The Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program (MAP) is a 14-week job- and life-skills training program for individuals who have experienced homelessness. MAP, which began in 1995, serves 140 students a year.
The MAP model is extremely effective. In FY18, we served 97 students on a rolling basis, achieving a graduation rate of 70%, with 82% of our graduates employed at the time of graduation with an average hourly wage of $15.86 – 42% more than the Massachusetts minimum wage of $11 an hour. In 2000, the Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program (MAP) was recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus for excellence.
The Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program (MAP) is a 14-week job- and life-skills training program for individuals who have experienced homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and/or histories of incarceration. MAP, which began in 1995, serves 140 students a year. Taught by skilled, compassionate instructors, students learn to identify, pursue, and succeed in careers that match their interests, abilities, skills, and work values. The program emphasizes the importance of job readiness and satisfaction, which can increase students’ ability to secure and maintain employment and housing, thus improving their lives and the community-at-large. To help participants focus on their career goals, MAP provides 16 weeks of housing in a sober, safe environment. Our Life Skills Instructors teach essential skills such as how to write a resume, effectively job search online, file applications electronically, and prepare for an interview. But there is so much more to the program. These practical work lessons are embedded into other more holistic topics such as determining values, setting goals, managing stress, maintaining good health, creating positive social relationships and other life skills. An important component of the Moving Ahead Program is teaching students how to effectively deal with trauma and how to change negative emotions so that job performance and other aspects of life do not get derailed. These coping skills often make the difference between failure and success. Beyond the classroom, we offer an array of support services for our students:
- Studio Shine, our in-house boutique, provides students with professional clothing and image consultation
- Our Job Coach works with students in groups and one-on-one, helping students find and retain employment
- Case Managers to assist with housing issues, mental health care, legal issues, food stamps, and other needs
- Lifelong alumni access to St. Francis House and Moving Ahead Program services
- Must be 18 or older
- Experiencing, or at risk of homelessness
- Must be sober for at least 30 days with verification required
- Must commit to a sober lifestyle
- Be able to read and write in English
- Have immediate intentions of finding employment
- Must commit to full MAP schedule
- 9AM – 3PM Mon, Tues & Thurs
- 9AM – 12PM Weds & Fri
Studio Shine is an on-site boutique and image consulting service that provides MAP students with first-impression workshops, self-esteem counseling, and professional business attire. Studio Shine was the brainchild of a MAP graduate who understood the need for high-quality, fashion-forward professional attire that completes a student’s “look” and mirrors the internal transformation that happens during the 14-week program. Our full-time image consultant/counselor provides students with a one-hour private consultation in which they learn how to present themselves in a professional setting and how to dress for work. Studio Shine supplies each person with all of the wardrobe pieces necessary for job attainment and success. Studio Shine is grateful for individual donations and corporate support from organizations like Men’s Wearhouse. We welcome all professional clothing in gently used or new condition. However, we always have a particular need for large-size women’s professional clothing (size 16 and above) and for women’s dress shoes. If you would like to donate, please call 617-457-1016.
Since MAP started in 1995, more than 1,500 homeless and underserved individuals have graduated. MAP Alumni Services provides a network of support and tools that will help graduates secure and retain employment. We offer guidance at every step along the career path, and we’re here as long as someone needs us. MAP maintains an Alumni Center on the fourth floor of St. Francis House. There, graduates have access to staff and state-of-the-art computers to help with research and job hunting. The center is a beautiful, welcoming place to relax and stay connected. Our annual Summer Bar-b-que, Holiday Party, and Tax Prep Party are some of the ways we maintain contact with graduates, providing them with opportunities to reconnect with MAP staff and St. Francis House Services, as well as network with other MAP alumni and program supporters. In addition to these events, we offer regular workshops on topics that support ongoing job stability. Alumni also are encouraged to take advantage of on-site computer skills training, provided in partnership with Microsoft, and have priority access to in-house food-safety training (ServSafe© certification). We work hard to support our alumni after they graduate. In doing so, they sometimes support us, too. Alumni have the chance to “give back” to MAP and gain professional experience by volunteering or by serving on the Alumni Council.
The MAP model is extremely effective. In FY18, we served 97 students on a rolling basis, achieving a graduation rate of 70%, with 82% of our graduates employed at the time of graduation with an average hourly wage of $15.86 – over 40% more than the Massachusetts minimum wage of $11 an hour. In 2000, the Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program (MAP) was recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus for excellence. In 2001 MAP was selected by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Education Development Center (EDC) in Newton, MA, to serve as a “best practices” model for other HUD-funded programs in eight U.S. cities that were considering replicating the program. MAP-Topeka (Kansas) was launched in 2003, MAP-St. Louis (Missouri) was launched in 2004.