Passport to Manhood | City of Ideas

Posted 12/07/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
As they grow, all young people need enriching age-appropriate experiences and strong relationships with caring adults to help shape their positive development and unlock their full potential.  Many of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston's members are developing critical life skills in the face of significant challenges. Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury are some of Boston neighborhoods with have the most to gain in the areas of safety, economic stability, health equity, educational attainment, and other socioeconomic indicators.  Statistics show that black and brown boys in particular are significantly less likely to succeed in school, graduate on time, and complete post-secondary degrees.  BGCB's Clubs in this geographic area serve primarily young people of color from low-income households, the majority of which are lead by single-parents. To support these families, and help address this disparity, our proposed collaboration will help provide young men, ages 11-15 with positive relationships with adult role models, skill-building opportunities, and connections to comprehensive programming that supports academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and citizenship.

Project Proposed:
Our proposed project will build on BGCB's existing partnerships between Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and Urban Improv to provide critical life skills programming to young men, from in the Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan neighborhoods. Sixty participants will access this program at five BGCB sites in this area.

Passport to Manhood is a gender-responsive life skills curriculum, developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and lead by experienced youth development professionals who serve as caring adult role models. Designed specifically for young men, the program addresses such issues as ethics, decision making, academics, wellness, fatherhood, employment and careers, cooperation and conflict, diversity, relationships and self-esteem. The small-group program will use role playing, peer discussions, games and art projects to explore values, attitudes and behaviors necessary for a healthy transition from adolescence to adulthood. Urban Improv will add immense value to this program by using structured theater improvisation to teach violence prevention, conflict resolution, decision-making, and impulse control. Professional actor/educators will lead interactive workshops that offer students the opportunity to explore their own solutions to challenging, real-life situations.

Role of Collaboration:
Collaboration with Boston Housing Authority will be an essential component of the Passport to Manhood program, and will facilitate connections with the youth and families most in need of additional support. BGCB will work directly with Property Managers and tenants’ associations to recruit young men to participate in our proposed program. The following developments in the target geographic area will be engaged: Franklin Hill, Franklin Field, Orchard Gardens, Whittier Street, and Mission Hills. Two BGCB Clubs included in this proposal are located within housing developments: the Orchard Gardens Club and the Franklin Hill Club.

Urban Improv adds value to this collaboration through its unique expertise at leading youth in the exploration of critical life issues through improvisation. Trained actors, also experienced in youth development, bring a unique set of skills not available at school, or in the existing BGCB program.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston provides a safe place where participants will not only have access to this targeted program, but also become connected to a full range of enriching programs at our Yawkey Club of Roxbury, Blue Hill Club, Mattahunt Club, Franklin Hill Club, or Orchard Gardens Club.  BGCB’s staff are available as consistent adult role models for participants every day at the Club, in addition to leading this structured program. Staff will connect participants to additional resources, in particular our college readiness programs that help members set educational goals and develop a clear path for future success.

The honor of a Collaborate Boston award will help provide a rich and impactful experience for young men in the Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury communities.  The Passport to Manhood curriculum and Urban Improv's unique workshops will together provide an intensive skill-building experience for our members.  The gender responsive curriculum will help improve members' skills in conflict resolution, resistance to negative peer pressure, and decision-making.  In addition, positive relationships with caring adult role models, like those built through this group mentoring program will, can have the most significant impact in a young person's life.  This comprehensive approach, along with the support and full range of programs provided by BGCB, is a particular strength of the Passport to Manhood program. These protective factors can increase young people's ability to achieve positive outcomes in healthy lifestyles, academics, and good character and citizenship. The results of study conducted by the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute show clear benefits for Urban Improv participants. The program has been proven effective in preventing increased or new-onset of aggressive behaviors with elementary school children, while also increasing pro-social behaviors and classroom engagement.

Other information:
This collaboration will provide a unique, targeted opportunity that is centered on mentoring, and is provided within the context of BGCB’s comprehensive after-school programs.  Relationships built through the Passport to Manhood program will help connect participants to BGCB’s full range of enriching opportunities.  Specifically, staff will focus on connecting these young men to the Club’s college readiness and early college awareness programs. 
Academic Success is one of BGCB’s three priority outcomes areas. A key goal for members is to graduate from high school prepared for college, trade school, military service, or employment. Participants will have access to tutoring and homework help, literacy support, college planning, and career exploration.  Whether they receive help improving their algebra grades, attend tour college tours and financial aid workshops, or experience  Career Forums, Passport to Manhood participants will have access to a range of inspiring opportunities to help them prepare for the future.

Primary Contact:
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is to help young people, especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. We do this by providing a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, life-enhancing programs.  We serve approximately 15,000 children and teens, ages 6 to 18, in our Clubs, and through our programs and partnerships. Jerry Steimel, Executive Vice President, Operations, supervises the Executive Directors and operations at of BGCB’s Clubs. Prior to BGCB, he was Associate Director at Project Rap, a multi-service agency in Beverly, MA, and was Director of their emergency shelter for teens. He has also been Director of a youth center, a caseworker in the Chicago courts and a teacher in an alternative high school. He has an M. S.W. from the University of Chicago and 40 years of experience in the youth development field.

Partner 1:
Urban Improv’s mission is to promote positive youth development as a catalyst for violence prevention and social change. The program strategically uses improvisational theater to provide young people a realistic and compelling forum to engage in self-exploration, practice self-expression and critical decision making.  Kippy Dewey is the Executive Director of Urban Improv, and the Freelance Players, Inc. Kippy has taught and directed at the Charles Playhouse and the Next Movie Theatre. She has held artist residencies in schools throughout the metropolitan Boston area. Kippy is also the founding director of Creative Arts at Park, a multi-arts summer program for young people ages 8-15.

Partner 2:
Boston Housing Authority serves thousands of local residents with essential housing and community services. The agency is a long-time partner of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston serving as a resource for outreach, as well as a collaborator in the development of Shared-Space Clubs located within housing developments.  Staff will work directly with property managers and tenant associations at BHA housing developments in the target geographic area to help identify young men most in need of support.

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