In the summer of 2013, Explo gave scholarships to 17 children of Boston Emergency Services Department members who were first responders at the Boston Marathon bombings. This fall, Boston EMS honored us with a special citation for our contribution.
April 15, 2013 marked the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, the oldest marathon in the world. On that day, more than 20,000 runners--a field that included some of the fastest competitors as well as novice athletes hoping to complete the distance for the first time--toed the starting line. The 26.2 mile course teemed with enthusiastic spectators, there to support family and friends, and to celebrate one of the nation’s most extraordinary sporting events.
Just before 3pm, the Boston Marathon took a horrifying and tragic turn when the first of two bombs detonated near the finish line. 13 seconds later, the second bomb went off along the same stretch. Together, these acts of terrorism caused three casualties and hundreds of devastating injuries.
Pandemonium ensued as thousands of runners and spectators attempted to flee the area. In the midst of chaos, fear, and destruction, as masses of people tried to move away from the bomb sites, volunteers rushed toward the wreckage to aid the wounded. Many of these first responders were Boston Emergency Services professionals, stationed at the finish line to tend to typical issues related to long-distance racing--dehydration, cramping, and minor injuries. In a moment, the lives of these emergency responders changed forever.
The tragic events of April 15, 2013 have affected countless people in myriad ways. Citizens within the Boston community have been particularly impacted. As a part of this community, and with a strong desire to contribute to it, the Explo leadership voted to donate summer program scholarships to the children of the Boston Emergency Services professionals involved in the marathon attacks. In total, 17 children of first responders attended one of our three programs in New England in the summer of 2013.
In the months since summer, we have heard from several of our Boston Marathon Scholars. Students described making new friends and trying new things, and parents wrote about seeing excitement on the faces of their children each afternoon.
The core of Explo’s misssion is discovery: of the world, of people, of ideas, and of the joy of learning. For our Boston Marathon Scholars, we were also committed to a rediscovery of joy, perhaps a bit elusive since April.
This fall, Explo was honored with a Boston Emergency Services Special Citation at their annual retirement and recognition dinner. James Hooley, Chief of Department at Boston EMS, presented the award to Explo’s Director of Admission, Crystal Garneier. We are thrilled to have made a difference for these Boston children and their families.
A summer at Explo can be transformative, and we are dedicated to helping as many students as possible attend one of our programs. For the summer of 2014, Explo has committed one million dollars in need-based financial aid. We strive to support students from all backgrounds and invite them to take part in our worldwide community.