Youthbuild’s Stoneman Headlines 23rd MLK Community Breakfast

Photo: The poster for the 23rd MLK Breakfast.

Dorothy Stoneman, founder of the nationally-recognized YouthBuild program, a Belmont High School graduate and Marsh Street resident will be the featured speaker at Belmont’s 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast that takes place at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan 16, in the Belmont High School cafeteria.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the METCO program, and its 49th year in Belmont. Donations will be accepted at the Breakfast for the Belmont Schools’ and Belmont Against Racism’s METCO Support Fund.

Noted civil rights activist Stoneman grew up in Belmont and was educated in its public schools before earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She joined the Civil Rights movement in 1964, and worked in East Harlem for decades in education and community development, where she started the first YouthBuild program in 1978 in partnership with local teenagers.  

YouthBuild, a fulltime program for low-income unemployed youth between 16-24 who lack high school diploma, offers an opportunity to work toward their GED or diploma while building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people. Youth enroll in the program for 6-24 months, and are supported by staff who emphasize personal responsibility, mutual support, and leadership development. Graduates go on to jobs or college or both.  

From its grassroots beginning in Harlem, YouthBuild has now expanded to more than 273 programs in the U.S. Stoneman is founder and former CEO of its national support center YouthBuild USA, Inc., its national, and the sponsor of YouthBuild International, which has generated 102 YouthBuild programs in 14 other countries including Mexico, South Africa, Haiti, and Israel.

Stoneman is a recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship (1996), the Harvard Call to Service Award (2011), the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2007) and the John Gardner Leadership Award (2000).

She has been married to John Bell for 40 years and they have two children who also attended Belmont schools and 13 godchildren.

Registration at the door will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.  at the cafeteria located at 221 Concord Ave. Tickets are $5 per person/$10 per family at the door. 

Preregistration is appreciated, (but not required) by emailing the Belmont Human Rights Commission at or by calling 617-993-2795. Please clearly state or spell your name and any title if desired. Those who preregister will have name tags waiting for them.

Join with old friends and meet new friends.

Pastries, fruit and beverages will be served. Student musical entertainment will be provided. Ample parking. Accessible to persons with disabilities. Children of all ages are welcome and childcare and gym activities will be provided for children 2-12 during the program.


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