Our History

Our Purpose, Our Program

Making Connections at School is a program of Building Resilience in Kids (BRIK), which began in 1999 as the Kids on the Brink of Adolescence program, funded by the Nathaniel P. and E. P. Stevens Foundation. BRIK seeks to provide low-income, at-risk children with better relationships with adults, a protective factor in preventing serious problems (drug use, crime, suicide) when children enter adolescence. BRIK began by offering Art from the Heart, an innovative technique that helps at-risk girls learn about healthy relationships, and training social workers in this new technique. With further funding from the Theodore E. Parker foundation (two two-year grants) and additional funding from the Stevens foundation, BRIK and Kids on the Brink of Adolescence have accomplished the following in five years:

  • Training on working in after school programs to help children get along and understand their feelings have been offered to trainees from 38 Lowell nonprofits.
  • Consultation has been offered to the Greater Lawrence Community Health Center for use of Art from the Heart in an obesity-prevention group for children.
  • Five of the six middle school social workers in the Lowell Public Schools have been trained in Art from the Heart (a ten to fourteen week training).
  • Making Connections at School groups (Formerly called Building Relationships in Schools) have been held at two locations, open to teachers throughout Lowell Public Schools.
  • Four trainings on Building Relationships in School: Discovering Your Relational Intelligence have been held for Lowell teachers.
  • Art from the Heart Groups have been held at Girls Inc (an after school program) and the staff there trained in working with girls using Art from the Heart and the relational model.
  • A Curriculum for counselors and social workers on how to use Art from the heart is available, to be used after attending an Art from the Heart training.

We have been able to accomplish all of this with only four grants because we use every dollar for program. Office space is donated by staff. Staff are not salaried but are paid project by project. We have also had the help of six volunteers, and staff volunteer their time in between funded projects. Our fiscal agent, Community Teamwork Inc., has 501(c)(3) status.