South Boston Youth Corps | City of Ideas

Posted 11/29/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Boston’s neediest children live near Dorchester in South Boston’s Old Colony Housing.  The colorful history of “Southie”, glamorized in movies and the media, masks the harsh daily realities faced by the children residing there. While the wider neighborhood of South Boston has seen successive waves of gentrification, rising incomes and business investment, Old Colony residents have remained demographically very different from many of their new neighbors: of 839 children under age 18 currently living in the neighborhood, over 80% are of minority background. About 44% of households subsist on an income of less than $10,000 per year.

Like all younger children, South Boston’s children look to the older youth in their community for guidance and role models. Unable to manage their stress, fear, anger, blame, hopelessness and trauma, these older youth turn to drugs, alcohol, gangs, sex, and violence, modeling to children that these are the only ways to cope.  Outside intervention alone is ineffective in light of this strong negative modeling unless we create positive role models out of South Boston’s older youth. We require an intergenerational solution to prevent these children from inheriting the legacy of violence, sexual and substance abuse, and crime.

Project Proposed:
South Boston Youth Corps (SBYC) is a collaborative project of IAHV, the Tierney Center, Ostiguy High, Perkins Elementary School, and Boston College High School. SBYC is a new generation of thirty local role models housed in South Boston who inspire Boston’s younger children to make healthier, more peaceful life choices.
 
These newly forming young role models must first learn what they will later model.  After an initial taste of SBYC through Health and Happiness workshops (for 500 youth), they will gain tools to manage their stress and negative emotions through the Art of Living Course (for 150 youth). With clear minds, deep connection grows – to themselves, their community, and the next generation. A sense of responsibility doesn’t have to be cultivated, but naturally grows. Those who demonstrate this natural responsibility will be asked to join the Youth Leadership Training Program, a ten-day residential leadership intensive. The SBYC will channel these role models into creating and implementing programs supporting healthy and positive life choices for children. After the YLTP, the Youth Corps will be trained to lead awareness and educational programs on stress management, substance abuse, and sexuality education at our partner sites – Perkins’ Elementary School and BCHS’s Arupe Division.

Role of Collaboration:
IAHV will:
1) Provide skills, techniques and frameworks for SBYC and community members to manage stress, their minds, and negative emotions (through Health and Happiness and Art of Living Courses)
2) Train the SBYC using a holistic framework of leadership development (through YLTP and advanced leadership and personal development trainings)
3) Provide personal development and leadership support to each SBYC member, through ongoing mentorship, advanced leadership and personal development sessions
4) Train and support SBYC as trainers of Health and Happiness and Sexuality Education workshops

Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center will:
1) Host all Health and Happiness and Art of Living workshops;
2) Provide access to ABCD/ Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center program partners to support each SBYC member, through ongoing guidance, case management and professional development opportunities;
3) With program partners provide outreach for the SBYC project;
4) With IAHV, collect program data, meet regularly to evaluate SBYC project – if necessary making modifications to achieve goals.

Ostiguy Recovery High School (ORHS) is a small alternative school that serves about 80 students annually. Students are eligible to enroll at Ostiguy after making a commitment to a program of recovery and achieving 30 days of sobriety. ORHS will:
1) Ensure all prospective SBYC youth are clean and sober throughout the Health and Happiness workshops, the Art of Living Course and the Youth Leadership Training Program.
2) Consult re: the development and implementation of age-appropriate workshops for selected school and community partners;
3) Facilitate workshops along the agreed upon guidelines of the SBYC
4) Coordinate re: data collection when workshops are conducted;
5) Evaluate the collected workshop data and efficacy of workshops;
6) Make modifications to the program if necessary;
7) Integrate the SBYC program with ORHS the curriculum.

Perkins Elementary School (a K2-5 in South Boston, near the Old Colony Housing) will:
1) Consult with the SBYC re: the development and implementation of age-appropriate workshops for the student population;
2) Coordinate with the SBYC re: data collection when workshops are conducted for the student population;
3) Evaluate the collected workshop data with the SBYC;
4) Consult with the SBYC re: the efficacy of workshops conducted for the school population;
5) Strategize with SBYC to make modifications to the program if necessary.

Boston College High School Arupe Division (the 7th and 8th grade Dept. of a Jesuit college preparatory school in Dorchester) will:
1) Consult with the SBYC re: the development and implementation of age-appropriate workshops for the student population;
2) Coordinate with the SBYC re: data collection when workshops are conducted for the student population;
3) Evaluate the collected workshop data with the SBYC;
4) Consult with the SBYC re: the efficacy of workshops conducted for the school population;
5) Strategize with SBYC to make modifications to the program if necessary.

Impact:
A Collaborate Boston prize would support the beginning of a generation of change agents housed in South Boston who model for the greater Boston community’s black and brown young men healthy, peaceful, and positive life choices. Unless we nurture these role models, these boys will likely inherit a legacy of violence, crime and addiction.
 
The Collaborate Boston prize will provide funding for the first year of the project, including outreach, program design and materials, trainings, and operational and administrative support.
With our partners, we will measure our impact through numbers of youth and children served and pre- and post-evaluations of every program (Health and Happiness, Art of Living, YLTP, advanced leadership trainings, Sexuality Education, and Substance Abuse), testimonials and case studies of the SBYC and the children the serve. 
 
We look forward to building a relationship with the Boston Foundation. We are developing the SYBC leaders not simply to implement solutions, but to continually adapt and create new solutions to shifting dynamics and challenges. Our impact is designed to be sustainable; we ask you to invest in igniting and training role models and leaders who serve their community for a lifetime.

Other information:
The specific workshops the SBYC will offer to black and brown boys are:

Health and Happiness:
The trauma of poverty, violence, and unstable family lives leaves most children vulnerable to substance abuse, premature sexual activity, and unhealthy lifestyles. While the community cannot change overnight, we can equip these children with the tools to stay strong and clear in the midst of chaos and violence. The Health and Happiness workshop is a 3-hour empowerment workshop that teaches children techniques and principles to relax and manage their minds, stress, and emotions in healthy ways.

Sexuality Education:
Pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and infidelity are rising at an alarming rate among children. This program addresses these issues at their heart – the beliefs surrounding sexuality that drive individuals to make sexual choices that are harmful not only physically, but also emotionally and socially. The Sexuality Education Program explores the healthy and harmful beliefs that drive sexual choices in a non-judgmental environment, so students can actively support each other in making healthy sexual choices.

Substance Abuse Education:
As part of their curriculum, ORHS students currently deliver Substance Abuse Workshops to community partners.  These interactive presentations include information on: Substance Abuse definitions; Risk Factors; Relapse; and Recovery. SBYC collaboration will provide Ostiguy students who join the SBYC with tools to facilitate more effective presentations.

Primary Contact:
IAHV offers programs to reduce stress and develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities. We foster the daily practice of human values -- a sense of connectedness and respect for all people and the natural environment, an attitude of non-violence, and an ethic of social service. Our programs enhance clarity of mind, shift attitudes and behaviors, and develop leaders and communities that are resilient, responsible, and inspired.

Created in Geneva in 1997 by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, IAHV is a global platform for humanitarian initiatives that solve problems by uplifting human values. IAHV partners with governments, educational institutions, other NGOs, corporations, businesses and individuals, to develop and promote programs of personal development to encourage the practice of human values in everyday life. IAHV works in special consultative status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations.

In the US, our programs focus on youth empowerment, prisoner rehabilitation, veterans resilience, and corporate wellness. While this program is tailored to suit the community's needs, our leadership development approach has been implemented successfully in Haiti, South Africa, India and South America. We have trained over 25,000 around the world. Our greatest mark of success is the creation and implementation of community service initiatives by our young leaders.

Some key statistics of the impact by these leaders on their local communities are:
- 75,000 trauma relief workshops conducted reaching 2.3 million people
- 4,465 disadvantaged areas adopted for organic farming
- 28,350 cleanliness campaigns conducted, 1 million participants
- 12,900 medical camps conducted, 430,000 people benefitted
- 1.3 million trees planted
- 2,000 self help groups formed with >35,000 membership base.

ABCD assists individuals through a wide array of programs designed to access work, school, and the benefits needed to stabilize families and move them towards self-sufficiency. Partnering with a network of agencies, in 2011 ABCD served 67,096 clients.  Some specific program outcomes for 2011 include the following:
-263 unemployed persons obtained career-track jobs;
-156 persons earned a college degree or certificate;
-1,411 youth explored careers through paid internships;
-18,609 households received heating help;
-911 persons obtained immigration assistance;
-502 homeless families were housed.

The Tierney Center replicates this “Community Classroom” approach – partnering with multiple agencies to provide traditional and what we call “beyond the blackboard” activities.  Through collaborative programs with 30 agencies that include: South Boston en Accion, Boston Public Library, Tech Goes Home, Magic Johnson Foundation, the Timothy Smith Network, and Centro Latino, in a few short months, the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center has seen demonstrated success:

-Yesenia age 23, secured employment;
-Daniel age 4, is learning to read;
-Traci age 45, is typing 20 words per minute;
-Phyllis age 63, is using the internet for the first time;
-Juan age 31, is beginning to speak English.

Partner 1:
The Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center, located in the Old Colony Housing Development, is operated by Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). Since 1962, ABCD has provided basic services and innovative programs that help empower individuals, families, and communities in Boston to overcome poverty, live with dignity, and achieve their full potential.

Partner 2:
Ostiguy Recovery High School (ORHS) is a small alternative school that serves about 80 students annually. Students are eligible to enroll at Ostiguy after making a commitment to a program of recovery and achieving 30 days of sobriety.  ORHS' student population draws from several Boston neighborhoods including Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan.

Partner 3:
Perkins Elementary School is a K2-5 school in South Boston, near the Old Colony Housing. The Perkins diverse student population draws from many Boston neighborhoods including Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan.

Partner 4:
Boston College High School (BCHS) Arupe Division (7th and 8th grades) is a Jesuit college preparatory school in Dorchester. BCHS' diverse community draws from numerous Boston neighborhoods including Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan.

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