Class VI Winter Walk Helps Combat Homelessness

On February 3, members of Class VI braved the chill and slush to trek two miles in the name of advocacy. Joined by Class I counterparts and two dozen faculty and staff members, Sixies participated in Boston’s Winter Walk—an event that raises both dollars and awareness to combat homelessness throughout Greater Boston.

Students’ march around campus and through the surrounding neighborhoods of West Roxbury was just one part of a larger event that takes place each February—the coldest month of the year in Boston. This year marked the Winter Walk’s fifth annual event, which took place—in walks large and small—from January 29 through February 7. During the walk many RL boys wore signs indicating why they walk: “To raise awareness and spread kindness,” “To be an ally,” and “To not take the things we have for granted.”

The Walk is not only a fundraising endeavor, but also an act of solidarity: “This is our chance to link arms with those who experience homelessness and to listen humbly to their stories. It is our chance to show them that this city cares about their lives and to affirm our commitment to do all it takes to ease their struggles,” reads the Walk’s website. West Roxbury residents and RL parents, Jessie and Enrique Colbert P’26, served as co-chairs of this year’s Winter Walk, and Mrs. Colbert was the person who brought the idea to the attention of Class VI classmaster, Hunter White. During a year in which many of RL’s regular community service partnerships and events are unavailable to students, due to COVID restrictions, Mrs. White was eager to involve RL’s youngest boys in this meaningful and active service initiative. Head Cross Country coach Bryan Dunn marked a two-mile course, and—donning hats, coats, boots, and masks—RL students and adults took to the streets.

The Winter Walk is presented by Boston Medical Center and Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, and sponsored by many other local businesses, large and small. In support of the effort, and in honor of our Class VI walkers, Roxbury Latin made a donation to this year’s Winter Walk, which will be directed to the Pine Street Inn—one of the many shelters the organization serves, as well as a long-time service partner of Roxbury Latin. The Walk brings together a number of Greater Boston’s remarkable homeless service programs to show the powerful work being done in the city.

Community service is a central element of Roxbury Latin’s mission. In celebrating the school’s 375th anniversary last year, Roxbury Latin focused specifically on issues related to poverty and homelessness, sponsoring an all-school bed-build with A Bed for Every Child, through the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, and a series of speakers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted, Matthew Desmond; CEO of Boston Medical, Kate Walsh; founder of Codman Square Health, Bill Walczak; and Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo. The series continued a centuries-long Roxbury Latin tradition of preparing boys to both lead and serve.

View photos from RL’s Winter Walk. (Photos by Mike Pojman)