Development & Communications Manager
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.
"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)
"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)
"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)
I worked with Leigh on a complex case and I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know the amazing work she does. I'm sure you have heard from Leigh how tough working with teens can be, and she has gone above and beyond with helping this family when they are in crisis. Leigh is great with keeping in communication with the Department and in helping come up with great safety plans during wellness meetings and family sessions. Leigh is a saint when it comes to this case! I have such high respect for her as a person and the type of work she does with families. Whenever a social worker or supervisor here in my office asks who is a strong clinician, I always recommend Leigh. I appreciate all of her hard work and enjoy working with her.
Written by South Shore area social worker
"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 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)
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 wanna thank you for helping me and my family. Thank you for being there when we needed you. Also helping us know that we can love and care for each other and not be afraid. And for helping me to take compliments and for being proud for my self. ... thanks a lot for everything you done. And making me laugh and making everyone else happy. I will keep your advice in my head and use it more often."
(from a mother receiving services through the Comprehensive Support and Stabilization Program)
School Fax: 617-506-8106
CSS/Admin Fax: 617-506-7695
© 2017 Community Providers of Adolescent Services
294 Bowdoin St. Dorchester, MA 02122