My Life My Choice Training Series

My Life My Choice will be hosting a training series aimed at “Preventing the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Girls” for providers interested in using the My Life My Choice curriculum. The training will be lead by Lisa Goldblatt Grace, Director of MLMC, and Audrey Morrissey, Associate Director of MLMC. 

The training event will take place on September 22nd from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm at The Family Justice Center in Boston. Participants in the training will be afforded a unique learning opportunity. Information provided in the training will include: an understanding of the research base for the MLMC Curriculum, how to use the curriculum in running psycho-educational groups with vulnerable, at-risk girls in various settings, and what possible challenges and problems may arise while using the curriculum in group settings. Participants will also receive a copy of the My Life My Choice Curriculum to help them to aid at-risk girls. 

The MLMC Curriculum is a ten-session program designed to help young girls most vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. The curriculum was created in 2002 and has since been used in schools, group homes, juvenile justice facilities, and community agencies. It is in use in 22 states. In the Boston area alone, MLMC reaches more than 200 girls annually and has trained over 3000 youth service providers since 2002. 

My Life My Choice training sessions are an important part of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of young girls. Youth service providers trained by MLMC are better able to identify victims, intervene, and provide mentorship for survivors of sexual exploitation.  For more information, please visit www.fightexploitation.org. Those interested in registering for the Training Series may contact Amy Corbett, Prevention Coordinator, at acorbett@jri.org

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn…Ryan Oliver, BUILD

STAT BOX

Site Director for BUILD for nearly 3 years

Spent 11 years as a high school social studies and humanities teacher

Companion to one wiley cat

Works with the BUILD team to create the educational vision for BUILD Boston, developing innovative and high quality programming

Q: You’ve already spent considerable time in front of students as a high school teacher. What other work helped prepare you to work with BUILD?

As a director of a community-based summer program, I focused on providing urban students with cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities that inspired their development and future success. I also spent a year conducting comprehensive reviews for district and charter schools, then writing reports for state and non-profit authorizing agencies.

Q: What has surprised you most since starting your work with BUILD?

I have been most surprised, and inspired, by the overwhelming desire of so many busy and brilliant people to dedicate themselves to our students and mission. Perhaps even more impressive is that so many of these busy and brilliant people are just as interested in learning—from their students, from our teachers and staff, from their fellow mentors—as they are in sharing what they know with others.

Q: Do you have any kids of your own?

I have one cat and one nephew-son. I’ve had little success in inspiring independence and kindness in the cat, but my nephew-son is doing very well.

Q: What book(s) are you reading now?

I just finished “Stranger in a Strange Land”. As promised, it was strange. However, the central concept of patience as fundamental to understanding and peace was quite moving.

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Buildfest 2014

Save the Date for Buildfest 2014!

Held at the Westin Copley, this annual fundraiser will celebrate youth entrepreneurship and feature a student business expo. Come support BUILD and have a night of dinner, dancing and fun!

Buildfest

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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WhoIsShe? SHEGIVES Founding Member Megan Kelleher

STAT BOX

Loves to laugh, especially at herself!

Married with three children

Has travelled with her children to Italy, Ireland, and the UK over the last few years

Board member of Victim Rights Law Center

Enjoys spending time with her family, reading, doing projects around her house, and getting things done

Founder and CEO of her own investment firm

Q: HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE VICTIM RIGHTS LAW CENTER, AND WHAT IS YOUR ROLE THERE?

A: In 2011, I was introduced to the Victim Rights Law Center through a friend of the Executive Director, Stacy Malone. I wanted to do some hands-on volunteer work for a non-profit. I began helping the VRLC on some business matters and strategic planning. In doing this work, I learned so much about the amazing work of the VRLC, but more about the importance of their work. I was shocked by the statistics. Last year, the VRLC provided free legal services to over 400 rape and sexual assault victims in Massachusetts and 43% of the VRLC clients are under the age of 24.

Q: THAT’S INCREDIBLE AND INCREDIBLY SAD. CAN YOU GIVE US A BIT MORE BACKGROUND ON THE ORGANIZATION AND THE OTHER TYPES OF WORK THAT IT DOES?

A: Sure. The VRLC provides free, comprehensive, holistic legal services to rape and sexual assault victims in Massachusetts and Oregon in the areas of privacy, safety, immigration, housing, education, employment and financial stability to help rebuild victims’ lives following sexual violence. The VRLC is the first nonprofit law center in the country solely dedicated to serving the critical legal needs of sexual violence victims. VRLC provides guidance to Vice President Biden’s Office and the Office on Violence Against Women; the U.S. Department of Justice Office; the U.S. Department of Education; and all branches of the military on gender-based violence, youth violence, and campus sexual assault.

Q: SOUNDS LIKE IMPORTANT, HARD WORK. SPEAKING OF HARD WORK, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE DO-IT-YOURSELF PROJECT LATELY?

A: I like to redecorate but also like refinishing furniture. Every summer I have a new item I work on and last summer I built a giant sized doll house for my daughter. It was not perfect, but fun. It was over 8 feet tall. This summer I am working on refinishing a desk that I plan on painting a really colorful turquoise blue.

Q: TO CLOSE, WHO BROUGHT YOU INTO SHEGIVES? WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HER?

A: I came to She Gives through Kirstan Barnett. I have known Kirstan for a long time and first met her when I was involved on the Board of the Boston Hedge Fund Group in 2004. Kirstan is an intelligent and wonderfully warm person and is just so much fun! I am amazed at Kirstan’s vision for SheGives and her execution of the idea and am delighted to be a part of it.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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Science Club for Girls Hosts End of Summer Showcase

This past Thursday, Science Club for Girls held their end of summer showcase. On Thursday evening, the nine girls of SCFG’s Young Leaders in STEM summer program joined their mentors and SCFG members to present what they had learned over the course the the program’s six-weeks. These six weeks included learning new topics in STEM, applying this knowledge in activities, working with mentors, and going on field trips to visit local businesses and organizations relevant to the topics being learned.

During the course of the evening, visitors to the end of summer showcase were encouraged to interact with the girls as they presented what they had learned through various hands-on activities. The girls separated into five sections to teach five different STEM-related topics to visitors. In algorithms as art visitors pretended to be a computer fulfilling rules set by the girls so as to create various artistic outcomes. To learn about civil engineering  visitors were able to build bridges out of common materials such as newspaper and masking tape. Environmental engineering was explained through the real-life scenario of a hazardous waste spill as the girls revealed how they would tackle cleaning up the toxic waste. The girls also demonstrated knowledge of transgenes and DNA by showing visitors how to separate DNA from the cells of bananas. Finally, oceanography was explored as  the girls taught visitors how to determine the depth of a body of water. 

The evening ended with the girls presenting these topics and discussing the different activities and field trips in more detail. Over the course of the summer, these girls were able to visit Bocoup, a technology company for programers, the Waterworks Museum, and Emerson College. They were also able to tour the Zakim Bridge and other bridges in Boston to learn about civil engineering in the real world and go sailing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to apply what they had learned about oceanography. These field trips were shown to be important not only because they helped the girls to apply what they were learning but because they helped the girls to better understand possible careers in STEM and paths they could choose to follow in college and beyond. Each girl was able to articulate a possible career or college major that they had not previously considered, or even known to exist, and each was incredibly passionate about the possibility of exploring these careers. 

Further, the final presentations of the evening showed that SCFG does far more than teach STEM. Activities required girls to learn how to budget projects and pitch ideas and solutions to receive grant funding. They also learned how to confidently present their work as well as how to teach others what they had learned in a clear and interesting manner. These Young Leaders in STEM participants are passionate, intelligent, and very impressive. When asked about their experience with SCFG this summer, all expressed their love of the program and their gratitude to SCFG for giving them the opportunity to find fun in teamwork and learn more about possible futures. 

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SheShinesOn…Alison Miller, RAW Art Works

STAT BOX

Art Therapist

Has worked with RAW for 4 years

Works with children and teens, running therapeutic, art-based groups

Has been a part of RAW since she was 14 years-old

Grew up in Lynn, MA

Describes herself as an awful cook

Q: Please tell us a little about you professional experience

I have been a part of RAW since I was 14. After graduating from college, I taught art in the Lynn Public School System and ran groups at RAW part time. I was also once employed as a care giver for an organization that provided adults with special needs for three years.

Q: Was there any previous job or training that was able to best prepare you to work at RAW Art Works?

My own personal experience of being a “RAW kid” 12 years ago is probably the most valuable training I could have ever had for the job of an art therapist today. The experience of going through the program itself showed me that the arts were a valid, powerful tool for therapeutic expression.

Q: What has been the hardest part about your job?

The most difficult part of my job at this point is connecting the kids I work with to outside resources that can assist them further with taking care of basic needs such as food and shelter. Many of the kids and teens I see come from extremely low income families and getting basic needs met is always a top priority.

Q: Finally, what advice would you give to people who are interested in your org’s type of work?

My piece of advice for someone looking into working as an Art Therapist at RAW is, know that we are given many chances to nurture the youth we see. Sometimes change and growth take time. Be consistent and follow through with your commitments, it’s what some of these kids need the most.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2] SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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WhoIsShe? SHEGIVES FOUNDING MEMBER NANCY SIMONIAN

STAT BOX

Supports the African Leadership Academy and has hosted college students from Nigeria in her home

Married with two teenage boys

Favorite ski spot: Jackson Hole, Wyoming or anyplace with powder

Enjoys modern art, travelling, skiing, biking and hiking

CEO of a startup, life sciences company

Q: SO NANCY, WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING THE CEO OF A STARTUP LIFE SCIENCES COMPANY?

A: It is very exciting and fast paced. My company, Syros Pharmaceutics, is working on medicines that control the expression of genes that cause diseases such as cancer. The platform and intellectual property for the company came out of MIT and the Dana Farber. Every day I work with people at the cutting edge of science who are passionate about making a difference in patients’ lives. Building a company is full of endless challenges and rewards!

Q: WOW. HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN? WHAT’S THE BACK STORY HERE?

A: Well, I trained as a medical doctor and came to Boston for my neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in the late 80’s. I was always interested in the science side of medicine and was on the path to a career in academic medicine. In 1995, while an assistant professor at MGH and Harvard Medical School, I got a phone call that changed the trajectory of my career. Biogen was looking for their very first neurologist to lead development of their new multiple sclerosis drug, AVONEX. I followed my gut (and not the advice of most) and took the position. It was so exciting to work on the first drug that actually slowed disability progression in MS patients. Discovering and developing innovative drugs is one of the most complex team sports- and I found I loved participating in and building teams. In 2001, I had the exciting opportunity to join Millennium, a pioneering genomics company, and build their clinical development organization where I was chief medical officer. At Millennium, I had the opportunity to help patients with myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma through the development and approval of Velcade, a first in class drug. I also had a unique opportunity to build an organization from scratch- with my own vision and guiding principles. Building an organization and getting a drug approved at the same time was one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors in my professional life. In 2011, 3 years after Millennium was acquired by Takeda, I decided to look for my next challenge. I wanted to find a disruptive new area of science that had the potential to make a big impact on patients’ lives and to work with a great group of people (because life is too short). I met with lots of VCs and looked at a lot of early stage companies but it wasn’t until I met the scientific founders and VCs at Syros (then called LS22) that I found what I was looking for. In November 2012, I started as the founding CEO, raised $30M in 2013, and now have 25 passionate scientists/employees progressing the science forward toward innovative new medicines for cancer and other diseases.

Q: FANTASTIC. NOW I’M CURIOUS HOW SUCH A GO-GETTER SPENDS HER DOWNTIME?

A: I love any outdoor activity; downhill skiing, road biking, and running are my favorites. I especially love to combine outdoor adventures with travel. My husband and I summited Mt Kilimanjaro for our 20th wedding anniversary, and we have taken our two boys on adventures in Africa, Europe, and Asia. I do like challenges!

Q: LASTLY, WHO BROUGHT YOU INTO SHEGIVES? WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HER?

A: Jennifer Antolini brought me to SheGives. Jennifer’s husband, Jay Bradner, is a hematologist/oncologist at Dana Farber and is one of the scientific founders of my company. What I like best about Jennifer is her amazing ability to juggle caring for a young family, with a very busy husband (!), a full career, and always a smile.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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Science Club for Girls Seeking Volunteers

Are you looking for a unique, rewarding volunteer experience this fall? Are you interested in inspiring young girls to dream big and in encouraging them to pursue science and technology? Science Club for Girls has several volunteer opportunities available for fall in which you can do just that.

As a volunteer with the Kindergarten – 5th grade clubs, you will have the opportunity to be a mentor-scientist working with young girls in hour-long hands-on sessions. Volunteers can be college and graduate students as well as professionals who are able to commit 3.5 hours per week for 8 to 10 weeks in the fall, spring, and/or summer. All volunteers will receive special training from the SCFG staff and can choose a preferred volunteer location in Boston, Cambridge, Newton, or Lawrence (click here to review the locations). Apply for Boston and Cambridge opportunities here; apply for Lawrence opportunities here.

You may also volunteer with the STEMinistas Middle School program. This program helps students learn about the design process through interactive group activities. Participants in this program are given the opportunity to explore engineering, biology, and chemistry through hands-on projects that are adapted to best fit with participants’ interests. These projects range in length from 1 to 4 weeks. Volunteers must be able to commit 3 hours each week at one of SCFG’s Boston, Cambridge, or Newton sites and can apply here

Finally, volunteer opportunities to work with SCFG’s teens are also available. This program is made up of Challenge Teams in which teens work with like-minded young women to complete projects based in their own interests. Teams meet every week with mentors to learn new skills related to lab science, engineering, computer programing, journalism, and research. All teams are led by multiple volunteers with a wide range of interests and skills. Volunteers commit around 3 hours per week. Learn more here and apply here.

If these opportunities interest you and you want to learn more about what being an SCFG volunteer is like, check out these stories from current and past volunteers: Megan, Clara , and Lori and Danielle

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn…Peg Ecclesine, College Bound Dorchester

STAT BOX

Chief Program Officer for CBD for nearly 2 years

From Mt. Kisco, New York

Recently traveled to Montana and Wyoming for vacation

Now reading "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates"

Formerly a middle school teacher

Oversees all implementation and quality control of educational programs at CBD (Early Ed, Out of School Time, and College Connections)

Q: What previous job or training best prepared you to work here?

Being a teacher, in particular a middle school teacher, taught me how critical it is to: have a well thought out plan based on the current data; have high expectations for all students; facilitate the work, monitor progress and provide feedback to celebrate success; and determine opportunities for growth. All while simultaneously ensuring everyone is engaged and feels supported.

Q: What has been the hardest part about transitioning to your job with CBD?

Shifting mindsets from being a service oriented organization to outcomes and impact oriented one is an ongoing challenge.

Q: What did you have to learn to do in order to be able to be effective?

I had to learn to give up control (and am still working on it)!

Q: What has surprised you most since starting your work with CBD?

As a Dorchester resident, I was aware of College Bound Dorchester’s work in the community. However, I did not realize how far reaching and deep the impact of College Bound’s work really is for the neighborhood until I began working here. It seems everyone in Dorchester has a College Bound connection!

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

 

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The College Scorecard

The US Department of Education has designed a College Scorecard for parents and students to understand the affordability and value of each university. These scorecards contain information about each college, from costs to graduation rate to employment. But there is an ongoing debate about how the metrics fail to measure the mission of the universities along with things like resources and student demographics. How can an inner city university measure up to an Ivy League institution?

College Bound Dorchester is being used to illustrate this point. This Boston program aims to increase college attendance and graduation rates among low-income students.

There are currently about 400 off-track youth ages 14-27 enrolled in College Bound Dorchester’s College Connections program. 92% of the enrolled students are from households with an annual income below $35,000, with more than half of those households earning less than $14,900 per year. However, the program’s college retention rate is 61%, which is much higher than national college retention rates for similar populations.

This brings into question whether colleges will admit students from programs like College Bound Dorchester if it will affect their College Scorecard rankings in a negative way. The scorecard is meant to help students and families but could in fact be a detriment to programs making big differences in the lives of disadvantaged students.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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