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.
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.
"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!"
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 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)
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 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 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)
"My family has been involved with COMPASS for a few months now. Since we've been involved this program has taught us how to effectively communicate with respect for each other, [to] understand that everyone has boundaries, [that] planning things out makes a much happier household, [and] bridging the gap between the school and the children leads to a successful outcome. It is my plan to stay with them for as long as we can."
(from a quote about us on Guidestar)
School Fax: 617-506-8106
CSS/Admin Fax: 617-506-7695
© 2018 Community Providers of Adolescent Services
294 Bowdoin St. Dorchester, MA 02122