This summer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited MAP. “It’s unbelievable …amazing. The work is inspiring,”
Natasha, is a young, vibrant African-American woman who has been at the Massachusett's Avenue Project (MAP) Growing Green Program for 4 years. Natasha graduated from high school this June and started college this fall. She is the first person in her family to go to college and has surmounted a great deal of challenges to get to where she is. Natasha and her sister were removed from their home in elementary school and placed with an aunt, who was already caring for 2 young children. Natasha was left to care for herself and her sister a lot of the time and rarely saw her biological mother.
While working for MAP, Natasha usually gave her aunt her paycheck to help pay household bills. Three years ago she was overweight and diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. She credits Growing Green with teaching her how to make healthier food choices which helped her lose weight and get her diabetes under control. She has become a community educator, leading farm tours and workshops on urban agriculture, healthy eating and youth enterprise development.
Since 2003, MAP has worked with young people whose families are financially disadvantaged or face the challenges of adjusting to a new culture and way of life. We work to provide our young people with a bridge to success, and for the past 3 years 95% of our high school seniors have graduated and gone onto college and all were the first in their families to go to college.