“We need all our kids to know that they matter,” said Kini Udovicki.

That’s the work of Friday Night Hype, a program created by the nonprofit Equity Roadmap, co-founded and run by Kini and fellow Cambridge Public School educators Debbie Bonilla and Will Adams. The program, which won our 2020 Imagined in Cambridge! Social Innovation Award, provides a series of monthly events filled with sports, music, food, and a rotation of “purposeful play” activities led by community leaders that engage students in arts and theater, wellness and self-care, financial literacy, CPR training, and careers exposure. Much more than games, Friday Night Hype fosters a safe space where Black and Brown mentors offer joyful growth opportunities to all Cambridge youth, especially the most vulnerable.

“In Cambridge, we live in a tale of two cities and we have some young people who struggle with varied trauma in their neighborhood, food insecurities, domestic violence, as well as other stressors that often impact the opportunity gap in school,” said Kini. “When young people don’t feel like they belong, they look for places where they can belong. Our mentors build trusting relationships and plant seeds of curiosity with each kid that attends. We are like a big family.”

Thank you, Friday Night Hype, for your fierce dedication to Cambridge youth!

Help find our next Imagined in Cambridge! Award winners: Know someone sparking change in our community? Nominate them!
Got an idea? Submit it by Sept. 7. Visit https://cambridgecf.org/imagined-in-cambridge