Tag Archives: paul bowen

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


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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 #7: Getting to the Right High School Makes All the Difference

Tonight was the final night of TEEP’s High School Admissions course, a 12-week program that guides students and parents through the process of applying to and choosing the best possible high school. In the 11 years of TEEP, we have come to realize that the right high school is essential for keeping our students on track for college.

But the process of applying to high school can be bewildering, especially to parents for whom English is not their first language. Each different type of public high school (public exam, public pilot, public charter, and district high schools) have a separate application process and admission requirements. Then there are parochial and independent schools to consider as well as the terrific program, Beacon Academy, which offers students an opportunity for an extra year of academic and cultural preparation for the rigors of an independent school.

Over the course of 12 weeks, TEEP educates our 8th grade students and parents about their options and application process while working to make sure all students end up in the right place. Experienced volunteers are also matched with families as mentors through the entire process.

Students apply to 7-10 schools and last night, at the close of the last class, students and parents walked together with their mentors to drop all of their applications in the mailbox on Boylston Street. Says TEEP’s Founding Director Paul Bowen,  “This is our favorite moment of the course.”

Will you celebrate the accomplishments of our 8th graders by making a gift today? Thank you!

Reason #2: TEEP – Empowering Students to Achieve Excellence

This is a picture of TEEP’s Leadership Development Program 2010-11. These 40 high school students have been with TEEP since the summer before 7th grade. Now they serve as counselors and guides to the 90 middle school students who are following in their path. All of these students will go to college – 100%. They will beat the odds because you have supported them every step of the way.

This fall, Root Cause, a nationally recognized non-profit, chose TEEP as one of the top seven college access programs in Massachusetts. You can read their report on TEEP and also a blog post from Paul Bowen, TEEP’s Founding Director.

Please consider making a gift today in support of our TEEP students. Thank you!