Marty always tells young people to dream bigger dreams, because they are capable of more than they know. He believes it’s the entire community’s job to help our youth overcome obstacles and grow into their full potential. As mayor he has put a special emphasis on increasing opportunities for at-risk, low-income, and otherwise vulnerable youth. He has also worked to get city and nonprofit sector programs working together, bring more businesses to the table to help, and measure impacts to ensure we’re making the most effective investments possible. Often sharing memories of his own rocky path, he wants every young person to have the supports and the second chances they need to flourish.
- Empowering young people to lead. The mayor’s Youth Lead the Change program gives the young people of Boston power over $1 million in the city’s budget. In 2015, Boston won the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Livable Cities Award for this groundbreaking program.
- Getting more youth on pathways to success. Mayor Walsh made the Summer Jobs program a priority for his Administration, placing more than 10,000 Boston youth in meaningful summer employment each year, allocating over $5 million to grow the program in his most recent budget, and growing private-sector placements by 18% or 576 jobs. Mayor Walsh also made it easier for young people to apply for jobs, creating the online SuccessLink system.
- Drawing on the power of good mentoring. In 2014 Mayor Walsh launched the Mayor’s Mentoring Movement, securing more than 1,000 new caring adult mentors for Boston’s youth.
- Expanding safe and nurturing spaces. Under Mayor Walsh, the City’s community centers have increased operating hours and opportunities for Boston’s families. Boston Centers for Youth and Families has expanded programming options for teens and now has 18 Teen Centers. For example, Mattapan residents now have three community centers to enjoy with the return of the Mattahunt to the City in an agreement with Wheelock College.
- Increasing Street Workers. In 2015, Mayor Walsh negotiated the merger of The Boston Foundation’s StreetSafe program into the City’s street worker team, adding dozens of new street workers and ensuring coverage for every public housing development in the city.
- Getting disconnected youth back on track. In 2015, the Walsh Administration opened a Connection Center in Roxbury to reach the nearly 5,000 young people in our city who are out of school and out of work.
- Promoting peace by being in the community. Mayor Walsh has joined Commissioner Evans, young people, clergy, community members, and Boston Police officers in the Peace Walks held on a weekly basis all summer in several neighborhoods.
- Earlier intervention for the most at-risk youth. Mayor Walsh led the creation of Enhancing Potential, Inspiring Change (EPIC), aimed at stemming youth violence by providing clinical case management and development opportunities for 50 of the most at-risk boys and girls ages 11 to 14.
- Expand and improve summer jobs. Mayor Walsh’s team recently secured a grant to study the very best ways to provide summer employment opportunities to young people. He won’t rest until real opportunity reaches every young person in the city.
- Make the entire city a classroom. This year Mayor Walsh launched the “5th Quarter of Learning,” building on Boston’s groundbreaking public-private summer learning initiative in an effort to ensure more students than ever before gain access to the area’s rich tapestry of natural, cultural, and higher education resources. It will engage 2,200 high-need students in rigorous academic learning with hands-on enrichment–including sailing, archery, dance, and tennis–while building critical thinking, perseverance, and teamwork skills. An additional 10,000 Boston students will enroll in a network of 110 summer learning programs, all focused on the same measures of program performance and skill development.