And thanks to recent research we know that City Connects yields an impressive return on investment (ROI). As we’ve blogged, Henry Levin and A. Brooks Bowden, of the Columbia University Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education, did a benefit-cost analysis of City Connects, and found strikingly positive results. For every $1 invested in City Connects there’s a $3 ROI. This calculation includes the cost of City Connects and the cost of the services – such as food, clothing, health care, and afterschool programs – that children and families receive.
Released in 2015,this study, also found that comparing the cost of City Connects alone to the benefits it generates yields an $11 return on every $1 invested.Continue reading →
Think of Stephanie Sanabria as a one-woman fiber optic network. As a City Connects Coordinator, she connects 11 classrooms in Springfield’sEarly Childhood Education Center with resources across the city and brings those resources right into the building where it’s easy for young children and their parents to access them.
“We adapted City Connects for the early childhood years because that’s such an important stage developmentally,” Anastasia Raczek explains. Raczek is the Associate Director of Research & Evaluation at the Center for Optimized Student Support, which is based at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development.
We used funding from the Better Way Foundation to launch this effort in Catholic Schools. The first program launched in 2012 in Boston. Today, City Connects serves more than 2,000 pre-K children in programs across the country. Continue reading →
One powerful feature of City Connects is that we help community partners reach the children they want to serve.
In the case of theSalem Children’s Charity, we also help community organizations manage changing times. Here’s the story of how that happened.
“The way it started,” Brendan Walsh says, telling the 25-year-old story of the children’s charity, “is that there were four guys, all of whom had some connection to the restaurant business in Salem, and it was coming up on Christmas.”
“They said, you know, we should do something for kids at Christmas.”
The four friends decided to throw a party where they passed the hat and collected more than $1,000.
One of City Connects’ longstanding community partners is Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that collects new and nearly new clothes and distributes them to children in need. The organization has worked with City Connects for more than nine years.
In the fall of 2017, Cradles to Crayons reached out to City Connects and asked us to help out with a pilot program that they had in mind. Cradles to Crayons wanted to achieve a higher level of services by creating a new, seasonal delivery schedule for its KidsPacks – the bags full of clothes, coats, shoes, boots, books, and school supplies. The organization wanted to launch the program in City Connects schools, building on our existing relationship.
The pilot started at the beginning of this school year. In close coordination with our Coordinators, it serves more than 100 students across five Boston public schools. Students receive a back-to-school backpack with school supplies in September — and three more deliveries during the year containing clothing for fall, winter, and spring.
The goal of having these predictable deliveries is to create a system that’s better able to anticipate families’ needs and reach more students.Continue reading →
“Gillespie spoke with the girl’s mother and learned they were living in a shelter and had no way to get to school. It was less than a mile away, so the family wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for free transportation. But shelters are a special exception—students are eligible to ride on a school bus. Equipped with this information, Gillespie helped set up regular pickups and drop offs, and just like that, attendance improved.”Continue reading →
“We wanted to look at the students that are often missed, students who are in what is known as the mental health service gap. They aren’t being identified and they aren’t receiving services,” Despina Petsagourakis explains.
To do this, Petsagourakis, a graduate student at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, and her fellow graduate students Kirsten Rene and Anna Hamilton, were part of a team that conducted research on 6,000 students in 15 high-poverty elementary schools in Springfield, Mass.
“The goal is to see if the prevention and intervention system and the community collaboration and coordination that City Connects involves would address students’ needs and deliver support.”
The unmet need is considerable. The poster explains that, “Seventy-five percent of children in need of mental health services do not receive them, with disparities in service provision existing particularly for marginalized populations.”Continue reading →
Jordan Lawson thought he was going to be a clinical psychologist.
But after learning more about the field, he discovered psychometrics – and the idea of using statistics for social good.
“Statistics is interesting in and of itself, but sometimes, people, myself included, can lose sight of the fact that it’s just a tool that could be used for good,” Lawson says.
Now he’s at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development where he is a doctoral student in the Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment Department and a research associate who is helping to address one of City Connects’ data analysis challenges. Continue reading →