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A Letter from Our President & CEO Kristin Ostby

Dear Friends,

We are so proud to share Boys Hope Girls Hope Yearbook 2020, which celebrates our 95 scholars, who graduated from high school and started college during one of the most challenging times in recent human history. The young people who join Boys Hope Girls Hope are selected, in large part, for ways they’ve demonstrated grit and resilience, their vision for a bright future and willingness to put in the long hours and lead the disciplined life required to meet their goals. Boys Hope Girls Hope scholars and collegians across our 16-city Network set an example for all of us as they demonstrated these character traits during this very tough time. They worked hard as individuals and supported each other as brothers and sisters, recognizing that we are all stronger together. We celebrate their perseverance and honor the milestones they reached this year!

Boys Hope Girls Hope scholars and collegians across our 16-city Network set an example for all of us as they demonstrated these character traits during this very tough time.

For Boys Hope Girls Hope, this year has been extremely intense, requiring our team members to be nimble, creative, patient, and strong to meet the evolving environment in a safe way while staying laser-focused on our mission. We dedicated more time, energy, and resources to emotional support and well-being, recognizing that none of us can be our best if we aren’t feeling safe, loved, and connected. As a result of our staff and volunteer team members’ dedication, we made it through with our scholars and collegians on track and reaching their goals, financially strong and with new ideas on how we can use technology and creativity to meet our mission and reach more youth in new ways.

We were very fortunate to have the support of many friends, new and old, including a number of major tech companies who stepped up to help us adapt. Cisco Systems made a major product investment in our Network. Our homes, academy spaces and offices are being networked, through Cisco’s support, for greater efficiency, bandwidth, and safety. Thanks to the generosity of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell, we were able to provide 500 scholars, collegians and team members with new laptops so they could study and work remotely.

As a result of our staff and volunteer team members’ dedication, we made it through with our scholars and collegians on track and reaching their goals, financially strong and with new ideas on how we can use technology and creativity to meet our mission and reach more youth in new ways.

The work of Boys Hope Girls Hope is all about helping young people to develop holistically through experiences of education, service, living and learning in community. Our alumni reflect what is possible when young people are given the opportunities they deserve to learn, thrive, create and lead. Their perspectives and experiences can truly shape our society for the greater good. Like every organization, this last year created a new openness to dialogue among all of our stakeholders on how we carry out our mission. We are taking a new look at how we can better involve alumni, parents, and families in our Boys Hope Girls Hope community; how we partner with other local, national, and international organizations to achieve our shared goals faster and smarter; how we recruit and develop diverse talent; how our boards can better reflect the communities we serve; and how we can all learn from each other and build our own consciousness and understanding of each other’s experiences.

In addition, it has been an important time for dialogue and action on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our ALL In (Act. Learn. Lead.) program, launched last summer and run throughout this year, gave scholars the chance to hear from people of many backgrounds who have created positive impact with their lives; explore issues affecting their communities; develop, pitch and execute on local impact projects. We’ve had opportunities to hear from thought leaders through network-wide virtual gatherings with the producers of the film, Black Boys, and from physicians of color in Culturally Responsive Practice and the COVID-19 Vaccine. In our Real Action series, affiliate leaders have shared how they are making important changes in their programs and communities. Looking ahead, our Summer 2021 community reading, and discussion will dig into the book Caste. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but are grateful for the tough work we’re doing now and the opportunity and trust in each other to do it.

On a closing note, there have been many mountaintop moments for Boys Hope Girls Hope during this year, despite the challenges. One was connecting 50 alumni and team leaders for a networking call in March. Alumni in their early 20s to their 50s shared where they are now as students, parents, corporate leaders, teachers, and nurses. Many are serving as mentors to young people in their communities and volunteering time with local organizations. They are walking examples of the Jesuit concept of being “persons for others.” They talked about ways that they are or would like to support Boys Hope Girls Hope, to be there for young scholars as people were there for them. They are a great inspiration for all of us of what is possible when a diverse, caring community comes together to support a young person with curiosity, openness, and drive.

I encourage you to read the incredible stories of two of our alumni, Alejandra and Dwayne, who were generous to share their lives and recent triumphs with our community in this year’s Boys Hope Girls Hope Yearbook.

Thank you for helping us to become an even stronger Boys Hope Girls Hope so more young people with hope will have the opportunity to learn and lead.

Kristin Ostby
President and CEO
Boys Hope Girls Hope

Thank you all for journeying with us through this unprecedented time and helping us to becoming even stronger for the exciting future ahead and the young people with hope and a desire to learn and lead.