WBZ Cares is our public service initiative focused on local non-profit entities, events, and causes. Each month WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will select an organization to profile.
Through news stories, public service announcements and guest appearances on NightSide with Dan Rea, we will show the hard work and dedication of our local charities.
WBZ NewsRadio has been a trusted voice in New England for more than 90 years and we would like to work with our listeners to improve the lives of New Englanders in need.
If you would like your charity to be considered, please send us an email.
THIS MONTH'S CHARITY
WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is proud to support the GreenLight Fund, a non-profit organization that helps transform the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to identify critical needs, import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that can have a significant, measurable impact, and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city.
BAM (Becoming A Man): YOUTH GUIDANCE
It’s easy for young men, particularly from disadvantaged communities, to become angry and afraid. It’s easy for them to follow negative influences that lead to serious trouble. It’s easy for them to drop out of school.
Becoming A Man (BAM) is a two-year, school-based program that supports young men through weekly group sessions with their peers and the guidance of a trauma-informed BAM counselor. Counselors use check-ins, stories, role-playing and group missions to help these young men learn, practice and internalize the program’s six core values: Integrity, Self-determination, Accountability, Respect for womanhood, Positive anger expression, and Visionary goal-setting. The BAM Curriculum develops social cognitive skills including: self-awareness, emotional regulation, responsible decision making and social awareness that deters criminal involvement and increases school engagement. Counselors are culturally competent, often reflecting the demographic of the students they work with, and act as positive male role models, in addition to being trained counselors.
BLUEPRINT SCHOOLS NETWORK
Blueprint Schools Network partners with school districts across the country to ensure educational equity for students in the lowest performing schools. Their turnaround framework is based on core strategies that recent research has identified as the biggest drivers of student achievement in highly effective, gap-closing schools.
In Boston, Blueprint partners with school districts to apply its trademark turnaround efforts deep into the highest need schools.Blueprint’s core strategies include: excellence in leadership and instruction, increased instructional time, a culture of high expectations, data to improve instruction, and daily, small group tutoring.
The cornerstone of the unique whole-school approach is the Blueprint Fellows Program, a selective service opportunity for recent college graduates to work directly in high need, Boston public high schools. Fellows provide daily small group tutoring sessions to students across grades K-12.
COLLEGE ADVISING CORPS
The College Advising Corps believes that every student deserves the chance to enter and complete higher education, including underrepresented and low-income students who may be the first in their families to attend college. So they go where the students are, placing intensively trained, recent college graduates from one of their partner universities as full-time advisers in some of the nation’s most underserved high schools. Advisers help high school students navigate the complex processes of college admissions and matriculation and access financial aid.
Since College Advising Corps Boston launched in the 2013-14 academic year, it has reached almost every high school in the district. They are currently on pace to be in all Boston public high schools and a select number of charter schools in the 2016-17 school year.
In Boston as elsewhere, College Advising Corps collaborates closely with school administrators and staff, working with students from ninth grade through high school graduation to create a college-going culture at schools. They work closely with other college-access providers in Boston such as uAspire and Bottom Line and are active with Success Boston.
FAMILY INDEPENDENCE INITIATIVE
Family Independence Initiative (FII) leverages the power of information to support economic and social mobility for families nationwide. Rather than impose solutions or fixes on behalf of others, FII proves that documenting and investing in the initiative and ingenuity of low-income families and communities is the most effective way forward. Fifty percent of families who join FII while living below the federal poverty line now earn incomes above that line.
FII took root in Boston in 2010 and quickly established itself as the organization’s largest and most innovative site nationally. FII Boston connects families to one another, providing them with the opportunity to support each other, hold each other accountable and share resources, ideas and advice. In a short period, FII has become a key player among its community-based peers, leveraging relationships and resources to bring new programs and approaches to the communities it serves. They have piloted new services for health care coverage and social change initiatives and have led the way in the use of data to improve operations and enhance their work.
Their path forward in Boston is an aggressive one: 2,700 households by 2018 – or 10% of their target communities’ population living under $50,000 a year. For them, it’s just the beginning.
FRIENDS OF THE CHILDREN
Friends of the Children creates generational change by engaging the highest risk children with 12 consecutive years of transformative mentoring relationships and advocacy.
Friends of the Children calls their young people “Achievers”, a reflection of their belief in every child’s inherent capacity to succeed. But they don’t just work with these young people. They invest in them, striving year after year, to give them – and by extension, their families – the resources and support they need to overcome obstacles and to reach their full potential.
Each participant in Friends of the Children gets a dedicated, one-on-one friend who spends a minimum of 16 intentional hours per month with them. The friend develops a road map for each child and designs activities to build life skills. They create meaningful experiences to explore each child’s unique talents and interests. Friends also spend time in each child’s home, school, neighborhood and community, providing continuity in often unstable environments.
PEER HEALTH EXCHANGE
Here’s a little of what it’s like to be a teen today:
- 1 in 3 teenagers is sexually active, and of those teens,
- 40% did not use a condom the last time they had sex
- 1 in 5 teenagers binge drinks
- 1 in 4 teenagers reports feeling consistently sad or hopeless
Studies have shown that teen pregnancy, substance abuse and untreated mental illness are associated with poor academic achievement, high school dropout rates and other diminished life opportunities.
Peer Health Exchange (PHE) looks to change these odds, giving teens the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions. PHE relies on other young adults to lead the way, training college students to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools that lack health education. Many come from the same schools and the same types of communities as the teens they work with, making the connections and the communications more relevant and impactful.
RAISING A READER MASSACHUSETTS
At Raising A Reader Massachusetts, books matter from birth.
Nationally, 39% of third graders do not read proficiently. This number jumps to 60% for low-income children. Children who are not reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma.
Launched in Massachusetts in 2006, Raising A Reader MA offers an evidence-based early literacy program that helps families of young children, birth through age eight, to develop, practice and maintain habits of reading together at home. Why? Research shows that the single most significant factor influencing a child’s lifelong achievement is being read to regularly by their parents and adult caregivers before starting kindergarten.
Raising A Reader MA works in partnership with early care and education programs and other local community organizations to provide services in high-need communities in Boston and Massachusetts gateway cities. The program model increases access to books and offers support for strengthening the culture of reading at home.
A successful transition to adulthood isn’t easy, even for the most well supported youth.
Youth Villages is dedicated to helping those for whom the process is even more challenging: emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families who often are at a loss for what to do and where to turn.
Youth Villages began serving families in Massachusetts in 2007. A few years later they opened YVLifeSet, an initiative focused on assisting young adults aging out of the Massachusetts foster care system. YVLifeSet’s highly trained specialists work 24/7 with their young clients, including face-to-face sessions at least once a week in community settings, at homes, at school or on the job – wherever is most convenient. Together, they tackle the highs and lows of growing up and ensure that the basics – stable and suitable housing, education, life skills – are covered.
The GreenLight Fund transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to:
- Identify critical needs
- Import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that can have a significant, measurable impact, and
- Galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city.
They envision a national network of GreenLight Fund cities, working together and learning from each other to harness the vision and ambition of social entrepreneurs and accelerate the spread of proven programs that make lasting change for children, youth and families.