Northstar Learning Center

Community Partnerships

We believe strength is found in the collective not the individual, therefore here at NorthStar we strive to cultivate, build and maintain cross sector partnerships as a means to increase our participant’s social capital and exposure to opportunities. Over the years our partnerships with our community at large has offered NorthStar the unique opportunity to work with and serve as a source for professional development.

NorthStar’s Mental Health Outreach Program provides training and consultation services for school districts, charter schools, and community agencies. Mindfulness, trauma-informed practice, cultural responsiveness and behavioral interventions are among the training and consultation services that NorthStar Mental Health Outreach Program and its parent organization have been involved in providing. The NorthStar Mental Health Outreach Program is expecting to expand our offering of training opportunities that are approved by accredited commissions for CEUs to qualified professional helpers. The Mental Health Outreach Program is expected to be a leading agency to provide unique and innovative methodology to resolving and addressing mental health challenges in schools and community agencies.

Other partner organizations include:

Boston University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Including “environmental justice” among the ongoing issues we address, NorthStar partnered on a research study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR Cumulative Risk Assessment (CRA) initiative that explores how a combination of factors may be increasing disease rates among city residents. Considering the harmful effects of toxic pollution, the researchers at Boston University School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and NorthStar engaged in a EPA-funded research study, Effects-Based Cumulative Risk Assessment in a Low-Income Urban Community near a Superfund Site, that focused on the influence of combined exposure to multiple chemical and non-chemical stressors on blood pressure and ADHD-like behavior in New Bedford. An article on our researcher-community partner collaboration recently appeared in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2017, 14, 30; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070730).

Prior to our participation in this research project, NorthStar’s programmatic focus was on helping children, youth, and families overcome social and economic inequities. Four years of collaboration in the EPA research project certainly expanded our field of vision; it has also increased our awareness of multi-causality, complexities, challenges, and possibilities associated with going about planning and trying to mobilize a more integrated, comprehensive response that considers the pileup of environmental health threats and socioeconomic risks burdening New Bedford residents, particularly low-income residents and people of color, whose neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these serious public health problems.

NorthStar is participating in a new research project that can help us understand how people in New Bedford may be exposed to chemicals from the environment. The study is being conducted by researchers from Boston University and funded by the National Institutes of Health. 

New Bedford Youth Alliance

The Greater New Bedford Youth Alliance (Youth Alliance) supports a diverse community in which all children have equal access to quality services. Toward that end, we are committed to establishing a seamless system of quality before school, after school, out of school and summer programming for children and families through collaborations that build healthy organizations in the service of children and families.

NorthStar acts as a fiscal agent for the United Way of Greater New Bedford Innovation Grant and Sub Committee member for CitySpan Data System as well as engagement as an active member of the Youth Alliance.

Birth to Third Partnership

A collaboration of community partners with a mission of improving outcomes for children from birth to grade 3. NorthStar is an active stakeholder in this group and advocate for accessible and affordable quality early childhood education.

New Bedford Public Schools Wraparound Partnership Coalition

This initiative is comprised of organizations who serve children, youth and families with wraparound services throughout the city of New Bedford with an aim to clearly define “wraparound” as an approach and work from the same definition as a collaborative community. NorthStar is an active stakeholder, facilitator and site host for this initiative.

New Bedford Early Education and Care Partnership

Northstar is an active advocate, facilitator and convener for advancing kindergarten readiness working in partnership with New Bedford Public Schools to convene early education and care providers across the district to align efforts for highest possible impact.

New Bedford Farmers Markets

Support by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant program NorthStar promoted and distributed “Green Bucks” to enable low-income families to access healthy, locally grown food.

State Street Community Garden

We have finished our third growing season in the State Street Community Garden—across the street from our main office. The garden not only produces vegetables harvested by neighbors, but also has been, as passersby have noted, a place of beauty in a neighborhood without a lot of green space. A next-door neighbor continues to be involved in watering, weeding, and harvesting vegetables from the garden. She said each morning she enjoys the peace that the garden affords.