APAC Summer Youth Employment Program Gives at Risk Teens Valuable Work Experience

With teen violence always a concern in Boston neighborhoods, programs like East Boston APAC’s Summer Works program have become an oasis for at-risk teens–giving them the opportunity to hold a real job, take home a pay check, receive tutoring and mentoring that boosts achievement in school, and experience an all-important work ethic they may never observe otherwise.

It’s no secret that Summer Works has kept kids in Eastie off the streets and away from drugs and gangs and the other temptations the city offers during the long hot summer.

Last Thursday, APAC joined funders like Massport and the East Boston Foundation at the Heritage Apartments to honor the teens that completed this year’s program.

The workers received their last paychecks at the event and were awarded with certificates for their work in the neighborhood throughout the summer months.

“This summer APAC provided approximately 50 job opportunities to at-risk teens that were able to spend a safe and productive summer to youth working at various locations from summer camps, child-care centers and public libraries to government agencies, health clinics and community/non-profit sites,” said APAC Director Amy Lima. “Along with a supervised work experience, the teens received tutoring, mentoring and career/life development experiences such as financial education workshops.”

For 47 years, SummerWorks program has provided summer employment, education and career exploration for Boston’s young people ages 14 to 21 from low-income families.

SummerWorks has been called a national model for its success in integrating work, education, tutoring and mentoring into a program that has put hundreds of thousands of youth on the road to success in school and life, including a significant cadre of government, private sector and community leaders.

“This year, because of funding cutbacks, SummerWorks program had more applications than jobs,” said Lima. “But the continued help from Massport and the East Boston Foundation has allowed us to fill in those budget shortfalls and put more kids to work each summer.”

Lima added that APAC has had the infrastructure in place to keep kids working and have been lucky to have this cadre of community organizations who love to work with APAC kids.

“Ask any city parent whether they would rather see their kid working or sitting around, and I think you could predict what the answer would be,” said Lima. “When kids have somewhere to go it helps keep them out of trouble and keeping that philosophy in mind APAC and its parent agency the ABCD is always trying to find ways to put more kids to work.”

Last week’s “End of Summer Celebration” is one of several key events taking place this year as part of ABCD’s 50th Anniversary year-long celebration.

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