BOSS is dedicated to helping our youngest participants have the best possible chance for healthy and bright futures, free of homelessness and poverty. This means helping their parents meet urgent health needs and find jobs and housing so the family can have a stable and healthy home environment. It also means providing support directly to the children, to help address health, emotional, educational, and developmental issues.
The BOSS Children's Learning Center (CLC) is specialized after-school program located on-site at Ursula Sherman Village in West Berkeley. It provides daily after-school services and a nurturing place for the homeless children who live there, most of whom have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, family substance abuse, and other crises. In the CLC they can feel safe and ‘normal’, surrounded by other children and youth who know exactly what they’re going through. The program’s goal is to address the children’s health and emotional needs, and begin working on behavioral issues, socialization, and academic progress.
On-site services include daily help with homework, one-on-one tutoring by staff and community volunteers, access to computers, books, and school supplies, educational games, arts and music activities, sports and outdoor play, nutritious meals and snacks, family activities, and more. The program provides an important service to the public school system, giving the kids specialized attention and support for serious barriers so they are able to do better in school.
The CLC is open Monday through Thursday afternoon, and is staffed by a teacher, hourly interns (as funding permits), and volunteers from the community. The CLC teacher works in partnership with Village staff and with parents and school teachers, to ensure that the kids have their needs accurately assessed and met while they are in the CLC, and so parents can continue to be actively involved in the kids’ learning once they move into permanent housing.