Tag Archives: youth

Main South: Worcester students! Splash into spring!

Clark University
950 Main St.

Clark University to offer free workshops to area youth!

A student-run organization at Clark University known as the Educational Studies Program (ESP) will host their biannual “Splash” event on Saturday, April 25

10 a.m. to 5p.m. on the Clark campus, 950 Main St.

This event enables area students in grades 5-12 the opportunity to attend workshops led by Clark students and faculty.

The program is free; lunch will be provided.

Registration ends Friday, April 17.

Splash classes include introductions to advanced academic topics, hands-on experiments, discussions of current issues, and visual and performing arts lessons. Some include Quidditch, Psychology of Optical Illusions, How to Succeed in Theater, Slam Poetry and How to Get to Congress.

This year, Splash organizers are allowing parents also take classes and learn about current trends in education.

Sophomore Corey Bernstein, director of the Educational Studies Program, attended a Splash event at MIT when he was in middle school.

“I clearly remember my excitement in being able to choose from so many classes on topics that truly interested me,” said Bernstein.  “Now, when we provide middle- and high-school students with that same experience at Clark, it is the highlight of my semester.”

Bernstein said up to 400 students have participated in the event in the past.

Register online via the program’s website.  A course catalog is available at https://clarkuesp.learningu.org/learn/Splash/2015_Spring/catalog.

For more information, email clarkuesp@gmail.com.

Splash originated at MIT, and has since spread to numerous colleges including Clark, Boston College, and Babson College by way of a nonprofit organization called LearningU, founded by MIT graduate Dan Zarapol. Zarapol helped advise Clark’s program in the fall of 2011. Clark’s Splash program was started in the spring of 2012.

Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early uses confiscated drug money to fund Worcester youth programs

DA  Joe Early

By Ron O’Clair

District Attorney Joe Early Jr. believes that his organization can reduce crime with preventative measures. In the period from October 2013, through June of 2014 his office has donated a total of $125,057.44 in seized drug assets to various programs throughout the Worcester County that are aimed at education and prevention of crime in juveniles.

Juvenile delinquency complaints have dropped by 33% overall throughout the Worcester County since his programs have been in use, with some areas of the county experiencing a 44% drop. The time between arraignment and trial has been reduced from 6 months to 3-4 weeks in most cases.

His diversion program gives an opportunity for those who are charged with various offenses and have no record aged 17-21 to have their arraignments postponed for 90 days to do 8 hours of community service, with an online test that takes an hour to complete, and upon successful completion, their record remains clean.

There have been over 1,500 who have completed this program with less than 50 repeat offenders.

Over 350,000 people have attended presentations of a Community Outreach Program put on by the District Attorney’s Office that include a video along with a question and answer period on various topics including identity theft, internet safety, bullying, cyber bullying, sexting, distracted driving, and others aimed at educating the public about these issues. Over 200,000 of these attendee’s have been students, while the rest are made up of various civic groups, the elderly, crime watch participants, and even private company personnel.

The most requested presentation has been about bullying, which has serious consequences that can contribute to adolescent suicide if nothing is done about it. Awareness and education are the best defenses against this.

The DA has worked with many educators throughout the Worcester County including South High Principal Maureen Binienda, and Worcester East Middle School Teacher Phillip Giarusso getting at risk youth involved in various activities aimed at crime prevention.

Joe Early Jr. contributes funding to place teenage girls from Worcester East Middle School in a summer camp at The College of the Holy Cross here in the city that allows these girls, who are generally below poverty level to interact with members of the Holy Cross women’s basketball team while staying at the college for a week. The players are good role models for the students to emulate, and confiscated drug funds are used to make that possible.

Confiscated drug funds are made available when cases are adjudicated equally, 50/50 between the District Attorney and the community police where the arrest and seizure is made. The funds cannot be used to pay salaries. The District Attorney uses a portion of his seized drug funds to pay for programs aimed at crime prevention. Much of the money goes into improvements to high school and public athletic fields, including Foley Stadium. The list of athletic fields is long, and spans the Worcester County.

Organizations can apply to the District Attorney for funds for programs aimed at crime prevention for below poverty level at risk youth. Some of those who benefitted are the LUK Inc. program of Fitchburg, to fund the North County Youth Summit, the South High School of Worcester to fund the Band, Baseball, Volleyball & Bowling Team, Burncoat High for its Baseball & Basketball Programs, Auburn High for its We The People Competition, Claremont Academy for its Basketball Program, Main South Boys Basketball for its Basketball Program, Doherty Memorial High School for its Baseball Field Improvements and Equipment, the Algonquin Regional High SADD Chapter for its student safety program/ drinking and driving.

The list goes on and on, the DA even paid to repaint the Roosevelt School on Grafton Street with funds confiscated from drug dealers. Anyone can apply to receive funds from the DA for worthwhile programs that are designed to prevent crime, which is a good use of funds that would have otherwise gone to maintain a criminal drug enterprise and the lavish lifestyle associated with it.

Homeless youth in Massachusetts need your help!

In the State of Massachusetts, it’s estimated that more than 6,000 students
under the age of 24 are experiencing homelessness without the support of a
parent or legal guardian. These are the unaccompanied youth. Without a safe,
permanent place to sleep at night, young people are far more likely suffer
from poor academic performance, to drop out of school, to be exploited or
sexually abused, take part in high risk behavior such as substance use, and
experience some kind of bodily harm or violence.

As the number of young people experiencing homelessness continues to grow,
finding adequate housing options and supportive services becomes more

But there is hope! House Bill 135 is a bill currently under review that
would provide funding to begin addressing the tragic circumstances of
unaccompanied youth. This Bill would allow providers in Massachusetts to
offer the kinds of services that unaccompanied youth desperately need to end
the cycle of homelessness.

On July 16th, House Bill 135 will presented at hearing at the State House in
Boston, Room B2, at 1pm. This is an important part of the Democratic
process, wherein members of the community can come and speak directly to the
legislators, explaining why it’s important to pass this Bill.

We need your help! We cannot do this without you!

If you know a youth who would like to give testimony, would like to give
testimony yourself, or are available to show up and stand in solidarity,

We need people to speak and we need people just to stand in the room with

If you need help putting together your testimony, we are enthusiastic to
help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

But if you can’t be there that day, you can still help! Call your senators
and local representatives, urging them to support this Bill. Write a letter
to the editor, explaining why it’s imperative that your representatives
support this bill. Let people know that this is happening, spread the word!

Please contact your legislators and ask them to convey their support to the
Conference Committee and to Leadership to actively support the bill!

To find out who your representative is, follow this link!



Ali Brauner or Exa Mendez at Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless

781 595 7570 ex 16



Here is a bit of information regarding House Bill 135!

To view the language of the Bill:


For a written fact sheet regarding the provisions of this Bill:


For information regarding the Budget:

Budget Campaign fact sheet


BOSTON –    The YouthWorks summer jobs program helps provide low-income and at-risk youth from around the Commonwealth with work experience, valuable career skills and a chance to give back to their communities, a new report from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and Commonwealth Corporation finds.

In 2012, the Patrick-Murray Administration funded YouthWorks, a program that helps at-risk young people find meaningful employment, with $8 million. Through the program, over 5,300 young people in 31 cities across the Commonwealth were placed in summer and year-round jobs. Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick filed a supplemental budget request for $10 million to fund the YouthWorks program this summer, recognizing the important role career experience plays in future success for young adults.

“We must offer constructive alternatives for our young people,” said Governor Patrick. “Investing in YouthWorks and summer jobs programs is part of our comprehensive strategy to create peace in our neighborhoods by giving all of our young people the opportunity for success.”

Additionally, summer jobs, including many of those supported by Youthworks, empower young people to help others in their communities. In Springfield, Youthworks participants worked side-by-side with professional carpenters and electricians to rebuild affordable houses in the city’s Old Hill neighborhood. In Lowell, YouthWorks participants learned skills like teamwork, follow-through and project management at the Lowell Community Health Center where they took leadership roles in planning Dance4Peace, an event aimed at ending youth violence and ethnic stereotyping.

“YouthWorks represents a worthwhile investment that gives young people the opportunity to earn a wage, learn career skills, take pride in a job well done and become a positive force in their communities,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. “As the summer months approach, we hope to have the funds necessary to run a program this summer.”

“What many should realize is that programs like YouthWorks really give youth the chance to make changes we never thought we were capable of,” said Bryan Wright, a Boston teen who worked as a Head Start teacher’s assistant last summer.

Fall River teen Rahbi Iddrisu spent her summer at the Fall River Career Center helping adults find jobs.

“I’m getting to learn about more secure job fields,” said Iddrisu. “I want to be able to help people – maybe go to law school.”

YouthWorks partners with local workforce boards, employers, and youths to ensure that young people get work experience and learn work readiness skills that lead to unsubsidized employment.

Kevin Hancock, a Haverhill entrepreneur who hired a YouthWorks participant says he “can see the excitement in kids’ eyes.”

“I want to help them understand that you have to prove yourself to an employer in order to expect paycheck.” Hancock said.


While we argue over slots, 75% of at-risk youth in Worcester are not being mentored

BOSTON – Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), a statewide organization fueling the movement to expand quality mentoring for youth to meet the needs of communities across Massachusetts, released the findings from its Mass Mentoring Counts 2012’s Central Mass/MetroWest Regional Report yesterday at its regional networking meeting held at the Worcester Youth Center. The event, in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest, was the third of five regional networking meetings across the state that Bank of America is sponsoring for MMP.

MMP presented key findings from the report, including:

•           Total unmet need for mentoring in Worcester is more than 75% based on the number of youth in low-income and single parent households

•           More than 3,000 youth are served by 15 mentoring programs in Central Mass/MetroWest

•           Nearly two-thirds of mentors are 18-22 years old, compared to 31% statewide

•           Parental engagement is growing as an area that contributes to improved match outcomes

•           Staff time devoted to recruitment and volunteer follow-up is the greatest mentor recruitment challenge experienced by most programs in this area

•           More than one-third of programs in Central Mass/MetroWest predict growth in youth served over the next two years

•           More than 60% of programs reported that identification and diversification of funding opportunities was the primary challenge in growing the number of youth served

“We recognize the critical role that mentoring plays in a young person’s development, ability to form healthy relationships and attitude toward life and learning,” said Ed Shea, Central Massachusetts market president, Bank of America. “Mass Mentoring Counts will spotlight best practices in mentoring by cultivating data that will help us to better understand and address the needs of young people in communities across Massachusetts.”

About Mass Mentoring Partnership

Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is fueling the movement to expand quality mentoring for youth to meet the needs of communities across Massachusetts. MMP serves more than 200 mentoring programs statewide supporting 30,000 youth in mentoring relationships. www.massmentors.org

On the Clark University gang/youth violence conference

By Rosalie Tirella

Last night’s conference at Clark University on gang violence and at-risk youth is something we hold to make ourselves feel better. No one wants to get to the real crux of the youth violence/gang problem: sky-high rents in Worcester. The good factory jobs are gone. Many adults in the innercity have McJobs. No one can pay Worcester’s exorbitant inner-city apartment rents. Our elected officials do not work to solve the real problem. So everyone throws out other little fixes, like Bandaids over blown off limbs: youth mentors, part-time jobs for kids.

Jobs for kids – we love the idea! Mentors can sometimes turn lives around! But really, how are you going to change a kid’s world, if his mom and he and his siblings are living in an apartment in Piedmont and struggling to pay $850 a month rent? How can a family keep paying the bills and have a little money left over for a few fun extras, if they are behind the eight-ball every month?

And the idiots who diss Worcester’s CDCs are just that – idiots. They whine about the city’s “no-lo housing,” about the govt subsidizing the CDC apts when if fact the govt is also subsididzing their crumby inner-city apartments every time they take a tenant who receives “subsidized rent.” Could these greedy landlords charge what their apartments are really worth a month – around $600/$650? Certainly. But they will take the $1,200/grand the federal govt gives them per crumby apartment and perpetuate the system, a system in which Worcester apartments rent for too much money. Inflated rents! Then all the other landlords jump aboard, charging $800 or so for their digs. And guess what?

The youths politicians like Mike Moore, District Att. Joe Early Jr. and pals say they are trying to help are not helped one iota. The youths are too busy moving to new digs with their parent/s who are on the run from landlords (for not paying rent). Even with subsidized rents, the families still struggle, and we are creating a very dependent group of people who are too afraid to get off welfare because everything is so expensive and a McJob is not going to pay the bills! So that means the kids are probably changing schools, as their family moves to another Worcester slum apartment, and parents feel to stressed to vote or even register to vote in their new neighborhoods.

When I was kid, we were poor and so were all the families around us. My dad was MIA – like many dads were back then and still are. BUT my life was stable and so were many of my friends’ lives BECAUSE the rents were low enough for families to pay the bills and have a bit of cash left over. I attended Lamartine Street School, K – grade six. Guess what? I graduated from Lamartine with MOST of the kids I started out with – my kindergarten classmates.

Because of the inflated rents in Worcester – especialy in our poor neighborhoods- poor families cannot stabalize. So food is a problem, electricity bills are problems, clothing, taxi fare, school atttendance, teeth – all the other stuff – is a problem. Inner-city fmailies get stressed out. Dads bail. Violence, anger set in. The kids are hurt, angry, mad, ashamed. Of course, youths in the middle of a family crisis will act out. I am surprised there are not more Worcester kids breaking the law and carrying guns. They are having such a crappy time in our city!

Like I said, the kids go to new schools every year. Of course, their grades will suffer. The families move to a new neighborhood. Of course, mom or dad or any guardian will not be registered to vote in the new neighborhood. And will they take the time to re-register, if they are registered at all? This is why inner-city District 4 – Main South, Piedmont, downtown – has the fewest registered voters.

Families are on the move all the time. The result: intractable poverty, violence, stress, the creation of an underclass in Worcester.

Worcester’s underclass does not need basketballl with cops on a Friday night – though that may help. Worcester’s youth’s need Worcester City officials to call HUD- the federal office of Housing and Urban Development. Our city leaders must tell HUD that Worcester apartments are not worth the amonunt of money the feds are givng us – basically Boston vouchers. We are not Boston. Our jobs don’t pay as well as Boston’s; our cost of living is not as high. HUD’s rental vouchers must reflect that. If that happens, greedy Worcester landlords will get what they deserve for their third-rate subsidized apartments AND the other non-subsidized rents will come down for the rest of the apartments in Worcester’s poor neighborhoods. The rents have been inflated in this city for too long. The govt must stop feeding our bad habit.

By making rents affordable for poor families in Main South, Piedmont, Harrison/Providence streets, we will be stabalizing poor, inner-city families and neighborhoods.

Then – and only then – will we see a drop in youth crime/gang activity. We will also see stability in our inner-city (District 4) schools and we will have more registered voters in District 4/poor neighborhoods.

We will then be empowering kids in a real way. We will be strengthening poor families in a real way. Education, voting, empowerment. It all will come with rents that are affordable for the poor. McJobs are here to stay.

Just like it used to be in my Green Island neighborhood years ago and most every other poor neighborhood in Worcester. We had no underclass then. We just had immigrants and their kids and poor people living in stable neighborhoods, living together, forming a true community.

A note to all high school students

From Michael Moore

Dear High School Students:

How inspired are you by the thousands of students from Wisconsin high schools who began walking out of class four days ago and have now occupied the State Capitol building and its grounds in Madison, demanding that the governor stop his assault on teachers and other government workers? I have to say it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in years.

We are, right now, living in an amazing moment of history. And this moment has happened because the youth around the world have decided they’ve had enough. Young people are in revolt — and it’s about time.

You, the students and young adults, from Cairo, Egypt to Madison, Wisconsin, are now rising up, taking to the streets, organizing, protesting and refusing to move until your voices are heard. Effing amazing!! It has scared the pants off those in power, the adults who were so convinced they had done a heckuva job trying to dumb you down and distract you with useless nonsense so that you’d end up feeling powerless, just another cog in the wheel, another brick in the wall. You’ve been fed a lot of propaganda about “how the system works” and so many lies about what took place in history that I’m amazed you’ve been able to sort through all the bs and see the truth for what it is. Continue reading A note to all high school students