These are among the many organizations that CAAS works with routinely:
Cambridge Public Schools
The Birth-3rd grade Partnership and Head Start staff at CAAS' Frisoli and Jefferson Park centers are collaborating in a pilot program to advance these four preschool classrooms from their current Massachusetts Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) level to QRIS Level 3 within two to three years. These Cambridge based classrooms will participate in the Quality Coaching Program that is guided by Principles of Practice that strives for excellence in preschool experiences for all children.
Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS)
CAAS' Housing Advocacy Program (HAP) collaborates with Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS) on an ongoing basis. CASLS provides advice and technical assistance for our HAP Advocates and accepts a limited number of housing/benefits cases referred by HAP. A CASLS attorney is available to meet with CAAS advocates for 2 hours each week. CAAS advocates may refer up to 8 housing or benefits cases per year to CASLS for full representation.
Communities for Healthy Living
The Communities for Healthy Living Program (CHL) is a community-based, parent-centered intervention research study. It is a partnership between the Community Action Agency of Somerville Head Start, the Action for Boston Community Development Head Start, the University at Albany, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The program supports family health by empowering Head Start parents to: navigate social and environmental barriers to healthy living, leverage community resources, and develop collaborative relationships with local partners. Unlike typical nutrition or exercise programs, CHL is designed to empower parents with a broad range of life skills, like healthy communication and advocacy; in turn, these skills support the establishment and maintenance of healthy eating, physical activity, screen time, and sleep behaviors, which brings many health benefits for children and their families. Over the next 3 years, we envision that Head Start parents, staff, and the research team will collaboratively implement CHL for the diverse range of families served by CAAS and ABCD, test its effectiveness, and, if successful, end up with an evidence-based obesity prevention program designed specifically for Head Start. Our ultimate goal is to scale-up CHL for dissemination in Head Start centers across the U.S.A.
Harvard Graduate School of Education: By All Means Collaborative
CAAS is a member agency of the By All Means Children's Cabinet. The Harvard Graduate School of Education launched By All Means in February 2016, run by the Education Redesign Lab, to rethink education and child development systems. The initiative is addressing the iron law correlation in the U.S. between a child’s socioeconomic status and his or her prospects for educational achievement through several key strategies: research and dissemination, policy and advocacy, deep field work in six cities–Louisville, KY; Oakland, CA; Providence, RI; and Salem, Somerville, and Newton, MA–and a series of national convenings at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. CAAS is an active participant in Somerville's Children's Cabinet, which is focused on issues of preschool accessibility and the availability of after school programs for children of all ages.
Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP)
MASSCAP is a statewide association of community action agencies that supports its members and works with them to reduce poverty regionally and across the Commonwealth by advocating for public policies, resources, and social changes that enable people living with low incomes to meet their basic needs, access economic opportunities, build strong communities, and realize their full potential. CAAS is an active member of MASSCAP; members of our staff serve on its board of directors and participate in communities of practice for fiscal, planning, marketing, and other disciplines. MASSCAP maintains a robust legislative agenda on Beacon Hill, advocating for laws and appropriations that will benefit our clients by strengthening families through affordable and accessible early education and care, bridging the wage gap through increases in minimum wages and related laws, creating a foundation for economic opportunity by strengthening benefits such as home heating assistance, and strengthening the human services infrastructure in our state.
SCALE and Somerville Community Corporation (SCC)
During the summer of 2017 we partnered with the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE), which provides adult continuing education primarily to a low-income and immigrant student body, and with Somerville Community Corporation (SCC), which runs First Source, Somerville’s only workforce development program. This collaboration is predicated on the realization that many students fail to complete programs of study at SCALE -- programs that would provide access to better jobs -- not because of any learning deficiencies, but rather due to ancillary personal issues (such as lack of child care, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc.) or unfamiliarity with the “soft skills” (such as resume preparation, interview practice, and other skills taught by SCC First Source) that are necessary to succeed. Together, SCALE, SCC and CAAS provided “wraparound” services to 17 SCALE students. Assuming successful outcomes, and SCALE’s successful application for federal funding, this program has the potential to expand to serve over one hundred students per year. CAAS is prepared to add staff and service capacity to continue with this expanded program should funding be secured.
Somerville CAN (Community Agencies Network) was created in 2014 as a collaborative fundraising effort focused around the international day of philanthropy, GivingTuesday. GivingTuesday is an annual global day of giving that helps to raise funds and awareness for important causes everywhere, taking place traditionally on the first Tuesday in December. Somerville CAN took this day as an organizing tool in response to a longstanding, collective desire of Somerville agencies to better collaborate on programming, marketing, and fundraising. Somerville CAN is a robust partnership with a core group of organizations, including Community Action Agency of Somerville, Groundwork Somerville, Respond Inc, Second Chances, Somerville Homeless Coalition, Somerville Local First, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Media Center, and The Welcome Project.
Somerville Public Schools
Somerville Public Schools partners with Head Start to offer a full-day preschool classroom at the Healey School and two at the Capuano Center. The Healey Head Start Classroom is staffed by a teacher team that includes an SPS teacher and a Head Start teacher. The program runs from 8:45 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. and afterschool programming is available until 5:30 p.m. for all 4-year-olds in this classroom. The Capuano Head Start Classrooms are staffed by two Head Start teachers each and also runs from 8:45 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. Afterschool programming is available until 5:30 p.m. for all 4-year-olds in this classroom. Children and families receive the comprehensive services provided by Head Start such as home visits and family advocate support, as well as a strong curriculum influenced by both Head Start and SPS. Healey Head Start is open to both Head Start and non-Head Start eligible families in Somerville. Watch the documentary.
Union United is a coalition of stakeholders in Somerville including small business owners, residents, activists, immigrant groups, religious congregations, labor unions, and other community-based organizations, working to ensure that the Union Square redevelopment process results in tangible benefits - not displacement - for the Union Square community. CAAS is a founding member of Union United. Union United members engage in:
Input into municipal zoning and planning discussions
Negotiations with developers in the Union Square neighborhood
Leadership development of neighborhood residents
Participation in Union Square Neighborhood Council planning process
CAAS partners with many, many agencies to serve the low-income community. Some of those agencies include:
Early Childhood Advisory Council