.

Chinatown Citizenship – Chinatown Citizenship is a student-run naturalization assistance program serving Chinese immigrants in the Greater Boston area. Our mission is to provide quality civic education, build community between students and tutors, and promote social and political empowerment for adult immigrant learners by providing free online classes in civics and English. Visit our website to learn more about our Fall 2021 curriculum and program!

Chinatown ESL – Chinatown ESL provides free, multi-level English classes to native Chinese speakers throughout Boston and the surrounding suburbs; while our classes are traditionally taught in person, this semester we will be teaching them over Zoom.

Elderly 1-2-1 – Each student-adult pair participating in Elderly 1-2-1 meets individually to foster friendship. Pairs meet at their own convenience and participate in mutually meaningful activities ranging from playing games and reading books to sharing stories. All meetings will occur virtually this semester either through phone calls or Zoom.

HARTZ (Harvard Artistz) – Volunteers in PBHA’s HARTZ program create fun art projects with nursing home residents. For this virtual school year, volunteers will be having weekly video call conversations with residents while completing virtual art activities together.

Partners Empowering Neighborhoods (PEN) – PEN offers English as a Second Language classes to recent adult immigrants in two communities, working with Vietnamese-speakers in Dorchester and Spanish-speakers in Chelsea. We cover the fundamentals of listening, speaking, reading, and writing with a focus on skills and topics most useful in everyday life. This fall, PEN will be holding classes through Zoom. Please reach out to pen@pbha.org with any questions!


Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) Extension – BRYE Extension is an after school enrichment program for recent immigrant and refugee youth that strengthens students’ English skills and supplements classroom instruction through fun and innovative curriculum in a small classroom environment; this fall, we will be running virtual programming once a week!

Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) Tutoring – BRYE Tutoring strives to give children (grades 4-8) of immigrant families in Dorchester a foothold in the United States through virtual quality instruction and homework help, with a priority on improving English skills. We will be running virtual tutoring, offering both one-on-one and group learning opportunities to our students, and the days we tutor will depend on our volunteers’ availability.

Cambridge Afterschool Program (CASP) – CASP strives to close the gap in education in an underprivileged community through after school tutoring. We normally run our program in the Fresh Pond Apartment complex, but this semester we will be tutoring online. We will attempt to return to in-person tutoring as soon as possible, but there is no guarantee that it will happen this semester.

CHANCE (College High School Alliance: A Nexus for Creative Education) – Founded in 1985, PBHA’s CHANCE (College High-school Alliance: A Nexus for Creative Education) is a college preparatory program which strives to give students from local high schools the desire, support, and motivation to gain admission to college and to succeed there and beyond. CHANCE provides SAT tutoring, homework help, and college application advising to students in grades 9-12.

Chinatown Afterschool – PBHA’s Chinatown Afterschool Program is a free afterschool program whose mission is to support the academic and social emotional development of students in grades 1-6 living in Boston’s Chinatown.

CIVICS – Harvard CIVICS is a joint PBHA-Institute of Politics program spread across more than 25 classrooms in the Cambridge and Boston Public School systems, in which members use a student-generated curriculum to engage students in topics of democratic governance, politics, current events, and civic engagement. As college students and fifth graders alike deal with the challenges of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, CIVICS will be supporting classroom teachers by sharing resources, creating new content tailored to evolving learning needs, and offering online teaching options by request.

Franklin Afterschool Enrichment (FASE) – FASE is an after-school program based in the Franklin Field and Franklin Hill public housing developments and surrounding areas of Dorchester. We strive to reinforce academic skills through tutoring and group activities, and to bring together a diverse group of children and volunteers through social-emotional learning and enriching conversations. This semester, we will be running online programming four days a week to provide the same high-quality programming that we typically do in person.

Keylatch Afterschool Program – Keylatch Afterschool provides South End Boston students with enriching academic guidance through tutoring as well as fun, interactive social time! This fall we are also excited to expand to include virtual 1-1 mentorship, pairing volunteers with Keylatchers for additional support.

Mission Hill Afterschool Program (MHASP) – MHASP is Boston’s oldest and largest student run after school program and serve students living in the Mission Hill community.  We are planning on running a fully online model this fall, with individual mentoring, age group-specific academic enrichment, and larger program-wide activities.

Roxbury Youth Initiative Term-Time (RYIT) – Roxbury Youth Initiative Term-Time (RYIT) provides Roxbury youth with a high quality, enriching afterschool experience. This fall, RYIT will operate virtually two days/week offering academic support and social recreation.

SBOS + NAYEP Afterschool – SBOS+NAYEP Afterschool provides youth involved in the South Boston Outreach Summer and Native American Youth Enrichment programs with continued academic support and relationship building during term time. We meet twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays from 4:30-6:00 PM) for homework help and “clubs,” in which we will explore topics that interest our campers. This program is a great way to create and strengthen relationships with youth in the Boston area.


Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) 1-2-1

Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) Teen – BRYE Teen fulfills PBHA’s mission of social justice by mentoring recently immigrant teens living in the greater Dorchester area. For this coming semester, we will be having bi-weekly meetings with the teens, continuing with providing mentoring and workshops as we have in the past.

Chinatown Teen – Chinatown Teen is a mentorship program for high school students from Boston public schools. Our college mentors come from Harvard, Wellesley, Tufts, and Boston University to come together this year to help with homework, have study breaks, play virtual games, and send each other packages. Mentors plan weekly lesson plans that have previously included photography lessons, origami, and helicopter egg drop. Please reach out to chinatownteen@pbha.org if you’d like to be involved or want to learn more!

David Walker Scholars – The David Walker Scholars program works with young black men and masculine identifying individuals in the Cambridge and Greater Boston area to develop positive life skills and a sense of black cultural and historical pride, through the education and mentorship from members of the Harvard Black Men’s Forum. This year we have transitioned to an online structure to ensure that meaningful connections between mentors and students can still be made!

ExperiMentors – ExperiMentors is a service organization that strives to teach elementary school students more about science and STEM professions, through engaging them with exciting and educational science experiments. We plan to continue this, through virtual classroom visits this semester.

HARMONY Mentoring – HARMONY Mentoring provides free music lessons to students in Cambridge who cannot afford lessons otherwise; lessons will be given via Zoom this semester.

Harvard Muslim Youth Program (HMYP) – The Harvard Muslim Youth Program connects Muslims students to with college-aged mentors for mentorship, spiritual engagement, and self-empowerment, while also providing a way for Muslim students to feel supported and connected outside of the classroom. Due to COVID-19, HMYP will be completely virtual, adding an extra Wednesday, after-school session to the traditional Saturday meeting time.

KSNAP: Kids with Special Needs Achievement Program – KSNAP serves elementary-aged special needs students through weekly school visits and field trips. Our volunteers have the opportunity to cultivate lasting and meaningful relationships with the students, who may face stigmatization and be in need of a stable friend on whom they can rely to build their self-confidence. Due to the ongoing pandemic, KSNAP will continue in a virtual format this year and seeks to provide continued support for special needs students who may be experiencing heightened isolation during this time.

Leaders! – Geared toward fostering the next generation of civic minded change agents, Leaders! is a unique program that connects high-schoolers with willing college mentors. We empower students in the Greater Boston area through programming that spans leadership development, peer-to-peer fellowship, and college readiness.

Recent Immigrant Term-Time Enrichment (RITE) – RITE works with recently immigrated high school students from the greater Boston area for weekly homework help, ESL practice, and standardized test preparation. By pairing students with Harvard volunteers, students are able to receive one-on-one personalized help, alleviating the stress of online classes and unfamiliar environments.

Strong Women, Strong Girls – Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) is a PBHA mentorship program for girls in grades 3-5 all over Boston. Each week, we work to foster mutual cycles of empowerment in girls through a curriculum based on strong female role-models.

Advocacy, Health, and Housing

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) – Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a program that organizes Harvard students to support communities across the US during spring break; during the fall, we’ll be recruiting both team leaders and then team volunteers — be sure to watch out for any emails! Feel free to write to us at asb@pbha.org with any questions.

Deaf Awareness Club (DAC) – PBHA’s Deaf Awareness Club Program is a student-run organization dedicated to raising awareness about Deaf Culture among the Harvard Community. This fall, DAC will offer various educational and social events centering the Deaf community and Deaf culture. Shoot us an email at DAC@pbha.org to join the email list and follow us @dac.harvard on Instagram for more information!

Environmental Action Committee (EAC) – EAC is committed to spreading and strengthening sustainable policy and practices on and off Harvard’s campus by publishing environmental art, developing and teaching educational curricula, and advocating for eco-consciousness in state and local government.

Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Advocacy (HOPE) – The Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Advocacy (HOPE) is an undergraduate activist organization with two branches: advocacy, which strives to dismantle injustices within the carceral system, and education, with programs where our members work with incarcerated folks in several facilities.

Small Claims Advisory Service (SCAS) – SCAS is a legal aid program run entirely by Harvard College students and is the only organization in Massachusetts dedicated to helping underserved communities with cases too small for pro bono lawyers to handle. SCAS volunteers get rigorous training in Small Claims case law, strong pre-law preparation, and the opportunity to provide hands-on client service that changes the lives of people across Massachusetts. We plan to continue helping clients remotely through email and phone in the fall.

Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) – SLAM is an alliance of students, workers and activists fighting for a more equitable Harvard. We are committed to working towards economic and labor justice for our community. During the fall semester, we plan to continue meeting weekly– every Monday at 8:00 PM– to organize remotely for a number of campaigns and remain in solidarity with other campus activist groups as well as Boston area labor groups.

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