CLAY Connections brings inner city and suburban middle school youth together to participate in outdoor activities, adventure and enrichment. The program strives to break down barriers and prejudices between youth from different backgrounds and economic classes by cultivating relationships through shared experiences.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Clay Soper Memorial Fund has partnered with Youth Enrichment Services (YES) a Boston-based youth enrichment program designed to provide inner city kids an opportunity to experience the pride of achievement through outdoor adventure, to create the CLAY CONNECTIONS program. The CLAY CONNECTIONS program aims to bring together middle school students from different backgrounds to learn about acceptance, kindness, and understanding of people’s differences – core values which Clay embraced throughout his life.
This very special program was established in memory of Clay who served as a junior volunteer throughout his high school years. During his time with YES Clay's appreciation of differences and love for learning about people's backgrounds grew. Clay grew as a person because of his YES experience. His ability to connect and bring people together was something unique and special. He appreciated differences and thrived on learning about people’s backgrounds.
These young people – from very different backgrounds – will work together on team building and participate in sports-based activities while building friendships and gaining an appreciation of their differences and recognizing their similarities.
After a short hiatus due to COVID 19, the Clay Connections Program will resume October 2021. We will be accepting students from both suburban and urban middle schools to participate. Stay tuned for more info about our 2021program soon!
During his high school years, Clay volunteered with Youth Enrichment Services (YES) a Boston-based youth enrichment program designed to provide inner city kids an opportunity to experience the pride of achievement through outdoor adventure. Through his volunteering his love of connecting and appreciating people from different backgrounds was recognized. Clay’s volunteering experience was much more to Clay than community service; YES provided Clay with an opportunity to grow as a person.
In Clay’s memory, we have established “CLAY CONNECTIONS”, a program within YES that connects suburban middle school kids together with inner city middle school kids to promote similar personal growth.
CLAY CONNECTIONS has successfully completed its first two years. More than 35 students from Winchester (MA) McCall Middle School and Boston (MA) Neighborhood House Charter School participated in the program. The four-week program introduced young people to a variety of sports and followed a curriculum inspired by Clay. Each week, students explore a different theme: Adventure, Trust, Kindness, and Passion. These are core values which Clay embraced throughout his life and in his interaction with others.
Clay learned early on that people are more similar than different, and if given the opportunity, their interactions can result in lifelong learning experiences and friendships. We are extremely proud of this program and look forward to its continued growth.
We hope with CLAY CONNECTIONS to expand Clay’s legacy of acceptance, kindness, and understanding of differences. Bringing people together was Clay's passion. Creating an awareness of different cultures among young people was something that Clay believed in deeply.