In our nonprofit world, the fiscal year ends in June and it’s a notable month for our operations at COMPASS. As school lets out, our youth development programs transition to support youth throughout the summer months. From my perch, it’s a time to think deeply – and pivot quickly – in preparation for the upcoming year.
This year felt busier than most. For that reason, I hope you’ll afford me a brief opportunity for reflection and appreciation.
When we started COMPASS over twenty years ago, the problems and responses were distinctly grassroots. While that hasn’t entirely changed, we’ve grown to a much larger operation, and with it, an enhanced capacity to meet the needs of young people.
This year, our COMPASS Peacebuilders reached over 250 youth, and our school-based programs served hundreds of students through school and after school programs. A recent evaluation of community schools demonstrates some powerful results: participants in our after school programs showed significant academic progress over students who did not participate. In two of our schools, Asian Studies Academy and Burns Latino Studies Academy, the rates of chronic absenteeism fell, thanks in part to coordinated efforts between school staff and COMPASS staff to address root causes.
Achieving outcomes is essential, but it’s the personal impact that truly inspires: it’s the new students that learn English through COMPASS; the families that access critical medical services through our partnering school-based clinics; and the crises averted thanks to the peacekeeping efforts of our COMPASS Peacebuilders.
What is especially gratifying is the next generation – young people like Alex Clark – that take up the mantle of helping youth reach their full potential.
Last week, I had the honor of attending a ceremony for parents attaining their GED. Thanks to the support of Hartford Public Schools and the Village for Children and Families, sixteen parents enjoyed a formal dinner and entertainment by the Ray Gonzalez jazz ensemble. The event, sponsored by our friends at AETNA and The Bushnell, represents partnership at its best. This work cannot be accomplished alone, and we are very grateful to the funders and partners that make it possible.
This upcoming year, the net will be stretched even wider. We welcome all who have the ability and desire to make a difference. You’ll hear about ways to help, particularly opportunities to volunteer, in support of the things our kids need most.
I’ve always believed that in the midst of challenge and need, the solutions are never far from reach. On behalf of our youth, families, and all of our COMPASS staff, I thank each and every one of you for being part of what we do.
Very best wishes,