Capstone Courses and Projects
The Bowery Residents Committee
The Bowery Residents Committee (BRC) is a voluntary nonprofit that works to address the needs of persons with limited resources in the metropolitan New York City area. The BRC is seeking to improve the effectiveness and policy influence of its street outreach program, Project Rescue. The Capstone team developed a survey to help the BRC more systematically answer several broad-based questions about breakdowns in the system that serves homeless individuals in New York City. The team researched other outreach programs and evaluation literature and developed a list of suggested survey revisions for use with BRCs own client database. After piloting the survey at BRC's drop-in center, the team worked to implement the new survey tool at Project Rescue.
Citizens Budget Commission
The Capstone team was asked to review New York Citys franchise, revocable consent, and concession process to determine if additional revenue could be generated for the City through process changes and improvements. The Capstone team identified three City agencies whose primary responsibility is administering the Citys franchise, revocable consent, and concession contracts and interviewed officials from these agencies to understand the current process and determine if changes could be made that would generate additional revenue for the City. The Capstone team interviewed personnel from additional City agencies and nonprofit organizations. Recommendations included changes to streamline the current process and ensure accountability, as well as areas to research further for potential new revenue.
UJA-Federation of New York, F·E·G·S
The Capstone team evaluated the Partners In Caring program (PiC), a grant that allows social workers to deliver counseling, group therapy, and educational workshops in a place Jews congregatethe synagogue. The grant was made by the federated body that represents the interests of Long Island Jewry in order to foster stronger ties of Long Island Jews to the Federation and enhance Jewish communal life on Long Island. The team reviewed the functioning of all points of the service delivery model, compared the program to other synagogue-Federation (church-state) collaborative efforts across the US, and compared PiC to other synagogue-agency co-projects. The team described and analyzed the programs marketing, staffing, financing, and programming issues, made recommendations to all relevant stakeholders, and generated a list of best practices.
New York City Department of Correction
Research has proven that pre-release planning for incarcerated adults leads to lower recidivism rates. The Capstone team designed the Bronx Outreach Program, a pre-release program that utilizes a family case management model as a method of transitioning released inmates back into the Bronx community. The model assesses, plans for, and meets the familys social service needs while the detainee is still incarcerated and following his release. The pilot design incorporated a needs assessment of detainees and their families, a mapping of appropriate service providers in the Bronx, as well as research on best practices employed in national models. Recommendations for funding sources, program implementation, and marketing strategies were also included in the Capstone teams report.
New York City Commission on Human Rights
In an ongoing attempt to enforce the New York City Human Rights Law, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has acknowledged the correlation between the high rate of residential foreclosures and predatory lending practices that target vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and low- to moderate-income minority communities. The Capstone team assessed the interplay of discrimination within the sub-prime lending market, identified targeted areas in New York City, and appraised the effectiveness of the Commissions foreclosure counseling program. Through research, site visits, and interviews, the team determined that CHRs role should incorporate an expanded intake and needs assessment of potential clients, enhanced referral network with other community-based organizations, and comprehensive tracking system to determine the efficacy of the counseling program.
New York City Department of Juvenile Justice
The Capstone team analyzed and evaluated the Department of Juvenile Justice's current Behavior Management Program. The team conducted interviews, site visits, focus groups, and outside research in order to better learn about the Behavioral Management Program and how best to address the Department of Juvenile Justice's needs. From that research, the team created a comprehensive behavioral management program entitled ASPIRE. The ASPIRE program seeks to manage behavior, maintain a safe and secure environment, and improve social and behavioral competencies of the young residents in the detention facilities of the Department of Juvenile Justice. ASPIRE encourages residents to take responsibility for their actions by providing leadership and support, reinforcing positive behavior, celebrating successes, and upholding fairness and equity.