Tag Archives: donate

Reason #27: The Fourth R is Reciprocity.

It’s late on Christmas Eve night and I just got out of prison. This was not my first Christmas Eve to spend in prison, but it was one of the most memorable. Why? Reciprocity.

At TEEP, our 5 core values are the “5 Rs,” and the 4th R is reciprocity. We teach our students that the starting point for understanding reciprocity is gratitude. Gratitude is the fuel that empowers us to give back to our communities. For our middle school program the heart of reciprocity is giving back, and our students find various ways to join in doing this as a community.

When students enter TEEP’s high school Leadership Development Program (LDP), they learn that a deeper level of reciprocity is about our interconnectedness and interdependence. We try to work this theme of interdependence in to as much of our leadership development work as possible. The students also do weekly reflections (you can see a couple samples of these in previous posts) and their reflections show that they are internalizing this aspect of reciprocity.

This brings me back to my evening in prison. My father is a chaplain in a large state prison in Pennsylvania, and I occasionally go in to the prison with him for religious services. Tonight, as I was waiting for the candlelight service to begin, I thought about the journey our LDP students have traveled this past year.

It has been extraordinary to watch them struggle to come to terms with what reciprocity — and excellence, our overall theme — mean for their daily choices and then begin to act accordingly.

I talked with several of the men after the service tonight, and I could not help but wonder what their lives might be like now had they had a program like TEEP when they were in high school. It’s impossible to say of course, but one thing was very clear to me – TEEP is definitely changing the odds for our students.

Our students have achieved a lot of excellence this year in a great variety of different areas. Some of this would simply not have been possible without the support of our community. And by community, I don’t just mean the students, staff and faculty in the program. I mean our entire community of donors, volunteers and citywide partners.

We are deeply grateful for all of the support that we receive from so many different people that makes the journey to excellence possible. To all who support us in whatever way – thank you. You are a vital part of this cycle of reciprocity.

Paul Bowen
Founding Director, TEEP


Reason #26: Sarah gets to inspire TEEP students through her love of literature

My favorite role at Trinity Church these days is “Latin tutor” and writing instructor at the TEEP program.  I get to come to Trinity after teaching Art classes near Harrison Ave/Boston Medical Center, and the No. 9 bus drops me right off near the Church’s doors. There’s always lively bustling energy at 4:00pm around Copley Square and in Trinity’s vestibule:  the students start arriving, full of energy and ready to tackle those “tougher” subjects like Chemistry, SAT Math, and of course LATIN.  Choristers can be heard on the floors singing.  And yes, it is warm! Inside those massive doors….lo, there is Ken, Front Desk Central, with special greetings for all! Truly the place to be.

Tuesdays I am often helping a TEEP student with writing or vocabulary, or sometimes a few sticky arithmetic problems.  Maybe it’s a special day: pasta dinner and conversation about 8th grade admissions essays.  Wednesdays, I can be found with TEEP juniors and seniors reviewing their writing as they wrestle with the themes of Virgil’s AENEID.

All those literary memories come rushing back to mind: oh Queen Dido!  so in love with Aeneas that her Capital Campaign fundraising has halted and “the cranes stand idle” in building her Carthage stronghold.  But what of Aeneas’ destiny to found Rome? “Tell him to SAIL!” says mighty Jupiter.

It is a joy to find a way to share my enthusiasm for literature and writing, whether it is  investigating a puzzling text,  wrestling for the “exact” words,  for “look it up!” energy, or just listening to students organizing their thoughts for the “admissions essay” due at the end of term.

Each week I am reminded that I am part of a church that is IN the City of Boston.  Right in the midst of it. And yet thankfully, I have a sanctuary and quiet spot to sit and focus on writing with my students.

Thanks for all the support that makes it possible ….

Sara “Latin Teacher” Hamlen


Reason #24: We all need to know that someone is there looking out for us

Every week, TEEP Founding Director Paul Bowen emails  the high school students in the Leadership Development Program a reflection question.

This week, he asked what they were most proud of in themselves and what they needed from others. Here is what one of our ninth graders had to say:

“The thing I am most proud of this year is my perseverance.  Everything that happened this year personally, weren’t the easiest things to go through, and I think I did a good job of sticking it out. For example, I was recommended for honors history and I decided to take it. In the beginning of the year, I really regretted my decision, and even though I am still having a small struggle with it, I am actually very glad that I decided to keep going, and not drop out, because I know it’s going to help me with college, and it’s going to push me to my absolute limits, which I think can be good for me, because sometimes that’s what we need, a push.

I am also proud of the leader that I feel I have become. I have really taken control of my life and tried to do a lot more things to set a good example for people who are younger than me, especially my younger sisters and my niece. It’s also helped being in the LDP because it has given me a new perspective on the way someone should act, and try to make sure that everything they’re doing is appropriate, and something to be proud of.

In 2011, I think the only thing someone else can do for me, help me with, or give me, is support and to just let me know that someone is there looking out for me, and that they make sure that when I have the up and down moments, someone can help me get back up when I am down.

Thank you, have Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!!!”

Reason #23: Janet and Jay invested in Darlene . . . now she’s on their Christmas card.

Every year since we were married in 2005, Janet and I create a Christmas card from photographs we’ve taken during the preceding 12 months. It’s actually an oversized postcard, which this year contains a record 23 photos. The one in the upper right-hand corner is of a teenager in high school graduation garb with a big smile on her face. The caption on the reverse reads: “Darlene, proud graduate of Brockton High and Trinity Church’s TEEP program.”

We met Darlene in October of her senior year, at a time when she was juggling her regular academic and extra-curricular activities, her responsibilities as a TEEP mentor to younger students, a part-time job for pay, plus the challenging task of selecting and eventually applying to eleven schools.  Paul Bowen, TEEP’s energetic director recruited us to help with the nitty-gritty of her college application process. Although our enthusiasm for TEEP’s mission and our financial support of the Foundation had been growing over the past several years, it wasn’t until we had the opportunity to work with Darlene that we really got excited about the program.

Most of our work was an extended conversation, in person and by e-mail, with Darlene about the principal essay – the iconic “Common App” – she was writing in support of multiple applications. It took me a while to get the hang of being a patient and supportive “editor,” and there were times when Janet had to restrain me from becoming a ghost writer. But judging by the result, our efforts, and most importantly, Darlene’s paid off in a big way when she was accepted at UMass Amherst as a member of the class of 2014.

With Paul’s help and encouragement, we’ve now “re-upped” to work with twin sisters who are now juniors at Boston Latin Academy, a public exam school in Roxbury designated a National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education this fall. It’s an exciting prospect to be helping Alex and Lani on their path to becoming college graduates in June, 2016.

If you’ve become even a tiny bit excited or interested in our TEEP volunteer experience, we’d be glad to speak with you. Paul and Louise are also willing and able to deepen your understanding of this wonderful program. In the meantime, if you’re looking for opportunities to make a big difference in the lives of young people in the city of Boston, make a charitable contribution to the Trinity Boston Foundation in support of the TEEP program before year-end.

Jay Cushman and Janet Shipman

Reason #22: A $10 gift becomes $20,000 when we all give together.

A Trinity Boston Foundation donor has issued a challenge to all of us.

If, in the month of December, 1,000 people give gifts to the Foundation of at least $10 each, that donor will give $10,000. A thousand gifts of $10 — plus the challenge gift — will become $20,000!

And with that $20,000, sixth graders will join TEEP and start the journey to college. Young men who have been incarcerated will join Street Potential and get themselves back on track to contribute to society. Parents and youth workers will find hope and support at the Trinity Boston Counseling Center.

That’s a lot of impact for your $10 gift. Won’t you contribute today?

Reason #21: Steven knows firsthand how TEEP prepares young men and women to become leaders in their communities

I’ve been part of TEEP for eight years and I am grateful for many things, such as my maturation as a person and as a leader. Its great when people notice how mature you are and how much you have grown in a small period of time, but it’s even better when you notice the change in yourself. Being counseled by TEEP’s first students allowed me to see first hand the great job that TEEP does in preparing young men and women to become leaders not only in TEEP but also in their communities. When I was younger the way the counselors carried themselves made me think that they were in their twenties, when they were really still teenagers.

Being led by such great counselors and seeing the seed they implanted in me made me want to follow in their footsteps. This is why every summer I return with the hope that I can do as good a job as my counselors had done with me. I attempt to instill respect, responsibility, restraint, redemption, and reciprocity in children who think they aren’t capable of using these values in everyday life. Really, all they need is a little guidance.

Today, being a co-director of the CIT (counselor in training) program allows me to help our future counselors find their leadership style. I have seen many different counselors be successful by using a number of strategies. In our curriculum we do many activities that help us figure out what kind of leaders we are and read about leaders that have changed history and how they did so. Although we read about many important figures in history, I feel the CIT’s learn the most when they observe their co-counselors being in the midst with the kids. TEEP makes me grateful for many things, but what I am thankful for the most is our previous counselors who inspired me to want to reciprocate by sharing my knowledge with the newest counselors.

Reason #20: Trinity Boston Counseling Center Gives Graduate-level Interns a Unique Learning Experience

As a second-year social work student, I worked at Trinity Boston Counseling Center, which is part of Trinity Boston Foundation. As an intern, I provided individual counseling and also worked at their offsite program, Street Potential – a program that provides life skills and vocational training to court-involved youth. TBCC uses several frameworks that truly show how client-centered they are in their counseling work. The team has a superb understanding of trauma and uses a trauma-informed framework in working with clients. As well, TBCC’s open-minded approach to integrating spirituality with counseling allows the client to define whether, what, and how spirituality nourishes them. There is also an amazing sense of observing sacred space together. As clinicians, we always thought about the sacred space we were developing with our clients. For instance, how is it defined by our clients, ourselves as clinicians, and by our interaction with each other in relationship? In staff meetings we regularly took moments at the beginning of each meeting to observe the sacred space created by the presence of those in the room (and often those who were missing) and what we would be discussing next. This type of meditation on space might seem small to some, but it meant that everyone was present in the moment to discuss topics at hand. The staff at Trinity is extremely seasoned, but they are always integrating new ways of applying knowledge acquired through relationship with clients, consultants, interns, and each other. There is a strong sense of team, collaboration, respect, and gratitude.

My year as an intern was pivotal in my development as a clinician, I learned valuable information about working with individuals, groups, and youth through a trauma and spirituality framework to truly “meet clients where they are.”

Amy Wong Hope