Youth Opportunities and Development encompasses DSNI’s work along the age continuum from 0-24 connecting young people to a supportive community with caring adults, enriching opportunities and responsive systems that support them in being successful in school career and life.
Below is a list of DSNI activities. Click on a section to go directly to it or scroll down:
• K-12th grade- School Partnerships, Parent Advocacy, Stronger Leaders Brighter Future Mentoring Program, Dudley Youth Council (DYC) and the Get Hype Campaign, DSNI Youth Organizers, GOTCHA, College Bound
• 18-24 years old- Young Alumni Network
ACT Framework and Plan
Originally commissioned by the Mayor in 2009, The Achieve, Connect, Thrive (ACT) Skills Framework displays the skills that evidence suggests students need in order to succeed in school, college, and careers. Through the efforts of Boston After School & Beyond, the Boston Public Schools, and the United Way- the framework provides a common vocabulary to bridge education and youth development, as well as school, afterschool and summer learning.* Four skills exist within each of the 3 domains (Achieving, Connecting, Thriving) for a total of 12 concrete skills youth can develop. In 2012, youth from DSNI modified the framework into a tangible ACT Plan young people can use to identify their strengths and areas for growth, as well as, outline specific steps on how they will develop skills. The ACT Plan has been piloted with youth employed at DSNI and involved in the Stronger Leaders Brighter Future mentoring program.
The LOVE (Learning Our Value In Education) Campaign highlights the value of education and elevates the significant and visible role of parents, families, neighbors, businesses, agencies and religious organizations in a child’s or their own education. The communitywide campaign was launched in 2013 with parents, families, youth, businesses, religious organizations and community partners to spread the message across the community. The campaign will increase ownership of children/youth success, strengthen shared accountability, and increase expectations and opportunities to better support youth development. This campaign will highlight the barriers to success and provide opportunities for the community to advocate for system changes that best support children and youth getting the best education.
DSNI Youth Committee
As a part of the DSNI Board of Directors, the Youth Committee meets monthly and provides oversight, direction and strategies around the creation of educational and career opportunities and leadership development for youth in the community.
DSNI Education Committee
The Education Committee focuses on educational issues that affect our neighborhood as well as city, state and federal issues that have an impact on our neighborhood children. This group meets once a month and its participants are a mix of board members, residents and members of educational and community organizations. This group leads the Learning Our Value in Education (LOVE) campaign.
0-5 Years Old
Dudley Children Thrive (DCT)
Dudley Children Thrive (DCT) is a collaborative initiative committed to working with families who have children between the ages of 0-5 and providers- to share information, opportunities, and formulas that help prepare children for the highest levels of success in school and life. Based in the understanding that a child is more likely to be successful if they feel smart, loved and confident in themselves and their family unit, the collaborative supports parents in achieving the hopes and dreams they have for their families. The collaborative has organized a team of residents, families and organizations to unify and support parents as First Teachers in an effort to help prepare our youngest residents for school readiness and success. The three key focus areas are Early Literacy (Word Build), Nutrition, and Wellness.
Word Build Campaign - We build their world when we build their words
Vocabulary level is an important indicator of school readiness and academic success. The Word Build campaign supports families in developing their children’s vocabulary and critical thinking skills through interactive activities. Talking, singing, playing, reading, shopping, etc. can all be used as times for quality bonding and word building. This campaign engages and encourages families of the community to use many different opportunities to introduce words (build words) with children and organizes residents, providers, organizations and the overall community into multiple collaborations that promote daily word building opportunities.
DCT Parent Leadership Pathway
The Parent Leadership Pathway, which engages parents in developing and strengthening organizing and leadership skills through workshops, activities and partnering opportunities. Parents, as leaders, are encouraged to collaborate on coordinating empowered networks that advocate for high quality care, programming, and systems within the 0-5 community.
DSNI is working as a strategic partner with schools in the neighborhood by: supporting the alignment of partners with each school's plans; developing and advocating for extended learning opportunities that engage families and community members in supporting student learning; engaging school leaders in a community of practice and engaging families and the community in advocating for quality education. The specific extended learning time projects are Reading Buddies on the elementary school level and Saturday School on the high school and middle school level, which both build on the involvement of volunteers.
Parent Advocacy supports parents and families to be active in their child’s education. Empowering parents to be engaged in their child's education is essential in creating academic proficiency and social success for children. Some parent advocacy focuses on formal school structures such as school site councils and parent councils, which vote on school budgets and whole school improvement plans. We also support advocating for one's child on an individual level and how to advocate for resources for your child's school. In addition we offer support to our neighborhood parents in the realm of facilitation and community organizing.
Stronger Leaders Brighter Future Mentoring Program
Developed by youth and adult partners, Stronger Leaders Brighter Future (SLBF) was born out of the need for a greater presence of caring, consistent adults in the lives of youth within the Dudley Village Campus (“DVC”). Using a community-based, one-to-one mentoring model, 8-12th graders are matched with trained mentors who reflect the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of our youth.
The program’s goals are to:
• connect 8th to 12th grade youth in the DVC with caring adults in a mentoring relationship
• empower youth to make positive decisions through goal-setting and skill-building, and
• support youth in expanding resources and navigating systems in order to achieve their goals and reach their highest potential
We are currently recruiting both Mentors and Mentees for the 2016-2017 School Year.
Interested in applying to be a DSNI Mentee? Apply at www.bit.ly/beadsnimentee!
Interested in applying to be a DSNI Mentor? Apply at www.bit.ly/beadsnimentor!
Dudley Youth Council and the Get Hype Campaign
Neighborhood youth formed the Dudley Youth Council (DYC) with the mission to establish a united youth voice in the Dudley area, motivating and empowering young people to better the local and broader community through positive action. DYC members facilitate weekly meetings meets Tuesday from 6-8pm where all youth are welcomed and help to plan events and activities throughout the year such as game and theme nights, talent cyphers, sports tournaments, family fun nights and youth cafes. The youth have created several mini films including: Teenage Fire and Live it Up or Give it Up: The Story of a Dropout, along with several radio shows on various topics that are important to youth. Currently members are preparing to launch the Get Hype Campaign geared at motivating high school youth to make positive choices about their education, life and future.
DSNI Youth Organizers
DSNI employs approximately 60 youth and young adults throughout the school year and summer to mobilize residents to make a change. Youth employed are generally between the ages of 15-18 with young adults, aged 19-25, as supervisory staff. Recent projects have included:
• developing a documentary about the importance of early literacy with tips on how parents and residents can make a change;
• building raised bed gardens in collaboration with the Food Project and REEP to create local and sustainable sources of healthy food in the neighborhood;
• organizing Pop-Up Museums, in collaboration with the Boston Children’s Museum, at the weekly Food Project’s Farmers Markets to educate families about the importance of early literacy;
• planning community landscaping projects, on land trust property, in collaboration with Youth Build to invigorate the community and promote community pride; and organizing the annual Multicultural Festival to promote and celebrate the vibrant cultural diversity in the community.
Created in 2003, GOTCHA (Get Off the Corner Hanging Around) was initially formed as a summer youth employment collaborative based in the Dudley Street, Uphams Corner and Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester. Since then, it has evolved to include school year employment, joint trainings, events and outreach efforts, and collective advocacy efforts aimed at increasing the number and quality of jobs available for young people in the community. Youth and adult representatives from the six planning partners: DSNI as the lead joined by Bird Street Community Center, Dorchester Bay EDC, The City School, The Food Project and Youth and Police in Partnership, make up the core of the collaborative. They come together twice a month to implement GOTCHA’s vision to foster youth leadership, build a vibrant, caring community through meaningful year round employment opportunities and connect youth to other critical resources that include personal, emotional and intellectual supports.
DSNI’s College Bound program introduces Dudley neighborhood youth to post-secondary opportunities by organizing college trips and retreats, linking students to college students from the community and hosting workshops for families on the application and financial aid process.
18-24 Years Old
Young Alumni Network
Youth have always played a critical role in DSNI’s history- developing campaigns, organizing events and volunteering to make the community a better place. In 2012, the DSNI Young Alumni Network was created as a way to engage young people that were once involved with DSNI either as employees, youth council or Board members, volunteers or just visitors. Primarily focused on 18-20 year olds, the Young Alumni Network is aimed at providing resources, connections and supports that help young people be successful in college, career and life.