Alumni Nonprofit Matches Mentors with Youth


Wheelock College alum Dejon Rice ’15 is CEO of Boston’s Bridge to Excellence Inc., a nonprofit he founded that offers before school/afterschool and summer enrichment programming designed to empower 3-13 year olds from economically distressed areas to become leaders of change in their communities. “I’m really passionate about being involved in my community,” says Rice, who grew up in Boston’s Dorchester/Roxbury area. “I think that is a responsibility of mine as an entrepreneur.”

“I’m really passionate about being involved in my community.”

Rice launched the first Boston’s Bridge to Excellence location at the Tobin School in Roxbury in 2011 and has since added a second location at the Adams Elementary School in East Boston. The program matches high-risk youth with mentors who provide individual and group mentoring to promote academic excellence, personal development, and civic engagement skills.

Connections with Current Students

Rice says Wheelock has supported his nonprofit since its inception; he currently has a partnership with the Wheelock Field Experience Office that allows Wheelock students to do their required internships at one of his centers. “They get experience and are able to observe what an afterschool and out-of-school time program looks like,” he says. “I grew up around so many mentors. It inspired me to say, ‘how can I be able to use the resources that I had when I was growing up to help people in the communities that I live in and want to work in?’”

Rice says one of the most important lessons he learned at Wheelock was how to be culturally sensitive to the communities and people with whom you are working. He says that every community has resources that can support children and families if you take the time to get to know the people you’re working with and learn how you can help.