Roca’s mission is to help disengaged and disenfranchised young people move out of violence and poverty.
Roca means “rock” in Spanish – a rock to lean on, a strength to draw from, a foundation for the future. This is a future where young people have real opportunities to leave the streets, get jobs, and take responsibility for their lives. We know that, given the right tools, these young people can not only survive, but can thrive. Roca demonstrates that very high-risk young people who are often left out of programming can be reengaged in a systematic way and can make positive impacts on both their own lives and their communities.
Criminal Justice Reform
The Massachusetts Social Innovation Financing Project. This spring, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance is launching the groundbreaking, first-in-the-nation Social Innovation Financing Project, and Roca has been chosen as the primary service provider for the 5-year pilot phase of the program. more
December 12, 2013Sulai Rosa and Carlos Bravo, Superstars of Youth Work
Arguably, the most important job at Roca is that of our Youth Workers. It also happens to be the least glamorous – and maybe the most difficult.
In fact, nothing at Roca would get done if it weren’t for our youth workers. Every day they go out into the streets and find the young people on their caseloads, connect with them, keep them out of trouble, and haul them into programming. They are available 24 hours a day, they are tasked with intervening in emergencies and dangerous situations, and ultimately, they are responsible for making sure the high-risk young people make the important behavioral changes necessary for staying out of jail, getting jobs and living safe lives.
Recently though two of Roca’s youth workers received a surprise show of recognition for their outstanding work.
Sulai Rosa from Roca Chelsea, and Carlos Bravo from Roca Springfield were notified that they were the 2013 recipients of the Veronica Awards, a prize given by the Superstar Foundation recognizing direct service professionals who demonstrate “outstanding performance in promoting transformational relationships with the participants they serve,” according to the Foundation’s press release.
And while we are beaming with pride for Sulai and Carlos, in some ways the announcement didn’t surprise us – both are truly remarkable, dedicated youth workers that achieve incredible outcomes for the young people on their caseload. But, what is truly remarkable about this accomplishment is that only four people in the entire country were chosen for the award, and nominations were submitted by organizations from Massachusetts to California.
However, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the great work of all of our Roca’s youth workers. Carlos and Sulai are without a doubt, two of our “superstars”. But day in and day out, Roca’s 21 Youth Workers – without compliment or thanks – hit the toughest streets of greater Boston and Springfield, with fearlessness, focus, compassion, and a singular devotion to the young people they serve.
On behalf of Carlos, Sulai and all of the youth workers at Roca, we thank the Superstar Foundation for recognizing that this work matters.
by John Ward
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