Page 1


Fall 2011 • Vol. 22, Issue 2


INSIDE: Digital News Page 2

Seaside at the Seaport a Success Page 3

Ready, Set, Go for Massachusetts Homeless Children! Page 3

Corporate Corner Page 3

A Quiet Man Becomes a Hero to Many Page 4

PALs at VDC Research Make an Impact Page 5

Advocacy Update Page 6

Training and Technical Assistance Update Page 7

Expanding the Reach Page 7

Broadening the Scope


his year, HHC has broadened its impact and expanded the Community Children’s Center (CCC) program in two significant directions. The new Family Partnership Program supports children and families who have moved to permanent housing outside of the CCC catchment areas in order to ensure the successful transition to their new communities. Family Advocates help families in accessing resources, early childhood education programs Vilma Ferreira, Director of Family and other support services and in building relationships Partnerships and Nathan Hutto, Director with programs and community-based service providof Evaluation and Innovation. ers. The program is directed by Vilma Ferreira, who has many years of experience in family support, home visiting and working with families experiencing homelessness. Vilma is originally from El Salvador and brings fluency in three languages to her role. The second initiative, the Evaluation and Innovation Program, is beginning to aggregate data and measure program impact across the full set of children enrolled in the CCCs, as well as children and families involved in the Family Partnership Program. Through the collection of child assessments on both enrolled and post-enrolled children, the program will track the development of children who leave the CCCs as they progress to kindergarten. The needs and progress of families will also be monitored. The Evaluation and Innovation Program is directed by Nathan Hutto, whose past research has focused on maternal and child health and poverty measurement. He has worked extensively in education and social sectors and is also a former volunteer Playspace Activity Leader with HHC.

Roads to Success


oads to Success was a six week pilot training program held this summer for parents in our CCC program. It focused on their professional development, family engagement and understanding of the social and emotional development of their children. Designed to provide parents with a deeper knowledge of how their children grow and develop, it equipped Parents participate in a Roads to Success workshop on the them with skills that help them better different categories of stress. understand and manage challenging behaviors, build positive relationships and improve life skills and self-care techniques. Over the course of the six weeks, parents engaged in career exploration, partook in field trips throughout Boston and learned more about their community and the resources available to them. They exchanged ideas, shared information and supported each other. They learned through theory and practice how to connect with their children, redirect negative behaviors, follow their continued on page 6

1705 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, Massachusetts 02119

617/553/5455 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

HORIZONS FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN Board of Directors Matt Epstein, Chair Chip Hazard, Treasurer Bob Atchinson, Secretary Linda Mason, Founder Kate Barrand Aaron Miller Josh Bekenstein Chris Mitchell Bill Bridgen Kate O’Neil Roger Brown, Founder Ann Reale Ryan Debin Laura Rehnert Sandra Edgerley Audrey Epstein Reny Mark Edwards Mike Roberge Michael Eisenson, Founder Maurice Samuels Glenn Engler Lucienne Sanchez, M.D. Corinne Ferguson Janice Sturchio Dyan Goodwin Ellie Svenson Diane Hessan Peter Walter Katherine Klingler Susan Whitehead Jonathan Lavine

Honorary Board Ellen Bassuk T. Berry Brazelton Barbara Ehrenreich Theo Epstein Wycliffe Grousbeck Marian Heard Arnold Hiatt Howard Hiatt Loretta LaRoche

Sister Margaret Leonard Pamela G. Mann Eli Newberger Robert Paglia Diane Patrick Jack Shonkoff Francene Sussner-Rodgers William Julius Wilson Barry Zuckerman

Executive Team Åsa Fanelli

President & CEO

Stacy Dimino Chief Education and Training Officer Sarah Fujiwara Chief Playspace Programs Officer Meryl Sheriden Chief Development Officer Chris Wilbur Chief Finance and Administrative Officer

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTORS Executive Editors Åsa Fanelli, Meryl Sheriden Copywriters and Managing Editors Colette O’Neill, Kelli Slimp Photography Cailin Arthur, Tamela Kemp, Colette O’Neill, Kelli Slimp and Jacquie Spector

From the CEO Dear Friend, In a year that has seen a steady increase in the number of families without homes, Horizons for Homeless Children has continued to work to meet the needs of the children and families we serve across the state. Our 2011 fiscal year came to a close this summer and by the end of twelve months of programming, we had reached the following milestones: • We served 293 young children through high quality early education and care in our three Boston-based Community Children’s Centers (CCCs) and helped their families take steps towards economic and social self-sufficiency. • Our Roxbury CCC received NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accreditation, an honor received by only 15% of early education centers. All three of our CCCs are now NAEYC accredited. • We brought learning and play opportunities to 2,000 children each week through our statewide Playspace Programs and reached a peak of over 1,400 active volunteer Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) in shelter-based Playspaces. • For the first time, we held our 6th Young Children Without Homes National Conference outside Massachusetts, in Washington, DC, with prominent speakers from Government and an Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. • We have made inroads as a national thought leader on issues affecting young children at the intersection of homelessness and early education. In June, we launched the Campaign for Young Homeless Children, where hundreds of people have signed up to be involved in advocating on behalf of homeless children and families. In addition to these successes, I am also excited about the launch of our two new initiatives, the Family Partnership Program and the in-house Evaluation and Innovation Program, designed to help broaden and deepen our services to homeless families and their young children for a longer period of time, and measure the impact of our services both on the children and their families. We will continue to share more about their progress in the coming months. Thank you for all your incredible support. Warm Regards,

Åsa Fanelli, President and CEO

DIGITAL NEWS: HHC’s LinkedIn Group is growing steadily and you’re invited! Join the conversation and connect us with your networks! Just search for “Horizons for Homeless Children” in the “Groups” directory.

2 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube


Seaside at the Seaport a Success


ver $1 million was raised at the 22nd Annual Spring Gala, held in late April at the Seaport Hotel. The evening included a cocktail reception and silent auction, featuring a selection of unique auction packages including our signature Storybook Art auction. Dinner was served later in the evening, followed by a live auction, raffle and entertainment with comedian Jimmy Tingle, and dancing to the sounds of Airtight. The event featured guest emcee Lisa Hughes of WBZ-TV. Thank you to our lead corporate sponsors Bain Capital Children’s Charity, Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and MFS Investment Management, and other supporters, volunteers, in-kind donors and the wonderful members of our event committee, in particular co-chairs Claudia Braunstein, Karen Clark and Lisa Tannenbaum.

HHC’s Åsa Fanelli with Jimmy Tingle and Lisa Hughes.

Ready, Set, Go for Massachusetts Homeless Children!


orizons for Homeless Children is always grateful for the large number of dedicated athletes who support our work. This year alone, between the efforts of the 9 Run for Homeless Children Marathon Team members, the 450 participants of the 2nd Annual Route for Kids 5K Run/Walk and the 12,000 people who ran the 28th Annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, $143,000 was raised for HHC’s statewide programs! Over the course of several months, the Marathon team collectively raised $83,000 and succeeded in building much needed awareness of HHC in their communities. A month later, as the clouds cleared for the Route for Kids 5K (hosted by the HHC Young Professionals Group) in South Boston, participants of all ages and abilities enjoyed the sunshine while helping to raise over $36,000 for the young homeless children of Massachusetts. Congratulations to Mark Knapp for achieving the Fastest Male time and Erin Hart for the Fastest Female time. Special thanks to our Young Professionals Committee and to the generous Trailblazers who raised funds for HHC as part of their run. Thanks also to all of our individual and corporate sponsors! To top it off, proceeds from the 28th Annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge on June 2nd in Boston were directed to HHC, one of only two event beneficiaries. $24,000 was directed towards our programs and the Greater Boston community had significant exposure to our mission and programs in 450 participants take to the streets of South Boston for the the weeks leading up to the race. HHC thanks all involved! Route for Kids 5K in May.

Corporate Corner


n a special Saturday in June, when the Bruins paraded with the Stanley Cup through crowded city streets, employees from Johnson Controls and their friends were focused on something equally compelling. They spent their day painting an HHC Playspace for children living at Margaret’s House, a shelter in Dorchester. At the end of the day, the space looked wonderful and the children have enjoyed the fresh new environment immensely! Special thanks to Johnson Controls, who also contributed funding toward supplies and materials.

Employees and friends of Johnson Controls take a break from the hard work at the Dorchester Playspace. 617/553/5455

Their efforts pay off! The newly painted Playspace has been home to many hours of enjoyment since.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube 3

A Quiet Man Becomes a Hero to Many


t’s a warm summer evening, perfect for fidgety toddlers to run, skip and play in the backyard of Just-A-Start House in Somerville, a shelter for homeless teen mothers. Robert, Tina and Joanne, Thursday night volunteer Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs), usher six excited children outside for “Playspace time,” carrying the youngest down the stairs and holding the small hands of those still unsteady on their feet. The child in his arms places two chubby hands on Robert’s wrinkled cheeks, then points to the jar of bubbles on the steps. Together they fill the yard with iridescent globes while the other children chase and attempt to pop them. When the bubble blowing slows, the kids look to Robert to kick a ball to and fro or catch them at the end of the slide. He is integral to their playtime. As a Playspace Activity Leader (PAL), Robert facilitates fun for the children living in Just-A-Start House. “When I arrive to my shift, the kids are always waiting there for Playspace to start,” said Robert. “They’re just kids having fun, and we try to keep them entertained and curious.” When Robert began to plan for retirement over five years ago, an ad in the Boston Globe calling for PALs caught his attention. “I was going to be retiring and I figured I needed something to keep me occupied,” said Robert. “I enjoyed playing with my grand-

Congratulations to all of the honorees recognized at HHC’s 14th Annual Recognition and Awards Dinner in June! Robert Conway


Janet Bessette


Anthony Fulwider


Marianne Neergaard


Barbara Solow


Councilor Ayanna Pressley PUBLIC LEADERSHIP AWARD

Jackrabbit Design


Crystal Parker


Tanycha Bonilla


Ivy Trappiel


MFS Investment Management


4 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

PAL Robert Conway blows bubbles with a friend at Just-A-Start House in Somerville.

kids and kids in general, so I thought this would be a good fit.” Now, Robert is a fixture at the shelter. His dedication to the children in the shelter has endeared Robert to the shelter’s children, mothers and staff alike. “Robert is like the grandpa of the house,” said Rhonda Gurley, shelter liaison at Just-A-Start House. “The mothers and children all love him.” A gentle and soft-spoken man, Robert’s quiet manner seems to have a calming effect on the children. He expertly diffuses an escalating argument between two little boys, and patiently helps another child sop up spilled bubbles from the warm pavement. “Because they don’t always get to interact with men, the children here often treat men differently,” Rhonda continued. “But the kids become very calm with Robert because his demeanor is so calm.” For his commitment to Just-A-Start House’s children, Robert was recently named PAL of the Year of the Greater Boston region. The shelter’s residents were thrilled for him to receive the commendation and showered him with enthusiastic support. “The mothers got together and had a reception for him,” said Rhonda. “They made a sign to congratulate him using their handprints and the handprints of their children.” As a PAL, Robert offers consistency: something every young child needs for their healthy growth and development, but, unfortunately, something often lacking for children in shelter. Rhonda said, “I don’t think he’s ever missed a shift.” And, ultimately, Robert’s stabilizing presence allows the children at Just-A-Start House to feel secure and encouraged in their play, another vital requirement for normal growth and development. As a young girl attempts to climb the slide’s steps, Robert watches protectively until she’s safely at the top. As she soars down the red plastic slide, he’s waiting at the bottom to catch her. “The kids are great, just like my own five grandkids,” said Robert. “They have a much tougher start than some other kids, but they’re still just kids, and I think they deserve our support and help.”


PALs at VDC Research Make an Impact


itch Solomon, CEO of market research firm VDC Research, has more than endorsed his employees volunteering in their community; he is providing company time for them to do so. As part of an effort to make a positive impact on the company’s surrounding Natick, MA community, employees of VDC Research spend two hours per week of office time playing with, reading to, mentoring and encouraging young children in homeless shelters through Horizons for Homeless Children’s (HHC) Playspace Programs. The Playspace Programs offered an ideal venue for VDC Research’s volunteering goals of directly serving a local population through a consistent, long-term commitment. “We wanted to do something other than just donating money. It was important that we be involved with people and to help them directly,” Solomon said. “We thought the experience of working closely with children would be particularly valuable and inspiring.” Ultimately, Solomon hopes VDC Research’s commitment to the young homeless children of Massachusetts will result in happier employees giving back to a healthier community. “I think that community service is absolutely an important part of a corporate culture. We’re part of a larger community and we need to remind ourselves of our own good fortune,” Solomon said. To learn more about involving your company or organization in volunteerism at HHC, contact Kathie Carroll Day at

Volunteers Needed Special thanks to all of our Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) for their commitment of time and energy! We are recruiting PALs statewide. Join this remarkable group of people who care about giving homeless children the opportunity to play. Please consider becoming a PAL today. Visit our website at or call 800.560.7702. Attend a PAL training session to learn more about what it is like to be a PAL. Our next PAL training dates are:

September 2011 Northeast Region Saturday, September 17th 9:30am - 4:00pm Lowell; call 978.557.2182 for details. West Region Saturday, September 17th 9:30am - 4:00pm Holyoke/Springfield; call 413.532.0467 for details. Greater Boston Region Saturday, September 24th 9:30am - 4:00pm Boston; call 617.553.5455 for details. Southeast Region Saturday, September 24th 9:30am - 4:00pm Easton; call 508.510.3250 for details.

October 2011

Get Involved Today!

Central Region Saturday, October 1st 9:30am - 4:00pm Worcester; call 508.755.2615 for details.

Horizons for Homeless Children is in need of volunteers. Join one of the largest volunteer corps in the state. You will make a difference and have fun, too!

You can help.

Greater Boston Region Saturday, October 22nd 9:30am - 4:00pm Boston; call 617.553.5455 for details.

Here are some ways to be involved: 1. Sign up to be a PAL. Visit; 2. Post flyers in your community (available at all HHC office locations or call 800.560.7702 to request them); 3. Invite us to your place of worship/community organization to promote the agency/programs/ need for PALs; 4. Invite us to your corporation to promote the agency/programs/need for PALs; 5. Post our information and web link on your intranet; 6. Call us for more ideas.

Thank you!

Southeast Region Wednesday, October 19th and Thursday, October 20th 6:00 - 9:00pm (both evenings) Bourne; call 508.510.3250 for details. 617/553/5455

Horizons for Homeless Children has a new main office number! It is 617.553.5455. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube 5

Roads to Success, continued from page 1


children during play time, encourage creativity and use positive reinforcement. They spent time with their children in the classroom and received support from teachers and Family Advocates when needed. They built confidence in themselves and in their children.

From Theory to Practice

During Week 4 of the program, Marilyn, mother of 3-yearold Bella, was due to spend time in her daughter’s classroom. Bella often has temper tantrums and has difficulty listening to others and Marilyn was dubious that the exercise would be a success. Beforehand, she learned strategies that would help her engage, listen to cues, follow her daughter’s lead and enjoy their time together. Classroom time came and initially Bella was excited to be with her mother. They were enjoying breakfast together when suddenly Bella jumped up and insisted on reading a book. “We have not finished eating,” Marilyn responded, but again Bella refused to listen and demanded angrily that they read a book together. In the past, Marilyn may have been inclined to leave the breakfast table immediately and submit to her daughter’s request. But today was different. One of the teachers in the classroom continued to coach her to compromise by following Bella’s lead. “Let’s clean up the table then,” Marilyn offered, “and wash your hands. Then we will read a book.” Within two minutes, Bella had helped clean up after her meal, had asked her mother to help turn on the faucet so she could wash her hands, and then let her mother know that she was ready to read. Together they sat on an oversized cushion and read the book together. It had worked. Marilyn had learned how to listen to her daughter’s cues and reach a compromise before a tantrum erupted. It was a good day.


n June, Horizons for Homeless Children launched the Campaign for Young Homeless Children. The goal of the campaign is to build national awareness of the plight of young homeless children, and grassroots advocacy support from around the country for policy initiatives that improve their lives and brighten their futures. Those interested are encouraged to pledge support to the campaign and work with HHC to encourage policymakers to end the cycle of homelessness in the U.S. To take the pledge and join the national effort, visit http://hhc. At the state level, HHC has played an active role in the shelter overhaul debate, while continuing to foster strong relationships with key stakeholders. Through our aggressive outreach, we have earned membership to a multitude of policy and advocacy coalitions such as the Advisory Board to the Interagency Council of Housing and Homelessness, Children’s Health Coalition, and the Young Children’s Council.

Homeless children need your voice on their behalf. To learn how you can advocate for homeless children, visit and click on “Advocacy.”

Horizons for Homeless Children urges you to continue to keep an eye on our wish list at We are always in need of tools and supplies to keep enhancing our direct service programs! Our high priority items include: • • • • • •

Reusable shopping bags Paper goods and supplies Portable CD player with FM transmitter Children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste Children’s carpet/play mat Durable child-sized art smocks

• • • • •

Laminating sheets/rolls CD/Tape players (shock proof if possible) Digital camera Flip cameras Desktop laser printer

AND MORE! Log on to Services.asp. to see the complete list. 6 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube



6th Young Children Without Homes National Conference Takes the Message to DC


n June 20 and 21, Horizons for Homeless Children welcomed almost 300 people from across the nation to Washington, DC for the 6th Young Children Without Homes National Conference. It was the first year in the history of the Conference that it took place outside of Massachusetts and in our nation’s capital, where the most critical dialogue and decisions steer the course of our Dr. Joan Lombardi, country each day. Deputy Assistant In attendance were providers of early Secretary and InterDepartmental Liaison care and education services, providers of for Early Childhood homeless services, homeless education Development, liaisons, Head Start providers and policymakers and legislators. Representatives Administration for Children and Families. from 29 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as representatives from Canada traveled to Washington, DC to partake in the 2-day event. It featured a packed itinerary of workshops, led by speakers who are experts in their disciplines, including Dr. Joan Lombardi, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Child-

hood Development, Administration for Children and Families, Shannon Rudisill, Director of the Office of Child Care, Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, Director of the Office of Head Start and Dr. Sherri Killins, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. There were also designated events with members of Congress, all of which helped to strengthen the momentum and the need for change around the heightening crisis of child and family homelessness. The conference, along with the corresponding Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, was a compelling display of the growing concern for the plight of homeless children and families across the US and the need for early childhood education for homeless children. For more information on this Conference and other information-sharing Yvette Sanchez opportunities, contact Stacy Dimino at Fuentes, Director of sdimino@horizonsforhomelesschildren. the Office of Head org or 617.553.5435. Start.


Almost 300 people traveled from 29 states to the Conference in Washington, DC.

“Best conference I have been to in a long time — maybe in my entire professional career!”

“Excellent conference! I learned so much and truly valued the ‘inter-agency’, multi-disciplinary approach to the topics and the presentations. I also liked having the federal law and policy —opportunities and challenges — from the panel discussions.”

“I enjoyed the vast amount of workshops. I also felt very prepared for Advocacy Day after the Advocacy workshop. Overall, a great opportunity to network with other providers.”

Expanding the Reach


ecently, Horizons for Homeless Children’s Training and Technical Assistance Program was contracted to design, plan and install a ‘Play Space’ in a housing authority site in Portsmouth, NH. HHC’s Stacy Dimino and Sarah Fujiwara spearheaded the project and it was supported by One Sky Community Services, Inc. in conjunction with Families First, Rich McFarland Children’s Center and the Portsmouth Housing Authority. The ‘Play Space’ was modeled after HHC’s Playspace Programs and it provides children at the Center with a fun, safe and stimulating environment in which to learn, grow and play. It comes equipped with books, play equipment and art supplies. 617/553/5455

Linda Graham, NH Department of Health and Human Services, Lenore Sciuto, One Sky Services, and Stacy Dimino, HHC.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube 7

Save the Date:

13th Annual Women’s Breakfast October 26, 2011 Presented by MFS Investment Management

Horizons for Homeless Children invites you to our 13th Annual Women’s Breakfast on October 26, 2011 at The Westin Copley Place, Boston. Featuring special guest speaker, Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria on “Sesame Street” and Guest Emcee Lisa Hughes, Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor for WBZ-TV. Purchase tickets online by October 12, 2011 at or call 617.553.5455. Corporate and individual sponsorship opportunities available. For information, contact Alisha Atlas-Corbett at or call 617.553.5423

Address Service Requested 1705 Columbus Avenue Roxbury, Massachusetts 02119 617/553/5455


Fall Newsletter 2011  

Horizons for Homeless Children news, Fall 2011 issue.