The Power of Community
Written in collaboration with Family Clinician Tina Charette and Family Specialist Anthony Barbosa
When it comes to giving back to the community, COMPASS staff do not stop giving when they clock out of their COMPASS jobs for the day. Family Clinician Agustina (“Tina”) Charrette and Family Specialist Anthony Barbosa work out of the Community Services satellite office in Worcester, MA. Tina and Anthony have made it their missions to not only provide guidance for youth and families in need during they full-time jobs at COMPASS, but they each also give back to their hometowns in their own unique way. Throughout their lives, Tina and Anthony have persevered to become community leaders.
Outside of her role at COMPASS, Family Clinician Tina Charrette has dedicated her time to co-founding and running a nonprofit called “Fostering Change.” This organization’s mission is to provide school supplies, holiday gifts, and occasional funds for school trips and activities for youth in foster care in north central Massachusetts. “This goes hand in hand with what I do every day at COMPASS,” says Tina. Tina and her friend of 22 years always talked about their dreams of helping children in foster care. When their children were in a youth group together, Tina and her friend organized a gift drive for children in foster care. Through this experience, they confirmed that the need was as great as they had expected, especially in north central Massachusetts. “We understand the struggle of these children and parents; they’re trying the best they can,” commented Tina. By partnering with the North Central Department of Children and Families, Tina and her friend began growing their network and ability to provide ongoing educational support for children in foster care. In 2017, “Fostering Change” was born, and Tina has continued to devote her time to this organization and the youth and families that she serves on a daily basis through her job at COMPASS.
Family Specialist Anthony Barbosa realized his desire for supporting youth in need during college when he realized that there was not an afterschool mentoring program for youth in a 25-mile radius of his college. By combining his passion for basketball and youth development, Anthony developed a youth mentoring program for youth in the area around his college. Through this experience, Anthony realized that he wanted to start his own community engagement organization after graduation in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts that mentored high school students that were interested in pursuing basketball at the collegiate level – and getting scholarships to do so. This has taken the form of a company called “American Pyramids” which is representative of the strength of pyramid structures and the fortitude that it takes to withstand the tests of time. “I want to make an impact and better understand the challenges that youth face in succeeding academically and financially,” says Anthony. Currently, Anthony has a dozen students enrolled in his program, and six students received basketball scholarships for Division I and II schools this past year alone! In addition to the formal program, Anthony organizes an annual summer basketball tournament that draws 400-500 people each time. In addition to playing basketball, American Pyramids gives away free backpacks and provides free back to school haircuts from local barbers. “This is the life I want to live, at COMPASS and outside of it,” says Anthony.
COMPASS employees are a critical component to being one of Massachusetts’s leading providers of special education and human services for youth and families in need. The work that each of them do every day – inside and outside of COMPASS – has a large, positive impact on society.