Boston-Based Coalition Working to Develop More Effective Measures to Serve America's Youth

September 15, 2008

Adriana Bobinchock

Belmont, MA - An internationally-renowned coalition of leaders in education, out-of-school time, youth development, mental health, policy-making, juvenile justice, research and funding will gather in Boston this week, working across all disciplines in a collaborative effort to develop more effective methods to serve Boston's youth at home, in school and in the community.

The Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR) at McLean Hospital and Harvard University, will host its 6th annual leadership conference "The Whole Child...The Whole Day" on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008 from 8 am to 4 pm at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Honorary Chair of the conference, will set the agenda for the day with topics including working with youth in the community, education, mental health, family support, social service and criminal justice. Terry Real, a prominent family therapist, trauma specialist and author of best-selling books about the association between relationships and health, will be the keynote speaker.

"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 Dr. Gil Noam, associate professor of psychology at Harvard and McLean and director of PEAR. "Clearly, the fragmentation of systems is not serving young people well. We urgently need an innovative framework and action plan that combine high expectations with high support so all children and youth can be successful."

A leadership panel, comprised of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson, Director of the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Emily Sherwood, Acting Commissioner of Early Education and Care Amy Kershaw, and others will discuss "Creating a System so all Children can Thrive and Succeed." Various parallel sessions will follow and will address topics such as relational teachers and school climate, engaged learning in out-of-school time, crossing contexts to develop resiliency, trauma & risk and gang connected kids.

"The PEAR leadership conference serves to expand and elevate our knowledge, reflecting the important political changes in our commonwealth," said Scott L. Rauch, MD, president and psychiatrist in chief of McLean Hospital and chair of Partners HealthCare Psychiatry and Mental Health. "With the governor's readiness initiative and the mayor's leadership regarding schools, out-of-school time and health, there is now a great opportunity to build a system that can work and will assure that young people will succeed."

The PEAR conference is sponsored by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Partners HealthCare, the Red Sox Foundation and the Abrams Foundation. For more information or to register for the conference, visit or call (617) 262-3424.

McLean is the largest psychiatric clinical care, teaching and research facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare. For more information about McLean Hospital, visit

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