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Citizens Bank and the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston continue summer program designed to keep kids safe from violence

Now in fourth year, Summer Enrichment Series offers employment, engagement and education to Boston youth

BOSTON (May 27, 2010) - As part of their continuing support to help keep kids safe during the summer months, Citizens Bank and the Black Ministerial Alliance today announced they are once again partnering with the city of Boston on the Summer Enrichment Series. The three-part program, funded by a $100,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation, focuses on employment, engagement and education. Now in its fourth-consecutive year, it was created in response to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s appeal to the community to support the city’s youth from violence.

Since responding to Mayor Menino’s call to action in 2007, the Citizens Bank Foundation has provided $500,000 to the Summer Enrichment Series. The innovative program has provided nearly 100 jobs to at-risk youths, served more than 3,300 teens at neighborhood cafés, offered academic enrichment to nearly 500 children and sent more than 230 children to summer camp. It is expected to provide summer employment and engagement to approximately 900 local youths this year.

“We are proud to partner with our friends at the BMA and support the city of Boston on this program that has had a meaningful impact on young people,” said Stephen R. Woods, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “The Summer Enrichment Series gives young people positive ways in which to spend their time during the summer months when it can be difficult or cost-prohibitive to find constructive things to do. As a good citizen, we care about the well-being and development of our youth.”

According to a report by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, only 28 percent of teenagers in Massachusetts have secured a summer job. To that end, the Summer Enrichment Series this year will increase its focus on the employment component of the program by offering more jobs to youth.

The employment, engagement and education programs run from July 5 through August 23.

• Employment: Approximately 45 to 50 young men and women will gain employment, learn valuable life skills and build self confidence. The minimum wage jobs, ranging from administrative to artistic and running for at least seven weeks, will be located at local faith-based and nonprofit organizations.

• Engagement: Five to six free Teen Cafés will be available in Boston neighborhood churches and community-based organizations providing food and a safe place for young people to go at night. Here they will have the opportunity to creatively express themselves and discuss ways in which to decrease violence in their neighborhoods.

• Education: Approximately 150 low-income children will receive educational materials and/or scholarships to attend summer camp giving them the opportunity to pursue their academic lessons when school is out.

“I applaud Citizens Bank and the Black Ministerial Alliance for continuing to offer this program that supplements the city’s efforts to keep young people safe and employed in the summer,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “I encourage all companies across the city to support in the mission of protecting our kids by giving them jobs or useful ways to spend their time when school is not in session. We must also join together to urge our representatives in Washington, D.C. to support funding for summer jobs programs like the bill discussed today that would provide $1 billion. If passed an extra 1,200 kids would have summer jobs right here in Boston.” 

“The Summer Enrichment Series has clearly made a difference to the thousands of young people who have participated in the program and gained the confidence they need to improve their lives and move beyond the violence that can disrupt their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Gregory G. Groover, BMA Vice President and Senior Pastor, Charles Street AME Church. "We are grateful to Citizens Bank for its generous donation and Mayor Menino for leading the charge in keeping our youth safe.”

Joining Woods, Mayor Menino and Dr. Groover at today’s announcement, held at the Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, were a number of community leaders, including Rev. David Wright, BMA executive director, Rev. Edward Burks, Grants Manager at the Greater Love Tabernacle Church and Tinika Dottin, Youth Minister of the Greater Love Tabernacle Church and Director of two Teen Cafés. Tyree Hyatt, a teen from Dorchester Bay Youth Force and GOTCHA Collaborative, also participated in the event and spoke about the importance of summer jobs for youth.

As part of Citizens’ commitment to youth employment, the bank has donated nearly $200,000 to support jobs programs for young people in Boston in the first half of 2010.

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 more than 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