TEEP Program students. Photo: Trinity Boston Foundation
By Stephanie Da Costa Pereira
Being a kid can be hard, but the Trinity Education for Excellence Program (TEEP) is there to lend a hand by helping youth with difficult situations. TEEP is a leadership and development program on a mission to build a safe and supportive community for Boston’s youth of color, where every participant is inspired to explore and empowered to achieve.
TEEP is part of Trinity Boston Foundation, an organization aimed at strengthening community health and cohesion across Boston by supporting youth.
“In my own experience there’s a lot of untapped and unseen potential in the young people in this city,” says Rebecca Jackson, a social worker at Trinity Boston Foundation. TEEP’s goal is to “give the young people that they serve the best possible service that they can give them and sort of be their best selves.”
Jackson says programs like TEEP can also help young people be better students. According to Boston Public Schools in 2015, the graduation rate was at 70.7 percent and the dropout rate 4.4 percent. In 2016, the graduation rate was 72.4 percent and the dropout rate 4.5 percent.
At TEEP counselors build relationships with kids that may not be possible otherwise. TEEP works with students to improve their behavior and academics in school, and works with teachers to create better relationships with kids.
TEEP recruits students when they are in the sixth grade. The kids participate in project-based academic work and experiential learning such as cultural and community enrichment, sailing, creative writing, and photography to better prepare for the future.
Students have the opportunity to graduate into the Leadership Development Program, a program exclusively for former TEEP participants. After spending many years together through the program students form a family-like environment, where they feel comfortable with each other. The relationships stick with the kids for the rest of their lives. The associate director of TEEP’s middle school program, Ana Gonzalez is a graduate of the program and an example of the impact this program can have on participants.
All graduates of TEEP’s high school program or LDP have completed college or armed services training within five years of graduating high school, the website posts.
“The common thread is that we want the people that we work with to have trust in the world and to have relationship skills that they can translate into other opportunities,” says Jackson.