Our Boston Founding Members helping children and youth in need

21 Nov

Congratulations and thank you to Boston’s Founding 30 for coming on board with Catchafire, and for making our Boston launch event last Monday the success that it was. Today we conclude a blog series featuring the last four of our Founding 30, who are helping children and young adults in Boston and across the nation to lead safe, happy lives and realize their dreams, whatever their circumstances.

Since its formation in 1986, Youth Villages has been helping emotionally troubled children and their families. Its programs and services have a national reputation as the most effective available. They’re focused on results and employ evidence-based treatment models to fulfill a refined and simple goal: building stronger families.

The organization provides therapy in the least restrictive setting available – the child’s own home. This enables Youth Villages to work closely with families to create permanent solutions. There are about 425,000 children in foster care across the US and every 38 minutes, Youth Villages brings another child into their care. This year alone they’re working with more than 17,000 children and families in 11 states.

Despite Youth Villages’ incredible success rate of 80% (twice the national average), the organization can always use more help. Visit their website to view opportunities to mentor, volunteer, donate, fundraise and attend events.

ROCA focuses on supporting the most disenfranchised young people living the Greater Boston area, including those involved with gangs, school and college dropouts, young parents, refugees and immigrants. By helping them transition into educational and life skills programming and employment, ROCA is helping them to re-engage with society.

Founded in 1988, ROCA has helped more than 25,000 young people to take responsibility for their lives and make meaningful change. ROCA doesn’t simply help young people find future opportunities, it provides them with the skills and motivation they need to proactively and enthusiastically embrace these opportunities, thereby ensuring long-term success. Of the 705 young people engaged with ROCA this year alone, 90% remain actively involved in ROCA’s program.

There are many way for those living in the Greater Boston area and beyond to get involved. Get the ball rolling!

Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) provides youth with positive role models and one-to-one and group mentoring programs, empowering them to achieve their personal, educational and professional goals. They have pioneered a number of nationally recognized, award winning mentoring services.

Mentor Match, PYD’s primary program, provides adult mentors for 40-60 youth every year. Mentors, often disabled themselves, foster close relationships and focus on independent living skills. An array of other programs help troubled youths build skills in self-advocacy, entrepreneurship, career development, socialization, leadership and healthy living, to name a few. The Access to Theatre program, for example, gives youth with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the arts and explore their creative talents.

PYD’s scope is broad, as are their volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are key to the organization’s success and continual growth. Interested in becoming a mentor or simply hosting a “Job Shadow Day”? Contact YPD via their site.

Hubert Eugene Jones, or “Hubie Jones,” has been shaping the social landscape of Boston for over 45 years. In addition to building, rebuilding and leading a number of community organizations across Boston, Jones chaired a task force that effectively spearheaded the enactments of two landmark laws in Massachusetts, the Special Education Law and the Bilingual Education Law. Jones created the taskforce after discovering how 10,000 children were, for a number of reasons, being excluded from the school system. That was back in 1967.

Fast-forward 43 years and he’s on a new mission. Modeled after New York City’s Harlem Children Zone, Jones has formed Higher Ground. Higher Ground will focus its efforts on certain “impact areas”, providing the services needed most and working closely with other social good organizations to increase their effectiveness. Higher Ground is still raising startup capital, but with the extremely determined Hubie Jones behind the project, it’s destined for success.

If you missed our post on the Founding 30, check it out here.

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