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Young Adults From Dorchester Beat The Odds, Celebrate Graduation

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – This summer, scenes of violence dominated the headlines in Boston. Sometimes overlooked were the stories of all the young lives forever changed – or ended – on the city’s streets.

Tuesday night, dozens of young people who beat the odds came together to celebrate their achievement.

The group, called College Bound Dorchester, is in its third year of assisting some of the city’s most at-risk students. These are young people the organization itself admits were once the least likely to succeed. College Bound Dorchester works with students to help them prepare for and succeed in higher education.

Without the program, many of the people celebrating Tuesday night fear they may have ended up a statistic instead of a graduate.

“It definitely could have been me,” said 23-year-old D’Andre Young. “Because before this good story that you’re hearing today, I had a lot of bad stories.”

Young dropped out of high school in the 11th grade, became a dad, and got into drugs and gangs. Today, he’s a college student – enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College.

“It feels good because a few years ago I didn’t feel like I could be in a situation like this,” he told WBZ. “I’ve changed my mentality so much now. I think I can take in so much more help now than I would have before. I think teenagers take help offensive sometimes. And I think I did that for a while and when I hit my 20s I understood that everybody needs help.”

Meantime Tuesday night, city leaders continued their week-long series of community walks through Boston’s roughest neighborhoods, focusing Tuesday on Dorchester. In walks led by the city’s police commissioner and elected officials, the community comes together, hoping to end the violence on the same streets these student of College Bound Dorchester called home.

“When I got the help, I took it,” Young said. “And I can help others now.”

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