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The Adventure of Theater At St A&M

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The summer is off to a great start! The kids are having fun, staff members are getting along really well, and everyone is safe and engaged in learning. We are always looking for new specialties for our students to explore and enjoy. One of this year’s favorites is theater. The students are having a blast learning theater games, making superhero cutouts, dressing up in costumes, and creating and acting in their own skits. But don’t take my word for it, check out these photos!

Posted by Shaquelle Davis Site Assistant, St.Augustine/ St.Martin


As the Summer Ends, A Site Director Reflects…

Robb with two participants of B-SAFE at Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan.

Watching the glorious pink-and-orange sunset this past Friday from the basketball court of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, I couldn’t help but reflect on the metaphor it was for the previous five weeks of the B-SAFE Summer Program.   As privileged as I felt to be experiencing one of the greatest natural works of art imaginable, it did not compare, even in that moment, to the privilege I felt every minute of every day to be a part of such a magnificent program.  I feel truly blessed to have been able to be a part of sixty wonderful kids and twenty-three brilliant staff.  Much greatness was accomplished this summer in all aspects of the program and everyone tried new things!  Some kids splashed for the first time.  For some, it was their first bite of an orange, or their first scraped knee.  Many of our field trips were firsts for our kids and served as catalysts for broadening perspectives on the way things work, their connectedness to their city, the environment and the world.  Life-long friendships were formed.  We arrived as eighty-four individuals, but as I sat, watching the sun set on Boston and on our program, I think we finished the summer as much more than that; as a family, feeling safe, feeling big, and feeling connected.

Posted by Robb Quinn, Site Director at Holy Spirit

A Summer Transformation: A Lead Works One-on-One with a Youth

Angel and Sabrina at St. A&M in Lower Roxbury this summer!

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

It is hard to imagine that in 24- 8 hour days one person could change the life of another. However, this summer, I watched as that very transformation unfold right before my eyes. The Cat in the Hats were a group of 19 students with larger than life personalities, wherein each student possessed their own individuality, creativity, and challenges. One student though stood out just a bit more than the rest: Angel. Angel was tall for an 8-year-old, a little on the lankier side, struggled with his speech and thus was quiet, and slightly timid too.

However, as Angel found himself staying quiet to fit in, Sabrina (his lead counselor) quickly noticed that he stood out. Angel could barely tie his shoes, dress himself when getting ready for swimming, he was deathly afraid of group sports and he cried—a lot! Where most of us saw an annoying 8 year old, Sabrina saw a diamond in the rough. (more…)

Same Role, Different Site

After a wonderful 5 weeks the journey of B-SAFE is now over, the feeling is bittersweet. This was my 5th summer at B-SAFE and as always was a wonderful time of growth where I made wonderful new relationships with youth, staff, and many volunteers.  Each year, I enter B-SAFE with the notion that I have all the previous experience I need to successfully run a site, then the summer comes and I leave feeling like I have grown and learned something new that I can apply for future B-SAFE summers. Being placed at Epiphany was a whole new project, one I was excited and nervous for. At Epiphany, my role of veteran quickly changed to rookie as I did not know all the odds and ends of how Epiphany operates. Many of the returning leads and teens were essential in helping me to understand the logistics of the beautiful space at Epiphany. All in all it was a great summer, I learned so much and had an incredible time being apart of the Epiphany team!

Hopes to see you all next year!

Posted by Larrice Welcome, Site Director at Epiphany YLC

Ever-Growing and Ever-Expanding in the South End

St. Stephen’s YLC at the Waring School

There was a general demand in the city for more space to be made available in youth summer programs and St. Stephen’s responded this year by expanding!  St. Stephen’s is one of two sites that host both the LEARN elementary and the YLC middle school summer programs simultaneously.

As the Site Director of the YLC at St. Stephen’s, I am proud to say that we ran a very successful program with a very high turnout.  This summer we crammed 55 middle school youth, 19 high school students who participated in our junior CIT program, 10 teenage staff members, and 6 staff members in our small and shared site.  We were limited in terms of physical space? Absolutely!  But did we let that deter us in any way?Absolutely….NOT!

As one big, hot, and sweaty family we traveled to places near and far including the DeCordova Museum , the ICA, Rotch Soccer Field, Pawtucket Red Sox, Water Country, the Christian Science sprinklers, the Old South Meeting House, Lake Cochituate, Weirs Farm and Crane’s Beach! (more…)

Feeling Big, Safe, and Connected

Larrice (Site Director at Epiphany YLC) and Josh (Site Director at Epiphany LEARN) at Revere Beach this summer.

It was an amazing summer at Epiphany! Our goal every year at B-SAFE is for every child, teen and staff member to feel BIG, SAFE and CONNECTED. I can say with confidence that we accomplished all three of those things this summer. Over the course of our five week program, I watched kids go from shy and reserved to proud and loud. We went on a ton of field trips, and the kids were able to experience everything that the Greater Boston area has to offer. We were able to set up an environment where kids felt secure, and comfortable to express themselves. By the end of the summer, the LEARN program had really grown into a tight-knit community, as evidenced by the many sad faces leaving on the last day of program. We were all sad to see the summer end, but we were also excited to see what next summer will bring.

Posted by Josh Donat, Site Director at Epiphany LEARN

Assessing the Academics of B-SAFE

Before and after assessments for our elementary program in “Numbers”.

This summer at B-SAFE, in an effort to ensure we were providing effective instruction, an assessment was given to every student enrolled in the program. The assessments were written for the grade level, and grade-appropriate concepts were covered in both our word and numbers rotations. For example, the students in the first group (K2-1st grade) were learning about dictionaries and alphabetical order. Their assessment asked questions about the beginning, middle and end of the alphabet, as well as using picture clues to define unknown words. The students in the YLC were learning how to create recipes; their assessments involved doubling, or reducing, fractions, and other pre-algebraic skills.

Before and after assessments of our elementary program in “Word”.

In analyzing the data, the vast majority of our students started with a minimal knowledge of the content covered in their curriculum (a score of 0-2), and ended the year with a higher score than they started. A few students started with a low (0-2) score, and ended the summer with a score of 4 or 5. From these assessments, as well as the final projects, we can gauge the amount of material our students learned.

The data was used to inform the specialists of the baseline knowledge our students began the summer with, and it was also used to show areas of growth. This data will be especially helpful for students who will be returning to the B-READY program this fall.

Our youngest students will start K2 or 1st grade with a basic understanding of how to tell time, our 3rd-5th graders will start school in the fall with a broader knowledge of geometric shapes and nutrition labels. Our students also built story telling skills and learned the basic components of a story.

Posted by Maggie Yost, Academic Coordinator