“Throughout all of these activities and over a fairly long lifespan, I have always attributed the initial igniting of such interest to the PBHA experience!” I participated in PBHA activities for several years while at Harvard, and that was when the organization was just a youngster in its fifties. During all of these intervening years […]
“I had felt helpless at the face of my own inability to help, but she was just grateful for an open and nonjudgmental ear. I reflected that sometimes it was just enough to listen to the story of another human being.” I was a CPIC fellow, through PBHA, for a year post-graduation, working at at […]
“I can say that in many ways, PBHA was the beginning of who I grew up to become. It went beyond social work. It helped me grow up. I learned important skills: negotiation, bluffing, tact, organization, budgeting, confidence, compassion.” The youngest of seven children and a girl at that, I was a dreamy, impractical child […]
“Years later, when I became a principal of a Massachusetts state charter school I was grateful for the training that my fellow PBHA volunteers and I had undergone in learning how to apply the principles of moral development within school communities.” I could tell you a lot of stories! However, what interests me most is […]
“PBHA helped lead me to a career as a community organizer in mental health, and helped me appreciate that cliche of making lemonade out of lemons.” Back in the 1970′s, I was a rebellious working class kid from the South Side of Chicago going to Harvard on scholarships, including the Teamsters. I ran into a […]
“[M]y PBH experiences were much more important than any of the studies I did or other experiences I had at Harvard.” As soon as I showed up at Harvard, I joined PBH and volunteered for the next three years at the Cambridge Community Center. I didn’t want to be stuck in the ivory tower without […]
“I very much enjoyed my time at Wellmet, and I am sure it played a role in my later decision to go into psychiatry.” In the summer of 1965, I returned to Harvard from a leave I had taken during the second semester of my junior year. I had taken the leave because I was […]
“I developed close friendships at PBHA. I also developed tremendous respect for the tenacity and strength people with different abilities demonstrate daily in school, work and everyday living.” During my years at Harvard, I participated in PBHA through being a friend and mentor to a pre-teen with spina bifida. Amy was a 12-year-old only child […]
“Lesson number two, which has followed me through my entire career is always to introduce phenomena before theory and abstraction. Essentially all of my professional achievements in the area of pedagogy have been based on this approach, which I credit to the opportunity and experience provided by my freshman year PBH volunteer activity.” My goal […]
“It wasn’t really the best course at Harvard (I could list a number of those one-time experiences), it was much more, the best major at Harvard.” I entered Harvard College 48 years ago, the semester JFK was assassinated. Although I don’t feel old, it occurs to me that if any undergraduates are reading this, that […]
“I know that I learned more from those discussions about the societal forces that can draw even intelligent men into crime than I ever learned in my sociology classes at Harvard.” In the mid-50s (I was Class of ’58) the general spirit of the nation was one of turning inward and self-involvement. The campus did […]
“One of our leading actors was sent to solitary confinement halfway through rehearsals, but the other inmates got him the stage direction, and he emerged in time for dress rehearsal and did a great job.” The fall of my freshman year (1965-66), I got involved in PBH. I was interested in the program in which […]
Stanley Zheng ’12 hopes to inspire the next generation of leaders and scholars from underprivileged backgrounds to dream big and follow their passions.
“PBHA’s impact on my personal development and growth was immense.”
Each day, Shalini Pammal strives to create a supportive, enriching environment for youth in South Boston .
Ana directs La Nueva Escuela Juan Ponce de León in an impoverished suburb of Guaynabo. She and members of the community reopened it 18 years ago and employed the Montessori system, which lowered violence and increased performance. Read more about how Ana is using her education at the service of others.
On May 3, 2010, members from the PBHA community gathered to honor the service of the out-going seniors and outstanding volunteers while reflecting on the collective social service and action to which the PBHA community is committed. In this speech to the PBHA community, José Olivarez reflected on his time at PBHA and the transformative effects of love.
But the central “lesson” is the belief that if you find compelling work and surround yourself with people you love and believe in, the “career” will follow. It is telling that I have never gone on a job interview since I joined PBHA and have instead used my project planning skills to create work through founding programs and nonprofits the past 32 years.