The goal of the Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center (GBNCC) is to provide relief and opportunity to the most vulnerable, distressed and underprivileged, undeserved, under-represented people of the greater Boston area, with a particular emphasis on the Haitian community, immigrants and youth in Mattapan, Dorchester and vicinity. GBNCC’s service to these communities is based on the following objectives:
1) To enable limited English speaking adults to access skill building programs and basic services to stabilize families, and develop marketable skills that position them for success.
2) To mobilize the community to address critical issues and opportunities that affect Haitians in Greater Boston.
3) To provide high quality education and support services that effectively advance youth along the “educational pipeline” from elementary, middle, and high school through college graduation.
“Se la mwen we opportunite pou moun.”
(Here, is where i see people have opportunities).
— Marie-Claude, Volunteer
Massachusetts has the third largest Haitian community in the United States, after Florida and New York. In the Boston area, Haitians are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, approximately 65,000 Haitians have settled in the city of Boston, with some statewide estimates as high as 95,000. This is significantly higher than official census data, which does not take into consideration the high number of undocumented Haitian residents who do not fill out census surveys due to fear of being targeted and returned back to their homeland. Boston’s Haitian-born immigrants settled in various parts of Boston, with the highest concentrations in the GBNCC service area of Mattapan, along Blue Hill Avenue, as well as Roxbury, Dorchester, and Hyde Park. (BRA report – March 2007) Boston’s Haitian community is largely low-income, with only 16 percent reaching a middle-class standard of living. Only one in four Haitians in Boston have graduated from high school; more than forty percent either lack a high school diploma or have limited English-speaking skills. According to a recent study by University of Massachusetts Boston’s Mauricio Gaston Institute, as of 2006 there were 2,139 native Haitian Creole speakers in the Boston Public Schools. However, school officials report a significant increase in that number since the since the 2010 earthquake brought a new influx of Haitian refugees to the city, including children sent to escape the devastation by staying with relatives in Boston. (Boston Haitian Reporter 2011).