Youth Jobs and Teen Cafes

The Youth Jobs and Teen Cafés came into existence in 2007, to reduce the sharp increase in youth violence gripping Boston.

Funding from the Citizens Bank Foundation and the Boston Police Department allowed us to operate a Youth Jobs and Teen Cafes program that spanned into Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan for 8 years.

We employed a total of 316 youth with summer jobs, and provided opportunities for 7,939 young people to develop peaceful strategies to youth violence through our Teen Cafes, partnering with over 25 different organizations.

In 2015, there was a shift in our strategy and we are now focusing on an area of the city that is often under-funded and overlooked and is known for gang activity, crime, and poverty: Lower Roxbury, specifically from Massachusetts Avenue to Dudley Street, and Tremont Street to Washington Street.  There are very few resources in this neighborhood that consists of the Lenox/Camden Housing Development, Madison Park Village, and Grant Manor. This includes Roxse Homes, Camfield Estates, and Mandela Housing Developments. 

In partnership with the Boston Police Dept., Vibrant Boston, and the Boston Public Health Commission we are working with youth across the housing developments as Youth Peer Leaders developing peaceful strategies and activities to bring youth together and to reduce gang violence.

In 2016 we are operating a minimum of 15 Teen Café events and activities to offer an alternative to violence and to build leadership skills in our youth. Through the Boston Health Commission we are bringing Healthy Champions to this community to focus on healthy eating and education to make positive lifestyle changes. Also our youth are training under a professional chef to learn how to cook and eat healthy foods.

For more information about this program, please contact Sharyn Halliday at shalliday[@]bmaboston.org or 617-445-2737 ext. 112.