Summer Forecast Calls for Fun, Safe Conditions for Neighborhood Youth

Robert Lewis Jr., Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation, addresses the crowd. Also pictured from left: Sal LaMattina, Boston City Councilor District 1; John Connolly, Boston City Councilor At-Large; Anthony Petruccelli, State Senator; Paul Grogan, President & CEO of the Boston Foundation; Maureen Bleday, Executive Vice President for Programs and Operations for the Yawkey Foundations.

The Boston Foundation announced $710,000 in grants for positive summer programming for youth and families through its new ‘My Summer in the City’ initiative in response to recent park violence such as  stabbing of a teen inside Bremen Street Park in East Boston two weeks ago and the shooting of a 4-year old boy in Harambee Park Playground in Dorchester last week,.

The funding includes $250,000 to keep parks and playgrounds open and safe after hours with organized, positive activities—through grants to the East Boston Athletic Board (EBAB), the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and 10 other community-based organizations working with low-income, high-risk youth throughout Boston.

Through the grant the EBAB will provide many sports-oriented programs, such as tournaments for roller hockey, wiffle ball and basketball as well as six outdoor movie nights and SAT preparation programs every Thursday for 11 weeks.

The BHA will hold some 20 “Unity Days” at housing developments in Eastie and throughout the City during July and August, with an emphasis on promoting health and safety for residents and providing music, food and live entertainment.

Grantees for the Foundation’s initiative was announced at a festive, family-focused event hosted by the EBAB in Noyes Playground in Eastie last week. The kick-off was attended by all of the participating nonprofit organizations, families, young people, community members and public officials. An additional $460,000 in Boston Foundation funding went to five other summer funding initiatives.

“We are blessed in Boston to have a number of community-based, nonprofit organizations that provide creative and constructive activities to our young people all year round,” said Boston Foundation CEO Paul S. Grogan. “This initiative and our other summer funding recognizes their work and strengthens their efforts during the summer months—a time when it’s critical to keep the young people of our city engaged and occupied in positive programs.”

The initiative, which is also supported by the Barr Foundation, CHAMPS Boston, the Yawkey Foundations and a number of individual donors, is focusing on activities in parks and open spaces, including performances, movie nights and beautification projects. In addition, it supports physical activities through sports leagues, tennis clinics and martial arts instruction; arts engagement opportunities, including dance, play production and beat juggling; neighborhood-wide activities, such as carnivals, barbecues and sports tournaments; and paid jobs and internships for youth that enable them to acquire work and life skills.

“By keeping parks and playgrounds open during the evening hours and offering a whole host of creative programs and educational and sports-related activities, our goal is to give the youth and families of Boston’s neighborhoods numerous opportunities to be engaged in safe and constructive activities this summer,” said former Eastie resident and Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation Robert Lewis Jr. “We are honored to support and partner with so many great neighborhood-based organizations for this year’s My Summer in the City initiative.”

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