EVkids was founded as “Earthen Vessels” in 1980 by Marie-Claude and Brian Thompson as a faith-based response to childhood poverty in Boston. Rooted in the Catholic tradition of social justice, the Thompsons began by bringing small groups of low-income Boston youth to Vermont each summer to spend two weeks at a time hiking, swimming, and learning to build a safe and supportive community together. In 1985, EVkids added a Boston-based tutoring and mentoring program during the school year to address the stark academic challenges faced by Boston inner-city children and teens. That first school year, EVkids matched eight Dorchester students 1-on-1 with college tutors recruited through the Harvard Catholic Center, and fostered a robust community of support through year-round family engagement and professional education advocacy. With the addition of more recent partnerships at Boston College and Tufts University, by the 2016-2017 school year EVkids had expanded to 70 academic mentoring pairs who meet in Dorchester once a week after school at two EVkids tutoring sites to build their academic and personal skills.
The original name “Earthen Vessels” was inspired by scripture: “…we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) As founder Marie-Claude describes it, we are all like “earthen vessels” – that is, we are imperfect, fragile, perhaps unremarkable containers – but we are meant to be filled with light and love. For the children and youth who are tutored, this means academic achievement and personal empowerment for a bright future. For the college mentors, it means that they share their skills as best they can, and trust that the seeds they plant will sprout and bear fruit beyond them.
For more about the transition from Earthen Vessels, also known as EV, to EVkids, click here [http://www.evkids.org/introducing-evkids-new-name-new-logo-same-spirit-of-social-justice/].
The holistic, relationship-based ethos of the organization continues to be at the heart of its service model. Students and tutors alike are surrounded with opportunities to be creative, to stretch themselves, to reflect on their experiences, and to be of service to others, humble and secure in the knowledge that they are important parts of a community that is greater than the sum of its parts. Together we strive to create a more socially just and compassionate world, one tutor-tutee pair at a time.