YOUTH GUIDANCE IN BOSTON

History/Background

Through a careful mutual selection process with Boston Public Schools (BPS), Youth Guidance launched BAM during the 2017-2018 academic year and committed to bringing Becoming a Man (BAM) to Boston with the goal of improving outcomes for young men at-risk for poor academic outcomes and/or involvement in the juvenile justice system.

The commitment from Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston School District to support social emotional learning support created a strong foundational start to Boston’s success. In considering the intentionality of the district and the RCT study, Boston became Youth Guidance’s first replication city.

Becoming A Man® program (BAM®) is a school-based group counseling program that guides young men in 6th-12th grades to learn, internalize and practice social cognitive skills, make responsible decisions for their future and become positive members of their school and community.

BAM integrates clinical theory and practice, men’s rites of passage work, and a dynamic approach to youth engagement.

Working On Womanhood (WOW) is a multifaceted, school year-long group counseling and clinical mentoring program.

WOW works to improve social-emotional competencies for girls in 6th-12th grade exposed to traumatic stressors in high risk and under-resourced communities.

Using a trauma-Informed approach, WOW targets young women with significant risk factors for dropout or delinquency such as: teenage pregnancy, trauma, drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm, gang involvement, fighting, academic failure and discipline referrals.

BAM PROGRAM IMPACT

Students enrolled in the BAM Program are:

50%
less likely to be
arrested for violent crime
25%
more engaged
in school
19%
more likely to graduate
high school on time
$ 30
in societal gains for
every $1 invested in BAM

WOW PROGRAM IMPACT

62%
of WOW students
experienced fewer
PTSD symptoms*
71%
of WOW students
experienced fewer
depression symptoms*

*of those starting in the clinical range

96%
of WOW students reported
that the program has helped them
make better decisions for themselves

Youth Guidance launched BAM in Boston under the local leadership Shawn Brown, a lifelong resident of the City of Boston and a product of the Boston Public Schools system.

In its first year under Brown’s leadership, the program launched into four BPS schools to serve over 150 BAM scholars.

In its fifth year, BAM now serves 11 schools across three school districts, Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville and serving upwards of 550 scholars.

In August 2021, Youth Guidance Working on Womanhood (WOW), an equivalency program for young women, launched in four schools across two districts and have plans to expand into more to serve more youth in the Greater Boston area. Youth Guidance Boston is poised to serve more youth through expansion of programs focused on social emotional support, improving academic opportunities and career exposure and development.

MEET OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Shawn Brown

Executive Director | Boston

Shawn Brown is the Executive Director for Youth Guidance Boston (BAM and WOW). He has a strong passion for mentoring high-risk youth populations and more than 20 years of experience in the fields of youth development, violence prevention, and nonprofit leadership in the commonwealth. Since being named the founding Executive Director for Youth Guidance Boston – the first national expansion of the program – Brown has successfully launched two evidence-based programs and expanded Becoming A Man and Working On Womanhood to three school districts.

Brown provides strong leadership and management in Boston, overseeing program fidelity, organization strategy, and financial sustainability.

Formerly, Brown served as Executive Director of Diamond Educators Mentoring, an organization dedicated to improving academic performance of low-income and at-risk youth, and has established effective partnerships with Boston Public Schools, My Brothers Keeper organization, the Obama Foundation, government leaders, and community providers. He also held leadership roles at the Justice Resource Institute and the Boston PIC. Brown is also a national leader in gun violence prevention and youth development and has made speaking appearances on events and panels such as the Northwell Health National Forum on Gun Violence Prevention; WGBH Basic Black; and CNN’s United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. Brown is the recipient of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Changemaker Award; the Lewis Family Foundation CEO Social Leadership Award; and OrigiNation Arts Center’s Sojourner Truth Award. Brown serves on Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s Transition Committee and on the Mass General Health Community Advisory Board. Shawn knows the power of a caring adult in a young person’s life as someone who has been positively impacted after an encounter with a strong role model. Today, Brown uses his platform to advocate for the need of culturally competent mental health supports to empower the success of young people across the commonwealth and country. He believes that his legacy will live on through his team as they become mentors and leaders in their own right – and can’t wait for the day that a BAM or WOW Boston alumni becomes the future Executive Director of Youth Guidance Boston.

Brown received a BA in Sociology from Merrimack College and holds a Nonprofit Management and Leadership Certificate from Boston University’s School of Management. 

BOSTON ADVISORY COUNCIL

Youth Guidance’s advisory councils are composed of individuals who are committed to helping students and program participants in their communities. Each council member has a strong desire be actively involved in solving the issues these youth face. Each devotes time, talent and expertise to the current and future work of our local programs.

Sally Sharp Lehman

Principal at Sharp Lehman Consulting

Sally Sharp Lehman

Principal at Sharp Lehman Consulting

Melissa Luna

Senior Executive Director at GreenLight Fund

Melissa Luna

Senior Executive Director at GreenLight Fund

Allan Kiser

VP and Compliance Officer at Fidelity Investments

Allan Kiser

VP and Compliance Officer at Fidelity Investments

Hon. Leslie Harris

Retired Judge, Massachusetts Trial Courts

Hon. Leslie Harris

Retired Judge, Massachusetts Trial Courts

Conan Harris

CEO/Founder at CJ Strategies LLC

Conan Harris

CEO/Founder at CJ Strategies LLC

Nadia Harden

Director of Portfolio Impact & Community Building at New Commonwealth Fund

Nadia Harden

Director of Portfolio Impact & Community Building at New Commonwealth Fund

Matt Hamilton

Managing Director, Summit Partners

Matt Hamilton

Managing Director, Summit Partners

Latoya Gayle

Co-Founder at March Like a Mother

Latoya Gayle

Co-Founder at March Like a Mother

Emerson Foster

Head of Human Resources U.S Business Unit & Global Product Launch at Takeda

Emerson Foster

Head of Human Resources U.S Business Unit & Global Product Launch at Takeda

Turahn Dorsey

Former Chief of Education at City of Boston

Turahn Dorsey

Former Chief of Education at City of Boston

Tavares Brewington

VP & General Counsel at Keolis America Inc.

Tavares Brewington

VP & General Counsel at Keolis America Inc.

Christy Egun

Executive Director, Center for Community Health Improvement, Massachusetts General Hospital

Christy Egun

Executive Director, Center for Community Health Improvement, Massachusetts General Hospital