Mission: COMPASS for kids is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides education and support that improves the skills and transforms the perspectives of the adults and institutions that matter most to children.
Geographic areas served: Eastern Massachusetts
Programs: PRA's program areas, all targeting the adults responsible for raising and educating children include: (1) COMPASS (Comprehensive Parenting Skills and Support): A highly specialized program designed to meet the many parenting-related needs of families living in homeless shelters. COMPASS for homeless families capitalizes on the opportunity to reach parents and children while they are in shelter, providing critical skills for going forward and investing in a better future for these families. Launched in 2008, The COMPASS Community College Collaborative is an innovative partnership between Parenting Resource Associates? COMPASS for homeless families program and the Executive Office of the Massachusetts Community Colleges/Welfare to Work Programs, with a mission of working with parents in family shelters to develop their abilities to reach individualized self-sufficiency goals for work, community and home, via a coordinated program of Community College based education, training and support services; critical information and skills development; pragmatic work experience; and long-term coaching/case management. Ultimately the goal of the CCCC is to end family homelessness for the families engaged.(2) REACH (Resources for Early Childhood) Programs and Professionals: PRA serves as a comprehensive consulting and training resource for myriad early childhood programs, Massachusetts Department of Education programs (Massachusetts Family Networks and Community Partnerships for Children), family childcare providers and other programs serving young children. REACH provides: consultation and training services directly to individual programs and program collaborations; a well known and attended series of more than fifty open-registration Professional Development workshops for early childhood professionals, held at five sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts (training programs are held at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Cambridge Family YMCA in Cambridge, Whitney Place in Natick; Little Sprouts Early Education Center in Methuen, and the Peabody/Lynnfield YMCA in Peabody); speakers for conferences; and specialized training, support and consultation for the directors of early childhood care and education programs.(3) PACES: (Parenting Coaching, Education and Support): PACES recognizes the critical roles that parents play in the lives of children and even the impact of family issues on performance in the workplace. It is widely acknowledged that parents, without regard to race, faith or socioeconomic status, can benefit from a variety of parenting education and support efforts. PACES provides group parenting education and support as contracted in communities and on an open-registration basis, accessible to all parents, as well as speakers, workplace programs for parents, and private parenting coaching.PACES respects that parenting is a series of steps - different steps for different families - even for parenting different children in the same family. PACES also recognizes that the tempo of each family is unique and needs to be honored.
I was an intern at COMPASS for kids for four years. Initially it was just a job but after seeing change occur in the lives of the homeless clients, and even the early childhood educators. This program has inspired me and as it grows I see myself informing those in need about it. The organization is located in Lexington but serves clients in Great Boston and the Greater Lawrence area (and will some day span across Massachusetts). I can see this program being piloted in other states as well. I hope I can continue to make a difference with the company despite no longer working there.