The Multi-Cultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative and One Step Closer

Advocacy and Organizing – Education Reform and Community Engagement

The multi-cultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative (MDOC) is a working group formed to respond to the high dropout rate in the Boston Public Schools and the consequences this has on youth and families in our communities. The group is comprised of the following organizations: Freedom House Inc., The Boston chapter of the NAACP, HOPE, The Boston Campaign for Proficiency, the Young Cape Verdean Club, Inc., and Boston City Council Chuck Turner’s Office. MDOC is one of the most influential entities in steering the reform and creation of new dropout prevention and recovery policies in the Boston Public School district.

MDOC’s mission is to Support Graduation for All Boston Public High School Students, with a special focus on ensuring the success of youth of color. We achieve it by…
•Mobilizing communities of color to support policies and practices that will accelerate and ensure graduation for all students in the Boston Public Schools;
•Organizing caring adults to provide ongoing, culturally competent support to BPS students of color who are at risk for dropping out, or who have dropped out;
•Developing powerful student, family, and organizational voices for change.

Our vision is that Boston’s multi-cultural and community-based agencies and leaders work in partnership with the Boston Public High Schools to…
•Cut the BPS dropout rate by 50% in five years by recovering dropouts and helping them to find a pathway to school success, and by expanding effective dropout prevention strategies;
•Increase public and private sector investments – both financial and practical – in dropout prevention and recovery for BPS students;
•Enable students of color to believe in one’s capacity to learn, to speak out, and to succeed; and
•Accelerate the movement of Boston’s communities toward a future in which all residents are well educated, securely employed, and civically engaged.

One Step Closer Mentoring Program

MDOC has also developed One Step Closer, a mentorship program for students at proven-risk, in partnership with Project Reconnect and the Youth Transition Task Force, staffed by The Boston Private Industry Council. The collaborative effort will focus on increasing the organizational capacity to diversify and complete the circle of multi-racial and multi-cultural parent and community involvement in education advocacy, with a special emphasis on filling the gap in representation of the Black community.


The multi-cultural Outreach Dropout Collaborative (MDOC) has partnered with Project Reconnect, the Youth Transitions Task Force, and The Boston Private Industry Council to create One Step Closer. In March 2008, One Step Closer began as a pilot program, and offered support to our first cohort of nine male students. These students were former high school dropouts who had reenrolled into a Boston Public School or GED program with the support of Project Reconnect. Our goal was to ensure that they stayed in school after being reenrolled. At the end of the first year of work, one student had graduated from high school, another had completed his GED, and 100% of the One Step Closer youth were pursuing further education at either the high school or post-secondary level.


The mission of this mentorship programis to support young men and women, who have dropped out of school or who are at high risk of dropping out in becoming successful adults with a life plan. We feel that the chances of success for a young person will be enhanced by pairing him or her with a caring adult from their community who has encountered similar experiences.

One Step Closer’s vision models that of MDOC and other partners, to see the high dropout rate eliminated and to ensure that the Boston Public School system truly supports young people graduating from high school to pursue post secondary education and a viable career.

Our overarching goal for the program is to work with a new cohort of students each year and to initiate relationships for youth through mentoring with adults that will last a lifetime.

We seek the volunteer involvement of people who share our vision!

If you would like to learn more about the program, contact:
Charmaine Arthur-Neverson, Program Manager, multi-cultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative (MDOC) at 617 445-3700 or download a copy of our One Step Closer Mentor application.

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