For 35 years Marie-Claude Thompson has been volunteering to help low-income inner-city Boston children and teens escape poverty. In 1980 she co-founded Earthen Vessels (EV). EV empowers Boston’s youth with the skills and confidence needed to realize their potential. The team at EV, led by Thompson and her husband, Brian, created a community of support with one on one multi-year tutoring and mentoring matches with top college volunteers, professional family and school advocacy and a life-changing summer camp experience in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
In 1985, Thompson started EV partnered with the Harvard Catholic Center to recruit, train, and mobilize university students to tutor and mentor EVkids during the school year. With support, EV has since added partnerships at Boston College and Tufts University, expanded to two Afterschool sites in Dorchester, and provides additional family and school advocacy.
EVkids experience community life, helping with the cooking and dishes, learning conflict resolution techniques and mindfulness towards others and nature, and starting every day with ten minutes of silent meditation. Regular hikes, daily swimming, and workshops and games keep everyone engaged, challenged, and having fun.
Thompson’s vision and dedication over 35 years has built up an organization dedicated to helping the disadvantaged children and teens succeed and to mobilize dedicated student volunteers.
Thompson’s organization is able to help youth supersede poverty and access college. She did this by pairing children no one expected to go to college with college student volunteers whose campuses otherwise had little contact with their neighboring communities. By bridging this gap between the communities, Thompson helped create a mutually beneficial experience for all involved.
Inspired to act in the Catholic tradition of social justice, Thompson took the name from scripture. “…we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us,” 2 Corinthians 4. Her faith has helped guide her to empower a population that some see as destitute or hopeless, resulting in a transformation in the lives of hundreds of Boston youth.
Thompson sees possibility in children and helps each to see their own worth. To help the children in your community, check out All for Good for service opportunities near you.