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“Not too much… that’s it,” Sam Butterfield said as he was patiently helping Nick* at Southeast Campus (SEC) spread epoxy onto every inch of their handcrafted boat.
Prior to Sam becoming a volunteer at SEC, the students were making projects in their woodworking class like end tables and Adirondack chairs. Sam wanted to build a project with the kids they could have fun with once it was complete.
Since retiring, Sam is eager to volunteer to help children in need. He wanted to lead a creative project that would allow the children to work together and learn valuable life skills, all while having fun. Building a row boat with the students would be that perfect opportunity.
Quickly, Sam found out that coming up with an idea for the project was the easy part. Financing a boat building project would cost more than he had anticipated. Reaching out to his personal network, he explained his plans for the project and asked for donations that would go directly toward it. Sam also shared that this was the same program in Plymouth his sister was in charge of close to 50 years ago. There was an outpouring of support. He was able to raise over $1,500 to purchase a boat kit and additional supplies like the epoxy Nick was learning to use sparingly.
Nick, a day student at Southeast Campus' special education school, shared, "My favorite part has been learning to use the circular saw." Showing off his new boat knowledge to his teacher, he pointed out the different parts of the boat, “The left is the port side and the right is starboard.”
By going to the program a few days a week, Sam is able to teach woodworking skills and important safety precautions to students who are interested in skilled-labor. They get hands on experience, as Sam guides them through the project. He is extremely patient with the children while they are learning many of these skills for the first time.
The project is expected to be completed by early fall, allowing students to launch the boat they all worked so hard on into SEC's gorgeous pond.
* All names and identifying information have been changed to protect our clients.
Summer is coming to an end and all the kids at The Home, whether in residential or community-based care, are gearing up for the new school year. Getting back into the classroom is a bit more challenging for our kids than it is their peers. Children who have experienced trauma or toxic stress struggle emotionally as well as academically.
It is easy to understand why a child who has been abused and/ or neglected struggles in school. Studies show when a child is repeatedly exposed to stress — community violence, food and housing insecurities, poverty — their cognitive brain functioning is negatively impacted. If left untreated by the age of 12, these deficiencies can increase in acuity and cause longterm harm.
The Home works with children to help overcome these challenges through therapy and evidence-based practices. We are constantly increasing access to our resources for families, such as adding to the number of clinicians who work directly in schools throughout Boston and the North Shore. Another key to helping children weather trauma and appropriately interpret their stress is ensuring at least one caring and constant adult in their life. A caring adult connection, what we refer to as ‘permanency,’ is a determining factor in a child’s success in school and in life. Our Permanency Initiative is growing as we continue our commitment that every child leaves our care with at least one life-long connection to a caring, trusted adult.
As an organization, we are committed to giving children and families the tools they need to be successful in their situation. Behavioral and learning challenges can be overcome with the right supports so children can make friends, learn, thrive an grow. We are dedicated to delivering those opportunities to every child and family that seeks our help.
It was the late 1960s when Mr.and Mrs. Hudson and their young daughter visited The Home for Little Wanderers ready to adopt a child. There was young David laughing and smiling. Instantly their daughter picked him as her new brother.
David went on to live what he describes as a “storybook, all-American childhood” with his parents and sister. He served in the US Military and followed his parents’ footsteps attending University of Michigan. One day, after starting his own family and earning a master’s degree, David was sitting in his office at an investment banking company, he picked up the phone out of the blue and made a gift to The Home.
“It felt right for me. I am a very fortunate individual and there are a lot of hard working people out there who need help. I needed to pay it forward in the best way that I could.”
Continuing his generosity throughout the years, David gives back to The Home at every opportunity. He went on to work for Bank of America and took their payroll option to donate to The Home right out of his bi-weekly pay check. Recently, he joined The Home’s Legacy Circle, by naming The Home in his estate planning.
When asked why others should be philanthropic, David had a simple answer, “Just do it. We can over think how to direct our resources. Just find something you have some affinity for and go with it. There is a need.”
The Home wants to thank David and others like him who are committed to helping the vulnerable children now and those who will inevitably need help in the future.
Gadi, Bizimana “Biz”, and Musa were orphaned in the Rwanada Genocide and grew up together in an orphanage. In 2000, American photographer David Jiranek began his project “Camera Kids” where he taught children in the orphanage the basics of photography and encouraged them to capture their daily lives. Close to twenty years later, Gadi, Biz and Musa, who are all professional photographers, are paying it forward by holding photo workshops all over the world for children who have experienced trauma. Ground Truth Films, a documentary film studio affiliated with WGBH in Boston, is documenting their workshops and the young participants.
In July, they brought their three-day workshop to Boston for 18 children in The Home’s programs. Learning ‘iPhone photography’ the kids, ages 11 to 20, flourished through the opportunity, which included lessons on exposure, type of photography, lighting, and social media safety. They made deep connections with Gadi, Biz, and Musa, particularly identifying with the loss of their parents, as the children are served by the Departments of Children and Families, and Mental Health. The last day of the workshop there was a presentation of the children’s photos for The Home’s staff and it ended with laughs and hugs between kids and the three Rwandan men.
Boston-Suffolk County’s Family Resource Center (FRC) celebrated its third birthday in a big way! Families they serve, and the Roslindale community had a blast playing lawn games, enjoying a barbeque, and relaxing with friends. The FRC network has a lot more to celebrate this summer with the Massachusetts Legislature increasing their budget by 50%! We want to thank Senate President Karen Spilka for listening to our advocates’ appeals for additional funding.
The Boston-Suffolk County Family Resource Center has served more than 1,500 families in only 3 years.
The Home’s Children Community Support Collaborative, affectionately known as, The Collaborative, is moving from Brighton into its new building in Mission Hill. The brand new location is airy and bright, perfect for the children who are there learning to cope with their mental and behavioral health challenges. The new campus has plenty of green space to help them heal and is located in a residential neighborhood.
The Collaborative is a unique program that provides both communitybased and residential care for children who have significant emotional and mental health needs. Many of the children have been hospitalized because of their challenges and come to the program to stabilize while working with their parents and guardians. Its new location is in a more traditional community setting and will be convenient for families to attend therapy and visit with their children.