Youth Leadership Program
Twenty-five (25) youth participated in the health center’s recent Youth Leadership Program (YLP) and at the end of June, 15 very dedicated teens had graduated with new found leadership skills, an improved sense of self- worth and a drive to improve their community to promote safety and prevent violence.
The Youth Leadership Program is a 10 month program that runs from September to June. It is youth driven and focused on issues of social justice and neighborhood health. It is designed to empower youth (14 to 16years old) In the Bowdoin/Geneva area to work towards the development of leadership skills, violence prevention, and community change. This year’s program was adapted from the Youth Empowerment Solutions for Peaceful Communities Program to fit the needs of the Bowdoin/Geneva Neighborhood and its youths.
The goals include: Empower youth to change their community; Help form positive relationships between youth and adults; Create a positive setting for youth to develop their own leadership style and skills; Promote attitudes that support community participation and nonviolence; Change the things in the community that play a part in causing youth violence; Reduce the number of youth who are victims of violence; and Reduce the number of youth who commit violent acts.
Participating youth interacted with each other, developed positive friendships, engaged in cultural enrichment activities and earned a $25 stipend per each session. They engaged in multiple projects. They conducted interviews, in the neighborhood, to assess assets and liabilities. After a movie night they discussed difficult topics pertaining to race and social change. They talked and practiced selfcare. They went to the federal court and had the chance to meet with The Chief Justice Judge and ask questions. The youth attended a community meeting to have their voices heard on issues affecting their community and how to improve services. Most importantly, they developed a successful community project “Peace all Summer 2016, on June 30th, as their final project. It was a block party/movie night to bring people in the neighborhood together to relax and enjoy good company. They believe that if neighbors knew one another, they would be least likely to commit a crime on one another. Over 500 residents turned out and the youth provided free food and entertainment to individuals and families.
Due to the great success of this year’s Youth Leaders, and all their work and dedication, Bowdoin Street Health Center will be running the program again with new participants. We are currently accepting application for youths in the Bowdoin/Geneva area who are 14 to 16 years old. Youth can call 617-754-0021 to get an application.