COMPASS Peacebuilders working with Schools, Erika and Ashley

COMPASS Peacebuilders working with Schools, Erika and Ashley


As if dealing with covid was not challenging enough, eighth-grader Ashley had the added stress of leaving her mother’s home and moving in with her grandmother. The change was difficult for Ashley; she began acting out in school, and when school went virtual, she became disengaged.

Ashley’s life was heading in the wrong direction; she was in danger of dropping out of school. Her school guidance counselor felt that Ashley needed extra support and contacted COMPASS Youth Collaborative.

That is when Ashley met Peacebuilder Erika. Erika knew that to help Ashley, they first had to develop a trusting relationship.

Erika began by visiting Ashley’s new home and conducting a basic needs assessment. Besides providing the family with grocery store gift cards, clothing, and personal hygiene items, Erika ensured that Ashley had access to a Chromebook and reliable internet.

During the height of covid, Erika and Ashley communicated through FaceTime or Zoom, and when possible, they met at the park. As Ashley started trusting Erika, she opened up. Ashley shared her anxiety around the transition to her grandmother’s home and her difficulties with online learning. They talked about Ashley’s emotions and how she behaved based on those emotions. Instead of asking Ashley, “why did you do that?” Erika asked her, “How did that make you feel?” Together they began forming strategies for dealing with negative thoughts and emotions.

Erika saw Ashley’s potential and worked to give her the tools she needs to adapt to change, overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities.

Today Ashley is engaged in school, she is learning more effective ways to communicate her feelings, and she is building the resilience she needs to overcome obstacles.

(Please note, all youth’s names have been changed, the youth in the pictures are not necessarily the youth in the story. )

Read more about how COMPASS Peacebuilders help Hartford’s youth