Development & Communications Manager
From MassBudget's 2011 report, Workforce Characteristics and Wages in the Public and Private Sectors, showing the Massachusetts median wage for increasing levels of education.
COMPASS offers a $500 per year scholarship to any of our former students or clients who attend college. We will make an annual check payable to the college or university that the former COMPASS student or client attends for as long as he/she is enrolled. The scholarship can be used for tuition, books or lodging; under special circumstances, scholarship funds can be used for transportation expenses.
At the COMPASS 25th Anniversary Dinner, the Board of Directors named the scholarship fund after former Executive Director, David W. Manzo. David began working at COMPASS in 1980 and was the Executive Director from 1984 through 2004.
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...
"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)
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."
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.
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...
"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)
Both Pedro and his older brother graduated with us, and his family has
been very active with the school by cooking for various events, reaching out to
parents and attending all of our functions. Pedro graduated in June 2009.
In June 2007 Pedro was awarded a scholarship to travel to England as part of a youth ambassador group called "People to People." He has continued find ways to help fund his own education, as the recipient of a full scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Boston. He won a significant portion of that money in a statewide cooking contest.
School Fax: 617-506-8106
CSS/Admin Fax: 617-506-7695
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