St. Stephen's Youth Programs

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Category Archives: B-READY 2011-2012

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Media Arts at Coffee Hour

Working with media arts in the tech lab at St. Stephen’s!

This past Sunday June 3rd, I had the opportunity to present what goes on in Media Arts class to the St. Stephen’s congregation and wider community.  We also screened a short film, “Un Nuevo Hogar – A New Home,” our submission to the diocese’s DioMass Film Festival, featuring one of our youth, Ricardo, and his story of coming here from Dominican Republic and joining the B-READY program (see the video on Facebook or here!).  Seeing Ricardo’s perspective shows the challenges of coming to a new place, but also reveals how St. Stephen’s truly welcomes and brings together people from many different backgrounds. (more…)


Student Spotlight: Achaya Walker

Achaya smiles for the camera at St. A&M!

Achaya Walker has been coming to B-READY at St. A&M since we opened four years ago in Roxbury, but this year is the year I got to know her. Achaya is a very passionate and caring fourth grader who spends most of her time dreaming about being an artist, writing amazing letters to her pen pal, and taking care of Autumn, her younger sister who is in the program for the first time this year. Though Achaya is a bright and excited child, she is also very quiet and contemplative.  One of my personal highlights this year has been able to witness Achaya begin to come out of her shell, form strong friendships, and take leadership opportunities within her group.

Achaya’s letter to Dr. King in honor of MLK Day.

In addition, I have been constantly blown away by Achaya’s writing. The expressive language and incredible personal voice in her writing has only gotten better throughout the year and definitely sets her apart from other girls her age. Her handwriting, description, voice, and grammar continue to strengthen with each ELA tutoring session we have and it is clear that she loves to write. I can only imagine how she might continue to grow with the help of her teachers and B-READY!

Posted by Natalie Vanatta, Academic Coordinator and Lead at St. A&M

Parent Series 2012: Parents Learn About the BPS Lottery, Healthy Eating, and Preventing the “Summer Slide”!

Guest speakers from the Barbara Lynch Group and Kathy Truscott from BMC come to talk to parents about nutrition and healthy living!

This spring St. Stephen’s hosted a four part parent workshop to engage parents around topics that many of them highlighted as areas of concern.  We are continuously looking for ways to support the families of our fantastic young people and the four part workshop series was the perfect way to gather parents together and to give them information they had requested.  We hosted four workshops on Wednesday nights from 6-7:30 PM, with dinner and child care provided.

April 18th Boston City Councillor John Connolly listened to parents experiences with the BPS lottery process and school choice system.  We had a number of SSYP parents, Teen staff and members of the community that came and shared their experience with the BPS lottery system. 

April 25th Chef Barbara Lynch was the guest speaker at the second parent workshop, which was all about nutrition.   (more…)

Camille, Site Director of St. A&M, Utilizes her Masters in Education. Daily.

Having a Master of Arts in Teaching  with a specialization in Elementary Education (MAT Elementary Education) has tremendously helped me throughout this year. My advanced degree has enabled me to utilize my strategic planning and leadership skills to help the team of academic coordinators by creating strong lesson plans that better serve our students. Also, my experience gives me the patience necessary to understand and serve children with individualized educational plans. I understand their plans, and thus can help them in ways many others cannot. This is one of the highlight of my career. As a former teacher, (more…)

An Interview with Loren Cahill, President of Stronger Communities, Stronger Schools

 Stronger Communities, Stronger Schools is a Wellesley College student led organization that reaches out to the larger Boston community, by volunteering at schools and community organizations.  SCSS was founded by Amanda Wyatt, a Wellesley College graduate who started the program after taking Professor Soo Hong’s Urban Education class.  SCSS is comprised of 21 volunteers who support Blackstone teachers in classrooms 3 days a week and provide one on one tutoring and homework help at St. Stephen’s 3 days a week.  Here is a short interview with SCSS President, Loren Cahill.

What Inspired you to take on a leadership role with Stronger Communities, Stronger Schools?

To be honest…Wellesley is very white washed, it is a bubble of wealth and ignorance to the outside world.  It was hard for me to be a freshman, because I didn’t find my group right away.  I joined SCSS to spend time in a community that I was familiar and comfortable with.  SCSS does really important work with St. Stephen’s and at the Blackstone, especially as a turnaround school.  There is a need for dedicated volunteers.  (more…)

Media Arts: Virtual and Recycled Architecture!

A screen-shot of a creation on, a interactive designing website from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

In Media Arts, B-READY 3rd-5th graders have been combining computer-aided design with hands-on model making to gain understanding of how an architect plans a house.  Through the website of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, students used a free program called ArchitectStudio3d, which prompted them to consider the needs of a virtual client and a specific location for their building.  They then arranged the layout and components of a home, from walls, doors and windows to furniture and landscaping, as well as the ever-popular multiple Jacuzzi dwelling.

The architects at work!

In tandem with their computer models, students drew gridded floor plans and were presented with a table full of recycled items, matte-board, paint sample cards, tape, scissors, staples, and glue.  Working from scratch with basic materials, they found numerous creative solutions to convey their drawing in three-dimensions, all the while learning folding techniques, architectural terms, using measurement, and collaborating in teams.  Our results will be displayed in the Media Arts online gallery, so come take a tour!

Posted by Will Whelan, Media Arts Specialist

2011-2012 Teen Community Organizing: Taking Action!

Teens gather in the Learning Center at St. Stephen’s for their weekly organizing meeting, December 2011

During the 2011-2012 year, the St. Stephen’s teen organizing team has been part of a number of exciting leadership development initiatives!  From our meetings, which were primarily led by teens, to the work with YMORE (Youth of Massachusetts for a Reformed Economy) and finally to developing our own local campaign the teens have put in a tremendous amount of work! (more…)