The following is a Christian Work Project sponsored in part by a grant from the Boston Baptist Social Union.
The Boston Project Ministries
Mission, Key Goals and Objectives
TBPM is a faith-based service organization, mobilizing residents and volunteers in projects to help build and nurture strong communities. We work to create a thriving urban community and fulfill our mission through (1) involving neighbors as volunteers and leaders in community improvement projects, and (2) providing new resources (e.g., short-term volunteers, skill-specific expertise, and financial means) within the Talbot-Norfolk Triangle [TNT] community.
TBPM is a unique community-based agency in three primary ways. First, we target a geographically specific area, adopting a strategy that focuses our efforts on corner by corner neighborhood revitalization, involving local youth and adults in decision-making and community action. Second, we are a highly accessible resource to residents of our community. We are anchored here year-round, residing in the same place that we work. Not only do we provide direct services and opportunities, we are also a gateway for engaging neighbors with other organizations and a resource connection for underutilized services in our neighborhood. Finally, we leverage partnerships, and are uniquely suited to work alongside the local faith community to address the spiritual needs we encounter.
One of our main priorities is investing in the next generation of local leaders. We want to meet the needs of underserved youth, providing opportunities that involve them in grassroots, community action to improve their neighborhood and encourage civic engagement for a lifetime. To achieve this goal, we provide services, opportunities and supports designed to meet their holistic needs.
We are requesting continued support from the Boston Baptist Social Union to further our work with at-risk youth in Dorchester through our Neighborhood Youth Ministries [NYM]. Support from BBSU will help make our 2010 Summer of Discovery and our 2010-2011 academic year programs and events possible (and available free to our neighborhood).
"Love God and love others" is a foundational principle of TBPM. We take Jesus' instruction to a practical level, seeking tangible ways to reach out to and empower our neighbors. For NYM, this means living and sharing His message of hope. We believe God has created each young person as a unique masterpiece. Our desire is to love each child and teenager for who they are and to discover with them God's purpose for their life. We partner with a local body of believers, and encourage youth to attend Global Ministries Christian Church (an American Baptist Church) for worship and teaching. We run several programs throughout the year with the goal of meeting the holistic needs of youth and families in our neighborhood:
- Academic Assistance Programs: We provide academic assistance, free school supplies, and a nutritious after school snack for any child in the community who would like homework help. After school assistance is provided on Monday through Thursday afternoons to children ages 4-18. Supervised open computer time is available to all youth.
- Real Life Bible Study: Real Life is a year-round Bible study for our local teenagers. We encourage local youth to be plugged in to a local body of believers; however, many also still want to explore Christianity or join a Bible study on their street. To meet this need, we are excited to continue to offer Real Life to support their spiritual development.
- Summer Employment & Leadership Opportunities: Our Summer Employment & Leadership Opportunities program specifically addresses the lack of summer jobs in our neighborhood and equips our young people with leadership skills to respond to issues of environmental and economic injustice. We develop their skills in a safe, local setting through training, mentorship and hands-on community service.
- Summer Explorer's Club: - Our Summer Explorer's Club includes a Fitness and Fine Arts program and Bible CLUB for underserved youth. We know that our local children need cost-free, convenient opportunities for creative engagement, exercise, and interaction with caring adults during the summer months of school vacation. The summer is a critical time for children to develop social skills with other young people who live nearby on different streets but may attend schools all over Boston. New relationships and friendships between young people strengthen the fabric of our neighborhood. In 2010, we want to provide Explorer Club's programming from 12:30- 4:30, four days a week for six weeks at our new local park.
June - August 2010: Summer of Discovery. Summer staff and directors receive a two-week training prior to summer. Our summer programs, Bible study, internships and job positions for youth run from early July through mid. to late August. The summer ends with a week of staff closure and program evaluation.
September 2010 - May 2011: Academic Year Opportunities. Any young person in the community who needs homework help is free to sign up for our academic year programs. We offer Real Life Bible study weekly. Community service days, holiday celebrations, and other events are also sponsored monthly.
Neighborhood Youth Ministries [NYM] Overview
Our programming attracts children and youth mostly from the Talbot-Norfolk Triangle located west of Washington Street in the Codman Square neighborhood of Dorchester, MA. Historically this eleven (11) street area has been considered an underserved region, primarily comprised
of low. and middle-income families. 30.64% of families fell under the federal poverty line in 2000 (twice the city-wide average). Female-headed households also make up one-third of the local population. The area geographically has few packs and open spaces for children to play, although 456 children are under 18 live in the TNT. TBPM provides services, supports, and opportunities to individuals from the TNT neighborhood located west of Washington Street in Codman Square (Dorchester) and surrounding areas. TNT is home to approximately 1,348 people. According to year 2000 census data, area residents are 79% Black or African American, 12% Latino, 5% white, 2% Asian, 2% other.
Our NYM programming serves the at-risk youth population, those who may be in a single-parent home, live below the federal poverty line, have gang-related siblings, or be at risk of school failure. Approximately 20% of the children and youth in the TNT have had contact with TBPM through community events, academic help, or internship opportunities. Children and families learn of our programs through peer-to-peer outreach, the referral of other organizations, and through fliers distributed in the neighborhood and at local businesses. We work alongside approximately thirty-five youth and adult residents through our partnership with the monthly neighborhood group TNT Neighbors United.
Our 2009 Goals in Review
In 2009, we accomplished several goals with the help of BBSU, including improving employment experiences for at-risk and high-risk teenagers in our community, and increasing the number of local volunteers involved in our ministry. See Attachment A for our 2009 photo album.
- Youth Employment. TBPM is a provider of vital, first-time job opportunities for local at-risk youth. Job opportunities give our young people something productive and challenging to do during out-of-school time, while equipping them with skills for the future and a paycheck to help with family expenses. In 2009, we more than doubled the number of youth jobs we provided in our neighborhood, hosting 33 teen employees, versus 15 in 2008. This happened through creative partnerships with the Boston Youth Fund, Action for Boston community Development (ABCD), and local business and nonprofit sponsorship. Of this group of young people, a significant number were considered "high-risk" (defined by the Boston High Risk Youth Network as a young person between the ages of twelve (12) and twenty-one (21) who is court-involved, truant, gang-involved, a chronic substance abuser, homeless, pregnant or a parent).
- Family Outreach and Volunteering. TBPM hosted Famiy Fun Night in in Elmhurst Street Park again throughout the summer of 2009. Weekly, we facilitated informal programming for families, providing a venue for intergenerational activities such as kickball, movie night, and an ice cream sundae event. Additionally, the neighboorhood mothers who comprise our Friends of Elmhurst Park group coordinated a multi-cultural festival over the summer, free to local families. We averaged 45-75 people per night.
Anticipated Growth in 2010
This year, TBPM is working on several exciting initiatives:
- Build a Children's Lcarning/Community Garden. TBPM is spearheading a green space initiative with other community, city, and regional partners to create a walkable, multi-site urban garden in our TNT neighboorhood. In the summer of 2009 we started Phase 1 of our Green Space initiative: transforming a nearby vacant lot into a small-scale low-cost, community pocket park. Our next step will be to transform a second lot into a children's learning community garden. Neighbors will be able to utilize plots to grow their own fresh produce; youth employees will assist with garden creation and upkeep; and children's programming will highlight green educational themes.
- Open a Summer Teen Job Center. In February 2010 we are launching a Summer Teen Job Center that will be located in the entryway of our ministry house on Elmhurst street. In addition to posting teen jobs from across the city, our staff will counsel youth regarding their employment options, register them for opportunities with the Boston Youth Fund, and help them create resumes and practice interviews. We anticipate maintaining approximately 30 summer jobs for local youth. employing them in local green space projects, children's programming, and community development.
- Increase Local Volunteers. - TBPM has a passion for mobilizing neighbors as local volunteers and agents of change. this past year. 125 out of our 826 annual volunteers (15%) were neighbors. Our goal for 2010 is to increase the number of local volunteers to 20% of our annual total. Additionally, we hope to create easier ways for individuals to volunteer with us, recognizing that our current strength is in hosting groups of volunteers.
- Launch Second Neighborhood Ministry House. Having a second ministry house has been a long-term goal of TBPM for many years. In 2009, Keith and Sarah Riddle (TBPM staff) began searching for a suitable property in order to launch a second house. In 2009 we also entered discussions with a Board member and a partnering church to consider how they might be involved in anchoring a Neighborhood Ministry House.