Over 200 will attend Teen Empowerment’s Celebration of Hope and Caring on March 12, 2014 at the Center for the Arts at the Armory at 6:30 p.m. The event, chaired by Somerville Aldermen Jack Connolly and Mary Jo Rossetti, honors Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the City of Somerville for their dedication to improving youth development outcomes. It also marks Teen Empowerment’s tenth anniversary of working in Somerville. The Celebration will include performances by youth, a silent auction and interactive activities for the diverse crowd, and hopes to raise $60,000.
“Although many of the at-risk youth we’ve worked with over the last ten years in Somerville have dealt with significant struggles, they have overcome these to create safe spaces for their peers to come together toward positive change and to go on to accomplish great successes in their own lives,” said Teen Empowerment Executive Director Stanley Pollack. “We are celebrating their work as well as the good work of Mayor Curtatone and the City, which has led to dramatic positive change for the youth population in Somerville.” Teen Empowerment was invited to start working in Somerville by Mayor Curtatone in 2004. Since that time, TE has employed over 100 youth who have planned and implemented initiatives to involve thousands of their peers, ranging from youth-police dialogue sessions to youth social events to the annual Somerville Youth Peace Conferences.
A recent study of TE’s work in Soemrville by UMASS Boston’s Dr. Russel Schutt found evidence that TE’s efforts were responsible for a 50% decrease in the level of juvenile crime in Somerville’s highest crime neighborhoods and that compared to their peers, youth who worked at TE leave the program with higher levels of employability and greatly improved self-esteem and are more civically engaged, and these impacts are sustained over time.
The Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc. (TE) empowers youth and adults as agents of positive individual, institutional, and social change. Each year, TE youth conduct over 150 initiatives involving some 6,000 youth and adults in Boston and Somerville, MA and in Rochester, NY.
During its 22 year history, Teen Empowerment has brokered a lasting gang peace treaty, conducted police-youth reconciliation projects, worked to promote tolerance and understanding in Boston schools, and trained well over 2,000 youth to work as community organizers. TE’s work has touched the lives of more than 30,000 youth and adults. For more information, visit www.teenempowerment.org.