My name is Portsha Franklin. I am an advocate for educational opportunities and access. I am a partner that strives to be the best for my mate. I am a niece, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, and a great granddaughter. I work at West End House Boys and Girls Club on the Success Boston initiative, sponsored by The Boston Foundation. I advise students on MassTransfer, stand in long financial aid lines with students, review resumes, and partner with college administrators on how to best serve our students, just to name a few things.
I am an educator outside the classroom, and my goal of increasing the graduation rate for Boston Public School students is only secondary to my life's purpose, which is to empower young people towards strength, courage, and integrity. I am motivated by my faith and the understanding of my life's purpose with young people. It has been the acknowledgement of my own privilege and desire to help college students persist towards graduation that keeps me going when times get tough.
The critical academic and non-academic issues my students face everyday has often challenged me emotionally. I take on those issues as my own, which has been a positive aspect because it helps me be a stronger, more effective Success Coach for my students. However, it greatly challenges my time and I often work longer hours to accommodate all of my students and give each one 100% of my effort. My biggest challenge has been practicing self-care and understanding that I can't fix everything for my students.
Gary is by far my greatest success. Gary is one of my second year students at Mass Bay. Gary started college unmotivated, unfocused, taking several remedial courses, and not really knowing why he wanted to go to college in the first place. Gary is now in Statistics, focused on getting his business degree, and is greatly motivated by his younger brother who looks to him as a mentor. As a first-generation American and college student, Gary felt so much pressure to succeed. I helped him channel that anxiety and pressure into motivation and confidence that will give him the fuel to keep going.
My vision for Boston's future is a vocationally and academically trained work-force filled with leaders that practice integrity and honesty in the workplace. My vision is for a 95% high school graduation rate and an 80% 6-year college graduation rate, which exceeds the goals Boston has set for itself and mirrors the real Boston workforce we hope to build for our future.
What advice would you give to the aspiring leaders and changemakers among Boston's millennial population?
Firstly, I think it's important to note that many of the aspiring leaders and changemakers in Boston are the young people I work with and those like them. They are vibrant, curious, and fed up with "business" and politics as usual. They ask more questions than they have answers. They are unafraid to not be perfect. And guess what...they actually live in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, as well as other communities in and around Boston. My advice for them is to continue challenging the status quo, continue being creative and inquisitive, and continue pushing boundaries. Don't be afraid, stand firm, and work hard to leave our beloved city of Boston better than you found it!
SPARK IMPACT AWARDS
SPARK Boston is Mayor Walsh’s millennial engagement initiative. Our mission is to engage the next generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs in the work of city government. From dedicated public servants to community builders and connectors, millennials are some of Boston’s most impactful citizens. Each year, the City of Boston celebrates the millennial contribution to our city with the Annual SPARK Impact Awards.