Students who are suspended from school are more likely to repeat a grade, not graduate on time, or enter the juvenile justice system. These unintended consequences are undeniably cause for concern.
Boomerang is a nonprofit dedicated to breaking this cycle. Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, it provides a comprehensive program during "out-of-school time" as a result of a short-term suspension.
Boomerang's daily Alternative to Suspension (ATS) program provides a structured environment for students who have been suspended from school and need extra help. In addition to academic support, ATS focuses on addressing the root causes of negative habits and behavior while helping youth foster stronger bonds with their friends, families, and community.
Boomerang also offers after-school and summer programs. It provides an open-door academic drop-in center where students can get help with their homework and access opportunities to fulfill court-appointed community service hours. It also facilitates ways to complete the required 25 hours of service learning needed to graduate from Chapel Hill–Carrboro City schools.
"Our mission is to inspire youth to bounce back from challenges and move towards positive change," said Sonia Frischemeier, director of operations at Boomerang.
Connect. Build. Inspire.
For the most part, students come to Boomerang when they have been suspended or have become involved in the juvenile justice system. Boomerang's programming seeks to rebuild connections they may have lost with society, their school, or their community. It's aimed at building upon young people's existing strengths, providing a safe place to share their personal stories, and inspiring them to make positive transformational changes in their lives.
Boomerang reports a number of successes. Ninety percent of participants reduce the problem behaviors for which they were referred to Boomerang's program. Additionally, 100 percent of adjudicated students commit no new reported offenses while at Boomerang.
Sensitive Data Needs Reliable Backup Solutions
"Working with young people means collecting a lot of sensitive information that needs to be safeguarded, in addition to grant agreements and other legal and financial documents that must be retained for a number of years," Sonia explained.
For this reason, it's important for her organization to use a comprehensive backup tool. And thanks to Veritas for Nonprofits at TechSoup, Boomerang was able to begin using Veritas System Recovery, Server Edition, when its IT professional recommended it.
"As a small nonprofit, finding a simple do-it-all backup solution that met the needs of a mixed physical and virtual setup was critical to our organization. As was cost. Veritas through TechSoup gave us functionality and value. It allows us to focus on what is important — our students," Sonia noted.
Preserving Precious Information
Boomerang works with 300 to 400 students each year, and Veritas software has become a crucial component in managing all the data collected in the pursuit of its mission. Analyzing this information helps Sonia and her team make better-informed programming decisions.
"Having a reliable backup is essential for this. But more importantly, we hold precious information shared by students. Students at Boomerang share their stories, strengths, dreams, and goals, as well as the obstacles and challenges they face," she said.
This information is often captured in a "tree" students draw to express themselves (pictured above).
"Being entrusted with this is foundational to our mission and to the strong connections we build with youth," Sonia said. "And when they come back to see us, sometimes after many years, one of the first things they ask is if they can see their tree."
Additional Resources: Veritas for Nonprofits
- Check out TechSoup's Guide to Veritas Backup and Recovery Products.
- Read about Securing Precious Land with Data Backups from Veritas.