COMPASS specializes in providing services to youth and families that have been referred by public systems, including public school districts and the Department of Children and Families. Each year COMPASS provides services to over 1,000 youth, adolescents and adults. The two core programs, the COMPASS School and Comprehensive Support & Stabilization (CSS) both provide job ready services to the youth and adults they serve.
Transition Classes: During weekly transition classes, students learn various life skills such as employability skills, time-management, money management and more. They prepare for their transition to adulthood by exploring various options available including college and employment. COMPASS supports students prepare for the SATs, write a resume and cover letter, practice for interviews, and fill out college and employment applications. COMPASS also provides students with the opportunity to visit local colleges and attend career fairs.
Vocational Classes: There are several vocational classes offered to students at the COMPASS School including Culinary Arts, Building, Maintenance and Repair (BMR), and Woodworking.
Job Placements: The COMPASS transition team is comprised of a transition coordinator and 2 job coaches who work with students to obtain employment in the community. They supervise and support students who work during the school day and help students build job readiness skills in a real-world learning experience.
Support and Stabilization: Support is provided to parents or guardians, who in many cases, are either unemployed or underemployed. In order to stabilize these families providing a better career opportunity is essential. The job readiness resources are provided to help ameliorate the family’s struggles during this transition.
For many of the older youth, COMPASS is helping in their transition to young adulthood. This often means helping them find their first job. COMPASS helps with filling out applications, interviewing skills, as well as money management. When finding a job has proven to be difficult, COMPASS has connected youth to volunteer opportunities where they can learn skills that will transfer when they find employment.
Family Navigation: COMPASS contracts with the Department of Developmental Services to provide Family Navigation to young adults (aged 22 – 28) receiving services. COMPASS is adapting the Preparing Adolescent for Young Adulthood, PAYA, curriculum to help these young adults with significant disabilities to function more independently.
This fund provides all clients with job related expenses, including but not limited to support for work clothing, transportation, job training, and educational resources.
Research estimates that the cost of a high school dropout over a lifetime is more than $500,000 in lost wages, increased entitlements, and criminal justice spending. Research also consistently demonstrates a positive return on investment from programs that advance academic, social and career skills, with lasting employment outcomes.
"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)
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.
Z. was referred to COMPASS' Intensive Support Program at English High School soon after arriving from the Dominican Republic. T., an ISP staff member, began working with Z. and started to understand some of his learning challenges. An evaluation, done with the support of his parents, indicated that Z. was cognitively low in content areas, and performing several levels below his 9th grade placement. Z. was shy, respectful of others, and had limited English language skills.
T. worked to ensure that Z. received bilingual special educations services in all content areas and worked with him unceasingly to ensure he understood and completed classroom assignments. Z. began to demonstrate a quiet pride in his accomplishments, and his self confidence increased. This year Z. got a job at Stop & Shop, a dream come true for him, as he was able to financially assist his family; he was a great employee. Z. took and passed the MCAS - when his administrator informed him, along with ISP staff, that he had passed the MCAS, there was not a dry eye in the room. Z. graduated from English High School in June of 2012. T. continues to support Z.'s vocational training with the Mass. Rehab Commission. He dreams of becoming a policeman one day...
"... 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)
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.
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.
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'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."
School Fax: 617-506-8106
CSS/Admin Fax: 617-506-7695
© 2018 Community Providers of Adolescent Services
294 Bowdoin St. Dorchester, MA 02122