Brockton, Massachusetts

Brockton, a three time 100 Best winner, made education and obtaining a GED a major priority beginning in 2009. Brockton’s Promise is a cross-sector collaboration and partnership of over 70 Brockton health, social services, non-profit, and faith based organizations, supported by Mayor Linda M. Balzotti, the Office of the District Attorney, and Brockton Public Schools. Again this year, Brockton shows an impressive number of community residents who volunteer to support these efforts.

The city has offered youth a chance to learn about the values of people with disabilities through the Boxer Buddies program. The program is run out of Brockton High School and pairs students with disabilities with typically developing peers to create one-to-one friendships. There are over 40 students involved in the program. Formal and informal events are held throughout the year, which offers the pairs opportunities to share new skills and engage in entertaining activities.

The Brockton Blueprints Coalition consists of area directors of the State Health and Human Service agencies, as well as representatives from local and county governments to provide oversight for the delivery of services and initiatives for youth. Support comes from public agencies, such as the Departments of Social Services, Youth Services, Mental and Public Health and Mass Rehab.

The Caring Adults team of Brockton’s Promise coordinated a mentor recruitment rally, Promise in Action for Exceptional Mentoring Awards dinner, which was attended by 200 people, including the Mayor, District Attorney, School Department and local government officials. More than 50 attendees signed up for additional information and 20 people were connected with local mentor organizations. In November of 2009, the Brockton Police Department held a Shannon Grant Forum, gathering community leaders to participate in a needs assessment of the Five Promises. A major need determined in the forum was the lack of intergenerational mentoring. In response, Brockton has made several successful efforts to connect youth with mentors across all generations.

The Brockton’s WAY Taskforce adopted Keep Yourself Educated to accommodate students who cannot find balance within traditional schools. In the spring of 2010, through Weed and Seed funds, Brockton’s WAY coordinated with BPS and the District Attorney’s Office to launch a Pathways Center to assist dropouts with reconnecting with their education. There are five initiatives now active at the Pathways Center; Student Support Services, Career Center: Work and Learn Programs, Health and Wellness Center, Library and Instructional Resource Center, and Studio Art Room. Initiatives for near future implementation include the Healthcare Pathway, a Virtual Learning Lab offering distance learning, and Design and Technology Pathways.