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.
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.
"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!"
"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."
"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)
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."
"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)
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.
"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