B-SAFE/ St. Stephen's Youth Programs

by justineh

PICS Organization Name
B-SAFE / St. Stephen's Youth Programs


Boston (various neighborhoods) and Chelsea, Massachusetts 

Weekly Stipend

Public Transportation

Housing Provided

Former Interns
Emily Cheng '21, Kezia Otinkorang '20, Rachel Gonzales '19, Jean Bellamy '19

Organization Description
The B-SAFE Program (Bishop’s Summer Academic & Fun Enrichment Program) provides safe, enriching activities for hundreds of Boston youth and teens. The program strives to build a loving community; to broaden the horizons of our young people through academics, the arts,athletics, technology training and educational field trips; and to provide meaningful jobs for teens.  The B-SAFE program is designed to respond to the needs and challenges of young people in neighborhoods in and around Boston and to address inequities through increased opportunities.

Our integrated youth programs have the mission of building a community where all people feel safe, feel big, and feel connected.

B-SAFE Decreases Violence: Children throughout the Boston-area feel unsafe for a variety of reasons, from instability at home to gunfire on the streets of  some neighborhoods. There continue to be numerous shootings and stabbings in the Villa Victoria neighborhood that surrounds our church,as well as the other neighborhoods where our B-SAFE sites operate. Boston continues to experience an unacceptable level of violence  involving young people. Almost all of the young people in our programs have witnessed violence, know someone who has been a victim of violence, and/or have suffered violence themselves. Our youth struggle with the grief and anger which results from experiencing such loss and fears around safety.

Five years ago, B-SAFE lost a young man to this violence, a great young leader who had grown up in the B-SAFE (and B-READY Afterschool Program) and who worked as staff at B-SAFE.

The B-SAFE Program provides children with physical safety,because we offer adult supervision, and emotional safety, as we have a no-tolerance stand on bullying and teasing. During the summer of 2017, we provided jobs and paid internships to 150 teenagers through the Mayor’s Department of Youth Employment and Engagement, the Chelsea Collaborative, and other partnerships and funding. Research evidence and our own experience show that providing jobs to teens gives them a sense of purpose and is one of the most successful strategies for reducing violence.

We expect to hire at least as many teens again in 2018.

B-SAFE Increases Recreational Options:

There are not enough activities for children in the summer time, especially children from low-income families in the under-resourced neighborhoods in the heart of our city.

 Unfortunately, the violence that takes place in the summer often occurs in and around playgrounds and parks,making it even less likely that parents and their children will feel comfortable in these recreational areas without structured, supervised activities.

 Without programs like the B-SAFE Program,most children spend the summer watching television, playing video games, or hanging around the streets unsupervised. Providing a safe environment, with educational activities and recreational activities for school age children and teens is an issue of justice and is an extremely important part of the solution to the problem of violence in the city of Boston.

 These activities and the B-SAFE Program also keep youth safe from obesity and other physical health issues through regular exercise and healthy food.

 B-SAFE Addresses Systemic Racism and Poverty: Many children with whom we work do not have a strong sense of self or confidence in their abilities. Getting lost in the large schools and bureaucracy of the Boston Public Schools and systemic racism both play a role in this.

 Many of the youth who participate in our programs struggle to succeed in school. A recent report from the Nellie Mae Foundation demonstrated that young people who participate in any type of summer programs do better in school. It also showed that young people who participate in summer programs such as the B-SAFE Program which have an academic component do significantly better when they return to school.

Our own anecdotal evidence shows this to be true, too. Teachers at two of the neighborhood BPS schools near our year-round site in the South End, report that students who participate in B-SAFE during the summer have noticeably improved academic skills when they return to school in September.

With the support of PICS interns during past summers, our academic programs have taken evolutionary leaps forward in terms of the quality of teaching of the specialists, the learning of students, and the creativity of programming B-SAFE offers.  More innovative projects and more sharing of best practices between and among the specialists were made possible thanks to the work of the intern.

During past summers, our PICS volunteers not only supported teacher/specialists in Humanities and STEM but also created afternoon-long curricula that taught about various countries and cultures (Globetrotter Day),environmental issues (3R Reduce Reuse,Recycle), creative expression (Awesome Art Day), and Mad Science Days (afternoons of hands-on science experiments).  These special afternoon events evolved and improved during B-SAFE 2017 thanks to our PICS interns, adding organizational partnerships.


B-SAFE Builds Meaningful Relationships:

We work to help our community—children, parents,neighbors—feel connected to each other. By building loving, ongoing, and long-lasting relationships with our children we offer opportunities for youth to feel connected to caring adults, teens and peers. Many of the youth participate in our programs year-round, giving us a unique and significant opportunity to change lives. We offer our kids praise, support and new skills, giving them a bigger sense of themselves.

The children of the Villa, Lower Roxbury, Codman Square, UphamsCorner, Chelsea and Mattapan need and deserve to feel safe, feel big and feel connected and the values we bring to the B-SAFE Program are part of how we meet that challenge.

B-SAFE Offers Strong Academic Support:

At each of the six sites we will operate in 2018, we will run a program that has been tested and honed at St. Stephen’s. It will include a six-part academic program: Humanities (reading and writing and social studies), STEM (math and science with some technology), DEAR Time (Drop Everything and Read –30 minutes of daily free reading), additional higher level Science activities (including workshops with students from the Harvard Medical School), and Creative Arts classes.

During past summers, our middle schoolers participated in a justice-focused Art and Social Science curricula.

The academic component of the program is designed to stop the learning slide that happens over the summer and help children get to grade level. At all of our sites, we also will offer justice-creating activities, health and wellness learning and recreational games, music and performing arts, electives such as cooking and dance, as well as educational field trips.

The students will be in small groups of fifteen, with two teen Counselors-in-Training, and an experienced lead counselor over the age of 21. Past experience shows this to be an effective way to give the children the kind of individual and small group attention they rarely get in a school classroom.

St. Stephen’s Youth Programs, the sponsoring agency for the B-SAFE program, has been running successful youth programs in the South End of Boston 300 days a year for over eighteen years.

 In Summer 2018 we will run programs for close to 650 youth and teens in eight sites for six weeks.The first week will be a week of staff training, five weeks will be a day program from 8:30-4:00 Monday through Friday,.  The sixth week is a week of overnight camp in New Hampshire for older students, while elementary schoolers continue with the program in the city.

 B-SAFE 2018 sites will likely include:

LEARN @ St. Stephen’s, South End : 65 elementary school youth, 14 high school age CITs

YLC @ St. Stephen’s, South End: 50 middleschool youth; 14 high school age CITs

LEARN @ St. Augustine/St. Martin’s, Lower Roxbury: 65 elementary school youth; 12 high school age CITs

LEARN @ Epiphany School, Codman Square: 65 elementary school youth; 15 high school age CITs

YLC @ Epiphany School, Codman Square: 50 middle school youth; 15 high school age CITs

LEARN @ St. Mary’s, Uphams Corner, Dorchester: 45 elementary school youth; 12 high school ageCITs

LEARN @ Holy Spirit, Mattapan: 65 elementary school youth; 12 high school age CITs

LEARN @ San Lucas/St. Luke’s, Chelsea: 32 elementary school youth;  12 high school age CITs

YLC @ San Lucas/St. Luke’s, Chelsea: 32 middle school youth;  12 high school age CITs

The summer will conclude with five days and four nights of camp for middle schoolers and teen staff from the YLC B-SAFE sites. This will be in New Hampshire at a camp run by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and will include many of the activities one might expect at overnight camp: swimming, boating, arts and crafts, sports,campfires, hikes, high adventure ropes course,and more.

Last summer, our PICS interns had a central role in planning and carrying out programming during this overnight camp (for the arts, nature, poetry, sports, among those activities).

One important thing to note is that while this program is funded in part by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and is based out of several Episcopal churches, there is no required faith component or activities for youth or staff at any point during the summer. We focus on civic values of community and leadership and equity of opportunity.

For more information about past summers,including B-SAFE 2017, check out www.ssypboston.org/bsafe and the blog that can be reached at www.ssypboston.org/blog/

Internship Description
**Academic Success Promoter (50% time): The PICS interns will have key responsibility for helping B-SAFE achieve its academic goals.These goals of our curricula are to develop skills in reading, writing, math, science, and technology through experiential learning and creative teaching.

There is a theme for the summer (last summer, it was "When they go low, we go high," from Michelle Obama). Our PICS interns would offer critical classroom support to student groups who are struggling and the interns would gain meaningful classroom experience as an instructor.  He/she would do essential work in creating connections between specialists, sharing observations, and best practices and most fun activities.

The measure of success for this responsibility will be seen in the quality and creativity of final projects for each specialty at the assigned sites. During past summers, these have included published books of poetry and prose, newspapers, “travel brochures” describing neighborhood sites, surveys and large visual representation of data, spoken word performances, murals, and more. Our PICS interns would have a key role in supporting youth and specialists in achieving high level final projects.

** Specialty Day/Partnership Coordinator (20% time): The PICS interns will have responsibility for planning some of the activities, and coaching other people leading activities, and building partnerships for several specialty days. These afternoons will happen at all of our sites and teach new information to our youth through experiential, hands-on activities.

We would like to continue to innovate and improve these specialty days. The PICS intern would have key responsibility for planning and coordinating some of these days,including bringing in experts and doing direct teaching.

The measure of success will be the organization and quality of the specialty days as well as student satisfaction (as determined by evaluations).

**Overnight Camp Program Designer (20%) The PICS interns will  have key responsibility for planning and carrying out the progression activities for upper level students who participate in the overnight camp in NH. This past summer, these activities included painting in nature, karate, various sports, swimming lessons, canoeing, and science experiments.

**Library Support and Materials Quartermaster(10%): At the beginning of the summer, the intern would be assisting the Academic Team and specialists in identifying and distributing the materials needed to teach classes. DEAR time works best when there are books available in a variety of subjects and reading levels. Past PICS interns helped coordinate the donation of thousands of books from our suburban partner churches to build and expand libraries at a number of our sites.

Internship Qualifications
There are three sets of qualities that would make a Princeton student the right person for this internship:

PERSONAL QUALITIES: A “can-do” attitude,flexibility, sense of humor, and grace under pressure are essential characteristics for doing this job well. B-SAFE is a well-established program with experimental components. An intern will need creativity and high energy to keep up with the incredibly fast pace of the summer.An entrepreneurial spirit will also be needed to figure out the best way to help create and improve systems to continue our effort to standardize the kind of teaching and education happening in our multiple sites.

EDUCATIONAL QUALITIES: While not required,this position would be a great fit for a student who is studying to be a teacher, considering a career in education, or exploring community organizing in an urban setting. The intern will get first-hand experience in dealing with issues facing urban public school systems and witness some of the seemingly intractable problems facing America’s city schools as systemic racism, violence,teaching that is geared to standardized tests (and does not reward creativity from teachers or students), limited resources for books and materials, retaining high quality teachers,inadequate facilities, and more. Most of our students speak English as a second language.

The B-SAFE Program is committed to offering solutions to these problems and creating a learning environment that is fun, caring, and treats each student as an individual.

EXPERIENCE: There are several types of experiences that would give an intern some advantages: having taught or tutored in an urban public school or afterschool program, having been a student in an urban public school, having worked at a camp serving urban youth, having worked in a non-profit organization. While not required, these types of experiences would give an intern some of the skills necessary to succeed in the B-SAFE Program as an academic intern.

Speaking Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, or Haitian Creole would be an extra plus.

Expected Start Time
8:00 am

Expected End Time
6:00 pm

Required Dates
6/3/19 - 8/9/19

Internship Length
10 Weeks

Meets Certificate Requirement

Additional Info
While B-SAFE/SSYP does not have specific housing to offer, we can work with interns to find relatively affordable housing in the Boston area.

There is some spring preparatory work and there will be some weekly evening staff meetings on Thursdays. The last week of the program is an overnight camp in NH.

  • CORI
  • SORI
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Safe Church training
  • Physical and Immunizations (especially if working at our Chelsea site)
  • Spanish language is helpful

** Writing sample is required: Essay, blog post, newspaper article, or example of curriculum all welcome**

Evaluation Excerpt

The greatest strength of the organization is the genuine passion and love for the young people that they serve. I have never been among a more genuine group of activists in my entire life that take their passion for a social inequity and work this hard to try to correct it in some way.
—Jean Bellamy '19

Among the skills that I gained through this internship are time management through considering transportation time and meeting deadlines, office etiquette, problem-solving and adaptability, and better communication skills and leadership skills. In addition to such skills, I fostered great relationships with my supervisor and colleagues and with the students I taught... I am very glad that I interned there this summer and that was blessed with such an opportunity!
—Kezia Otinkorang '20

My best work experience this summer was being able to see and listen to the new things my students learned as a result of my classes. Whether it be them asking me questions about a lesson at lunch, or listening to them present what they learned in my class throughout the program at their closing ceremony, it was super fulfilling to know that I helped these students learn something new this summer.
—Rachel Gonzales '19

The program I worked with helped me learn about the needs of children and especially those who do not come from the most fortunate circumstances. They held rallies that I could participate in and the training series provided me with information about working with our children and understanding some of the issues that they face.  —Emily Cheng '21


Applications for Summer 2020 will open in November 2019. 


To read evaluations written by former interns, please contact the
Student Program


Make sure to read the eligibility criteria and requirements prior to submitting an application. Here