Karlenin Alcantara, B-SAFE's Parent Engagement Coordinator and Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs
The mission of St. Stephen's Youth Programs is to promote equity in education, employment, and opportunity through long-term relationships with youth and their families and communities. There are lots of ways that B-SAFE strives to accomplish this mission through our academic rotations for elementary and middle schoolers and through jobs and professional development trainings for teens.
SSYP takes seriously our mission statement's words "and their families." A recent report from the National Education Association cited a large body of research evidence that shows that "[w]hen schools, parents, families, and communities work together to support learning, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enroll in higher level programs. Researchers cite parent-family community involvement as a key to addressing the school dropout crisis and note that strong school-family-community partnerships foster higher educational aspirations and more motivated students."
B-SAFE's Family Engagement Programs are part of making this happen and not only for the longer-term educational benefits, but also because it is FUN! At all of our B-SAFE sites this summer we had three or four events that engaged parents: our opening week Parent Orientation to B-SAFE, a family barbecue, all-ages Zumba, and our final week Closing Ceremony. Our hope is that even in a short, five-week summer program, we can help build connections between and among parents and create a relationship with families that will continue into the school-year. And, more immediately, exercising together and eating together are ways for families--parents, siblings, and B-SAFE participants--to have fun, eat healthy, and celebrate the joys that summer and cool, project-based learning can bring.
More about Karlenin and Liz -
This is Karlenin Alcantara's first summer as B-SAFE's Parent Engagement Coordinator. She has years of experience working with families as an outreach staff person with local health centers and in conversations with other parents at the Boston Public Schools of her two children. Karlenin loves to learn and get to know new families!
Liz Steinhauser joined St. Stephen's staff in August 2003. She brings over 30 years of professional training and experience as a youth worker and community organizer to the position. Liberation theology developed her commitment to social justice. Girl Scouts built her arts and crafts skills and her repertoire of goofy songs. She is a graduate of Colgate University and Harvard Divinity School and is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She lives in Roslindale with her modern family.