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BIG AND LITTLE MENTORING IMPACTS

“When I was a kid I had a mentor and really looked up to him,” said Xander.

Contrary to what Xander* believes, he still is a kid being only 17 years-old. Xander lives and learns at The Home’s Longview Farm (LVF) Program, a therapeutic, residential, special education school. He is a part of the newly created, mentoring program at LVF which pairs kids from the upper school with younger youth from the lower school.

The new mentoring program was created by math teacher Tracy and clinician, Leslee who noticed gravitation between the kids. “Many of the older kids have been in the younger ones’ shoes and have empathy for them. Especially, for the many young men who had a parental role at home before coming to LVF,” said Leslee. Tracy and Leslee developed the program which provides training for older youth in managing emotions, role modeling, and boundary setting.

Xander's mentee Nick* is a third grader who really struggles with reading. At first, Nick wasn’t open to reading at all and was shy around Xander. In his role as a mentor, Xander broke the ice and began reading with Nick on a regular basis. “I feel responsible for him (Nick) and I miss my own little brother,” said Xander of his mentee.

Meeting throughout the summer, the pair worked together and now Nick is voluntarily working on his reading skills. Xander and Nick have become close friends, almost like siblings. The mentoring program is thriving as well. The ‘big’ kids welcome their new responsibilities and have been more successful in managing their own behavior and helping the ‘little’ kids do the same. “I’ve seen softer, calmer sides of the mentors I’ve never seen before,” explains Tracy as she described the benefits the older youth receive from the program. LVF is looking to expand the program through peer-to-peer training and possibly integrating mentor/mentee meetings into the school day. Overall, the kids are thrilled to have a connection with other kids on campus. Wise beyond his years Xander shared, “You should be a role model wherever you are.”

*Names and identifying information have been changed to protect our clients

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FROM THE PRESIDENT

Dear Friends,

The Home has been busy ‘falling’ back into our school routines. Our own two special education schools are thriving with 72 students enrolled; and more than 70 other public and private schools welcomed back our school-based mental health clinicians from the Child and Family Counseling Center to deliver mental, behavioral, and emotional health services to youth.

Our staff is preparing for the holidays which is the busiest time of the year and the hardest time for our kids. With donations from friends like you, we are able to provide gifts for all of the children and families who receive services from The Home. In addition to our youth, we donate excess gifts to more than 25 other community organizations. As we do every year, we are working hard to make sure every family can experience the holiday spirit. This year, our annual 2017 calendar is reminiscent of our rich past and showcases artwork from calendars in the 1970s and 1980s. I hope you enjoy the “throw back” art as much as we did.

There is no doubt that young men of color are facing unique challenges in our society. The Home, in partnership with Brandeis University, is hosting the second annual Young Men of Color Conference (YMOC) in November. The conference brings together men of color of all ages and creates discourse around the issues this population faces. Through keynote speakers, panels, and breakout groups, we want the young men who attend to feel like appreciated and worthy members of society.

If it was not for friends like you, The Home would not be able to provide the innovative and important programming we do. Your support allows us to be flexible by creating new services in response to trends in the needs of the children and families we serve. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to our mission.

Sincerely,

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Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Ph.D.

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BUILDING TRUST IN THE DOG HOUSE

Spouses Polly and Mike and their two therapy dogs, Dylan and Arlo, arrived at Longview Farm (LVF), one of The Home’s therapeutic residential special education schools, for a one time visit at the request of the school. A group of toughlooking, older boys were the first to approach the dogs. “The boys absolutely melted and immediately got right down on the ground with the dogs,” said Polly. That was the moment she knew, she and Mike had to keep coming back. Now, they have been making bi-monthly visits for more than five years!

Many of the youth at LVF struggle with trust issues and physical contact because of their past traumas with inconsistent and negative adults in their lives. Seeing them snuggle with Arlo and Dylan, you would never know. Bonding with the dogs builds trust and gives a source of comfort to our kids. Thanks to Polly and Mike and their consistency, youth are motivated to act appropriately in school because spending time with the dogs is a privilege. One young man recently whispered into a therapy dog’s ear and then said loud for the group to hear “Don’t tell anyone… well, maybe just the other dogs.”

Kids who have experienced trauma often put up walls as a protective mechanism or act out behaviorally. But Polly sees a different side of them, “It’s amazing to see the kids change with the dogs. They become so vulnerable and sweet.”

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Dylan, a therapy dog at Longview Farm.


A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS

The Home is thrilled to announce our two sponsors for the 2016 Big Wishes Gift Drive: Citizens Bank and Walmart! We know that with these two big sponsors the gift drive is bound to be successful.

Citizens Bank has been a longstanding partner with The Home, dating back to 1998! The bank has been a strong supporter of The Home’s adoption and foster care efforts, and has contributed more than $400,000 to The Home throughout our 18-year partnership. Colleagues from Citizens Bank have volunteered in the Big Wishes Toy Room in past years, and we’re excited to have them back in 2016.

“With so many people in need during this time of year, our colleagues at Citizens Bank are eager to give back this holiday season,” said Jerry Sargent, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “This meaningful partnership with The Home and Walmart allows us to make the holiday a bit brighter for some of our neighbors.”

Since 2009, Walmart has been a fantastic partner and dedicated sponsor donating close to $200,000! The world’s largest traditional retailer has done more than just donate to our cause; they’ve provided direct opportunity to our young adults. In 2015, Walmart’s Plymouth store launched a therapeutic internship program for some of our youth. Kids were able to have a job in a company that promotes growth while also having therapeutic supports. “At face value, we might be helping some fine young guys at The Home. But it’s been my experience you always get more than you give,” said Kevin Morrison, Plymouth Walmart Store Manager, of the innovative program.

Last year, Walmart sponsored the Big Wishes Gift Drive and hosted a “Big Truck for Big Wishes” event outside their Saugus store. This year, their North Shore market will be community drop off locations, expanding our reach and easing the task of donating for supporters north of the city. Walmart is always supporting us in new and exciting ways.

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Citizens Bank employees provided much needed help at our Big Wishes Toy Room last season.

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Walmart Associate Allan helps The Home's Rick Houpt deliver toys to our Toy Room last December.


OUR NEW LOOK

Have you been to thehome.org and noticed any BIG changes? Our external website went through a major revamp. Our new website is easier to navigate and we hope will better engage families as they look for services. The colorful website features our programs more prominently. Our intention was for the bright design to reflect our work to inspire and create hope in the children we serve.

We hope you like it as much as we do! Please feel free to send feedback to us at marketing@thehome.org.

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SPEAKING OF CALENDARS...

The Home for Little Wanderers is proud to present to you our 2017 Calendar of Children’s Art with a twist. A colleague of ours brought in several old editions of The Friends Calendar from 1976 – 1981, when we were still known as The New England Home for Little Wanderers working out of our former, iconic location in Jamaica Plain. The calendars belonged to our colleague’s father, who was a social worker at The Home for many years. We thought using children’s art from a few decades ago highlights The Home’s generational history which date back to 1799. No matter what the year, art has always been an outlet for children on their pathway for healing and continues to be today.

Calendars can be purchased on our website, thehome.org/giftshop, for $15 apiece.

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS
   

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Through December 21: Keep Kids Warm Coat Drive

The kids at The Home need your help to prepare them for New England’s unpredictable weather. We are looking for donations of NEW sweatshirts, fleeces, rain slickers, light jackets, and winter coats.

Items can be dropped off or mailed to:
The Home for Little Wanderers
10 Guest Street, Brighton, MA 02135
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

 

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November 29: Give Back on Giving Tuesday

Each year the holiday season is kicked off by Thanksgiving and the two biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, there is a fourth day added to the mix — Giving Tuesday — which puts a focus on the well being of your community. #GivingTuesday is a day of giving driven by social media as a way to strengthen the causes that mean the most to you. The Home raised a whopping $31,000 last year and we are looking to blow that number out of the water! If you would like to participate, we ask that you make a donation online on November 29th and share your donation with your network across social media.

Visit thehome.org/givingtuesday to donate.

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December 4:
Our 8th Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition

Kick-off the holiday season by sponsoring your own team at The Home’s annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition. It is a fun, family-friendly event hosted at the Mandarin Oriental Boston with sponsorships starting at $1,000. Local celebrity chefs and Boston personalities will join the holiday festivities too! For more information please contact Jamille Benson, Director of Special Events, at 617-927-0682.

 

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December 1 – 20:
Big Wishes Gift Drive Sponsored by Citizens Bank and Walmart

Every child deserves to have their holiday wishes come true. You can help by participating in our Big Wishes Gift Drive. Individual children and families have created wish lists which you can grant or donors can make donations of general items. Unwrapped gifts can be donated at our Toy Room located in the rear of The Thrift Shop of Boston at 33 Corinth Street, Roslindale MA 02131.

For more information on drop-off locations and to view wish lists, go to: thehome.org/bigwishes.