We use a citywide approach that goes ‘all in’ for the most vulnerable youth and their families in the city. We confront the individual, family, and neighborhood factors that make growing up in concentrated poverty a challenge.
We make sure everyone we touch has hope for a better future by setting an individual plan for the personal, education, or professional development necessary for achieving his or her goals. We then bring in strong community connections through mentoring and community service.
For every youth in the program, we work with their families to make sure the circle of support extends to family needs. Caregivers are matched with community partners who provide extra support and focus on breaking the cycle of poverty.
It’s an effort to involve the entire community by linking elbows to ensure a safe, healthy city for everyone.
Individual intervention is at the heart of our work. Youth are identified for direct intervention, a plan is created for each participant, and they are matched with community resources that meet counseling, education and employment skill development needs, among others. Interested participants are also linked with employers for summer jobs and paid internships. A Case Coordinator manages evaluations and intervention plans, while three Outreach Workers, two of whom are formerly criminally involved themselves, maintain regular contact to ensure implementation and to assist in group work that creates shared experiences and healthy bonding.
PCC is partnering with Berkshire Children and Families and Habitat for Humanity to simultaneously engage the caregivers of participants. A circle of support will be established around these youth and their families, and caregivers will engage in a range of skill development workshops aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.
In 2015 a distinct focus includes enhancing the social ties that serve to protect youth and caregivers in areas experiencing concentrated disadvantage. A Community Mentoring & Partner Coaches program matches residents with youth to provide valuable positive relationships and with their caregivers to assist in establishing financial stability.
Here at PCC we were lucky enough to be a part of The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI). This is a comprehensive, interagency strategy that connects law enforcement, employment, education, public health and youth development agencies to reduce youth violence in the Commonwealth. SSYI requires the implementation of coordinated intervention strategies targeted for proven risk young men ages 17-24. It is specifically tailored to address gaps and needs, each SSYI city like Pittsfield supports a continuum of services that include: Street outreach and engagement, needs assessment and evaluation, intensive case management, mental health counselling, and employment and education services and support. Through these services SSYI redirects young men who, absent a constructive alternative, might otherwise continue to contribute to street violence.
The Shannon Grant and Mentoring Program
This program targets at-risk young people who are subject to situations that have altered their lives in a negative way. We also target young people who are on the verge of leading a life that could possibly lead them down a troublesome path. The program is offered to boys and girls aged 10-24 who receive a variety of services. On the outside is the outreach worker who makes initial contact and gets to know the client as an individual. A case manager that helps the client on a higher level, assess all needs and requirements and makes referrals to other agencies if needed. The mentor who is in the pinnacle part of our program has one on one contact with the client and builds a relationship that includes trust, guidance, reassurance, positive influence and helps the client in a progressive direction that they can benefit from long term.
The mentors who volunteer their time to be a part of this program can make all the difference with our clients. If you would like to be a mentor then please fill out an application form.