Our goal is to provide each young person with a comprehensive circle of care that supports them on the road to successful adulthood, fosters their personal and civic engagement, and equips them with the skills they need to be agents of change. In addition to meeting the day-to-day needs of our students, we organize for safer and healthier neighborhoods and schools.
We enroll young people without regard to their religious affiliation. Most of our students are Latino/a and African American (please read our program evaluation report for full demographic information about our student population). Many are part of new immigrant households where English is spoken as a second language. The vast majority of our students live in public housing, at or below the national poverty level. All of our students are impacted by the stress of living in poverty and being surrounded by violence.
St. Stephen’s Youth Programs (SSYP) began in 2000 to provide neighborhood elementary students with a safe place to go when school is not in session. Today, our successful, cost effective, out-of-school time programming serves 850 young people in grades K-12+.
Our programs have a 16-year track record of success. We are particularly effective in helping young people at greatest risk of dropping out of school to persevere and graduate. For the last two years, 100% of our seniors graduated from high school and the vast majority did so with a well-formulated plan for their post-graduation year.
To provide our young people and their families with the emotional support they need, we partner with Trinity Boston Counseling Center and local schools of social work to embed a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and social work interns in our program.
Our after-school programs operate on days when Boston Public Schools are in session. Our youngest students receive one-on-one homework help, tutoring in math and reading, supplemental science, art, music and technology, and enrichment programming. They have opportunities for physical fitness (swimming, dance and free-play time outdoors) and are given a hot, nutritious meal each day.
Students in grades 5-8 get academic support and enrichment geared toward their developmental level. Their programming includes single-gender groups and workshops to help them develop healthy self-images and habits. It also features leadership training. Students who do not get home from school in time to participate in the middle school program can obtain homework help during teen Academic Nights.
We provide teens and SSYP alumni with academic and emotional support, life skill and leadership training, college and career preparation, job training, and employment opportunities in our year-round programming. S2POT curriculum includes:
- Twice-weekly Academic Nights for homework help, tutoring, and academic enrichment;
- College & Career Preparation including career exploration and planning, test-taking strategies, essay and resume writing, personal finances, obtaining financial aid, and developing interview skills;
- Job Training on professionalism, workplace relationships, first aid, and safety; and
- Employment as tutors, mentors, activity leaders, and role models for students in B-READY and B-SAFE.
We have a flourishing partnership with the Blackstone Innovation School, located across the street from our South End program site, which many of our students attend. It is comprised of a diverse network of religious and secular organizations concerned about the quality of Boston Public Schools.
Our community organizing work also focuses on community, state, and national efforts to make the neighborhoods we serve safer.