Project 351 is a youth service nonprofit organization that develops a rising generation of "community-first" citizen leaders. Founded by Bain Capital Managing Director Deval Patrick while he was Governor of Massachusetts, and now convened by current Governor Charlie Baker, Project 351 fosters unity and strengthens the ethic of service through the engagement and enrichment of an 8th grade Ambassador from every city and town in Massachusetts.
Since 2011, 2,258 8th grade ambassadors have served 229,503 citizens, mobilized tens of thousands of students and citizens in service, fostered a culture of kindness and compassion in hundreds of schools and communities, and developed the skills, confidence, and awareness to lead and succeed as agents of positive change.
Of the program, Deval Patrick says, "A few years ago I launched an initiative to recognize and encourage service among middle schoolers in Massachusetts. The notion was that the scholars, the athletes and the artists often get accolades, but the kids who spread kindness don't always, and that by recognizing that quality in kids at this impressionable age we might start to encourage a life of valuing service."
For a year's term, Project 351 invests in the young Ambassadors' capabilities and inspires their sense of possibility through customized service experiences, leadership training, and exposure to issues, role models, and opportunities that challenge and enrich. The Ambassadors develop tools to promote social justice, drive transformative impact for nonprofits, and prepare for a lifetime of civic responsibility and service.
James Donohue, Class of 2015 says, "Project 351 is an incredible vision of hope, generosity, and leadership achieved through service. For a year and even beyond, it provides Ambassadors with support, encouragement, inspiration, and confidence as we develop the leadership and communication skills to make a difference in our communities. Project 351 is a powerful force of goodness. It has made service a necessary and natural part of thousands of young lives. It empowers us to build kinder and more compassionate communities, and to create more empathy, goodwill, and pride in hundreds of schools across the state. I am inspired every day by the people who put their hope and faith in us to make a difference. I promise, we will."