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Citizens Bank and the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston continue program to curb youth violence

Summer Enrichment Series offers employment opportunities for troubled youth and constructive activities to help keep teens safe during the summer

BOSTON              (July 2, 2009) - Citizens Bank and the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston today announced the Summer Enrichment Series is once again underway in partnership with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino to help curb youth violence in target neighborhoods. Now in its third-consecutive year, the Summer Enrichment Series has provided more than 60 jobs to at-risk youth, served nearly 2,800 teens at neighborhood cafés, offered academic enrichment to nearly 380 children and sent nearly 200 children to summer camp.

Funded with a total of $400,000 from the Citizens Bank Foundation, the Summer Enrichment Series was launched in 2007 in response to Mayor Menino’s call to action. This year’s program is expected to provide summer employment and programming to nearly 1,000 local youth.

“The Summer Enrichment Series is a unique program that has had a positive impact on thousands of youth in Boston by providing them with job training, a safe place to go at night and educational opportunities during the summer months,” said Robert E. Smyth, president, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are deeply committed to supporting the neighborhoods where our customers and colleagues live and work and enriching the lives of the future generation and keeping them safe from harm are small ways to show our support.”

• Employment: To help young men and women who are struggling to re-enter the mainstream and build a positive life for themselves and their families, 34 court involved and at risk youth will earn money and learn valuable life skills. The minimum wage jobs, ranging from administrative to artistic and running for at least seven weeks, are located at Greenwood Shalom Outreach Community in Dorchester, Bird Street Community Center and The City School in Dorchester, Bikes Not Bombs and Teen Empowerment in Jamaica Plain and Artists for Humanity in South Boston. In addition, approximately 20 youth will receive weekly career readiness training in business etiquette, networking, building long-term relationships, job seeking skills and saving and investing.

• Engagement: To create a dialogue among young people and encourage them to play an active role in decreasing violence in their neighborhoods, seven Teen Cafés will be offered at neighborhood churches and community-based organizations in Roxbury and Dorchester. The free Teen Cafés provide youth with food and a forum for creative expression and discussion on ways to decrease violence in their neighborhoods. The Cafés open today and will operate every weekend through the first week of September. 

• Education: To afford young people the opportunity to learn valuable academic lessons when school is out, approximately 200 low-children attending summer camp will receive educational materials and/or scholarships to attend camp.  The six camps are located in Chinatown, Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury. 

“The Summer Enrichment Series is a great example of the strong partnerships that we need more of so that all of our youth have safe and positive opportunities during the summer,” Mayor Menino said. “I applaud Citizens Bank and the Black Ministerial Alliance for creating a program that complements the city’s youth efforts by continuing to offer creative options for young people even in this difficult economy.”

“This program empowers young people with the tools and skills to choose a path other than violence and reassures them that the community cares about their safety and well-being,” said Rev. Gregory Groover, vice president, BMA and president of the Boston School Committee. “We are delighted to bring this program to the city’s youth through a generous donation from the Citizens Bank Foundation and support from the City of Boston.”

Joining Mayor Menino, Smyth and Rev. Groover at today’s announcement at the BMA’s new office at 7 Palmer Street in Roxbury, were a number of community leaders, including Rev. David Wright, executive director, BMA.

Also in attendance were several Summer Enrichment participants, including:
• 19-year-old Euclides Fontes, Teen Café at Greater Boston Catholic Charities at St. Peter’s Teen Center in Dorchester
• 15-year-old Latora Hall, employed at Greenwood Shalom Outreach Community in Dorchester
• 16-year-old Natish Hall, employed at Greenwood Shalom Outreach Community in Dorchester

About the Citizens Bank Foundation

Citizens Bank Foundation is a charitable contributions vehicle of Citizens Bank. The foundation’s support is focused on housing, community development and basic human needs.

About BMA

The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, established in the early 1960s, is an alliance of over 80 faith-based and community-based organizations with a 40-year history of serving the Black community in Boston. The BMA’s mission is to provide spiritual nurture for clergy, and advocacy and program services for the larger Black community. As part of its mission, the BMA demonstrates its ability to create positive change in the Boston area. BMA’s Web site is bmaboston.org.