Reflections from the Semester

By Delilah Goncalves           

This academic semester I had the opportunity to work with Stonehill’s Office of Community-Based Learning. I was quite unsure of what I would be doing. Nevertheless, I knew what the office did and I was excited to get the opportunity to learn more about our surrounding communities.  I was eventually assigned a task to find ways to enhance the Brockton’s Promise (BP) website. Fortunately, I had some background with BP from working with the Brockton Youth Council in the past. I worked with Cassie White, BP Coordinator, to think of ways to clearly translate the message of Brockton’s Promise to those who come across the website. We decided that the best way to do this is to let community members tell us themselves. I conducted a series of neutral interviews, not mentioning the name Brockton’s Promise even once. I really wanted to get an unbiased opinion of the importance of each promise.

The feedback I received was amazing. I met with both students and adults in the community. It was surprising to see the similarities in answers across the board. However, as a Brockton resident myself the areas that need improvement are quite clear. Hearing how the goal of each individual matched what he or she wanted to give back to the community was incredible. This experience has helped me to think of ways I can give back to my community.

The message I took out of this experience was that it really does take just one person to make a difference. And yet, Brockton doesn’t have just one person making a difference; it has a community of people making a difference. Check out the Brockton’s Promise website to learn more and see quotes from the interviews at http://www.brocktonspromise.org/

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Check out this inspiring article by Travis Ross, about Catherine Walper, the advisor to the Brockton Youth Council:

http://www.servicenation.org/_without_an_americorps_member_in_my_life

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South Shore Leadership Conference

South Shore Leadership Conference

Looking forward to the South Shore Leadership Conference on March 29th!

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Mentor Rally 2014

Mentor Program-6

Mentor Program-9 Mentor Program Mentor Program-3

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We Promise!

Corey Dolgon & Edward Jacoubs, Brockton’s Promise co-chairs

A promise is only as good as the trust that exists between those making a promise and those we want to convince that we will carry out the substance of the promise. A change in behavior, a desired good or service, a strategic plan or mission, a sacred responsibility or simply a favor: all are things we “Promise” to do because we haven’t done them yet. In many ways, however, Brockton’s Promise is different: we have already accomplished much.

Over the past 10 years since our inception:

  • Brockton’s Promise (BP) has worked with federal, state and local authorities to advocate for additional resources into our community.
  • BP assisted in multitudes of local non-profits in grant preparation, grant writing and grant oversight.
  • Helped in the building and development of 48 community raised beds, as well as the promotion of fresh and healthy foods served in our schools and afterschool programs as part of a Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health “Mass in Motion” initiative
  • Worked with Brockton Public school officials to develop and promote a Multiple Education Pathways for all students with a focus on immigrant populations
  • Created and works to promote Brockton After Dark
  • And this year will be the 6th year that BP has sponsored a youth mentor rally to celebrate mentorship in Brockton.

BP has provided some useful opportunities to make sure that Brockton youth get the education, mentorship, and resources they need to develop into healthy and thriving adults. Brockton’s Promise is not a service provider. Rather each one of the Promises has a voluntary team of residents working to strengthen the delivery of each promise by enhancing already existing community resources.

In many ways, however, much still needs to be done. Dropout rates are still too high. Too many local youth are victims of crime or the trauma of witnessing or being related to the victims of crime. Too many young people live in poverty and don’t receive adequate food, shelter or health care. More importantly the city’s institutions and structures often struggle to create the opportunities or adequate systems for low-income parents to sufficiently meet the 21st century needs of their children. We know that raising children takes a village, but Brockton is a very large village. The city’s challenges are great-but we believe our people’s hearts and hands are even greater.

This issue of the BP newsletter marks a recommitment on behalf of the BP leadership team as we reconfigure ourselves and our Promise Teams. Inside this issue you will see announcements for events, especially the upcoming Mentorship Rally. Please join us in planning for this event. You will also see information about joining all of the BP teams and we hope that you contact us about getting involved. The more we meet and talk, the more we plan and do, the more we reflect and recommit, the more we build the bonds of trust-especially with our youth.

We can and must do better. We will do better. We Promise!

To get involved or to learn more, contact us:

brocktons.promise@gmail.com

www.brocktonspromise.com

508-565-1959

 

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My name is Kaitlyn Schweikert. I am a sophomore Healthcare Administration/Psychology double major at Stonehill College. I am from a small town in midcoast Maine, Belfast. I chose to participate in the Building Leaders Learning Community because of the opportunity to go beyond the classroom and become involved in a social justice program. The idea of applying classroom theory to a community program appealed to me. Theories presented in the classroom become significant when they can be applied to real life situations, like this gardening initiative.  In seventh grade, our middle school curriculum was based solely around the garden. Each classroom curriculum, math, science, social studies and English, was in some way linked to the garden. For example, in social studies, we studied economics. We applied the theories taught in the classroom to the garden by establishing a Farm Stand and selling our products to the community after school. We also had to establish a business plan that could be used to open a business that utilized garden products. I do not remember many lessons from middle school. However, those classes that involved applying ideas and concepts taught in the classroom to the garden have stuck with me over the last seven years. I think that this fact is very significant and is part of the reason that I am so excited to be working with kids in a similar environment to the one I had in middle school. I hope that the academic lessons come alive through experimentation and hands on learning so that they can have an effect on children not just that day, but in the future as well. I believe that experiential learning is incredibly valuable. After watching the documentary entitled, Hunger Hits Home, I developed an even greater appreciation and desire to become involved in projects that make a difference for children and families. The documentary featured families across the country who are undernourished and struggling to get by. This serves as inspiration to do a good job in our work and solidifies that there is a great need in our country and community for kids to have access to programing and positive experiences at school, such as these community gardens. I am looking forward to meeting the students next week and implementing our garden-based learning activities into the classroom!

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We Can All Play a Part

It’s almost February and that means National Mentoring Month is almost over!  But this is really where it all begins!  

Spending just one hour a week with a child can make a difference that will last a lifetime. There is no better time to be involved.  Whether you want to join a formal mentoring program, or be the neighbor who watches out for the kids on the block, join us in ensuring a wonderful future for the next generation of Brockton’s Champions!

Special thanks to Noube Rateau and Aaron Thibeault of Brockton Community Access, and the Brockton’s Promise Caring Adults team for producing this video!

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