“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 →
Winter arrives in Minneapolis carrying two sacks. In one is the bright hustle and bustle of the holiday season. In the other are the frigid cold temperatures that threaten vulnerable families.
At Risen Christ Elementary School, where 98 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, City Connects Coordinator Lindsay O’Keefe and a group of local community partners are prepared to deal with all aspects of winter. This is essential, because, as O’Keefe explains, “Minnesota is really cold. We don’t have snow days. We have cold days where they cancel school because it is so dangerous to have the kids outside waiting for the bus because the wind chills are so cold.”
To boost the fun part of winter, O’Keefe spreads the magic of the holiday season by working with a colleague from Catholic Charities to connect families to a Christmas gift program run bySponsor a Family MN, a local nonprofit.
“Every single family in our school can sign up for three Christmas gifts for every member of the family that lives in the house. The adults and the kids get three gifts.” Often, families ask for winter coats and boots.Continue reading →
Last school year, Lincoln Elementary School in Springfield, Mass., had a custodian’s closet that was nothing special.
This year that space has been transformed – painted, carpeted and decorated – and turned intoCatie’s Closet, a cheerful place where students can get donated clothes and toiletries.
It’s a powerful example of a City Connects’ community partner that places its resources inside schools where students have easy access.
Now, when a student at Lincoln needs clothes, City Connects Coordinator Allison Emhoff can go into the closet and get winter coats, sweaters, pajamas, backpacks, or the school uniforms that students at Lincoln wear. The closet doesn’t have shoes, but Emhoff can put in a special request for them. Students can also get personal products like deodorant or toothpaste. And it’s all convenient because the closet is just down the hall. Continue reading →