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Three young men at The Home for Little Wanderers’ Southeast Campus woke up, excitedly, as the sun rose to get ready for an important catering job. Gabriel*, Alejandro*, and Martin* are
students in the culinary classes as part of Southeast Campus’
growing vocational program. That day’s job was catering a continental breakfast for The Home’s Board of Directors meeting. The group was
a bit nervous as they were also presenting to the Board of Directors about the vocational program at the residential school in Plymouth.
They arrived to The Home’s Boston offices wide-eyed — it was the first office building they’d ever been inside. They quickly got to work using their SafeServ training to set up a variety of pastries, bagels, coffee, and fruit salad. Gabriel took special care in prepping the fresh fruit salad, “I’m artistic, so I take a lot of pride and interest in the presentation of the food. A dish can taste good, but if it doesn’t look nice people won’t try it.”
The Board of Directors arrived and the young men, along with Principal Christopher Gusman and vocational teacher Alicia Thatcher, started their presentation. Alejandro, age 16, discussed the elaborate holiday brunches the culinary program hosted for the families of students during the holidays. Each event featured their course work in hospitality, presentation, sanitation and safety, preparation, and how to follow a recipe. “I mastered cooking a perfect roast beef at the brunch,” Alejandro proudly shared.
Every student rotates through all of the vocational courses and can select an area to focus on in their free time. Recently, Alejandro has been focusing on culinary arts and has been sharpening his knife skills in the kitchen to help with food prep.
The second part of the presentation revolved around the amazing carpentry projects students have been working on, also as part of the vocational program. Principal Gusman brought in samples of their work which included an Adirondack chair, hurricane table, wood trunk, and coat rack. The Board of Directors weren’t the only ones impressed with the quality workmanship; Pilgrim Sands Hotel in Plymouth has ordered 36 of the chairs for the resort’s outside deck!
Principal Gusman wrapped up the presentation by sharing the importance of a vocational program at Southeast Campus. It allows students to apply the abstract education of math and science to real life. Vocational classes introduce job skills to the students which they can use now — like for some of the students who are working at local fast food restaurants — or they can use them to help jumpstart a career. Offering classes beyond the traditional academics allows students to find new ways to excel in their education. It was obvious in Gabriel, Alejandro and Martin’s demeanor that they were proud of their work and really enjoy the classes the vocational program at Southeast Campus offers. “It gives me a different way to succeed at school,” Gabriel explained.
*Names and photo have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of our client.
Our kids made the best out of this winter’s record snowfall. Students at Longview Farm spent hours sledding on what they dubbed Toboggan Hill. Youth at the Collaborative worked on their social skills by playing interactive games. Kids in other programs put on their chef hats and tried new healthy recipes in the kitchen. I am proud of all of the children and staff for their patience and creativity this winter!
The Home is proud to be a deep-rooted part of Boston. We encourage the youth we work with to be connected to their communities. Practicing what we preach, we invited Boston Police Department’s (BPD) first African-American Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross to our agency wide “Town Hall” meeting in March.
Chief Gross spoke of BPD’s community policing approach, he said, “It is impossible to arrest our way out of a problem.” Instead BPD is trying to connect people in need with community services. He spoke specifically of their efforts to help protect the youth of Boston from the negative influences on the city streets. Chief Gross personally knows the positive role a strong community can play in a child’s life. He grew up the son of a single mother, but proudly said his other parents were the watchful eyes of his Dorchester neighbors. His success is a tangible product of what tight-knit Boston communities can produce when we watch out for one another.
The Chief encouraged our programs to visit and to open a dialog between our youth and the police. We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with Chief Gross and his officers.
Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Ph.D.
|The Home's Josephine Pang (L) receives a check
from Providers' Council President and CEO Michael
Weekes (R) and Manager of Member Relationships
Meg Helming (C) at the Council's 39th Annual
Convention and Expo, We Create Community.
The Home is a positive influence in over 7,000 lives each year because of its dedicated employees. Josephine Pang, a therapeutic mentor with our Safe at Home Somerville program, is one of the committed employees who constantly puts the youth and families she serves first! In addition to her day job at The Home, Josephine is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work at Boston College. The Providers’ Council recognized Josephine’s dedication to furthering her education and commitment to helping others by awarding her a one-time $10,000 grant. The Providers’ Council Graduate Scholarship is annually awarded to a Providers’ Council member agency employee who is furthering their development in the health and human services field. Congratulations Josephine!
On March 1, The Home opened the doors to its new Family Resource Center (FRC) in Roslindale. The FRC will serve all of Suffolk County as part of a pilot program to decriminalize services for children requiring assistance (CRAs). CRAs are defined as children who are having serious problems at home and school, including runaways, truants, and sexually exploited youth. The Commonwealth replaced the outdated Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program with CRA in the Family and Children Requiring Assistance Act in 2012. CHINS youth were ushered through the juvenile justice system as their pathway to receive services. Under CRA, families who need assistance with their children who have behavioral and mental health needs can get services at their county’s FRC – like The Home’s in Roslindale. The program will provide peer groups, parent education groups, information and referrals, mentoring services, among many other opportunities for children and families. The Home is excited to offer an alternative pathway for struggling youth.
|Rep. Nick Collins of Boston (L),
Senator Jennifer Flanagan of Gardner (C),
and Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland (R)
show their support for The Children’s League of Mass.
The Children’s League of Massachusetts (CLM) is one of the several coalition groups that The Home works with to help shape public policy on Beacon Hill. On March 10, CLM hosted a superhero-themed advocacy day in Nurses Hall at the State House to raise awareness of its 2015-2016 priority legislation and FY16 budget concerns. The highlight of the event was the legislator of the year awards. Representative Nick Collins of Boston was honored as well as Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan of Gardner. Senator Flanagan was recently appointed Senate Chair the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. She has been a true champion for The Home and CLM. On behalf of the children and families The Home serves, a big “thank you” goes out to Senator Flanagan. The Home would also like to congratulate another one of our longtime legislative champions — Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland — on her appointment as Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.
|Eaton Vance employees collected gifts
and gift cards at their Boston office for
The Home's 2014 Big Wishes Gift Drive
Many corporate partners made the holidays brighter for the children and families served by The Home. Eaton Vance proved how important Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is to their employees during the 2014 holiday season. They participated in the Adopt-a-Family program and “adopted” more than 35 families! Employees donated more than $13,000 in gifts and nearly $7,000 in gift cards. The Home thanks all of the generous friends who participated in the 2014 Big Wishes Gift Drive, bringing holiday cheer into so many homes.
A Special Delivery...
Friends of The Home have many different connections to the organization and get involved for their own personal reasons. Matthew Babine is one of those special friends! Matthew was adopted from The Home when he was 6 months old and he never forgets the children we serve during the holiday season. Each year, he collects gifts for the Big Wishes Gift Drive at Dojo Sante, his martial arts studio in New Hampshire. Matthew personally drives the gifts down to The Home to ensure no child will go without a present!
|(photo courtesy of FTNBL)|
Peter Gammons, MLB Hall of Fame journalist, was honored by The Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL) as they celebrated 15 years of music, baseball and giving back at the Hot Stove Cool Music concert on January 10. The Home has been a charitable partner for many years. The event helps raise money for the Peter Gammons Scholarship – a four year scholarship to the awardees’ college of choice. All of the Gammons Scholars, including two alumna from The Home, were invited to join Peter on stage at the event. (photo courtesy of FTNBL)
Each May, we celebrate the imaginative spirit of children at our signature fundraising gala, Voices & Visions. This unique event showcases art and writing from youth at The Home’s programs. This year’s theme is “Who Am I?” Youth have been exploring this age-old question through their year-long art curriculum. It serves as more than just an art exercise — belonging, identity, and validation are vital for healthy development especially for youth who have experienced trauma.
Please join us for this inspiring night when we will honor Jerry Sargent, President of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts.
Learn more and purchase tickets:
The Thrift Shop of Boston is Moving
As of July 1, The Thrift Shop will have a new home in Roslindale. Follow us or sign up to be notified of upcoming moving sales and promotions.
|©2013 Cheryl Richards|
Carruth Capital President Chris Egan (far right) was announced as the new chairman of the Board at The Home for Little Wanderers. Egan and his wife Jean founded and direct Break the Cycle of Poverty, a non-profit foundation. From 2007 until 2009, he was U.S. ambassador and permanent representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. Chris lives in Boston with his wife and five children.
The Home is the largest provider of behavioral health services in the Boston school system with clinicians on site in 42 locations at the elementary, middle and high school levels. We work with students, teachers and families to intervene at the onset of emotional, behavioral and learning problems and address systemic issues that affect student learning, such as bullying, alienation, trauma and violence.