Comprehensive Support & Stabilization Case Worker Steve B. was recently honored with a commendation letter from Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. The commendation came as a result of a letter sent to Governor Deval Patrick by a grateful mother, Gale F., whose family Steve had worked with. In addition to her kind letter, Gale created and dedicated a painting to Steve, shown here along with Senator Kerry's commendation. Her letter to Governor Patrick follows:
Dear Governor Deval Patrick,
I know you are working hard on the concerns and the future of the Massachusetts residents. I know that balancing the budget has to be done. I have faith that you will keep in mind that the future is with our children.
... my request will not cost much. I would like to request 3 state employees to be recognized for their excellent professional family support over the past 18+ months. Their support has made it possible for me to keep myself together through an extremely difficult period in my life. Their jobs are rarely recognized when they are done right but often noticed when something goes wrong. My story starts with my 15 yr. old son's poor attendance at school. The F. High School and... myself had a CHINS placed on my son. He... was found to be a good kid that was headed in the wrong direction.
In the past 15 months, I have injured both shoulders and badly torn rotator cuffs while at work. I came down with a blood infection, for which I had to have therapy to stand and walk again. I have just had the 2nd operation on my shoulders. My mother expired from bladder cancer and 10 days later my sister-in-law expired from a chronic pancreas problem. I have guardianship of my 3 grandchildren, a girl 12 yrs. old and twin boys 11 yrs. old. The twins are developmentally behind with autism. Their parents are going through a divorce plus other problems. My husband has been out of work for 3+ years. Any one of these problems can be hard on a family. The following 3 employees have helped my children with counseling, school support, rides to work for my son, a 2+ months hospital stay, getting through 2 funerals and the past holidays. They have been always available to me and have been called upon throughout this time...
One of these workers, Steve B., a family clinician at COMPASS' Community Stabilization & Support Program, supported my son through school problems, rides to work, counseling, etc. He has mentored my son. He has been a much needed positive [role] model to my son. Steve has been helpful through all the previous named problems. On top of that, Steve arranged time for my granddaughter to be with a female COMPASS employee. He helped get the twins into an Autism program to help with school vacation days.
I truthfully believe if [this] person was not part of my life over the past 18+ months, my children would have paid a price for the problems around them. I have a great need to thank these people. I hope you can see it fit to honor this request for a letter of recognition to these invaluable employees. God bless you all...
Born in Kenya, M.'s first experience in a U.S. public high school was challenging. Within two weeks, he had a number of conduct violations and poor attendance; a pending felony charge became a conviction. M. was subsequently expelled from his public high school; the Special Education Department made referrals to alternative schools.
At COMPASS, M. stated that he wanted to be in school and to graduate, but continued to struggle with attendance and challenging behavior. Gradually, as his attendance improved, he began to build relationships with staff, while working with his clinician and caseworker to learn skills to help him improve his behaviors and engage in his classes.
M. chose to participate in the school's Building Maintenance and Repair (BMR) program, taking great pride in the work that he did. M. joined COMPASS' basketball team and was a role model for other students with his positive, team-oriented attitude. He began to work at an auto body shop, accompanied by COMPASS staff. In 2012, M. received several awards at COMPASS' annual Violence Prevention Ceremony, recognizing his work on the basketball team, in the BMR program, and for community service. Both he and staff were proud of his accomplishments.
M.'s family moved to a new city; a school review indicated how far he had come. He decided that he would like his last year of high school to be at a public one. He remained at COMPASS through the summer of 2012 and started at his district's public high school in the fall. COMPASS staff remain in touch with M. He has had a successful start to the school year.
At the end of each conversation, he always thanks the staff member for helping him to succeed. M. promises to stay in touch and to come back and visit.
"I would like to say thank you for assigning me to my [family specialist], 'Vickie.' Words cannot express the gratitude I have for her and her services... Vickie has taught me patience, perseverance, and the ability to have hope; all of which I lacked [previously]... I would like to take the time to address the serious impact she has made in my life.
I had extreme difficulty controlling my emotions, especially with the problem that was occurring in my home. Countless therapists have visited my family... I can assure you that the (previous) Band-Aid tactics had not healed my wound... With Vickie, not only have we accomplished many of our goals... but I have become a better person in the process. Vickie worked quickly to get to know me and to help me deal with my inner conflicts. She did not put her sole focus on healing my family - she made sure that I had the right tools to help me heal myself... I have learned patience; not just with others, but with myself. I have learned perseverance... I have learned that I cannot give up hope, and to always remind myself that my past does not define me... I am thankful for the guidance and hope that I can move past my troubles with the tools that she has given me."
(excerpts from a message from a grateful CSS parent)
"I am writing this letter to commend the Intensive Support Program staff. Several of my patients are followed at ISP and I feel the program has had a positive impact on each of them. My patients have developed strong relationships with the staff and as a result are doing much better in the school environment. At the Teen Health Center we are committed to ensuring that our patients stay healthy both physically and mentally. We are only able to accomplish this because of strong partnerships with programs like ISP. ISP has been partnering with the Teen Health Center since first coming to English High. For me personally, it has been an honor and a privilege to have worked with ISP over the last year and a half. Thank you all for your continued commitment to our teens."
(Program Manager Teen Health Center in reference to our Intensive Support Program)
"I'm wiritng you to acknowledge and recognize the dedication, wisdom and earnestness of two COMPASS employees, Mundo and Steve, and to thank COMPASS for its support of our family last year. Words cannot begin to describe the tremendous gratitude I feel toward Mundo and Steve for their help working with our teenage son, A. It was a very difficult and dark period for our family.
Mundo and Steve went above and beyond in their support of us, and did so with compassion and a sense of humor. Their guidance was insightful and greatly appreciated during a time when we were trying to help and redirect A. I am not sure where he would be today if not for their efforts.
Today, A. is an honor student at R. Military Academy, a boarding high school. This a far cry from where he was one year ago: he was removed from our home at the request of his CHINS probation officer and placed in foster care due to his outbursts of anger and violence in our home.
I have always believed the adage that it 'takes a village to raise a child' for I know I am not the keeper of all wisdom. I am grateful that Mundo and Steve were a part of that village, and thank COMPASS for its Comprehensive Support and Stabilization Services and the good work it does throughout the community.
Enclosed is a donation to your organization: a tribute to the word of Mundo and Steve."
Anastasia has been a longtime COMPASS student.
Like most of our students Staya comes from a troubled background. But now upon graduation she looks forward to a bright future, thanks
to her own hard work and perseverance and our staff's insistence that everyone can overcome their circumstances, along with
our wrap-around services philosophy.
Her recent accomplishments include being awarded the John P.Santry Sportsmanship Award in June of 2008 for her skill and leadership on the basketball court. In June of 2009 she was awarded the Dr. Tom Frank Personal Growth award for her improvement in maturity and focus.
Staya has been awarded a full residential scholarship to study automotive mechanics at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
"... I have attended the parents meetings (from) which I have learned a great deal about the program. Programs like COMPASS' mean higher quality students which will become successful adults; COMPASS means inner city children will have a greater chance to learn and have a choice in getting a good education... "
(parent of an After School Action Program student)
Juan attended the COMPASS school and graduated in June 2009, where he impressed with his engaging, warm personality. In his senior year, Juan showed an uncommon enthusiasm for Culinary Arts, and it was in the kitchen that Juan proved to himself and others that his dream to have a career in the food industry was a dream no more. Juan expects to start in the Culinary Arts program at Bunker Hill Community College this fall.
"A compass is a tool that helps you find your direction. Well, COMPASS School is the same way. The people at COMPASS... help you find your right direction in life. The reason I'm here is because I used to get into so many fights that I was kicked out of school. If I didn't get into COMPASS I would have been hanging out on the corners all hours of the night. When I got settled in... they got me a job at a college that I've had over a year... Without COMPASS I would not have made it this far."
(youth served by COMPASS program)
"When my son... was having emotional difficulties in his early school years, COMPASS and its faculty were the only ones to really care about a child's education. They were devoted to giving these children an education by helping them overcome their problems. They are caring and loving people whom really came across to me as being there to truly help and not just for a paycheck. Thanks to COMPASS, my son has gone to college and become an outstanding young man. They even influenced him to follow a career path in helping other youths that may be headed down the wrong roads of life. They are amazing!"
"Dear [CSS Family Specialist] Joanne,
We can't thank you enough for all that you have done for Amber and us. Your insight, wisdom and sense of humor have been very much appreciated. Surely you have gone beyond the 'call of duty' - we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And though the past few years have been difficult there is one silver lining – we have met people like you. And the world is a better place because you are in it. With our deepest thanks and love..."
(family served by the Comprehensive Support and Stabilization Program)
Adam exemplifies a person's ability to overcome challenges and has thrived in his growth as a student at COMPASS. As one of our few STEP 5 students (the highest honor at COMPASS), Adam has become a student leader, mastered the Culinary Arts Classroom, and participated in a job placement, as well as being an active member within his community through basketball, community service, and youth groups.
Adam's experiences have taken him to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York, not to mention South Africa with his Youth Group. Adam graduated from the COMPASS School in 2009, and strives to go to college to continue his growth as a student.
"... thank you for the COMPASS Afterschool Program... my children have benefited greatly. This program has taught them more self-discipline and improved their studying and learning to respect authority as well as their peers. But most importantly their grades have improved substantially..."
(parent of an After School Action Program student)
Ascer was at the COMPASS School in October, 1995 when he learned of his brother's death, the result of a violent encounter in Mattapan. This incident and the
circumstances under which Ascer learned of his brothers death, reading of it in The Boston Herald, put all our theories about violence
prevention to the test.
At COMPASS he focused on a newfound exceptional talent: art. Throughout the year, COMPASS staff worked with him, individually, as a team, and in the classroom, providing him opportunities to vent, to create, and to pursue what had once seemed a far-fetched dream - a college education. Some seven months after his brother's death, Ascer himself was on the front page of the Herald, pictured next to this headline: "Through fear and tears he rises up"
In the article, Peter Gelzinis, the Herald reporter, recounted the story that had shaken and inspired staff and students alike. He wrote: "That he is neither dead nor incarcerated is a testament to the sheer force of his smoldering determination and the heroic contributions from the staff of the COMPASS School in Jamaica Plain!"
Ascer received a full-tuition scholarship from Boston College and completed his degree.
"They care so much they saw past what I saw. They saw my potential even when I didn't. They're good at helping kids build a strong foundation for themselves."
"I feel that Lamar has made good progress since being followed by Brian (COMPASS Family Specialist). Lamar is beginning to see that he must take responsibility for his actions and that he must be held accountable for his actions. It would be wonderful if Lamar could continue seeing Brian for a longer period of time. ...I feel that with more time, Lamar will be better able to make the right decisions about what is right and what is wrong with more independence. It has been a pleasure working with Brian and seeing the improvements in Lamar's ability to make better decisions in general."
(Mattapan middle school E.S.D. teacher of student served by our Comprehensive Support and Stabilization Program)
"I have had the pleasure of working with [a COMPASS family specialist who worked with a 6th grade student at a middle school site]. I have been impressed by his consistent contact with us at school with regard to his client. The relationship has become important to the student and clearly [the COMPASS caseworker] has provided a 'voice' that the student and the mother are able to listen to and understand. He provides encouragement balanced with a realistic dose of what the consequences are for the student. He has been particularly helpful in dealing with the mother who has what appears to be a... mistrust for school personnel. ...I have dealt with many services over my years in the school system. It is gratifying to deal with a service provider like you."
(LICSW school social worker in reference to our Comprehensive Support and Stabilization Program)
Our school and Comprehensive Support and Stabilization program provide special education services and skill building that fosters resiliency and stabilization for future success.
School Fax: 617-506-8106
CSS/Admin Fax: 617-506-7695
© 2017 Community Providers of Adolescent Services
294 Bowdoin St. Dorchester, MA 02122