Moving Beyond Icebreakers was created through over thirty years of direct experience facilitating thousands of meetings with youth and adults.
Stanley Pollack began his career in the early 1970's working with juvenile offenders in Trenton, NJ. From 1973 to 1982, as a youth worker and later as director of the Mayor's Office of Youth Services in Somerville, MA, he developed innovative methods for engaging youth in a process of creating positive change in their communities — the basis for the current Teen Empowerment Model™. From 1982 to 1991, Mr. Pollack provided consultation in the model to more than 40 organizations, including City Year, the Food Project, Serve Houston, and the city of Boston's Community Centers.
In 1992, he founded the Center for Teen Empowerment as a nonprofit organization in Boston's South End/Lower Roxbury, an area that was plagued by serious problems with youth violence, gangs, and drugs. Guided by the Teen Empowerment Model's community change strategy, neighborhood youth were hired to address these problems, forming a powerful group of young people that was able to forge a long-lasting peace agreement among warring factions. Teen Empowerment now has community-based sites in Boston and Somerville and in Rochester, NY, and provides consultation and training to a wide range of social, educational, and youth service agencies. Teen Empowerment has also worked extensively in the Boston Public Schools. Under Mr. Pollack's leadership, Teen Empowerment has engaged over 25,000 people in social change initiatives and has involved hundreds of school faculty, police officers, and youth workers in training designed to improve their agencies' ability to meet their goals.
Mary Fusoni has taught English and reading skills at the high school level in Boston and Arlington, MA, and was a founding teacher of the Full Circle School, an alternative high school program in Somerville, MA. She has been working as a writer, editor, and administrator since 1980, initially as a technical writer for computer manuals. In 1989 she began providing administrative support for programs working with the Teen Empowerment Model. She wrote the grant proposal that earned initial funding for the Center for Teen Empowerment, and was the Center's documentation and publications coordinator for 18 years.