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Nate and Jesse meet the Boston Celtics - 6

Heather’s family going on well-deserved vacation - 3

Family Victories from Youth Villages, Massachusetts

GreenLight Fund extends support of Transitional Living - 6

Summer 2010

Antoine, not another statistic Transitional Living helps teens aging out of foster care defy the odds Page 4

Massachusetts A private nonprofit organization, Youth Villages is dedicated to helping children and families live successfully.


A Message From Our State Manager Massachusetts Leadership Council

Helping Massachusetts children and families live successfully We are so grateful for the partnerships we have forged with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health, the Family Networks staff with whom we work closely, and the many other amazing human service organizations we’ve come to know through our participation in the Children’s League of Massachusetts, Citizens for Juvenile Justice, the Strengthening Families Coalition, the Massachusetts Task Force on Aging Out, and the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers Inc. We have learned so much from these relationships and we are proud to be part of the service landscape, helping children and families live successfully in the Bay State. Recently, we created a leadership council of some of Massachusetts’ top business and civic leaders to help us promote the important work we do in the community and hold us accountable for achieving positive results. While we have extended the reach of our programs in the Commonwealth considerably during the past three years, there are still many more children and families who need our support to stay together or be safely reunited. We will continue to focus on expanding our programs in order to help even more children stay home whenever possible. By working alongside our partners, we are helping bring about change that will have a positive impact for generations to come. We are honored to be a part of this worthy endeavor. However, there is still much work to be done and we cannot do it alone. We thank you for joining with us as we work to help Massachusetts’ children and families live successfully and encourage you to stay involved and connected.

Matthew Stone, MSSW Massachusetts State Manager matthew.stone@youthvillages.org 781-937-7917 2

George D’Errico William Foster Deborah Fung Robert P. Gittens Paul S. Grogan Margaret Hall Joanna Jacobson* Paul F. Levy Melinda Marble Robert M. Nephew Mark E. Robinson Marylou Sudders Warren E. Tolman Greg Torres * member of Youth Villages’ National Board of Directors

Contact Us Woburn (State Headquarters) 400 West Cummings Park Suite 5200 Woburn, MA 01801 phone: 781-937-7900 fax: 781-937-7901 Worcester 324 Grove Street, 1st floor Worcester, MA 01605 phone: 508-368-4300 fax: 508-368-4301 Lawrence c/o MSPCC 439 South Union Street Lawrence, MA 01843 phone: 978-349-8580


98%

Percentage of Youth Villages’ parents who reported being satisfied with the family therapy and services they received.

Family vacation marks Heather’s success The Eisens are going on vacation this summer. That’s a routine event in the lives of many families, but for Ed and Amy Eisen of Topsfield, it’s a sign their daughter Heather is much better. Heather, 12, has suffered from serious emotional and behavioral problems since she was a toddler. As she grew up, her behavior became more intense and disturbing. “We could not control her, and she could not control herself,” her mother said. It took years to get an accurate diagnosis; she has Pervasive Development Disorder, a disorder on the autism spectrum. Heather spent months away from her family in residential treatment. Since 2007, Youth Villages Massachusetts has offered intensive in-home services as an effective alternative to residential treatment or foster care for

children and families in the Commonwealth. As Heather was completing her residential program, she was assigned to the Youth Villages program and counselor Jen Mack. Mack met with the family three times each week and was on call to help in an emergency 24 hours a day. “She has given us so many tools to help Heather. I don’t think we could have lived at home as a family without this help,” said Mrs. Eisen. Mack helped the Eisens develop a plan with consistent rewards and consequences that helped Heather learn self control. She worked with them on how to avoid crises and set up safety plans. Mack helped Heather learn to control her anger and supported the family as they chose a school that would better meet Heather’s needs. “Jen is always available to help me,” Mrs. Eisen said. “We’ve used other pro-

Heather, right, and Youth Villages counselor Jen Mack.

grams, but never one that supported us in this intense way.” Heather’s learned to ride a bike and will begin her second year of Hebrew school. And this summer, Heather and her family are getting away to New Hampshire for a long-delayed and much-deserved family vacation.

Youth Villages part of Strengthening Families Coalition Youth Villages is a proud participant in the Strengthening Families Coalition. The Coalition, spearheaded by Rosie’s Place, comprises more than 35 well respected local service organizations. Through the Coalition, Youth Villages supports policies that strengthen preservation and timely reunification for families involved with the Department of Children and Families.

Coalition research has shown the state spends eight times as much on out-of-home placements than it spends on family preservation and reunification services. Matt Stone, Youth Villages Massachusetts state manager, recently testified along with Sana Fadel, the Strengthening Families director, before the Massachusetts State Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with

Disabilities. At the hearing, Fadel and Stone discussed real-world examples of the outcomes and cost effectiveness of intensive in-home services. Working with the Coalition, Youth Villages continues to make a case for more financial emphasis on keeping families together and helping them succeed through intensive in-home support. 3


Learning life skills; driven to succeed Stability was a foreign concept to Antoine, who was adopted at 3 months old, then pulled out of his adoptive home and put into foster care. “I wasn’t into the foster kid thing,” Antoine says. “I got into a little bit of trouble, went to a few programs, but I was stubborn.” At age 18, Antoine was faced with another period of potential instability and unknowns: adulthood. It’s stressful enough for any teenager to leave home and begin to live independently, but for teenagers in state custody like Antoine was, “aging out” of the system with little or no support can be especially challenging. Studies show that young adults leaving state custody are at great risk of becoming homeless, unemployed or ending up in jail. But Antoine refuses to become a statistic. His determination to rise above the odds motivated him to participate in the Youth Villages Transitional Living program after being referred by his social worker in the summer of 2009. Youth Villages’ TL specialists help young people learn to deal with the minor and major problems that come with adulthood. They help participants find housing and health services, and learn how to access transportation and meet their

Antoine with TL Specialist Jackie Coleman

basic needs. Specialists teach life skills from budgeting to job searching, from educational planning to grocery shopping. They help young people create permanent relationships and support systems, sometimes even helping them reunite with their family to assist them long after Youth Villages is gone. Antoine meets regularly with TL Specialist Jackie Coleman. “She’s multipurpose,” Antoine says about Jackie. “I was supposed to be out looking for an apartment, and Jackie came along.

What others say about Youth Villages...

Carol Sylvestre, Program Director, Family Networks Lawrence Area Office

The Lawrence Area Office has had great success with Youth Villages. The counselors show exceptional dedica4

tion to the families, and the level of support the counselors receive from supervisors is also phenomenal. If a family is in crisis, it is not uncommon for the counselor and the supervisor to go out to the family’s home and help deescalate the situation. They will spend as much time as is necessary with the family. They work to help ensure families sustain themselves by

She helped me get a plan and helped me with managing school, money and everything I need.” Equally positive about the work Antoine has done while in the program, Coleman says: “It’s a privilege to walk beside Antoine as he gains these skills and accomplishes many successes. With very little support, Antoine has been able to maintain his own apartment, balance two jobs and pay his bills and rent on time.”

continued on page 7 reaching out to natural supports in the community. Most of the families we refer would most likely have had a child placed out of the home if it weren’t for Youth Villages. Many families have dealt with mulitple providers over the years and feel like nothing has worked — Youth Villages does a nice job of eliminating that barrier and making parents and children feel supported.


Massachusetts Program Success As a national leader in the field of behavioral health, Youth Villages has measured outcomes of children and families participating in its programs since 1994. Below are some outcomes specific to our Massachusetts programs.

Massachusetts Milestones

The graph above represents where children are six months after being discharged from Youth Villages’ Intercept intensive in-home services.

September 2009

100 percent of Massachusetts’ employees participated in Youth Villages’ employee giving campaign, contributing more than $20,000 back to the organization for programs like Transitional Living.

October 9, 2009

MA Intercept program discharged its 100th youth.

February 23, 2010

MA Intercept program admitted its first youth in Springfield.

Meet the YV Family Andrea Donahue

Anna Soloway

Intercept Clinical Supervisor Worcester

Transitional Living Specialist Woburn

Years with Youth Villages: 2 1/2

Years with Youth Villages: 2 1/2

Education: BA, psychology, Clark University, MS, marriage and family therapy, University of New Hampshire

Education: BSW, University of Vermont

“I work at Youth Villages because I want to make a positive difference in families’ lives. Every day I come to work, I’m amazed at how dedicated my counselors are to the success of their children and families. The most rewarding thing about my job is relieving some stress for parents and knowing I am making a difference in children’s lives.”

“I work at Youth Villages because the values and mission are so important. What we do works for our families and the support and camaraderie I feel from my co-workers and the agency is more than anywhere else I’ve worked. I love how different our agency and our programs are from everyone else. I love to explain our programs and have people go ‘Wow, that’s amazing and exactly what we need here.’”

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YV in the community GreenLight Fund’s support continues In 2008, the GreenLight Fund, a Boston-based venture philanthropy, identified Youth Villages’ Transitional Living program as an innovative, results-oriented nonprofit program. After being selected as the GreenLight Fund’s fourth investment and receiving $800,000 in financial support, the Transitional Living program was introduced to Massachusetts and exclusively featured at the GreenLight Fund’s three signature events. To mark its fifth anniversary this year, rather than investing in a new organization, the GreenLight Fund is showcasing the positive outcomes of current investments while raising additional funds to be split among current portfolio organizations. The Transitional Living program has already received an additional $88,000.

The leaders of the GreenLight Fund portfolio organizations pause for a quick photo at this year’s Emerald Evening. From left are Matthew Stone of Youth Villages, Molly Greene of Peer Health Exchange, Donna DiFillippo of Raising a Reader, Imari Paris Jeffries of Friends of the Children, and Margaret Hall and John Simon of the GreenLight Fund.

Holiday Heroes gift drive a success Youth Villages Massachusetts’ first annual Holiday Heroes gift drive was Dec. 1 at The 21st Amendment in downtown Boston. The event attracted more than 50 young professionals who helped raise $1,000 and provided many gifts for the children and families Youth Villages served this holiday season.

Pictured at the Holiday Heroes event, left to right, are Larry Wysocki, Karen Bagley, Todd Paulauskas and Lisa Mayhew.

A simple act of kindness A simple act of kindness is sometimes all that is needed to make a difference. After learning about Youth Villages at The GreenLight Fund’s annual gala in September, Bill and Nancy Zeitler donated the Celtics Courtside Kids Experience they won during the auction to one of our deserving families. This donation provided tickets to a family and VIP access for the children to meet the players. Nate (left) and Jesse couldn’t stop talking about how they gave highfives to all of the players. 6


Stay connected: spread the word “It’s truly a privilege to be able to help others make a difference in a way that’s meaningful to them. Seeing the joy that results from their experience giving back to Youth Villages is extremely rewarding.” Kristin Wright, Development Manager 781-937-7931, kristin.wright@youthvillages.org

How you can help • Make a monthly sustaining gift. Set up a sustaining gift online at www.youthvillages.org/donate. Simply fill in a monthly contribution amount, check the sustaining gift option and then select the gift duration you wish. • Donate gently used household items to young adults participating in the Transitional Living program who have moved into a new apartment with little to call their own. Items often needed include pots and pans, sheet sets, comforters, towels, dishes and furniture (especially beds and bed frames). • Offer an informational interview. Many of the young adults in our programs lack access to positive role models. By offering an hour of your time, you can help a young adult learn more about an occupation of interest, explore different fields of study or pursue a personal hobby. • Spread the word about the important work we do. Please forward our e-newsletters to friends, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information on how you can help please contact Kristin directly.

Join our networks

Helping put Antoine on path to success from page 4

www.facebook.com/youthvillages

www.twitter.com/youthvillages

www.youthvillages.wordpress.com

Antoine is also pursuing career interests in film and psychology. He plans to re-enroll in classes at Northern Essex Community College this fall and recently participated in an informational interview with a screenwriter/playwright/producer from the Boston area to learn more about local opportunities in the film industry. “He works really hard,” Jackie says. “Antoine has amazing potential, and he just needed a chance to learn the necessary skills and develop the confidence to live independently. And while there’s still a lot to work on, he’s a survivor and he’s smart. Antoine’s learning, and he’s doing everything he needs to do in order to succeed.” 7


YOUTH VILLAGES 400 West Cummings Park, Suite 5200 Woburn, MA 01801 (Address Service Requested)

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 1324

Massachusetts

A private nonprofit organization, Youth Villages serves more than 15,000 children and their families from offices in the following cities: Alabama: Anniston, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile Arkansas: Jonesboro, Little Rock Florida: Lakeland, Miami, Tampa Georgia: Atlanta, Douglasville Massachusetts: Lawrence, Woburn, Worcester Mississippi: Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Jackson, Tupelo New Hampshire: Manchester North Carolina: Asheville, Charlotte, Concord, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Hickory, Pinehurst, Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington Tennessee: Chattanooga, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Dickson, Dyersburg, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Linden, Memphis, Morristown, Nashville, Paris Texas: Dallas Washington, D.C.

New Heights Massachusetts is published by Youth Villages

Managing editor: Matthew Stone Associate editor: Chris Pennington Please e-mail kristin.wright@youthvillages.org or call 781-937-7931 to have your name removed from our mailing list.

Founded in 1986, Youth Villages has built a national reputation for offering the most effective programs and services to help emotionally troubled children and their families. With offices in Lawrence, Woburn and Worcester, the private nonprofit organization provides intensive in-home services and a transitional living program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

NewHeights_Summer2010_MA  

Family Victories from Youth Villages, Massachu setts Nate and Jesse meet the Boston Celtics - 6 Heather’s family going on well-deserved vaca...