Springfield-focused student policy teams release final reports


Student teams studying youth violence, promise neighborhoods, and health disparities in Springfield released their final reports today. The students—from Amherst College, UMass, Smith, and Mt. Holyoke—were part of a January term course co-facilitated by The Springfield Institute and The Roosevelt Institute, and sponsored by the Amherst College Center for Community Engagement.

View Asset Map Springfield Open Gyms Programs in a larger map

  • The youth violence team’s report, More Than Just Bouncing a Ball, focused on open gyms programs, and found that such programs do in fact reduce youth violence if they are designed with structure and rigorously tracked. The team organized a focus group on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Springfield teens, Governor Patrick, and Mayor Sarno to collect authoritative perspectives on youth violence. The team also created an open-access asset map (above) that public and private service providers–as well as residents themselves–can use to plan, update, and access services. Video presentation below. Click here to download summary and full report.
  • The promise neighborhood team studied three recently-funded promise neighborhood initiatives in Massachusetts (based on Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone model), considered Springfield’s suitability, and determined that the model has transformative potential. Video presentation below. Click here to download the summary and full report. The team also created this web site to make their findings more accessible: www.springfieldpromise.org
  • Video testimony from a Springfield resident unable to access health services despite her diligence.

  • The health disparities team studied the “no-show” phenomenon at Baystate High Street Health Center, which presents substantial human and financial costs for the Center and for low-income African-American and Latino residents of Springfield. The team researched how structural barriers including transportation, welfare rules, and racism contribute to the problem. The team also surveyed strategies at other clinics in Springfield and around the country. Video presentation below. Click here for the full report.
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