“I find it uplifting and rewarding to work with an organization that is turning 20 years old, and its longevity demonstrates Stand’s importance,” explained Soraya Harley, Dorchester/Roxbury member leader.
Soraya Harley, a long-time Boston resident and mother to six Boston Public School graduates and seven grandchildren who she expects to graduate from Boston Public Schools, knows the importance of parent engagement.
Soraya first learned about Stand for Children Massachusetts when she met Boston Organizer Tom Coughlin at a community event. Soon after meeting Tom, Soraya and her close friend Elizabeth Neely decided to become Stand members. They transitioned to the leader role shortly thereafter, launching the Dorchester/Roxbury team. Soraya and Elizabeth cohosted a variety of house parties, where they championed the importance of advocacy and activism, and the two quickly built a team of over twenty five members and leaders.
Since joining Stand, Soraya believes the biggest change she has seen has been the organization’s presence in the city of Boston. When Soraya first began advocating, there was a small group of dedicated members and leaders; now the chapter has grown exponentially, with over 250 members across six neighborhood-based teams. She also notes that Stand has become an important fixture of the Boston education community, partnering with local community centers and churches, as well as other important education nonprofit organizations. Soraya has been a committed advocate for the Pre-K for MA campaign, leading canvassing events, hosting house parties, and even delivering testimony at the State House.
“We need organizations like Stand to hold Boston and Massachusetts accountable to providing our children with the education they need and deserve; I don’t know what would happen without Stand. I look forward to seeing what can be done in the next 20 years.”
(Soraya pictured with her granddaughter Azariah)