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S2EP2: Be BIG, Be BRAVE, Be BOLD, Be 'Bigger Than Your Block'

Did you feel prepared when you went to college? If you're in college, thought about attending or even graduated, I feel like everyone's had a moment where they felt nervous. Reminiscing about my college years at UMass Amherst, I definitely felt nervous about college. I was a first generation student who grew up in the inner city of Boston and attended Boston Public Schools my entire life. Although my resume was fit for college, the moment I stepped on campus, I knew that it would be a long four years of challenging my mind, body and spirit. For one, I wasn't used to being the only black kid in class. I wasn't used to being amongst 20,000+ students at a huge university and I wasn't used to living in the suburbs at all. The culture shock was REAL and although I luckily met great friends, participated in school clubs/activities and had the blessing to study abroad, I wish I had an incredible organization like Bigger Than My Block to guide me and nurture my growth throughout my college years.

ºFarenheight TV had the wonderful opportunity to sit and talk with an amazing Boston leader, Community Activist and Social Media expert, Adebukola Ajao, about the incredible work and history of Bigger Than My Block.

Bigger Than My Block is part of the Lewis Family Foundation’s (LFF) work in Boston and is a website dedicated to helping youth succeed in college and beyond by providing them with stories of success, reviews of colleges by and from young people from Boston and resources that can continue to help them blossom into confident leaders. Now I wish I had that! As Adebukola explained during the show, most students are attending P.W.I.'s (predominately white institutions) and most college reviews are written predominately by white students. Although its great to have these college reviews, often students of color have a very different perspective on the college experience. Bigger Than My Block makes it their priority and their mission to provide college reviews by students who are attending and who have graduated from Boston neighbors such as Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury. Biographies of Boston entrepreneurs and successful community members are also apart of the BTMB Movement. Having these reviews and stories written by people in their neighborhoods who look like them, speak like them and are college educated gives new students a fresh perspective, guidance and confidence in college decision making. In addition to learning about the cultural experience on campus, the BTMB Movement provides very useful information in terms of financially preparing for college, campus life/resources and connections that can enhance their intellect and further develop them into confident young leaders.

"The first step is to understand who you are because when you realize you have so much power in you, you have so much power in your melanin, you are beautiful...I mean who's going to be against you at that point?! From that vantage point, you can succeed in other things but first you must know who you are."

~Adebukola Ajao

Watch our FULL episode to learn more about their incredible impact in the Boston community, their future goals and their advice to being BIGGER and BOLDER in 2017!

Want to get involved? Sign up to be part of the BTMB Movement and write a college review. From town hall meetings, to community cleanups, there are so many ways this organization is giving back to our city. Be part of the movement!

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