Issue 1 | Summer 2016
Dear Roca friends, partners and supporters,
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to our new newsletter, Roca Ink. As much as you love the name, I know you will love the content – this is our way to keep you up to date with everything that is going on at Roca! And as always with Roca, there’s a lot.
In this issue, you will learn about our newest site in Lynn (we’re growing!), a beautiful partnership between the Young Mothers Program and CVS, the artwork prepared by our young people in Chelsea, and Goldman Sachs’ help in their annual volunteer day at Roca. We’ve also included another opportunity to watch the courageous remarks we heard this year at our Annual Breakfast – I just watched all of it again, so inspiring!
I also wanted to share with you that I had the privilege of speaking at Lesley University’s commencement this year. It was funny to put a cap and a gown on again, but it gave me the opportunity to share with the graduating class some of my thoughts on justice, and how we can get there.
All the best,
Founder & CEO
Roca Opens a New Site in Lynn
Roca will serve as many as 100 high-risk young men in Lynn from its newest site, opened last month. The city’s leadership joined Roca for the ribbon cutting ceremony, led by Chris Mullins, a Roca participant. Since 2014, Roca has served Lynn’s young men from its headquarters in Chelsea, and Chelsea will remain the home site of the Lynn operations. From the new offices, Roca will operate a work crew as part of Roca’s Transitional Employment Program, and will offer HiSET, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) and workforce readiness classes.
Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger offered a warm welcome. “To me, this is a huge boost to the city,” he said at the event. Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins, Senator Thomas McGee, Rep. Brendan Crighton, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Jamie Cerulli, Lynn Housing Authority, Eastern Bank and the Tower Foundation, all joined the celebrations. Dozens of Roca partners in the court, probation, Catholic Charities, North Shore Career Center, LYSOA, SSYI and others came to check out the new space as well.
“We already serve fifty young men through the Pay for Success Project, and we are reaching out to many more through the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative”, explained Emily Fish, the Assistant Director leading the Lynn program. “Our goal is to reach 100 young men, and our youth workers are spending days and nights in the streets to bring them in.”
CVS Pharmacy and Roca Young Mothers Program Celebrate Exciting Partnership
Eight young mothers graduated from the first Roca-CVS Pharmacy Technician training, paving the way for another group starting in the fall. The 10-week training offers not only a job but a career in pharmacy. “It has been an incredibly successful pilot,” said Jonathan DaSilva, Regional Learning Center Manager for CVS Health, who instructed the course with Lois Contreras from Roca. “All eight mothers who started this program have graduated successfully, and Lois’ individual work with each one of the mothers is a major part of this success.”
Among the graduating class was Ann-Marie Taylor, a 21-year-old mother to a 2-year-old son, who has already started working at a CVS Pharmacy in Charlestown. “The training completely changed what I want to do with my life,” she said. “It gave me a job with a real option for career growth, and I can already see what future trainings are open for me at CVS Pharmacy and how they will help me promote my career and education.”
Gail McDonough, Chief Business Development Officer at Roca, agrees. “Pharmacies across the country need talented employees and these young mothers deserve this wonderful opportunity to start their career.” For Roca’s High Risk Young Mothers Program, which will grow this year from 100 to 150 mothers, this is a promising new step. “We have exciting partnerships with new employers underway and we are always looking for additional employment partners that provide pathways to quality training and employment opportunities,” Gail concludes.
Tyler King Receive’s Peace Award At Roca’s Annual Breakfast
What an inspiring morning at Roca’s 11th Annual Breakfast! We had Governor Baker’s important words about criminal justice reform, Roca Participant Tyler King’s amazing speech about his journey at Roca, San Francisco’s District Attorney George Gascon’s highlight of his bold work, Dan Lyons’ wonderful support, Sheriff Tompkins and Kendra Sanon’s hilarious emceeing and, as always, Molly’s vision and leadership, calling us all to take risks for young people.
Thank you all who joined us that morning! Your support, partnership and commitment to Roca make our work possible, and give hundreds of young people each year the opportunity to change their lives. The last year has been a tremendous year of learning, growth and accomplishment for our young people, and none of this could have happened without you.
Goldman Sachs Volunteer with Roca
For the third year in a row, the Goldman Sachs team joined Roca participants for a full day with our work crews. Goldman are more than the primary investors in Roca’s Pay for Success Project and generous supporters – they are true partners. Year after year, they send us a team of employees who clean parks and streets with us, meet Roca participants, sit with us in peacemaking circles and learn about our nation-leading high risk Intervention Model.
Two and a half years into Roca’s Pay for Success Project, we’ve learned a great deal. Goldman Sachs goes way beyond making this learning process fruitful and inspiring. Together, we study Roca’s data on the project, explore new ways to improve our work, and take up another notch our understanding of social investment. As Gold Sponsors of our Annual Breakfast, Goldman Sachs supports Roca even beyond the Pay for Success Project.
This year, the Goldman team met some of the most courageous young mothers in Roca’s High Risk Young Mothers Program. In work crews, in circles and over lunch, Goldman had the opportunity to see why we are so excited about this program. Thank you Team Goldman for coming over!
Roca is Going Artsy at the Chelsea Art Walk
Artwork created by young men during Roca Chelsea’s Paint Night was displayed at last month’s Chelsea Art Walk as well as a stunning mural created by Roca’s young mothers with local artist, Laura Smith. Hundreds of visitors buzzed through Roca, grabbed a home-made fruit parfait, learned about Roca’s work and, of course, watched the art.
“Some guys tell me they haven’t painted anything since elementary school,” shares April Spataro, a Roca youth worker leading the Paint Nights. But the art classes are not just for fun – like many activities at Roca, they are yet another opportunity to practice Roca’s Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) curriculum, developed together with Massachusetts General Hospital. “Two core skills of the CBT curriculum are learning to ‘fill up your tank’ with pleasant events, and practicing how to be present instead of thinking about the past and the future all the time,” April explains. “This is exactly what we practice in Paint Night.”
Also displayed in the Art Walk was a beautiful mural, created by nearly 30 Roca young mothers with the direction of the artist Laura Smith. Through six weeks of work, each young mother contributed to the mural a piece that represents her own journey of growth and development. A cactus, a rose and a flower were part of the images captured in the mural. In a piece written by the artist on the process, she quotes one of the young mothers, who now completes her education with Roca. This young mother chose the image of seeds to describe her own story: “I am working my butt off right now to graduate high school while raising my little girl. It’s like I’m planting all of these tiny little seeds and some are finally breaking through the ground.”
Roca extends a special thank you too some generous donors for giving in the last quarter!*
- John Hancock
- Harbus Foundation
- MAXIMUS Foundation
- Moses Kimball Fund
- Bushrod H. Campbell and Adah F. Hall Charity Fund
- Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
- Jane’s Trust
- Amelia Peabody Foundation
- Roy Hunt Foundation
- Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation
- Nordblom Family Foundation
*All this in addition to the generous foundation, individual, and corporate support over the last fiscal year.