Empowerment Mentoring Collaborative | City of Ideas

Posted 12/30/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Bringing caring adults into the lives of boys is a critically important strategy in supporting the healthy development of those youth, their families and the larger community. The students involved in this collaboration live in communities that experience continuous violence and crime. The majority of the students are from low-income households; 84% of students at OWHS qualify for free or reduced lunch. Within the school, some students behave aggressively and are unable to control themselves socially and emotionally. The school lacks the resources to address their complex needs and this collaboration will serve black and brown boys that demonstrate these and other at-risk behaviors by matching them with caring adult mentors from the community.

Project Proposed:
This proposed project is a collaboration between the Oliver W. Holmes Elementary School (OWHS), Mass Mentoring Partnership, the DotWell-managed Dorchester Family School Initiatives, and UMass Boston. OWHS is a full inclusion elementary school located in the Four Corners neighborhood of Dorchester. It is a standards-based, results-oriented institution that serves 300 students. As an inclusion school, it teaches special need students alongside regular education students. Through this collaboration, OWHS seeks to expand its Empowerment Mentoring Program (EMP) to serve 15-20 4th and 5th grade black and brown boys at its school. EMP matches male students with undergraduate male mentors from UMass Boston for weekly one-on-one small group sessions for the entire school year. The collaboration will provide support for the program in the areas of curriculum administration and development, program evaluation and mentor recruitment. The goal is to serve more black and brown boys through quality school-based mentoring, while focusing on the outcomes of increased academic performance, positive social interactions and improved discipline.

Role of Collaboration:
Oliver W. Holmes School – provide overall management of the mentoring program; identify black and brown boys demonstrating at-risk behaviors; directly match boys at the school with mentors; conduct final screening and monitoring of mentors; conduct two-day training for mentors; conduct weekly check-in with mentors.

Mass Mentoring Partnership – help OWHS build upon their 2010-2011 pilot to scale/grow program and provide best practices through training and technical assistance; provide support in the areas of mentor training and retention, program development, evaluation, and match support. Help connect program efforts to nationally recognized best practices.

DotWell/DFSI – to develop program evaluation and assist with conducting evaluation through use of School Engagement Scale; utilize Efforts to Outcomes tracking software to track student progress; monitor information collected and provide support in developing assessments and analyzing data.

UMass Boston  - African American Studies Department – to recruit college-aged men of color to serve as mentors; mentors are recruited through flyers, information tables and by referral; to conduct initial screenings of mentors; conduct monthly check-ins with mentors.

The overall impact of this collaboration is that more black and brown boys in Dorchester will be matched with caring adult male mentors in a high quality school-based mentoring program. Mentors and mentees will engage in activities that provide opportunities to learn and practice leadership, self-awareness, problem solving, communication, conflict resolution, and how to build positive friendships. They will also discuss ways to use new strategies to interact within the group and in other structured academic and social situations.

The school itself lacks the necessary resources to address the complex needs of the students. With lengthy waiting lists for other mentoring programs, developing its own mentoring program became a necessity. However, without community partners, the school can not expand the reach of its program, implement the highest quality standards and serve more boys. Additionally, this collaboration ensures that the school is not conducting a program in isolation and that it is utilizing best practices of the field while focusing on its intended goals.

Primary Contact:
Cynthia Graham, Director of Program Services, Mass Mentoring Partnership

Cynthia Graham joined MMP in 2012 after spending the last nine years in the Big Brothers Big Sisters world in New York, most recently as the CEO for New York's Children of Promise (NYCP). Highlights from her term include expanding the Mentoring Children of Prisoners (MCP) program from three to 16 BBBS agencies in New York; facilitating staff trainings for NYCP sub-contractors and grantees; engaging local, state and federal stakeholders; and expanding and managing a $2+ million annual budget. At MMP, Cynthia is charged with managing efforts to provide direct support to mentoring programs, supervision of program services staff (including partnering with each to implement and execute plans), and serving as chief strategist of the work of this department.

Based in Boston, Mass Mentoring Partnership is the only statewide organization solely dedicated to strategically expanding quality youth mentoring in Massachusetts. As the umbrella organization for more than 200 mentoring organizations supporting 23,000 youth in mentoring relationships across the state, we provide services including training and technical assistance, networking and professional development, mentor recruitment campaigns, advocacy, resource development & recognition, and mentor-mentee match activities. Our program network includes schools, religious organizations, community non-profits, and workplaces, serving youth 5 to 18-years-old. These institutions utilize a variety of program structures including one-to-one mentoring, group mentoring and e-mentoring.

Partner 1:
Pam Bailey, Family & Community Outreach Engagement Coordinator, Oliver Wendell Homes Elementary School
Pam has been a Family Outreach Coordinator for the Boston Public School System for 8 years. Her primary role is to create and implement programming that engages students and families in increasing educational opportunities, facilitating parent education and promoting positive relationships between home, school and the community. She holds a BA from Lesley University and is a matriculating MSW/Organizational Leadership student at Wheelock College.

The Oliver Wendell Holmes is a full inclusion elementary school located in the Four Corners neighborhood of Dorchester. Its vision is proficiency for all, and its mission is to realize that vision. It is a standards-based, results-oriented institution where its children come first. It serves 330 students from a variety of Boston neighborhoods, including Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan and South Boston.

Partner 2:
Lynne McIntyre, Dorchester Family Schol Initiative, DotWell
Lynne McIntyre, RN, PhD is the Director of Evaluation and Planning for DotWell. She has over 40 years
experience as a nurse, the last 16 years of which have been in community health settings. She received
a Masters degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a concentration
in community health nursing and a PhD in nursing from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to
her position at DotWell, she was employed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as the
Evaluation and Quality Improvement Nurse Advisor for the Center for Community Health. McIntyre is
also a part-time lecturer in the graduate program at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern

The Dorchester FAMILY School Initiative (DFSI) is a multi-organizational partnership that connects three public elementary schools in central Dorchester with health and social service organizations, colleges, other enrichment groups, and parents.  Its goals are to: support before-school and after-school programming; coordinate social and emotional services within schools; expose the children to positive youth development activities that will help them improve their health and wellness; provide enrichment activities that engage students in art, music, drama and sports; connect families with community programs and services; and support teachers and the schools to strengthen math and reading skills. DotWell is the partnership of Codman Square Health Center and Dorchester House Multi-Service Center. DotWell is DFSI’s lead agency and provides key staff members. DotWell works to provide integrated clinical and community services to address health disparities, build social capital and meet the complex needs of the dynamic Dorchester community.

Partner 3:
African American Studies Department, UMass Boston
Through this collaboration, OWHS will reconnect with the African American Studies Department at UMass Boston to establish a relationship with a liaison to recruit mentors.

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