Inspired by the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King’s speech on the Boston Common in 1965, Roxbury Weston Programs began in July of 1965, with a summer camp housed half time at the Case Estates, in Weston, and half time at the Blue Hill Christian Center, in Roxbury. The purpose of Roxbury Weston Programs was to bring families together from both communities, to create a learning environment in which to celebrate their diversity and achieve excellent early education for all. The impetus was to satisfy the prerequisite of the Weston School Committee that before the town could join the newly established METCO program (a state run program that voluntarily bussed children from Boston to suburban schools) proponents within the Town of Weston must prove that the Boston preschoolers were as well prepared as their Weston counterparts. The solution was to create both a day camp and a preschool to educate children from the city and the suburbs together.
There were fifty kids from Weston and fifty kids from Boston in the first session of the camp in July of 1965. By the summer of 1966, preschoolers were added to the camp and in the fall of 1966, Roxbury Weston Programs Preschool opened. In 2001, in response to meeting the changing needs of the community, Roxbury Weston Programs, Inc. opened CATCH (Children Achieving Through Community Hope) afterschool program and closed the summer camp. Housed in Roxbury, started by Roxbury Weston Programs Preschool “alumnus”, Monique Marshall-Veale, CATCH provides educational support for kindergarteners through fifth graders in an after school program that focuses on the children’s physical, social and intellectual growth.
Today the mission of Roxbury Weston Programs echoes the original purpose, “to bring families together in a learning community dedicated to the celebration of diversity and excellence in early childcare and education” and that mission is carried out through both the Preschool and CATCH after-school programs. Roxbury Weston is the longest running, voluntarily integrated educational program in the country.