Collaborating for Boston Youth


April 07, 2006

Jane Feinberg
(617) 285-8386

Belmont, MA - A broad coalition of educators, after-school providers, juvenile justice professionals and mental health workers will explore ways to collaborate more effectively around the needs of Boston's young people at the fourth annual conference of PEAR, the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency, a joint initiative of McLean Hospital and Harvard University. The day-long conference will be held on Friday, April 7, from 8:00 am until 4 pm, at the Omni Parker House in Boston.


"As youth violence continues to rise in Boston, and as gaps in our systems of education and social services persist, we think it's vitally important for all of us who serve children to engage in a single conversation," said PEAR Director Gil Noam, Dipl. Psych., EdD, who is director of the Developmental and Psychpathology Program at McLean Hospital. "Clearly, the fragmentation of systems is not serving young people well, both in terms of institutional and interpersonal support. A lot of resources go into programs and policies; we must be equally committed to developing a framework and an action plan for working together across traditional silos."

The title of the April 7 conference is "The Whole Child, the Whole Day: Building Systems, Transforming Relationships." Mayor Thomas M. Menino will give the welcoming address. "This conference offers a great opportunity to explore a wide variety of strategies - all focused on improving the lives of young people. I take pride in the great strides that we have made in Boston in less than a decade - opening up school house doors, increasing the number of available slots for after-school programs, and understanding how different kinds of programs and methods can help young people," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "We have to make sure that we connect with every child - especially the ones who are hard to reach."

The opening keynote for the conference features Peter Edelman, Professor of Law and Social Policy, Georgetown University; and Jonah Edelman, Executive Director, Stand for Children. The topic of this father-and-son duo is "Generation to Generation: Effecting Lasting Change for Children." Peter Edelman, a former aide to Robert F Kennedy, issues director for Ted Kennedy's 1980 Presidential campaign, and advisor to former President Bill Clinton, recently co-authored Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men, a book that is receiving wide national attention. The opening keynote will be moderated by Milton L. Little, Jr., President and CEO, United Way of Massachusetts Bay.

The closing keynote, "Transforming Bureaucracies," will be given by Harry Spence, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Social Services. Other topics include: connecting with youth exposed to trauma and violence; ambitious strategies to change public education; financing and creating public-private partnerships for after-school programs; tackling obesity and physical activity; and innovative ways to bridge the disparate worlds of mental health and education.

A lunchtime program, "The Power of Relationship: Personal Stories of Trial and Transformation," will feature three Boston professionals who faced serious challenges in childhood. Red Sox Foundation President Meg Vaillancourt; Andre John, Youth Director at the Ella J. Baker House in Dorchester; and Justin Pasquariello, Executive Director of Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring, will share their personal stories and how those stories have influenced their work with and on behalf of young people.

Sponsors of the 2006 PEAR conference include: Boston After School & Beyond; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Robert and Marjie Kargman; Nellie Mae Education Foundation; Partners Health Care; Red Sox Foundation; and United Way of Massachusetts Bay.

Registration for the PEAR conference is on a first-come, first served basis. For details, please see the attached schedule and visit

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