The majority of COMPASS students and clients have had some direct experience with violence and its effects. Since 1987, following the murder of a former student, COMPASS established the Violence Prevention Program. Students, teachers, and staff were eager to prevent a recurrence of this devastating incident, so they created the first program in Massachusetts to provide a violence prevention curriculum specifically for students with special needs.
Originally a month-long initiative integrated into the curriculum during the final month of the academic year, it has led to the yearlong BEAMS system COMPASS currently utilizes today. This yearlong program was developed due to the nature and scale of violence prevention education needed given the changing needs of students and their exposure to trauma over the years. The Violence prevention education is now integrated into all COMPASS programs and the curriculum of elementary, middle, and high school students. It includes special projects and activities to promote skills that supports the development of self-esteem, respect for others, and socially acceptable ways of expressing anger.
At the end of each school year, the COMPASS School hosts the Violence Prevention Ceremony, a celebration of the tremendous effort of its school community in counteracting harmful behavior. This program focuses on students’ resilience when faced with difficult situations that may turn to violence if not handled with care. Two COMPASS clinicians, Kin’ta and Jaye, who have been involved with this program for over five years, emceed this event. KJ Carson from The Morning Wakeup on 97.7FM provided the keynote, emphasizing the importance of violence prevention, emphasizing, “when days get tough, close your eyes, take a breath, and concentrate on your vision [of success]”. KJ has been working with a group of young men at COMPASS to hold discussion groups on creating positive relationships and discussing productive ways to handle stressful situations.
Additionally, it is a time when the COMPASS community gets to highlight outstanding community members and organizations that provide its students with internship opportunities to learn employable skills. The recognition recipients also included 2018 COMPASS graduates, Science Fair winners, and Step 5 students from COMPASS’ BEAMS program.
“With a vision, you can do anything”, KJ stated, “every staff here [at COMPASS] believes in you – they have a vision for you”.
For more information and to see the great work that COMPASS is doing, please continue to explore our website. If you have questions and/or would like to support COMPASS, please contact Gregg Grenier, Development and Communications Manager at Gregg.Grenier@compassboston.org.
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