Every Youth Has A Gift Every Parent Needs A Hand | City of Ideas
Issue to be Addressed:
A high number of young people in North Dorchester, Upham’s Corner Health Center’s service area, approximately 34% of the population, is 19 years of age and younger. This high proportion of young people and their risk-taking behaviors lead to poor health outcomes, particularly without adequately funded interventions in schools, neighborhood programs, and health services. The continuing federal and state cutbacks undermine or close programs in health education, addiction services, school-based interventions, and community programs. Examples include “out of school” time and lack of youth development opportunities. These efforts were created and functioned to engage and assist young people in positive behaviors; and, their absence is accelerating high drop-out rates and poor health status. The lack of job training, literacy, English fluency and competency, and high school equivalency attainment are together working to promote economic disparities and distressed community outcomes that are visible in Dorchester daily. Among children under 18 years of age, 27.6% are living below the federal poverty level.
Beyond the lack of resources at the community level, individual barriers are also quite significant. For example, parents and caretakers lack availability to engage and learn parenting techniques, such as managing teenagers in a modern day world.
The program’s goal is to engage the young males and their families with after-school time activities, including educational and interactive group sessions, and sports clinics. The three agencies will come together to designate the staff members from all organizations to comprise the comprehensive care team for the “high-risk” male students and plan the program’s execution, led by UCHC. The program will begin with a needs assessment of each student’s academic, social, health, and family status, and will be the team’s leading discussion point. Combining resources of a school, community health center, and community center will enable the team to provide the males with full support - academic, health, social, and community supports.
The groups will be co-facilitated by UCHC staff: the newly hired community-focused project coordinator and a licensed social worker currently employed in UCHC’s Social Service Department. Both staff will work in the community, as the group sessions will occur at UCHC’s Teen Clinic, Bird Street, and Dearborn. Essential issues will target the families and the young males. Parents will engage in learning how to “manage teenagers,” while the young males will learn how to navigate healthy relationships and develop skills such as conflict resolution and managing behaviors.
Role of Collaboration:
Dearborn Middle School is the first collaborative partner. UCHC has successfully collaborated with Dearborn for many years, providing outreach and other services. Recently, as part of UCHC’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, and in collaboration with Boston Center for Youth and Families, the program coordinator conducts soccer clinics with Dearborn students, serving as both their coach and mentor. Dearborn will engage in the following: participate in the care team for the “high-risk” male students; provide program referrals, as Dearborn discusses qualifying males at weekly meetings, one on academic and social risks, and one on attendance; and host groups and activities.
Bird Street Community Center is the second collaborative partner in this program. Located on the second floor of the 500 Columbia Road building and directly above UCHC’s Teen Clinic, Bird Street is a crucial partner in targeting and recruiting our young male population. Bird Street will actively engage in the following: participate in the comprehensive care team; provide referrals for the program from the community center’s young male participants; engage in outreach to those male students that are not connected to care; and support the boys and host groups and activities.
While UCHC has collaborated with both agencies for many years, the collaborative efforts have occurred at different times with different goals each time. The three agencies have yet to work all together on one project. With this opportunity, UCHC will collaborate with two different agencies with one central focus and central goal: to improve the lives and futures of black and brown boys and young men, ages 9-15, living in Roxbury and Dorchester. This innovative collaboration combines two interventions (early interventions that focus on dropout prevention and increasing middle school retention and high school graduations rates, and behavioral health-based interventions) that expand the care team across agencies.
By partnering with both Dearborn and Bird Street, UCHC will provide comprehensive and coordinated services for the young men, as this team approach is vital to truly reach these young men holistically. Rather than simple collaboration, a clearly defined interdisciplinary team that cuts across agencies to provide support and services to the young boys and their families holistically would ensure service coordination.
Through this program, the agencies are targeting “high-risk” boys and young men; these factors include truancy, and other indicators of dropping out of school. The goal of targeting these risk factors is to increase middle school retention and high school graduation. Improvement in school performance and completion are the outcomes we are seeking to achieve; indicators of such success for this program include: physical and mental health; engaging in positive activities both inside and outside the classroom; family involvement in education; and connection to resources for the family.
Jenna Tonet is the Public Health Program Manager at Upham’s Corner Health Center (UCHC). UCHC is a vibrant comprehensive health and social service agency, owned and operated by the Upham’s Corner Health Committee, Inc., a community controlled non-profit, 501 (c)(3) corporation. Organized in 1971, UCHC’s mission is to provide comprehensive, culturally competent, community-based health and social services, so as to maintain and improve the health and well-being of residents of North Dorchester and the adjacent neighborhood of Roxbury. UCHC embraces a “Medical Home” approach to care and offers a full array of medical and social services, delivered in a coordinated manner. At UCHC, we strive to meet all the needs of every patient by utilizing an interdisciplinary team approach to the patient and the family to improve the outcomes of all of our community members.
Josè P. Duarte is the principal at Henry Dearborn Middle School, which is located in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Dearborn is identified as a Level 4 “turnaround” school of the Boston Public Schools. In the school redesign plan to make the “turnaround,” Dearborn’s educational theory of change and approach to school redesign involves the integration of four core strategies that will drive its turnaround effort: improved effectiveness of the school’s people; relentless use of data to differentiate and improve instruction; significantly increased learning time; and a strong, coordinated system of social-emotional support for students. Together, these elements will combine to ensure that each student gets the time and high-quality instruction needed to achieve proficiency and be prepared for success in high school.
Principal Duarte has over 23 years of experience as an educator and administrator. Duarte was appointed principal of Dearborn in 2009 after serving as headmaster of The English High School for many years. Mr. Duarte began his career in BPS leadership while serving as assistant principal at the Umana-Barnes Middle School and later as principal of the Grover Cleveland Middle School.
Andrea Kaiser is the Executive Director at Bird Street Community Center. Bird Street is a non-profit organization providing high quality, affordable child care and recreational, educational, and developmental activities for children and youth in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and Hyde Park. We serve over 1,300 youth between the ages of 5 and 22 year-round with a number of activities that encourage and promote their intellectual, physical, and social development. The mission of Bird Street Community Center is to provide low income high risk youth with all of the critical programs and services that allow inner city children and youth to rise above poverty, to become the first in their families to graduate from college, to lead the community as a place of peace and prosperity, and to thrive as the adults of tomorrow.